Let’s Talk Breed Education!
THE AFGHAN HOUND. THE DOG THAT NOAH KNEW. THE KING OF DOGS.
BY HARRY BENNETT, AFGHAN HOUND CLUB OF AMERICA JUDGES EDUCATION COORDINATOR A great Afghan Hound will quickly, yet gradually, fill the voyeur with awe, humbleness and respect because of its unrivaled beauty, its strength, the intrinsic pride and certain vulnerability. The judge should first look at the dog as one would look at a paint- ing. The Afghan Hound should convey a dignified and distant demeanor. This is a breed like no other. The judge should see a dog framed in a square build, of great elegance, strength and balance. On this initial view of the dog, the judge should easily identify certain distinctive breed characteristics apparent at this time; exotic expres- sion, the crowning glory of a silky topknot, peculiar coat patterning, very prominent hipbones and a first impression of an almost over-angulated rear assembly; an illu- sion created by the draping of coat. The last named distinguishing characteristic is the unusually large foot of the Afghan Hound which sometimes may be visually hinted at by the hair covering it, but certainly will be found during the manual examination. A proper and knowledgeable assessment of the Afghan Hound must include a man- ual examination as with any breed of dog covered in hair. Before we get to this, it needs to be clear that, like most rulers, the Afghan Hound has a lot of rules. The Afghan Hound has been getting its way for over 4,000 years and so there are some aspects to work around to make this a good experience for everyone involved. I cannot tell you not to smoke, but if you do, understand that the Afghan Hound has a keen and inherent sense of “Burning Bushes”. Where there is smoke, there is fire. The Afghan Hound knows he is highly flammable. It is recommended that you wash your hands prior to judging the breed to remove any trace of smoke. Please also wash your hands after having judged a breed which produces excessive saliva or the Afghan Hound will quickly show offense to that. The use of heavy perfume or cologne may send an Afghan Hound spinning. Wearing a hat may cause an interruption in the Afghan Hound’s acceptance of your approach. It is understandable that weather may govern what the judge wears, but please know that the more you look like an alien being from outer space and the less identifiable you are as a human, the more contrary the Afghan Hound will be. It is also recommended that there is no talking by the judge when going over a dog. The Afghan Hound isn’t interested in being your friend. In fact, oral familiarity may often bring a certain suspicion and adverse reaction from the dog. There is more on this subject but that is a separate article in itself.
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JUDGING THE AFGHAN HOUND
“...THE AFGHAN HOUND SHOULD CARRY ITSELF WITH GREAT PRIDE AND EXHIBIT AN IMPRESSIVELY BALANCED GAIT, SHOWING STRENGTH AND ATHLETIC EASE.”
The Afghan Hound may be presented with or without the propping of its tail. This comes under the jurisdiction of the exhibitor. This is determined by how the best and steadfast stack will be maintained. A proper approach to examine the Afghan Hound is impor- tant. This will set the mood for a successful examination. The Afghan Hound does not like to be pushed, or rushed into a situation. As best trained as one of these dogs may be, it must be understood the procedure of a stranger touching the creature is a compromise. The exhibitor should always be allowed the time to have the dog stacked and ready for the judges approach. The judge should move with confidence, but with no aggression. Be deliberate and not hesitant. Any reluctance may arouse the dog to think he has the upper hand. When approaching the Afghan Hound from the front, take note of a dog standing proud on front legs like two col- umns. Always approach the head with hands from under- neath. Never reach toward the eyes as the Afghan Hound is sure to draw away. I recommend that the judge inspects the mouth himself or herself and not ask the exhibitor to do so. It is important that the handler holds the dog’s head to maintain control during the examination. The Afghan Hound Standard was written in an age of innocence when people didn’t think they needed to tell anyone that hunting dogs had teeth. The preferred bite is a level bite! A scissors bite is certainly acceptable. It is a judge’s choice to look at the rest. If that is the case, the judge should look at both sides as dentition may not be symmetrical. The mouth should be looked at during the head evaluation, as the inspec- tion of the foot is recommended to come last! When a judge goes over an Afghan Hound the hands should feel the parts that come together to make this unusual hound. A well angulated front assembly, with wonderful sloping shoul- ders allowing a neck to be on the dog and not in front of the dog, should be noted. Upon closer inspection the judge will understand why the Standard claims a “practically level” top line. These dogs have low body fat and the bones are closer to the surface and so it is noticed that there are slight deviations across the back; a slight indentation at the thoracic lumbar junction, a muscular rise over the loin area, prominent hipbones leading to a flat descent to where the tail comes out of the body. Even a few points of individual vertebrae may be apparent on
a dog in proper weight. Standing back from the dog, looking from across the top to the hipbones should appear level. When going over the rear assembly, one should find a well angled, well muscled and broad rear. The hocks are low and I implore you to not leave the rear until feeling to see that those hocks are, in fact, perpendicular to the ground. Any affliction of sickle hocks is more easily determined on a stack than mov- ing because of the illusive complications brought about by coat. The judge’s hands should get in the coat to examine the dog. The hair is silky and this quality may result in some wave to the hair. When short hair is present on the dog, it is of a different texture; that being hard. The masculinity and femininity of an Afghan Hound must be determined on an individual basis and not by the company it keeps. There is a range in size in this breed. There is a recommended size in this breed. Height is not necessarily a determining factor. Boys must be boys, girls must be girls. The Afghan Hound’s tail is a very unusual commodity. Most importantly, it comes out low from the body and is carried high in action. Ideally, it ends in a ringed tip or it may just curve. It is always a long rather sparsely coated tail (certainly in comparison to the overall coat) and never curls so much that it touches the back, or falls to one side or the other. There is no point of refer- ence other than one’s eye to measure the tail. The judge should never try to undo the shape of a tail. There is no reason to touch the tail except to see where it comes out from the body if the tail is down. Once the examination is complete, it is time to check the foot. The largeness of the foot is much more notable on the front feet and it is there that inspection is done. The Afghan Hound is very protective of its feet and so if this is not done well it may end in a wrestling match. The best way to do this must be instructed in person. The Afghan Hound should be the same dog moving as it is standing. The Standard mentions many times about the straight legs, feet facing forward, emphasizing a sound moving animal. It takes practice to get past being mesmerized by the coat and focusing on watching the legs and feet is imperative. From the side, the Afghan Hound should carry itself with great pride and exhibit an impressively balanced gait, showing strength and athletic ease. When you see it you will know it. It is incomparable. The Afghan Hound is incomparable.
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SO YOU THINK AN AFGHAN HOUND IS FOR YOU?
BY SUSAN HOWELL HAMLIN
P urported to be the oldest recognized breed of dog, legend also says that the Afghan Hound was the breed that Noah took on the Ark. Images of Afghan type dogs have been found on the walls of ancient caves in the Middle East. However, it wasn’t until the late 19th and early part of the 20th centu- ries that several of these unusual dogs were imported to England and it wasn’t until 1931 that Zeppo Marx (of Marx Brothers fame) brought a pair for breeding to the United States. The rest, as they say, is history. Why would anyone ever want to own an Afghan Hound? If you’re a dog lover and have an eye for beauty and glamour, an Afghan Hound might appeal to you. Aside from the fact that they are drop-dead gor- geous animals, why would a person be tempted to purchase one of these unusual looking dogs? Just seeing an Afghan Hound and admiring their exotic looks is one thing, but living with them and caring for them is an entirely different matter. My initial introduction to the breed was at the New England cir- cuit in Vermont in 1953. When I saw my first real live Afghan Hound, I knew I had to have one. It wasn’t until ten years later that I was able to acquire my first Afghan Hound. It wasn’t until that time when that puppy stole his way into my heart that I became truly aware of the breed’s character. The Afghan Hound is not an in-your-face breed. The fact, that their personalities don’t need constant attention appeals to me. They are by nature independent and somewhat standoffish. The Afghan Hounds I’ve known (and have owned me), have been my friends, and are happy with kind words, and a pat on the head. However, they don’t need you to play with them all the time. The Afghan’s aloof personal- ity charms me. That is not to say, they don’t like attention—but it has to be on their terms.
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SO YOU THINK AN AFGHAN HOUND IS FOR YOU?
Their independent nature has labeled them dumb in some circles. Because they don’t train like a Border Collie, Poodle, German Shepherd or Golden Retriever, they have often been categorized on the low end of intelligence ratings. Somewhere in their beautiful heads, they think they know better, can do it better their own way and are infinitely smarter than you. In fact, they just might be. They certainly don’t play by the same rules as most people (and dogs) understand them. Sighthounds need exercise—walking on a leash is good for your dog and for you. Running at full tilt in an enclosed space is also good. Lure coursing is also great fun for your dog. I must commend the American Kennel Club for bringing Agility, Rally, and Lure Coursing in addition to Obedience to the competitive arena, along with the con- formation end of the sport. Nowadays, just observe Afghan Hounds in Agility, Obedi- ence, Rally and Lure Coursing. They love the work, and are remarkable to watch. Training methods have evolved over the years. If you can fool an Afghan Hound into thinking he/she originated the idea, the battle is mostly won. Susan Zoppe—now retired from per- forming, had a circus act with seven Afghan Hounds for nearly 40 years (not all the same dogs, of course). Her Afghans performed flawlessly and with great precision. I have seen them perform with tails wagging, as they go about their business in the ring, happy as they can be. Susan has trained them with patience and love, and the job they do is unique and amazing. If you think you might enjoy living with this independent breed of dog, by all means, you should have one. But aside from that unusual temperament, be prepared for the time-consuming grooming side of the Afghan Hound. That glamorous coat that is an absolute wow factor when you first lay eyes on the breed, is a lot of laborious work, with some coat textures more so than others. Be pre- pared for a bath every week or so. Brushing and blow drying take a great deal of time. However, if a dog is trained from puppy- hood to have its feet handled, to stand or lie on the grooming table for hours on end, then there should be no problem. If the dog is allowed to run in your fenced back yard, the long coat can hide a multitude of foreign objects and/or parasites that might climb aboard. The Afghan Hound is definitely not a wash and wear dog. Afghan Hounds can be extremely clever escape artists. Climbing over six foot fences with ease, and going under fences where
Red-tailed hawk, Sue, and Ninth Turn Black Market— dam of Ch. Ninth Turn Argus
there doesn’t seem to be any place to slip through are just a couple of challenges you might encounter. Some people I’ve known have even covered their kennel run tops with chain link in order to prevent untoward flights. All Afghan Hounds are not escapees, but there are enough so that you might think twice. One of the neatest traits of the Afghan Hound is their persistent sense of humor. They are born clowns, and never cease to amaze with their clever, funny antics. On the other hand, some of their ruses are not so funny, particularly if you are the victim. In retrospect though, you have to laugh at the cleverness of these indomitable hounds. I recall once putting some frozen chicken out to thaw, way back in the corner on the kitchen counter, surely out of reach. Wrong! A short time later, I returned to the kitchen to find one of my darlings, all fours up on the counter chewing on the frozen package. There goes our dinner, I thought, but waste not, want not. I cooked the bird and gave it to the dogs. I realize everyone has their favorite breed of dog—the special breed of dog that they love to pieces and could never replace. While some people do not have the time and temperament to live and work with an Afghan Hound, if you think you do, you’re in for a most adventurous and pleasant surprise! ABOUT THE AUTHOR Susan Howell Hamlin (Sue) has been interested in and involved with dogs since childhood, and with Afghan Hounds for over 57 years and is best remembered for her top winner Ch. Ninth Turn Argus. Sue has been judging Afghan Hounds (plus four other sighthound breeds and Lhasa Apsos) since the early 70s, and is the former editor of Topknot News, the newsletter of the Afghan Hound Club of America, Inc. Retired from Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Sue stays active in the Elmira community, and is the author of a book about her family’s hotel where she grew up in Plattsburgh, NY. Another collaborative effort about the Civil War in Elmira is in the works.
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AFGHAN HOUND THE
1. Where do you live? What do you do “outside” of dogs? 2. In popularity, the Afghan Hound is currently ranked #113 out of 192 AKC-recognized breeds. Do you hope this will change or are you comfortable with his placement? Do these numbers help or hurt the breed? 3. Your thoughts on patterned coats vs full coats? 4. Your thoughts on the impact of structure on movement and the effect it is having in the show ring? 5. Are there any misconceptions about the breed you’ d like to dispel? 6. What special challenges do breeders face in our current eco- nomic and social climate? 7. At what age do you start to see definite signs of show-worthi- ness (or lack thereof)? 8. What is the most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? 9. What’s the best way to attract newcomers to your breed and to the sport? 10. What is your ultimate goal for the breed? 11. What is your favorite dog show memory? 12. Is there anything else you’ d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. HARRY BENNETT
reputed with special and personal accomplishments in Borzoi, Ibi- zan Hounds, Salukis, Chinese Cresteds, Toy Manchester Terriers, Italian Greyhounds, and Havanese, and recently Cotons de Tulear and Biewer Terriers. Activity in the Parent Club has always been important to me. I’ve always believed that if one can make a difference, then make a difference. In the Afghan Hound Club of America I have served in one respect or another over decades. It seems that I have found my niche in Judges Education. I live with my partner Chip Rowan in Jacksonville, Florida. We raised exotic finches for many years. We also collect antique and vintage Steiff Teddy Bears and Animals, and have been involved with a few other areas of antiques for many years. Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfort- able with the placement? I hope that this will change; I would like to see a resurgence of interest in the Afghan Hound. I am hopeful and excited to see Afghan Hounds showing up on television com- mercials and in advertisements again. My thoughts on patterned coats vs full coats? The “peculiar coat patterning” is a distinguishing characteristic of the breed. It is unusual, but it is not a mystery. In simple terms, the Afghan Hound is a double-coated breed. What is a unique feature in this breed is that the surface area of the dog is dominated by its undercoat or secondary coat; a soft silky hair. The primary coat is a short, hard hair. It would be highly unlikely to see an Afghan Hound that is covered only in soft, silky hair. As well, it would be very unusual to find an Afghan Hound that had only its primary coat, hence being a “smooth” Afghan Hound. The adult Afghan Hound has a close, hard coat on its head. This may sometimes be accented by the growth of long hair off the chin which we like to describe as a “mandarin beard”. Both dogs and bitches may grow a beard. It only enhances an “exotic expression”, it does not detract from gender nor does its absence have bearing on proper expression created by the components of the head. The awareness of coat patterning on the Afghan Hound is up to the judge, not the dog. Simply, where there is exposed short hair, it should be of a hard texture, not soft, as the long, silky rest of the coat. Even on a heavier-coated dog, it is not unusual to find short, hard hair hidden underneath the long, silky hair. Both coats are not necessarily in the same place on any given dog, nor is it necessarily the same on any two dogs. Most important is that it is understood that in adult dogs, the short, hard hair is exposed along the back. This generally continues along the tail defining a tail that is “never bushy”. The area amount of exposed short hard hair varies; from mini- mally being a “saddle” across the dog’s back, to exposed areas on the sides and back of the neck, down the sides of the body including the shoulders, down the flanks, and especially the front and sometimes back pasterns. An Afghan Hound deemed “out of coat” should not be misinterpreted to be “out of condition” for that reason. It is important to know that for whatever amount of coat the Afghan Hound has, the leg bones are straight and the feet face forward, and the dog moves soundly. There are many distractions of hair throughout the range of coat patterning and that is conquered only with time and study. My thoughts on the impact of structure on movement and the effect it is having in the show ring? The Standard clearly describes the build of the Afghan Hound. The Standard describes a balanced
Harry is a past President of the Afghan Hound Club of America, Inc. He has served on the AHCA Board of Directors, has chaired the National Specialty (2000), and chairs the Judges Education Committee. In 2013, the American Kennel Club’s Outstanding Sportsmanship Award was bestowed on him on behalf of the Afghan Hound Club of America.
My first Afghan Hound came in 1970. At that time, “Kemet” was not considered show quality, but I learned so much with him and I was encouraged every step of the way by everyone around me. People asked me to show their dogs very soon after so, I think I had a special knack. I used the prefix “Wanderin’” for my own. I traveled around the country to visit different breeders and ken- nels. I got to see and have my hands on some of the greatest Afghan Hounds. These dogs were young, old, at home, or in the ring. I loved handling and if statistics were tabulated for the category, I would be among the top five individuals for having handled the largest number of (excellent) Afghan Hounds to their champion- ships. I campaigned several Afghan Hounds to notable ranking and high awards. If these dogs weren’t number one, they were certainly phenomenons in their day. I have been honored to judge the AHCA Breeders’ Cup Futurity twice and AHCA Sweepstakes twice, as well as innumerable Sweep- stakes at Regional Specialties through the years. This has given me the opportunity to intimately see the Afghan Hound nationally as it moves through this span of time. I have also judged Sweepstakes, Futurities, and Top Twenty competitions at many other breed national events. I love to judge, but I am not through showing dogs. I have shown many breeds in many Groups, but try to keep my focus among the Sight Hounds and Toy breeds. I have been
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AFGHAN HOUND Q&A
They can be aloof, but they are intelligent, albeit they can be catlike and work on their own terms. What special challenges do breeders face in our current econom- ic and social climate? I think every purebred dog breed faces the same predicament—we need proper exposure and the breeders and caretakers of this breed need to educate the public of their value as companions. As far as showing, there are too many dog shows and they are costly, so many have to pick and choose which to attend. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? Watching attitude develop at about six weeks of age. A good dog becomes a great one if it believes in itself ! I feel you can recognize that “IT” factor early on. We have had dogs with amazing structure that decide the shows bore them—so they were not campaigned, but finished and placed as companions. What is the most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? They are a moderate, aloof athlete in a silk suit. Approach them from the front and to the side. Exam- ine them quietly and efficiently—never stare them down nor manhandle them. What’s the best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? Exposure and education—Meet the Breeds in NYC and Orlando provide phenomenal public education and exposure! My ultimate goal for the breed? For the breed to look like the breed and to not become caricatures and that the true caretakers of the breed stay the course. My favorite dog show memory? Watching my big brother, Michael Canalizo, and our Ch. Tryst of Grandeur at the Garden from the floor of MSG—teamwork and poetry in motion! They inspired so many with their passion and dedication. There are still great examples of the breed to be found and rewarded from longtime dedicated preservation breeders. CONNIE & DUANE BUTHERUS
trot with high head and tail carriage, all that is expected of “The King Of Dogs”. A warrior, an athlete; strong with no effort. Are there any misconceptions about the breed I’d like to dispel? Absolutely! Although the Afghan Hound is not so willing to please, it learns very quickly and cooperates as it feels suited. In all fairness to these dogs, they had more important things on their minds for 4,000 years, like self preservation. Having said this, and after a seemingly relentless puppyhood, the adult Afghan Hound makes an awesome pet. In the end, the Afghan Hound really is a domesticated animal. What special challenges do breeders face in our current econom- ic and social climate? Although I think we all face the same chal- lenges, the challenge that affects a breed like the Afghan Hound moreso is that diligence has been replaced by laziness, lack of imagi- nation, oh yeah, only one free hand. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? I personally am confident making a decision at 10 to 12 weeks. I daresay I’ve not been wrong yet. The most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? The Afghan Hound is complicated, so much can be right, and so much can go wrong. The best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? Oh My G-d, if the dogs can’t do it, what can we do? I expect the same things that attracted me to the Afghan Hound 50 years ago; Piercing (black almond-shaped eyed) expression, the demeanor of Zeus, and heart-stopping Afghan Hound movement. PAMELA BRUCE Pamela is a fourth generation ‘dog person’. She finished her first champion Maltese at age four alongside her parents who bred Mal- tese and Lhasa Apsos. Pam has handled and appreciates all breeds. Her expertise: coat- ed breeds, conditioning and presenting numerous Top Hounds, Ter- riers, Toys. all varieties of Poodles, Giant Schnauzers, and Bearded Collies. She has also bred and exhibited top winning Weimaraners. For over 40 years, Pam specialized in the breed she is best known for co-piloting numerous record breaking hounds under the Afghans of ‘Grandeur’ prefix with her mentor, Michael Canalizo. Pam has bred top winning Airedale Terriers under the ‘Acco- lade’ prefix for the past 20+ years. She is a retired investigator with the Toronto Police Service— an expert, specializing in DNA “cold cases”, Dangerous Offenders, Sexual Assault /Child Abuse investigations. Pam is an all-breed judge, and has traveled the world. I live in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. Outside of dogs, I like traveling, horses, sports and wine. Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfort- able with the placement? I think the Afghan Hound is not for every person and their upkeep in more than an average breed, if being shown. I am not sure the ranking would affect the breed as dedi- cated breeders are the caregivers to this hound. My thoughts on patterned coats vs full coats? I can appreciate both coat types, but wish more all-rounders would understand and appreciate that more is not necessarily more. My thoughts on the impact of structure on movement and the effect it is having in the show ring? It is no secret my opinion on this subject. I have judged this breed all over the world. The breed standard has not changed since the approval September 14, 1948. This breed is to be a moderate athlete in a silk suit. Stick straight fronts, sloping toplines, over-angulated rears, Bor- zoi headed specimens are not an Afghan Hound—they are carica- tures—that should never be rewarded let alone bred to and from! Are there any misconceptions about the breed I’d like to dis- pel? That they are not an intelligent breed and that all are spooky.
Connie and Duane have been involved with Afghan Hounds since the late 1960s. Their limited breeding program has produced over 45 AKC title holders, multiple Group and Spe- cialty Show winners and International Champions. Several of their dogs have been incorporated into other successful breeding programs. In addition to being heavily involved in several local breed, Group and all- breed clubs, both Connie and Duane have been on the Afghan Hound Club of America Board of Directors and both have served as President. Current- ly Connie is the Club’s Delegate to the AKC. Duane holds a PhD in Physical Chemistry and teaches at New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is a past Chairman of the Board of the AKC
Canine Health Foundation. He is an AKC approved judge of the breed and has judged the AHCA National Specialty, the Canadian National Specialty, in Australia, New Zealand, England and Bel- gium. He is also a Delegate for an All-Breed Club. Connie is a retired Heathcare Administrator for the State of New Jersey. She holds the title of Certified Public Manager in addi- tion to academic degrees and professional licensure. The Butherus household is shared with several Afghan Hounds, a Whippet and one very independent cat.
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AFGHAN HOUND Q&A
We live in Central New Jersey, in a community saturated with dog breeders and exhibitors. Duane is a researcher retired from Bell Laboratories and is currently teaching Chemistry and Sta- tistics at New Jersey Institute of Technology. Connie is a retired healthcare administrator. Do we hope the breed’s popularity will change or are we com- fortable with the placement? We have seen a quantum change in the popularity of the breed from the high watermark in the seventies. It is now laughingly referred to as the breed of the aging flower child. This is a breed that requires regular grooming, exercise and socialization. A fenced yard is also needed. Not everyone is will- ing or able to make the commitment to ensure these. There are presently probably enough Afghan Hounds of varied backgrounds and pedigrees to maintain breed health and genetic variability. The numbers of Afghan Hounds requiring rescue seem to be lower than 30+ years ago, so maybe our present numbers are about right. Our thoughts on patterned coats vs full coats? We have no preference. The patterned coat is a breed characteristic and quite beguiling. In contrast, too much coat can distort the desired outline and tends to hide the inherent “houndiness” of the breed. Our thoughts on the impact of structure on movement and the effect it is having in the show ring? Form and function must be in balance. The breed standard is quite clear as to the correct struc- ture. Specific aspects of the structure are stipulated such as shoul- ders, top line, bend of stifle, hocks, brisket, angulation as well as the unique breed characteristics such as hip bones, topknot, carriage. The structure dictates correct movement. Three aspects must be balanced in assessing a dog in the ring: the appearance, the move- ment and the structure. Are there any misconceptions about the breed we’d like to dis- pel? The Afghan Hound is very intelligent! The misconception regarding their intelligence may be due to their independent nature. The Afghan Hound’s primary drive is survival, not pleasing you. It is interesting that other than line cuts, Afghans probably have the fewest injuries of any breed in coursing trials. Afghans are more interested in surviving than in catching the bunny! The breed is also a functional hound and not merely a foo foo show dog. What special challenges do breeders face in our current econom- ic and social climate? The current climate regarding the assumed virtues of “rescue” as opposed to that of purpose breed dogs is a challenge for all preservation breeders. In addition, the impact of designer dogs has had a negative impact. Thankfully there has not been a strong commercial impulse to cross-breed Afghan Hounds with other breeds to create a new and attractive “designer dog”. Poodles, unfortunately for them, seem to be the breed of choice for a heavily-coated breed in such designer dog breedings. At what age do we start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? In our line we have found that three months of age is most often the optimum time to assess their virtues or limitations. The pups will often go through subsequent odd growth spurts, but at maturity they most frequently return to the dog we see at three months. What is the most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? Judges should not be deceived by the coat. A fully coated dog could be concealing a less than desirable structure which would be more obvious in a highly patterned dog. Coat color patterns can also be deceiving. For example, a dog with a black and tan pattern with a diagonal color division on the hocks can errone- ously look to have defective hocks. With a heavily coated breed like Afghan Hounds the judge needs to watch the motion of the feet to determine the movement soundness, not the legs, whose movement pattern is often covered by the profuse coat. What’s the best way to attract newcomers to our breed and to the sport? Possibly more than in the past, owners want to have fun with their dogs, so seeing Afghan Hounds and their owners
enjoying performance events such as agility and coursing would probably attract good, responsible owners into the breed. Our ultimate goal for the breed? Ours is a breed of preserva- tion and not innovation. The original British standard, which is the foundation of breed standards around the world, was written to describe the dog as it was found in Afghanistan, rather than describ- ing an ideal that we should develop. The maintenance of the breed standard in breeding programs must be the goal. We have over the years seen trends we consider detrimental to the breed reversed by the conscientious efforts of core Afghan Hound breeders. Trends toward too much or too little bone/substance, too much or insuf- ficient size, distortions of the outline, etc. have been reversed over time toward a more proper norm. With the application of cream rinse and a blow dryer, many of the early dogs would not look out of place in today’s show ring! We hope this self-correcting tendency will remain with breeders, and that their breeding objectives remain fixed on the standard as it is. It has served us well. We hope that the breed will be preserved pretty much as it is for at least the next century and beyond. Our favorite dog show memory? We have many great memories. It is easy to recall the wins and forget the losses. The friends made in the sport are very special and enhance the experience. Early in our showing career, we had a bad weekend, and at the conclusion of the weekend, we had a lovely dinner Sunday evening with friends. We commented on the drive home that if our happiness depended on winning, we were going to be very unhappy showing dogs as a hobby, but if we developed friendships with folks we met at the shows, we could have an enjoyable time even if we didn’t win. This approach to the hobby of showing dogs has provided us with a very rewarding part of our lives, and we treasure the friends we have made over the years. We’d also like to share about the breed that we have a book of Afghan Hound cartoons displaying all the mischief they can get into. The last cartoon showed the owner frazzled, sprawled on a thoroughly chewed-up couch asking, “Why do I put up with this?”, then answering her question in bold type: “Because I live with beau- ty!” In our opinions, there is no better explanation. MICHAEL CANALIZO
My primary residence is on Long Island, New York where I grew up and I have a secondary residence in Flori- da where the bulk of my immediate family reside. Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfortable with the placement? The breed has never been ranked very high in popular- ity, I assume due to the commitment to grooming required and because of their innate independence which includes their love of freedom to run. But—those who know of their “cat- like” personality find them an amazing companion and most Afghan Hound owners are “repeat offenders” for life. I understand their current position and it actually isn’t a major concern to me. My thoughts on patterned coats vs full coats? There is no thought to
me on this. Patterning is such an important detail of the Standard which secures the traditional “saddle” to remain an “outstanding characteristic” of the breed. Those who don’t understand this are not fully knowledgeable of the Standard, and might just be those
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AFGHAN HOUND Q&A
“If one doesn’t take the time to see the breed “work” in what was their habitat as a powerful coursing dog on mountainous terrain over long distance and time—they will never understand why correct structure is so important.”
who have allowed excessive trimming to permeate the breed. Don’t ask that question to any longtime breeders unless you’re prepared for a sharp retort! My thoughts on the impact of structure on movement and the effect it is having in the show ring? The breed has survived many “fads” over the years. In the 70s and 80s when it took 93 bitches for a 5-point major (it now takes about 12), coats and speed were king of the ring. I think those extremes have calmed down at the moment. The beauty of the breed will always force a second look in the Groups where they do impress with their strong, yet grace- ful action. The better judges will reward the right combination of correctness in conformation adorned by a coat of proper texture coupled with the requisite muscle-tone the breed should have. Are there any misconceptions about the breed I’d like to dispel? “ANY misconceptions”—that could be a long list! The Royal Fam- ily didn’t put the hound in long, glorious coat and open up the palace gates and say “Go, run down dinner.” Those who could and did “run down dinner” were the ones that were kept and prized. What special challenges do breeders face in our current econom- ic and social climate? Sadly current lifestyles aren’t geared for a large breed with coat demands—those who want a pet possessing a calm- ness and beauty about them without a non-stop need to “activity” (they pick and choose when they want to be active—usually when some small critter catches their eye!) will find the breed suitable for their lifestyle. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? For me: I see what I need to very early—a day old pup will have a shape and scope that will never change—the key time for me is about 12 weeks when they have to show me a clear “sense of self ” which includes how they interact, respond and carry themselves in different situations. Those that rise to those marks have always developed into a perfect Afghan Hound in body and mind. The most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? If one doesn’t take the time to see the breed “work” in what was their habitat as a powerful coursing dog on mountainous terrain over long distance and time—they will never understand why correct structure is so important. If they are impressed solely by the beauty and elegance of the breed they are missing the full understanding of the breed. The words “Powerful, Strong, Pun- ishing, Strength” are used repeatedly in the Standard. There are a few correlations one can use: An “Aristocrat” is like the Royal Family—they have a stature and bearing that upholds under any situation, they don’t recoil and shriek when confronted by someone or something unexpected, they show disdain and move on—that is “aloof ”. No judge should reward fear and/or aggressiveness ever! The Standard is clear: “Temperament: Aloof and dignified, yet GAY (my caps) Faults: shyness and sharpness.” Those words tell me that “Aloof, dignified and gay” all need to be present. The best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? I don’t really know the answer to this specific to the Afghan Hound They will always have a unique following, but the dog sport has to get way more proactive in promoting everything about the pure- bred dog and their virtues of owning a breed with predictable size, function and temperament that they expect. Seeing more dogs in performance competitions is helping. Everyone has to work to this end—before the purebred dog meets its end! My ultimate goal for the breed? This is a timely question for me personally. It is almost 18 years since I last exhibited and 12
years since the last Grandeur litter was bred. Evelyn Rechler and I decided we had to act now if we wanted to have Afghan Hounds around as we advanced in age. We used 30-year-old semen of a dog I bred and owned with Roger Rechler (Ch. Triumph of Grandeur: sire of Ch Tryst of Grandeur) and co-bred with great friends with a 40+ year old line that had Grandeur behind them—eight champi- ons from that breeding invigorated me to now represent in the show ring once again. The breed has changed in my estimation over those years and this might just be the last chance for me to have a dog presented that I think is representative of the Afghan Hound as I know it. I won’t be showing the dog personally, remember the “age” thing, but those who have been around almost as long as myself and the kennel are super supportive to see an attempt to swing the pendulum back to the way we remember. My favorite dog show memory? There are too many to men- tion in this one space, but all of them involve a special dog, a fam- ily member and the two owners of the Grandeur Afghan Hounds: Sunny Shay and Roger Rechler. SANDRA FREI
I was born into the dog show world and teamed with my mother, Vir- ginia Withington in the late 60s to make Stormhill one of the top Afghan Hound kennels in the world. As a breeder, owner-handler, I showed Ch. Stormhill’s Who’s Zoomin Who to #1 Afghan in 1989, retiring her as the #1 Afghan bitch of all time. I also showed two national specialty winners:
Ch.Panjhet of Stormhill (1973) and Ch. Calais Sunrise at Stormhill (1999) and numerous other dogs to Specialty, Group and BIS wins. Throughout the years, Stormhill dogs have been very successful in conformation, obedience, agility and therapy work. I would like to acknowledge the following co-breeders that I have been involved with over the years whose support, expertise and participation have helped immensely to carry on the Stormhill name. Most notably, Terri Vanderzee, her mother Mary Vanderzee, my ex-husband David Frei and Denise Schwebke. I was licensed to judge Afghans in 1981 and Whippets and Junior Showmanship in 1997. I have had the privilege to judge many wonderful assignments in the USA, Canada, Europe, Mexi- co, Australia and New Zealand. Most notably, the Afghan Hound Club of America (twice), Westminster KC (twice) and the first Aus- tralian Afghan Hound National specialty. Today, I am mostly involved, along with my friend and kennel manager, Terri Vanderzee, in training my dogs in agility, exhibiting mostly at specialty shows and judging. Currently, I am a member of the Evergreen Afghan Hound Club (Vice President), Seattle KC (AKC Delegate) and Western Wash- ington Hound Assn. I live in Woodinville, Washington. Currently, my life pretty much revolves around my involvement in dogs. Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfort- able with the placement? Sadly, I do not see the ranking of the breed increasing. The popularity of the breed has diminished for many reasons. First of all there aren’t that many new people coming into
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AFGHAN HOUND Q&A
“Judges should base their decisions on the quality of the dog and how well they represent the standard and not be influenced by the coat pattern”
the breed. So many breeders have retired from breeding and exhib- iting or they have become involved in other breeds that require less maintenance. The number of Afghans being shown has greatly fall- en so much so that in many areas, especially in the West, it is hard to get majors. The number of Afghans currently being shown seems to be more concentrated on the East coast than anywhere else in the country. My thoughts on patterned coats vs full coats? It doesn’t matter to me what type of coat pattern they have. Judges should base their decisions on the quality of the dog and how well they represent the standard and not be influenced by the coat pattern. I know that many breeder-judges will put up a patterned Afghan whereas all rounders rarely put up patterned dogs. My thoughts on the impact of structure on movement and the effect it is having in the show ring? To me structure and its effect on movement is very important. The Afghan is a square breed. They should appear balanced when standing and moving. Today you see dogs that have much more kick in their rears than they do reach. Are there any misconceptions about the breed I’d like to dis- pel? Afghans do have a very independent nature. However, aside from being show dogs they can be trained for obedience, rally, agil- ity, Canine Good Citizen, Barnhunt, Nosework, therapy dog and trick dog. What special challenges do breeders face in our current econom- ic and social climate? Afghans aren’t for everyone. They are a high maintenance, large breed that requires a lot of care and expense whether you are a breeder or an owner. It has been much harder for people to find a puppy since fewer litters are being bred. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? Of course we look at them when they first come out of the sac. We begin evaluating them at six, eight and 12 weeks of age through table training and video and watching them moving around on their own and playing with them. By 12 weeks we have made our evaluation as to which one we decide to keep and which ones will either be going to a show home or pet home. The most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? They are a balanced breed when standing and mov- ing. They should not be over exaggerated in anyway. The best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? Through education when you are inquired about the breed and the different things they can do with their dog if they choose to own one. My ultimate goal for the breed? That the breed is preserved. My favorite dog show memory? The show that our bitch Multi BIS and SBIS Ch. Stormhill’s Who’s Zoomin Who broke the record for the most BIS wins by an Afghan Hound bitch in the history of the breed. She retired with 20 BIS. I’d also like to share about the breed that even though they are high maintenance, they make wonderful companions. SUSANHAMLIN
at the National Warplane Museum (flying on a restored B-17, the Fuddy Duddy, every weekend), wrote a book Welcome to the With- erill about my family’s hotel in Plattsburgh, New York where I grew up, and am presently a board member of the Friends of the Elmira Civil War Prison Camp, and currently working with another board member on a book about Elmira’s role in the Civil War. I got involved with dogs as a kid (Cocker Spaniels), won the Gaines Girl Show Dog award in 1953, former member of the Elmira Kennel Club—past board member and show chairman; member— Afghan Hound Club of America (past recording secretary, board member, trophy chairman, compiled and edited “Afghan Hounds in America” in early 70s, former “TopKnot News” editor, imple- mented the AHCA’s iconic logo); founding member of the Finger Lakes Afghan Hound Club. Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfort- able with the placement? I’d like it better if the breed ranked under 100 (between 90 and 100). Do these numbers help or hurt the breed? Smaller entries either means that dogs aren’t being shown and/or that fewer are being bred and/or registered. We’ll probably never again see the entries of the 70s and 80s, but it would be nice to see larger entries at all- breed shows and really good numbers at our showcase specialties. So, I think the low numbers hurt, but on the other hand, maybe we can hope that fewer breeders are concentrating on more quality and adherence to the standard. But as numbers go down, quality can be jeopardized. My thoughts on patterned coats vs full coats? The standard says that either is acceptable. However, full coat on legs and feet are pleasing and show off large, broad feet. Are there any misconceptions about the breed I’d like to dispel? That Afghan Hounds are dumb. My experience is that they stay way ahead of most of their owners. They just don’t do things the way some of the so-called “smart” breeds do them. I put a C.D. on my first champion, and learned that it had to be done her way. Once I learned that, the “training” went smoothly. What special challenges do breeders face in our current econom- ic and social climate? Having to deal with animal rights people, who pass themselves off as animal welfare advocates (big difference between them). Breeding/exhibiting is not an inexpensive sport, so dedication and continual learning has to be there. Be humble—and always know that there is more to learn. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? It’s good to start looking as soon as pups are up on their feet. They can change of course, but you can start to see structure, tempera- ment and attitude. The most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? An elegant, squarely structured breed, that should carry himself proudly like the “king” of dogs he is. Learn about the structure under the coat. The best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? Be kind and be open to newcomers who are curious about the breed and want to learn more. My favorite dog show memory? Ch. Ninth Turn Argus was being handled by Jane Forsyth at the Westchester show circa 1973/1974. Argus had won the breed and was sitting on the grooming table under the tent awaiting Jane’s return from another Group ring in order for her to take him into the Hound Group. I guess he got tired of waiting, jumped off the table and just circled the ring (where another Group was being judged) with that lovely long-reaching trot that he was known for, head and tail up like he owned the place. Someone hollered, “Loose dog!” and people scrambled to catch
I live in Elmira (New York’s south- ern tier). I retired as the administrative manager (handled all non-academic functions) of Cornell’s College of Vet- erinary Medicine’s Baker Institute, an off-campus unit (where the canine dis- temper and parvovirus vaccines were developed). I now volunteer in my community—worked on the restora- tion of an antique carousel, volunteered
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AFGHAN HOUND Q&A
him, but he had no intention of running away. He was just showing off and let himself be “caught”. He then went on to win the Group. EDITHHANSON
to care for the coat. Also the “Adopt don’t Shop” mentality the AR wackos are spreading. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? I haven’t bred an Afghan litter in many years. When I did I liked to watch them just running around. I would study them at about seven or eight weeks old. I liked to see carriage and attitude. I was lucky that my picks didn’t change. I do know of other lines that have to wait until they are almost six months to evaluate. Thank goodness I didn’t have to deal with that. The most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? That they are square. The showiest entry is not nec- essarily the best. The hallmarks of the breed, i.e. topknot, saddle, hipbones and proper croup and a ring or curve to the tail. There is only one “never” in our standard and that refers to the tail: Never carried over the back or carried to the side. Temperament is impor- tant. They don’t have to be a tail waggers, but need to be confident. I won’t put up an entry who won’t raise its tail. The best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? I wish I knew! My ultimate goal for the breed? To attract new people who will become preservation breeders and not succumb to fads. My favorite dog show memory? Winning the Northern Califor- nia Afghan Hound Club Specialty with my breeder owner-handled Ch Dea Zenga Quinton in an entry of 266. The largest regional specialty ever held. It was so special because it was under Ellsworth Gamble and everybody was there. I’d also like to share that last November I was with seven other former Afghan Hound breeders. None of us have Afghans anymore, we all have champions in small breeds, but all still love Afghans. Afghans were what we talked about. I am not aware of any of my friends who no longer have the breed for anything, but our getting too old to run! RUSS HASTINGS
I started in Afghan Hounds when I was 13 years old. I finished my first homebred champion when I was 16. We only bred ten litters, but had 16 champions and that was mostly in the golden age era mentioned above. I mar- ried into Chesapeake Bay Retrievers in 1976 and had the first Best In Show Chesapeake in the western USA. (The second one overall). I became a handler
and stopped breeding Afghans for a while to not compete with cli- ents. I handled two BIS Bloodhounds and had the #1 Bloodhound. He was ranked in the top Hounds even though we only showed him in California and without advertising. Probably couldn’t do that today! I started judging in 1992 and have judged the breed at the National twice. I have judged specialties all over the USA and in Australia and Skolkluster in Sweden. We now have a Smooth Fox Terrier who just finished her championship, owner-handled, of course, thanks to my new hip. She is Ch Absolutely Here’s To Me from the last litter bred by the late James Smith with Eddie Boyes. We live in the small town of Buhl, Idaho which is close to Twin Falls. We moved here about a year ago from Phoenix Arizona. Since being retired I enjoy researching history. My mother had done extensive genealogy and I like following up on the lives of my ances- tors all the way back to the 12th century. Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfort- able with the placement? I do wish we had a larger base. We are at risk of having a very limited gene pool which is never good for a breed. I was most active in the 70s and 80s when it was the “golden age” of Afghans. We had an average entry of 60 or 70 at any show and it took 47 for a three-point major in California where I showed. It is interesting that so many of the Afghan breeders of that time are still in dogs either judging and/or have moved on to smaller breeds. We are getting too old to be athletic enough to show an Afghan! My thoughts on patterned coats vs full coats? Even though my dogs all had full coats, I do love patterned coats as long as they are properly patterned as per the standard. They must have a topknot, foot coat and leg coat. I have put up several patterned Afghans over the years. My thoughts on the impact of structure on movement and the effect it is having in the show ring? We have a problem with unbal- anced movement caused by forward placed and/or straight fronts and over angulated rears. The Afghan is a square breed. We have a problem with long and low. The dog who flies around the ring is not necessarily the best! Are there any misconceptions about the breed I’d like to dis- pel? That they are stupid! No way! They are very clever. Having lived with both Afghans and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers at the same time, obviously there was a big difference. With Afghans, they did not like to be commanded to do something. If you suggested it and they thought it was reasonable, they would comply. They have a great sense of humor. I had a CH early on who thought obedience was a kick, he earned his CD in three shows with the lowest score 192 1/2. And we all remember the beautiful bitch who scored 199 1/2 at our National under a judge who had never given a 200 and then went RWB at the huge specialty the next day. What special challenges do breeders face in our current econom- ic and social climate? It is hard to find new people to be interested in the breed. It seems today people are not willing to put in the time
I have been retired for about seven years. I have a Masters from Stanford and a Bachelors from Michigan State. My career was in Manufacturing Operations Management. When not doing dog things I enjoy Fly Fishing in the rivers and lakes of Pennsylvania and Tennessee. Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfortable with
the placement? I would like to see the numbers higher, but we have a sufficiently large population so competition is still good and the gene pool is sufficient. I hope we do not fall much further. My thoughts on patterned coats vs full coats? Patterned coats are perfectly acceptable and should never be penalized. Patterned coats can be very attractive. My thoughts on the impact of structure on movement and the effect it is having in the show ring? This may be controversial, but many, not all, of the big moving dogs I see in the ring have upright shoulder blades and minimal return of upper arm. This is not what our standard requires and it is important that breeders critically examine their prospective sires and dams as well as the grandpar- ents, if possible, to assess the structural soundness. A dog can have good shoulder structure and move well. The key is to find that dog as a breeder and judge. This is a coursing hound and as such needs to be built to fill that role. That is not to say that shoulder structure is the only important thing to look for in assessing a dog as there are many other things the standard describes that need to be weighed.
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