(Updated 1/6/01)

2001

'What you see '

Hound Group - 2001

by Harry Baxter

Judge - Roy Metcalfe

Photo by Alan V Walker
Winner of the Hound group was Mr. Paul Singleton’s Basenji Ch. Jethard Cidevant.
Second was the Irish Wolfhound Malley’s Ch Ainsea the Diplomat.
the judge was Mr Roy Metcalfe and KC Vice Chairman Mr Peter Mann presented the trophies.

What you see is what you get...is what you get! It has a nice ring of spin and requires examination. At the group ringside at Crufts you get rather more than you see. Thanks to the tradition of excellent commentary what you see is set in context, timed to each breed’s appearance, and what you get is also what you hear.

What do you see? In other countries the 29 BOB winners would appear in four group, sight hounds apart from the scent hounds, both apart from the Nordic Hunting Spitz, and the Dachshunds in a group of their own. What they have in common is the purpose for which they were created - to hunt.

The sight hounds are well represented. However, the 29 breeds are lined up, by size or alphabetically, from the ringside the sight hounds are immediately identifiable by their long, fine limbs, their deep, relatively narrow chests, their defined muscling, the length of their heads, length and strength of their necks. What we don’t see, because of the confines of the ring, is how, at the gallop, this construction brings their centre of gravity forward and increases speed, but the judge will be very aware of it.

What will impress the ringsider who ‘knows what he likes’, will be the sight hounds’ movement around the ring where the length of neck produces high, proud head carriage. It is then that the sighthound’s seemingly contradictory needs, for independence and for human affection, find expression in a delicate partnership very evident in the response of dog and handler, one to the other.

It is the only expression possible in the showring of the oldest partnership between man and dog, extending far beyond Arabia, with which we often associate sight hounds - hunting gazelle - for example to China and the Han dynasty (206 BC - AD 220) from which funeral engravings show hunting of hare with falcons and windhounds.

Inspiring

As this group within a group make their circuit, what we see is that the Pharaoh and the Ibizan have a higher, more curved tail carriage. Maybe it’s that that inspires a second look. These two are the only ones with ears carried erect. There are three different ear carriages, erect, ‘drooping’ - Saluki, Sloughi, Afghan, ‘rose’ - Greyhound, Whippet, Deerhound, Irish Wolfhound, Borzoi, detail much more apparent and significant to the judge than to the ringside.

Focussing on the Borzoi, we do not see, except in the mind’s eye, the spectacle of Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaivitch’s 19th century establishments of 40 couple Borzoi, 20 couple Foxhound, eight couple bearhounds and 100 horses. We can only recall thar the Arabian gazelle is so swift that a hawk - exclusively fed only neat hung between the horns of a stuffed gazelle - was needed to harry it and slow it sufficiently for the Saluki to take.
These are the traditional pursuits for which sight hounds were bred. We have to go to Discover Dogs or to breed club stands to appreciate the efforts made by the Saluki Club to maintain the breed’s coursing qualities, or the the Deerhound or Whippet clubs’ equally concerned with the retention of hunting ability.

A young girl, completing some kind of questionnaire, asked the owner of the BOB Borzoi - Ch Vronsky the Vanquisher, best of 135 hounds entered - “Does your dog do anything?” Maybe she meant ‘anything out of the ordinary!’ It was pertinent that in a way she may not have understood and I went on the ask it of others in slightly different words in breeds where it seemed appropriate. Vanquisher had earlier won his eleventh CC and tenth BOB and his show record includes four group 1st, one group 2nd and one group 3rd.

Of the dozen BOB owners I spoke to, none had had their opportunities to exercise seriously curtailed by the foot and mouth restrictions. The Deerhound dog, Ch Lealla Gruinard - and his litter sister, Lealla Gullane BOS, have their own field and the Essex beaches. This is one hound that ‘does something’. He is the Deerhound Club’s top coursing hound, and on the sideboard at home stands the Ardkinglas trophy as testimony. He has five CCs.

In Greyhounds it was the Dog CC winner, Charuzian Al Jarir at Trenson, I found at the benches. This win made him up. I asked about the name, taken apparently from Saudi Arabian place names. BOB winner, however, and Hound group 4 was Miss Lewis’ Poldory Awake with Joy at Belleek.

It was a fourth CC for the Pharaoh Hound, Rees and Scott’s Ch Cormiston Poachers Lad at Talkaccatur, the first won at WELKS 1998. The one regularly hunts rabbits. There was a dearth of suitable owners when he was born in 1995. The litter was run on until his present owners spotted his potential.

At first sight the Basenji looks very much the odd one out. Tight curled tail apart, the breed has visual qualities to link to the sight hounds of Asian origin and African evolution. The FCI classes the breed as of primitive type - in group 5. What singled out the breed at Crufts was when group judge Roy Metcalfe pulled out the BOB winner, the dog, Ch Jethard Cidevant, first in the group an then was eventual BIS. I much prefer first to be the first placed rather than the reverse order so much practised on the Continent. The dog now has 14 CCs - all with BOB, the first at eight months, was top pup in 1999 and top Basenji 2000. Even so, when interviewed Mr Singleton said: “This show is so fantastic. I was so surprised to even be pulled out in the last eight! Basenjis tend not to be pulled out in groups, so I am so pleased to be here. I can’t believe this. I think I will leave home tomorrow just to make sure I’m not late on Monday!”

Plight

On Saturday evening the TV showed the desperate plight of Skipton in North Yorkshire, Roy Metcalfe’s nearest town. His son-in-law and daughter’s sheep, grazing land at the Metadale kennel, had been unable to return to their home farm for lambing. Fortunately, the kennel is unaffected. It was, I recall, the same daughter’s affection for the breed that led to Deerhounds being introduced to the kennel which, in hounds, is best known for Dachshunds and Afghans, but which also has Whippets and has housed a Basset!

There are only two from the Nordic Hunting Spitz breeds. The Norwegian Elkhound is listed as two breeds by the FCI, the one grey, the other black. Here is the grey. Could anything be more different from the sight hound? Neither has need of the long legs of the windhounds. Both are members of the family of laikas which hunt the northern forests of Siberia, Sweden, Finland and Norway. The Elkhound has remarkable scenting powers enabling it to lead the hunter to the quarry, be it reindeer, elk, bear or even feathered prey, such as the capercaillie.

Working at a distance it holds even the largest beasts at bay until the hunter arrives. Handsome as the red-gold Finnish Spitz looks against the colourful Crufts carpet, it is even more so standing in a scatter of snow in the depths of the forest, hind legs braced, forefeet raised on the ground-hugging, berry-bearing bushes, its head raised pointing to the bird it has treed. It is a barking-pointer. Working ahead of the hunter, when he finds a bird he trails it until it alights in a tree. Then it barks and the hunter is able to locate the bird by the volume of the bark.

Now five-years-old, Mrs Passey’s Elkhound, Ch Shundelko Anisha, won her first CC at LKA when only seven-and-a-half-months old. Now she has 22, including one at the Scottish club’s show with BIS under a Swedish judge, in October last year. She was top Elkhound last year and has two champion littermates.

Spectacle

In Finnish Spitz it was Mrs Dalley’s dog, Ch Toveri Armaani. It was his sixth BOB and 10th CC with two group placings, fourth at Birmingham National, third at Manchester.

If this were mainland Europe a Dachshund would have a one-in-nine chance of going forward to the best in show finale. Here it’s one in 29; having a breed specialist as group judge does nothing to shorten the odds. If this were mainland Europe we would see hunting classes. In Sweden in December, in the Standard Wirehaired variety, the hunting classes had the highest entries. At Crufts there are no such classes for any of the hound breeds, and none for packs, as there are in France. What a spectacle that would be!

Of the two Dachshund owners I spoke to, Mrs Dare’s Standard Longhaired Ch Darsoms Zwagman was pulled out in the last eight. He has 13 CCs, 12 with BOB and four group placings, one each of 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th. He won the CC at Crufts last year and three BIS awards at Club shows. For the Smooth, Mr and Mrs Lovick-Gibb’s Roleta Play Wright, it was a second CC, the first won at the Dachshund Club show at Malvern in September, under a Hungarian judge. His litter sister, Roleta Play the Game, was made up at three consecutive shows earlier this year. Their dam has 10 Res CCs.

No Norman Conquest, no English scent hounds, well..probably. In the group ring we see only three of France’s 28 breeds represented, all from the sub-group of Bassets, the two size of Basset Griffon Vendeen and the Basset Fauve de Bretagne, all without their breed of origin - and of reference. Could we see the Grand Griffon Vendeen or the Briquet, we would see that the Grand Basset relates to the first, the Petit to the second and that, unlike the Dachshunds, they are not served by one standard with only size differentiation. Though they are found in Britain, there are no Bassets Artesien Normand or Bassets Bleu de Gascogne to be seen, and none of the Anglo-French breeds to which the foxhound has made such a contribution.

Detriment

Foxhounds have always been recognised by the Kennel Club. The reason we see so few shown lies in the belief that to breed for show purposes would be to the detriment of the breed. That’s why there are no harriers, Fell Hounds, Welsh Hounds. The small entry in Foxhounds would have been readily understood by Finnish judge elect, Rainer Vuorinen, well accustomed to the fact that hunters do not enter at beauty shows, with occasional exceptions; they turned out in large numbers when Finland hosted the World Show. It’s much the same in Sweden. On the day the BOB Hamilstövare came from a much larger entry than would be found at Sweden’s largest show in December.

In the event, of the four entered, three were absent due to their owners’ regard for foot-and-mouth restrictions and the appointed judge was unable to attend. Once again, eight-year-old Harambee Mungala - BOB at Crufts ‘97, ‘99 and 2000, BOS in ‘95 and ‘96 - took her place in the group ring. Mr Reynolds-Frost added the the Foxhounds and Sloughis to his 12 classes of Petit Bassets Griffon Vendeen and an entry of 95 from 92 hounds.

BOB in PBGV was Gadsby and Robertson’s Willowbrae Amazing Grace for Afterglow, now with four CCs and BOB awards, top breed puppy 2000 and BIS at the world Congress championship show. The same partnership also had Best Puppy with Afterglow Woody Woodpecker. From an entry of 17, BOB in Sloughi was Mrs Marston-Pollock and Mr R Stock’s Falconcrag Zakrat, bred from two imports. Granville, Mrs Cook’s Hamiltonstövare, Tedandi Akaratson, is three-years-old but still a new one to me; that’s because he has been held back whilst the multi-BOB winner, I’m No April Fool at Tedandi, has been shown.

Meticulous


The BOB Otterhound, Barilla Dewdrop, won her third CC from Open. Now a veteran, she has been shown little. The Dog CC winner, Vision Vanguard from Post Graduate is from the Ytene Mink Hounds and in a normal year would be out hunting in May.

I knew without asking that the last in my list is a hound that does something! Mr and Mrs Richards’ Ch Brightons Myrtle of Chasedown, as well as being the breed’s bitch record holder, is senior Working Hound, daughter of the dual champion, Chasedown Virtuous, and has a previous BOB and group 3 at Crufts when Leonard Pagliero judged.
There’s no pre-judging, another increasingly common practice elsewhere, so that what we see is a swift but meticulous hands on examination, a revealing demonstration of movement, a first selection to eight, another chance to move and then the placings.

Mr Metcalfe chose for group 1 the Basenji, Ch Jethard Cidevant; group 2 the Irish Wolfhound Mrs Malley’s Ch Ainsea The Diplomat; group 3 the Beagle, Mrs Bothwell’s Norcis Mrs Madrigal and 4 the Greyhound, Poldory Awake with Joy at Belleek.



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