AFGHAN HOUND Q&A
“They are not Sporting dogs and expecting them to behave like a Sporting dog inside or outside the ring is a mistake.”
Are there any misconceptions about the breed I’d like to dispel? This is not a misconception, but this breed is aloof and cat-like in personality. They are not Sporting dogs and expecting them to behave like a Sporting dog inside or outside the ring is a mistake. What special challenges do breeders face in our current econom- ic and social climate? The care involved in this breed requires spe- cial owners who are willing and able to devote the necessary effort. Owners like that are becoming increasingly difficult to find. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? We always looked at our litters at five days, five weeks and five months. You should have a pretty good idea at five months, but there are no guarantees. I have had more than one that I rated lower or higher than I should have. What is the most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? You must judge as much with your hand as with your eyes. Don’t get fooled by big coat and big movement if what is underneath is not correct. Also, you must judge the dog on the day. Even the great ones have an off day occasionally and don’t deserve the win. What’s the best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? We need to actively reach out and welcome new comers. That’s easy to say and hard to do. If you don’t recognize someone at ringside it is okay to introduce yourself. Also, remember the new- comers don’t know all the players. My ultimate goal for the breed? I want to believe that the Afghan Hound will never become a low entry breed. It has too much to offer the individual owners and the dog world in general. They truly are the King of Dogs and so enjoyable to be around on a day to day basis. My favorite dog show memory? As an exhibitor I recall showing an Oyster Brindle dog called Jack to Lynn Mercer at the Finger Lakes Specialty years ago. The dog needed his last major and we were in the BBE class. I was in pretty good shape back then, but Lynn nearly killed me running him off against every other class winner. As I was making smaller and smaller circles I recall Jack looking back at me as if to say “come on, keep up”. After giving him the major Lynn told me she knew he was her winner right along, but she loved his movement so much she just enjoyed watching him. We still laugh about it to this day. I have only been judging about ten years, but have had the plea- sure of putting my hands on many of the top Afghan Hounds of the past decade. The very best in our breed make a very impressive group. It has always been a pleasure and memorable experience to have them in my ring. Their breeders, owners, and handlers should be proud. The Afghan Hound Club of America is an active Parent club that hosts a National Specialty every year and supports numer- ous regional Afghan Clubs around the country that host regional specialty shows. The opportunity to get to know this breed exists anywhere a person lives. We have an active mentor program for new or perspective owners. I am the outgoing president of the Par- ent club and I can assure everyone that involvement in Parent club activities is a rewarding experience for those inclined in that direc- tion. There is great information on the Parent Club Web site at afghanhoundclubofamerica.org . It is a great breed and has given us much enjoyment over the years. The breed is as versatile as any owner could want no matter where your interests lie. He excels in the show ring, on the coursing field and if you have patience in obedience and agility. Some say the breed is not intelligent, I say they are much smarter than most of their owners and will take advantage of that at every opportunity. As I said, they are truly the King of Dogs.
I have owned and exhibited Afghan Hounds since 1971. My first Afghan Hound was owner-handled to become an American, Mexican and Canadian Champion and a Field Champion. In a limited breeding program, I have been recognized by AKC as a Sil- ver Breeder of Merit. Dogs I have bred have earned 140 titles, 33 of which are prefix titles, and the majority of those
holding Dual Championships as well as companion titles. I have also received AKC’s Gold Bred-By Exhibitor Medallion. Embrac- ing AKC’s National Owner-Handled Series, I had the #1 NOHS Afghan Hound in 2016, 2017, and 2018 with two brothers, and currently one of those is the Top Lifetime NOHS Afghan Hound. My dogs have also ranked #1 in AKC Lure Coursing four times in the past ten years. I have held the position of Obedience, Rally and Versatil- ity Chair for the Afghan Hound Club of America since 2015, and previously was Agility Chair for several years. In 2019, the Afghan Hound Club of America honored me with the AKC Sportsmanship Award. Pictured: “Tavo” Grp. Winning NOHS MBIS, #1 Lifetime GCHS, DC Bakura Suni Formula One, CD, RE, MC, LCX2, BCAT, CGC, TKN with his son, “Chase” who was six months old in the photo, and is now RBIS, Multi Grp. Winning GCHS, DC Suni Sir Viveur, RE, MC, LCX2, BCAT, CGC, TKN. I live on a 300 acre cattle ranch in Central Texas, about an hour north of Austin with my husband, James, and our hounds. I am retired from the Texas Attorney General’s office and par- ticipate with James in my retirement with management of our commercial rental property. We have three adult children and four grandchildren. Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I com- fortable with the placement? I am glad to see the breed become less popular than it was in the 70s and 80s. Afghan Hounds are high-maintenance, and not for every household. In addition to requiring regular coat care, it is a hunting hound, and needs a lot of area to run, and proper conditioning to maintain physical and mental health. The current number of Afghan Hounds being bred seems ade- quate to maintain genetic diversity, and not have excessive numbers ending up in rescue situations. We do have the resource of dogs col- lected over the past 20+ years that can be used if need be. The Afghan Hound is an ancient breed. We are not in a stage of development,, but in my opinion are charged with preserving the unique qualities of this centuries-old hunting hound. My thoughts on patterned coats vs full coats? The dogs I personally have owned and bred have had full coats, with shorthaired saddles. Our standard calls for the hindquarters, flanks, ribs, forequar- ters and legs to be well covered with thick, silky hair, ears and feet well-feathered, and a head surmounted in the full sense of the word with a profuse topknot. It further states that showing cuffs on legs is permissible (not preferable, but permissible). It’s my personal interpretation that a full coat with shorthaired saddle is preferable, but cuffs are acceptable, and shouldn’t be fault- ed. I do, however, think an Afghan Hound carrying hardly any long silky coat, and exhibiting receding and/or entirely missing topknot is incorrect.
SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, MARCH 2020 | 253
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