Page 257 - ShowSight, March 2020
P. 257

                or more per dog show. They would clip them down to mature, but since ears and feet hair growth took longer, that hair was left on to facilitate getting them into the ring sooner. That’s how this strange clipped pattern emerged.
My thoughts on the impact of structure on movement and the effect it is having in the show ring? The ring is all we have in con- formation to judge type, temperament and movement—and in only 2 and 1⁄2 minutes. They must be judged at the trot per AKC rules and custom. However, the Afghan Hound is a galloping (and trot- ting) breed when doing its work. So it is a bit difficult to get a full assessment of the breed watching it only in one “gear”. But, that is what we must do unless one is involved in coursing, which is a more accurate way to assess function. (And that in full disclosure I have not yet participated in though I am really looking forward to doing so with my young bitch).
I do have a problem with people who do not know how to read a sentence or paragraph and then misinterpret the point.
The description of gait in the Afghan Hound Standard is: “Gait: When running free, the Afghan Hound moves at a gallop, showing great elasticity and spring in his smooth, powerful stride. When on a loose lead, the Afghan can trot at a fast pace; stepping along, he has the appearance of placing the hind feet directly in the foot prints of the front feet, both thrown straight ahead. Moving with head and tail high, the whole appearance of the Afghan Hound is one of great style and beauty.”
Please note that the words: “Elasticity” and “spring” are used in the sentence describing the gallop, not the trot!
The next sentence describes the trot. (Loose lead, fast pace, hind feet thrown forward in footprints of the front feet (not beyond the footprints), both thrown straight ahead, all done with “great style and beauty”!
Please also realize that a trot is a two beat gait, not a four beat gait like the “Rack” in Saddlebreds, which is not a natural gait. We have bred for and are running our Afghan hounds (and many other breeds as well ) to run at a rack instead of the trot because it is much flashier. And worse, judges are expecting this type of performance and rewarding this incorrect type of gait. In my opinion, of course.
Are there any misconceptions about the breed I’d like to dis- pel? That Afghan Hounds are not smart or affectionate. They are both as well as regal, interesting, goofy, intriguing, stylish and elegant, too.
At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? At 8-12 weeks. And once they get into the ring in the 6-9 class, the “stars” are obvious.
What is the most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? Afghans are a sighthound. They must look fast and strong, not thick or clumsy or too weedy. And they are just dogs like all others, but have a few differences: shorthaired saddles, more prominent hipbones, a ring at the end of its tail (preferably) and big feet. They are a square breed, not rectangular, though the breed has many looks and colors. And light eyes and bad tails are difficult to breed out!
What’s the best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? Get them out and about in society. Don’t treat them like “hot house flowers”
My ultimate goal for the breed? To preserve at least some Afghan Hounds that have the type and look that they had for thousands of years. That they become “groovy” again.
My favorite dog show memory? Winning the Afghan National with “the Matrix” dog under Michael Canalizo was special, bring- ing out “Soloflex” and his sister “Mimosa” out East Westminster week as puppies for the specialties preceding it and having them win big and get noticed by our peers. Showing the sisters Sweet Taboo and Tropicana in the same huge class of about 25 at our hometown Chicago national and having them place first and second. Sweet Taboo then went on to win Best in Sweepstakes and Best of winners
the next day. Bringing new hopefuls out for the first time at big shows to show how proud and excited we are of them and having people we don’t even know or in different breeds come up to us and appreciate them as much as we do. Those things matter and keep one going.
The proper temperament: aloof, dignified and yet gay” is dif- ficult to assess in the show ring as a judge, as you may only get a glimpse of them. But if you ever do live with or are lucky enough to hang around an Afghan Hound that has correct temperament, the description rings absolutely true. And by the way, this description negates overly sketchy, spooky dogs that don’t recover easily.
I live in Darnestown, Maryland, just northwest of Washington, D.C., with my husband, Peter Boyd, and am in private practice as a psycho- analyst. I began in Afghans in 2005, with my first show dog, Becket (SBIS Am. and Can. CH Pahlavi Sundance Festival, JC). I credit Karen Wagner with entrusting me with my first two Afghans (Becket and my foundation
bitch, Laila), and her superb judgment on breeding decisions. I’ve been active in conformation, coursing, agility, CGC, and recently, in Rally, and am a member of the AHCA and Potomac Afghan Hound Club. I also recently purchased a Danish Warmblood dres- sage mare, whom I hope to show.
Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfort- able with the placement? Well, I certainly hope this will change, as the number of Afghans is dwindling. When I began with the breed, in 2005, you needed ten dogs for a three-point major, and at least 20 for a five-point major. In my Division, the numbers are now four, five and six dogs for three, four and five point majors, as fewer and fewer litters are being bred. It’s difficult to attract younger people to the fancy, and many of us are getting older and are reluctant to take on the long-term responsibility for the puppies we would breed. In addition, with fewer litters being bred, and many breeders choosing the same sires repeatedly, I worry a little about the lack of diversity in the gene pool.
My thoughts on patterned coats vs full coats? Patterned coats are part of the genetics of our breed. All-breed judges frequently dismiss patterned Afghans as if patterning were a fault. This is a shame. In Afghanistan, hunting Afghans have very little coat—both because they aren’t bred for it, and because the terrain is tough on coats. We’ve moved breeding programs more toward glamour, sometimes at the cost of function. Patterned dogs give us an opportunity to see, not just feel for structure.
My thoughts on the impact of structure on movement and the effect it is having in the show ring? Structure should be, in my opin- ion, the touchstone of judging. I’ve seen judges rewarding extreme type, dogs whose height is well over the standard, dogs with sickle hocks, and dogs with exaggerated side gait. Some of these things are destructive to the breed, as they move us toward flash, and away from preservation of the agile hunting dog. Wasted movement and inferior structure interfere with the ability of Afghans to hunt prey all day on rough terrain.
Are there any misconceptions about the breed I’d like to dispel? Afghans are considered less intelligent than many other breeds, as they are not slavish. I’ve never had an Afghan who wasn’t smart as a whip, and fabulous at independent thinking. They are as cunning hunting birds, rabbits, and squirrels in the yard, as they are conniv- ing in my kitchen to steal my dinner when my back is turned. One of mine found three others on the bed, with no space for her, so she opened the bathroom door to entice them in, then jumped on the

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