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
SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, MARCH 2020 | 245
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