Page 260 - ShowSight, March 2020
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                and Gold Country as we have moved about. I have held almost every office in the Afghan Hound Club of America, including two differ- ent sessions as President, have headed their judges education and was a columnist for the AKC GAzette. My judging started in 1978. I was eventually approved for the Hound and Sporting groups, and have judged the breed here and in Australia and multiple European countries.
I live in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Northern California. I’m retired from both showing and judging. Outside of dogs, I have enjoyed travel, hiking, and since returning to California, snow shoeing.
Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfort- able with the placement? I’m comfortable with this ranking, though I know some would like to see the numbers go up so we would have more support for various activities. I lived through the great rise in Afghan Hound popularity in the 1960s. It was not good for the breed. People who didn’t understand an Afghan Hound, or really dogs in general, acquired an Afghan more as an exotic ornament than as an athletic family member. When they discovered the prob- lems of coat care, and the delightful, but sometimes challenging, intricacies of breed temperament, they quickly abandoned or placed the dogs, to the detriment of the breed.
My thoughts on patterned coats vs full coats? Patterned, usu- ally meaning short haired cuffs on legs, and full coats are both acceptable. The Afghan Hound is a functional breed, a hunter who brings down game on rough terrain. Certainly the massive coats seen today could never have been maintained on the early dogs. A natural, short haired saddle is required by the standard, but sadly is missing, and so artificially stripped in, on some heavily coated dogs. Often even the heavily coated dogs will have cuffs on their legs that are simply covered over by hanging hair. Many of us are pleased to see an adequately coated, typey, patterned Afghan Hound that is representative of the original functional hunter. As long as the coat is adequate an Afghan Hound should be judged on what’s under the coat, rather than just on the coat itself. A massive blob of hair is NOT a proper Afghan Hound.
My thoughts on the impact of structure on movement and the effect it is having in the show ring? He is a square, short backed, angular dog built for endurance and agility, not the longer body of some other sighthounds who are built for speed. His hipbones and angled croup keep his rear legs under him for drive, quick starts and turns. His front is set well on his body for much the same reason. He should move with a light ground covering gait that is not extreme. If we move his shoulders forward and flatten his croup, we get a long bodied, loose sloppy dog, who moves with an over extended gait that is not an Afghan. This happened in an effort to breed a dog with an overly extended gait (commonly called TRAD). We almost lost our breed and our type. Currently conscientious breeders both here and abroad have been working hard to get the balance back,
Are there any misconceptions about the breed I’d like to dispel? 1. Never believe the rumor that the Afghan Hound is stupid. Far from it. He is smart and he is crafty. He thinks on his own, usually with no desire to follow instructions just to please you.
2. Despite his glamour, he is an athletic, tough dog. Do not race up and throw your arms around him without a proper introduction. What special challenges do breeders face in our current econom- ic and social climate? This is a large, expensive, time consuming breed. There are many people who admire, but should not own an Afghan hound. Our challenge is finding the person who has the space and time to take the responsibility of caring for and loving an Afghan Hound. These are the reasons why breed ownership will
remain small—and a reason why it probably should.
At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? I started a long period of evaluation at about eight weeks. Show worthiness definitely includes structure, attitude and temperament.
What is the most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? This is an independent, powerful dog. Do not insult him by treating him like a foo foo puppy. He feels he is a king/queen and you are not. Don’t stand and stare at him, approach him quietly, slowly, and respectfully, but never with a tentative hand outstretched. Go over him in a professional manner with a light, quick hand.
What’s the best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? Education. People have to understand why there are pure bred dogs, then understand the breed attributes, purpose and care. Only if they thoroughly understand the responsibility and expecta- tions of breed ownership will they become lasting dog owners. Pro- grams, local shows, and things like Meet The Breeds are a start. We must take the time to educate. Be certain that the breed’s purpose, not just the look, will fit a prospective owner’s lifestyle.
My ultimate goal for the breed? To maintain its athleticism and function, and not be changed into a fluffy couch sitter.
My favorite dog show memory? Judging specialties has always been special to me, and national specialties particularly special. Two stand out. The Saluki National years ago when a dog I had seen earlier as an insecure youngster marched into my BOB ring as a commanding and BOB winning special. The other was a Whippet national where I had the honor of placing a magnificent male from the oldest veterans class to Best of Breed over 600 plus dogs. Even more pleasing, both these dogs have been prominent in the pedi- grees of several generations of dogs who are a credit to their breed.
I’d also like to share that as a judge please remember that this is a breed that demands respect. As an owner please remember the same.
I currently reside in East Hampton, Connecticut. I have my Doctorate in Pharmacy and work as a Clinical Phar- macist full-time. I ballroom dance, love to travel and do crafts. My favorite thing is spending time with my hus- band and our four Afghans.
Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfortable with the placement? I don’t usually pay
much attention to rankings of this sort, but the popularity of this breed is definitely declining. We are pushing to get 30 dogs entered at regional specialties versus over 100 in times past. Possibly due to breed maintenance or increasingly busy schedules where people may not have a lot of time to dedicate resources. We can always hope that numbers increase, and it may be due to the lack of new- comers into our breed.
My thoughts on patterned coats vs full coats? Honestly, I hate this question. Both fully acceptable in the standard, yet many do not seem to understand. They absolutely should be judged equally and are both as beautiful as the other. Judges need to be more edu- cated on patterned coats and learn to love and appreciate how cor- rect it is.
My thoughts on the impact of structure on movement and the effect it is having in the show ring? I am a firm believer that balance is the key. Regardless of breed, correct structure relates to correct movement and resulting good health. With coated breeds, don’t forget that many faults can be hidden. It is the judge’s responsibility to see past the coat and clever grooming to reveal what is under- neath and fully evaluate how a dog is moving.
Are there any misconceptions about the breed I’d like to dis- pel? I think there are many misconceptions, but the one that always seems to come up is the intelligence of the breed. Let’s not confuse

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