Dommer: Jocelyne Gagne
49 stilte hunder
First of all, I want to say thank you to the Club for inviting me to judge this specialty.
I was so impressed with how welcome everyone was made to feel, and for the great spirit of camaraderie and inclusion throughout the weekend, for exhibitors, officials, and the hounds.
While my job was to pass judgement on and evaluate the conformation of the hounds, I appreciated all of the social and fun events that included both hounds and their owners.
The racing was a blast! I loved that the dogs were timed, that the owners could entice them to run faster and as my friend and travelling companion Barbara Arndt pointed out, all of the timers used their cell phones torecord how quickly the dogs made it down the track. I also enjoyed measuring the hounds in the competition for tallest dog and bitch, and had a lovely time watching the obedience competitions. You have a great club and a personable group of people who work to make your club events such a great celebration of our breed. My sincere thanks to the two different show secretaries I had on the weekend who recorded my criticques, but most of all, I appreciated my skilled ring steward, Arne Johan Aastvedt. He was a terrific dinner companion, and we shared several wonderful conversations about hounds, breeding them, and their people. I am always happy to find out that across the world we all know people in common. Arne Johan was so very organized, able to answer all of my procedural questions and he kept things moving well in the ring.
While we were blessed with lovely summer weather for the puppy judging on Saturday, the skies opened up to pour rain for most of adult hound judging on Sunday. But we all persevered and it did little to dampen my pleasure in going over your hounds.
I have been asked to give you my perspective overall on the entry, so here you are: In general I found that you have very typical hounds. For the most part, they look like giant sighthounds, which is as it should be. Coats were good, (although most of the ones I felt were wet!) as were temperaments, with only a few youngsters unsure in the ring. Tail carriage was good and most of the hounds were kept in good condition. And by that I mean in hard muscle, and not too fat or too thin.
If you have followed my judging, or even my breeding program, you will know that correct movement features high on my list when I am evaluating a hound. For me, a sighthound without good legs is just not a good sighthound. Irish Wolfhounds were bred to run, to have to make occasional bursts of speed, but more importantly to be able to run a distance, and then have enough stamina and strength to take down their large prey. Without good movement, no wolfhound will last for any length of time in the field. So no matter how powerful the hound may appear to be, it will wear itself out quickly when running if it has movement faults that it must continually compensate for, or if it is in unfit condition. And of course unfit hounds or those with serious movement faults are much more prone to injury when running hard.
My top winners were all good movers. My Best of Breed and Best of Opposite Sex moved with ease and power, making it look effortless to possess good reach and strong drive as they travelled around the ring. Truly they looked like they could keep up that trot for a long time as they moved so efficiently and correctly in profile, and soundly coming and going.
Balance is also important to me when I am grading hounds. Not just front and rear balance – we certainly want the forequarter angulation to match that of the hindquarters so that movement is smooth and easy. But also overall balance, length of body to length of leg. I saw very few «short legged or cobby» Irish Wolfhounds in my ring, so I am glad of that! But I did see a number of hounds who were too long in back, their length came in the loin, as opposed to the rib cage, and in several instances were so long that at first glance it looked like their legs were too short. But in fact, they had good length of leg, but were out of proportion in terms of their back length. When I am watching a hound move in profile, I want the rear foot setting down in the vacated footprint of the front leg. This happens when a hound is moving well and efficiently. In my criteria of a great moving hound, it should look like the hound is expending minimal effort as it moves around the ring, yet still create an impression of power and strength. When a hound has movement faults, it will look like it is working hard or even struggling to move around the ring, or will have limited reach and drive.
Correct and balanced angulation, front and rear, will create an easy gait, with a great stride where the front foot will touch down near where the hounds nose is in front, and good push off behind when the rear assembly is driving the hound forward. Proper construction will result in proper reach and drive, and smooth and effortless looking gait. Too often I found hounds in my entry of moderate angulation who were sound coming and going, but lacked reach in front and drive from behind. Please pay attention to this, our hounds should present an outline of a large greyhound. Aim for correct angulation, both front and rear, that will produce those lovely curves and smooth angles starting where the neck meets the shoulders, over the topline and ending in the rear quarters, all flowing ni-cely together and resulting in correct smooth movement.
I also saw a number of steep croups. Please keep an eye on this. It can create an illusion of angulation in the rear quarters, but steep croups do not lend strength or power to the rear assembly and when moving it becomes obvious that the croup angle is negatively impacting the drive of the dog.
I also saw a number of straight shoulder assemblies which usually went along with steep croups. This severely impedes the front reach of the hound, and in some cases made it look like the dog had a short neck, as there was no smooth transition from neck to topline, but rather the upright shoulders started the transition in the topline too far forward in an abrupt joining.
Having now commented on some of the issues I noticed in the entry, I have to say that I was delighted with my top winners on the day. The rain made it clear that their construction was correct, as there was no hiding anything under hair that day!
In particular my Best of Breed (BIS) bitch was a lovely lady, of good size and adequate bone, who had length and strength in her shape. She had a very typical sighthound outline, all smooth curves and without exaggeration. All of her parts fit well together and she used herself easily as she moved around the ring displaying reach and drive, in a smooth effortless gait. She looked like she could go all day in the field. Her head and expression were typical.
My Best of Opposite Sex (BOS) male was a stallion of a hound, with great size, bone, strength and curves. Again, his outline was that of a typical sighthound, and to be critical, I would have liked a little more tuck up to his underline. But he held himself proudly and strode around the ring with power and presence, all the while making it look easy.
Kudos to all the handlers who did an excellent job of presenting their magnificent hounds in somewhat adverse conditions,
My assignment was a pleasure.
Best in Show: NJV-13 N DK UCH EUW-15 Mairead Maguire Ardfhuil O’Marksbay(Eiere og oppdrettere: Knut Olav Wille og Øivind Berg Larsen)
Best i Motsatt Kjønn: N UCH Stratos av Grunningen (Eier: Janne Grete Moen. Oppdrettere: Tina Haddeland og Tore Grønnhaug)
Best In Show Unghund: NJV-15 Felix Fiori Chiari (Eier: Siv Holm. Oppdretter: Gudio Gubernati)
Best I Motsatt Kjønn Unghund: Skibberdeen’s Elfje (Eier: Odd Myhre. Oppdretter: Christa Hermsen)
Best In Show Junior: Wolfhouse Baritone (Eiere: Knut Olav Wille og Øivind Berg Larsen. Oppdretter: Pernille Monberg)
Best I Motsatt Kjønn Junior: Gulleiv’s Mustang Shelby (Eiere og Oppdrettere: Anette og Monica Fornebo Eliassen)
Best In Show Valp: Sinead O’marksbay (Eiere og Oppdrettere: Knut Olav Wille og Øivind Berg Larsen)
Best I Motsatt Kjønn Valp: Setanta O’marksbay (Eier: Norma Corsini. Oppdrettere: Knut Olav Wille og Øivind Berg Larsen)