AFGHAN HOUND Q&A
“My goal is to have young people come into the breed that have the passion to understand and study the past and then use that knowledge and mentors’ help to breed a line of dogs that fit the blueprint given to us by our predecessors.
MAYBE OUR BREED WILL EVENTUALLY HAVE A SAVIOR WHO WILL BRING US BACK FROM NEAR EXTINCTION.”
My goal is to have young people come into the breed that have the passion to understand and study the past and then use that knowledge and mentors’ help to breed a line of dogs that fit the blueprint given to us by our predecessors. Maybe our breed will eventually have a savior who will bring us back from near extinction. I have two favorite dog show memories. First one is the year that I was showing Ch Pahlavi Puttin’ on the Ritz at the Garden. I had just stopped smoking (cold turkey) in December. My emotions got the best of me and I started crying and arguing with Michael Canalizo before the breed judging. He had Ch Blu Shah of Gran- deur and Judy Fellton was the judge. I had a good chance and I can’t remember why I lost my mind that day, but I was ugly crying! By ring time, I composed myself and won the breed. Panic set in about going in the Group. June (then Vaccaro) decided I needed a skirt for the Group, I remember buying a fairly ugly outfit. So, almost Group time and my friends decided I needed a couple drinks to calm my nerves. I’m ready for the televised Groups and Joy Behr says, “Don’t worry about the thousands of people in the stands, think about the millions watching on TV.” I was fighting it out with the top win- ning Bloodhound and I kept praying not to get first. There was no way I wanted to go in the BIS ring. That almost paralyzed me that night. I ended up with the second place ribbon. My second best memory was at Santa Barbara KC. John Reeve- Newson was judging. I have a history of getting heart palpitations and, of course, got one before breed judging. I was showing a young bitch who had done some nice winning, but knew there were a couple male specials that I wasn’t likely to beat. So, Carol and Fran Reisman decided to help me out with my racing heart and told me to use the asthma inhaler. Little did I know, that it was going to have the opposite effect and made it much worse. I remember laying in the back seat of their rental trying to will my heart to beat nor- mally. Somehow I managed to make it to the ring and my little girl was putting on the performance of a lifetime. John was making his final decision, sent us down and back for the last time. She planted into a perfect self stack in front of him, looked at him with her usual arrogance and a gust of wind picked up her topknot to complete the perfect photo moment. I heard the spectators gasp—it really was that kind of frozen moment that people still talk about. We won BOB and went on to a Group 3 under Annie Clark.
pet homes and we lose on both ends. All of a sudden, homes are full and we have no where to go with our health tested, sane, socialized, quality puppies. In this atmosphere, people would rather “rescue” a dog with a ton of problems and brag to their friends that they res- cued their dog. Most good breeders have either aged out of the game and others have given up. We have a breed that is very appealing to the public, but not when they understand what is needed for 14-15 years of their life. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? By 7-1/2 to 8 weeks I have a good idea of what I have in the litter. My dogs are fairly line-bred so not much deviates from litter to lit- ter. I usually know who I want to keep by the eight week “official” photoshoot. I don’t usually take deposits, so there are no expecta- tions on the part of buyers. I pick and then go by the order that the buyers contacted me about the litter. I try not to judge the puppies after nine weeks because they start changing and going wonky. By that age I’ve already lead trained, taken movies on leash and stack trained. If they get to a handling class, it’s usually after four months. I hate overtraining so I’ve also been known to just start them out at specialties where it’s low-key and they only see their own breed. It works for me, usually. I like them to have some wildness and be spontaneous. The most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? Ah, so many things are important to our breed. Balance, strength, soundness, level topline standing and moving, prominent hipbones, arched and powerful neck, balanced mov- ing—no overreaching, no overstepping. However “impressive” it is to see an Afghan Hound move with its head thrown back over its shoulders, that is a sure sign that it’s ewe necked and a fault in our standard. The guidelines that we call our standard have a purpose. The further we stray, the more we just have a prancing pony at the end of the lead. Cute, but useless. The best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? Clubs, especially breed clubs, are such an important aspect of our sport. We brought our breed club back from the brink of losing it. Club members age, fight, fall out, get bored, etc. There needs to be something for new members. One of our newest members just made Afghan Hound history with their first Afghan Hound. He’s the first to receive the Fast Cat title. We are extremely proud of this family.
260 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, MARCH 2020
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