Judge - All regular & non-regular conformation classes
Gretchen Bernardi It was my pleasure to step in as a substitute judge for this specialty. Having missed this year’s national specialty due to a judging assignment, it gave me the opportunity to see and to go over dogs, many of which I had not seen before.
I appreciate the hospitality afforded me by the committee at this wonderful venue, where it is always a pleasure to judge. It’s always more fun with a good ring steward, which I had. And I always appreciate good sportsmanship, which was almost universal. Thank you again for this opportunity.
Two comments before going on to the dogs themselves: first, it was nice to see a variety of colors in the dogs today, something I don’t always see. I hope we don’t lose the wheatens, the red wheatens and brindles and all of the other colors found in our breed. I would hate to see us go the way of the Scottish Deerhound that has virtually lose its range of colors.
Also, a special thank you to Per Arne Flatburg and Anne-Biritte Larsen, and everyone involved in the production and maintenance of the Irish Wolfhound Data Base. What a joy to be able to look up the various dogs shown to me after the event and to see the pedigrees behind them, to try to understand what produced what in which individual dogs. Thank you so much for your contribution, putting this information out for all interested people to see.
Although not a huge entry, there was plenty of quality, especially in the dogs, which is not always the case. I was pleased to see a preponderance of correct length of leg, a fault that plagues many breeds today and is especially incorrect in a sighthound. It is much easier to breed soundness in short-legged dogs, but the challenge is to breed sound dogs with the correct shape and proportion.
I was especially pleased with the condition of many of the dogs shown to me, with hard muscling, especially in the hindquarters. “Good condition is required by our standard: NECK: Rather long, very strong and muscular; FOREQUARTERS: shoulders, muscular; FAULTS: general want of muscle.” But conditioning is important to the overall health of our dogs, even to their longevity, as many must be euthanized because they cannot get up. That is unacceptable. Winners Bitch was shown in especially hard and muscular condition.
The Irish Wolfhound is a compromise between power and speed, required, as it is to both catch and kill a fierce predator. Did Mrs. Nagle really say it or do we just attribute it to her: “Fast enough to catch a wolf. Strong enough to kill it.” Regardless, it is a motto that breeders, exhibitors and judges must live by.
My interpretation of the correct construction of an Irish Wolfhound includes a lack of exaggeration. It is my firm belief that extreme characteristics are aesthetically and physically detrimental in all breeds. These exaggerated parts have led to dogs that can’t breathe, can’t breed and can’t walk without difficulty. So I was looking for a dog that is not exaggerated in any way, a powerful dog but still built on Greyhound lines. I found several.
Best of Breed was Ch. Lonnkyle Traveller, bred and owned by Lloyd Simmons, a powerful, masculine dog but in no way coarse. Shown in good condition, which could be seen in his movement and the way he carried himself, with ease and with confidence. Correct on the down and back and smooth and ground-covering from the side, he was a pleasure to watch and to go over. He had a beautifully strong neck, set on his body well and well-constructed forequarters. Of course, no dog is perfect, and this one has large and flat ears, which so many of our best dogs have, thanks to the heavy influence of the Great Dane in our pedigrees.
It’s always a pleasure to see our dogs shown in their prime and this coming five-year old is a credit to his breeding. From a personal standpoint, it is always gratifying to see a dog that I have admired and rewarded in the past having fulfilled the promise of youth.
Winner Bitch and Best of Winners was Rockhart Raptur, bred and owned by Lynn Simon, a strong, exceptionally powerful bitch shown in superb condition. She ate up the ground in all directions and was balanced throughout. Noticing that she is a few months shy of two years of age, I hope she maintains her Greyhound type and shape without coarsening. But today she is a beautiful, powerful bitch who could certainly do her job if asked.
GCH Joan of Arc, owned and bred by Laurie Mendiones, was Best of Opposite Sex, another dog shown in her prime, at a little over four. Full of type and quality with no exaggeration anywhere, she is another one who is fit and prepared to do her work if asked. She had a kind expression and moved well in all directions, with beautiful width across the stifle.
Puppy Dogs, 6 to 9 months
Finnegan’s Winter Sioc, Alexis Witt. A very pretty puppy barely old enough to be here, he has a lovely shape with good width across the stifle and a really beautiful head. He’s moving a little sloppy in the front and just needs to tighten up all over, like so many pups his age, especially the males.
Puppy Dogs, 9 to 12 months—two very handsome youngsters
Renwyck’s Sweet William to Finnegan, Chrys Fine, Lori Walker. Although his youth is evident, his movement exemplifies easy and active. He has a pretty, masculine head, a crisp coat and no exaggerations anywhere. He’s a lovely wheaten with dark pigment and lovely ears.
Glenn Eyrie’s Nordic Kaiden of Taimoshaan, Jennifer Henningsen, Anker Henningsen. Another handsome dog who needs a little more forechest but has good depth of chest and a lovely, masculine head with good length of muzzle. He’s shown in good condition, but is off in a rear leg, which cost him in this class.
Cnoccarne Berrybrar Dairagh, Katy Abrecht, Jerry Holmes, Emma Ross, Mark & Tina Berry. This is a really beautiful, masculine stallion hound, upstanding and strong. His neck sets on his body beautifully. He has the right shape, the right proportions, plenty of leg, but still adequate depth of chest. He could use slightly more forechest; very sound coming and going but really beautiful from the side without being exaggerated in movement. He has a very unattractive tail, but it does not detract from his overall merit and his beautiful ears make up for his not-so-beautiful tail. Winners Dog.
Bred-by-Exhibitor Dogs Every dog placed in this class has a fault and judging requires balancing those faults with the quality of the individual dog. Congratulations to the owners of these dogs, as they were all in very good condition.
Berrybriar Tribute to the Past of Cnoccarne, Emma Ross, Tina & Mark Berry. Not the most enthusiastic dog I’ve ever seen, but he is full of type and quality with a lovely shape and especially well-set neck and a lovely head. I see he is the sire of Winners Dog and that should be good news for all involved in his breeding, that they are moving forward. Also Reserve Winners Dog.
Kerryarc Rio Bravo, M. Tyler, C. Collier, C. Tyler. This is a very stylish and seductive dog, full of quality. His front action is little high and he has two much rear angulation for my interpretation of correct wolfhound construction. He’s slightly upright in the pasterns.
Glenn Eyrie’s Justified, Susan Williams, James Williams. This dog is a little plain, but still a handsome dog, that is not quite correct in front construction or movement. The youngest dog in this class, he has time to for these to improve with maturity.
Pern Prometheus of Maloma, Peggy Proffitt, S. Kelly Cromer. Another handsome dog of quality but has slightly too lttle rear angulation.
Franjo Ailne Quote the Raven Nevermore, Antonette Mendenhall, Lori Walker. A pretty dark dog with correct angulation fore and aft, a lovely head and ears, but a little upright in the pasterns and a little too fine-boned for a male.
Puppy Bitches, 6 to 9 months
Finnegan’s Dubh Veilbhit, Chrys Fine. A pretty little bitch with a nice shape that insisted on moving crooked but moved well in spite of it.
Xoxo Anette From Arya O’Marksbay CGC TKN, George Stone, Shawna Stone. A really beautiful red wheaten (and I hope he keeps this color) with long legs, but not quite deep enough. Again, these dogs with correct length of leg often take far longer to get themselves together. She’s a little narrow across the front now, but she has promise.
Mendes Moxie of Limerick, Laurie Mendione, Jamie Souza Bartlett. I really liked this puppy and she would have pushed the first place dog hard had she behaved herself. She moved beautifully but did not want me to go over her. I cannot reward that behavior, but I think she will be fine, because she was never frantic or out of control.
Puppy Bitches, 9 to 12 months A hard class to judge, two nice bitches of slightly different styles.
Donndubhan’s Raghallagh of Franjo, Julie Brown, Ron Brown. She has a really beautiful shape with good width across the stifle, her neck going into her body well.
Aoife Aideen of Dogzilla Farm, Chrstia Lou Polston, Richard Dean Polston. Of true hunting type, this one needs more forechest and is not using her front as well as your construction would indicate. I think she just needs to loosen up on the move.
Yearling Bitches, 12 to 18 months My recording failed me on this class, so I am working from memory and from the photo. My apologies, but can’t recall movement.
Cnoccarne Edieagh, Katy Abrecht, Jerry Holmes, Emma Ross. She had all soft curves in moderation, a correct shape, pretty head with a long muzzle, slightly flat in the topline.
Finnegan’s Winter Sioc, Christina Bergman, Carol Jorczak. This one needed more substance all around and more depth.
Cnoccarne Amhragh, Emma Ross, Katy Albrecht, Jerry Holmes. Great length of leg with easy and active movement, no exaggeration anywhere. This is a strong, powerful and shapely bitch, similar in age to the second place bitch, but looks so much more mature on the day. Moves well and with ease in all directions, a bitch full of quality and type with very low hocks.
Cnoccarne Crann Na Beathagh, Marshall Brown, Pat Vetter. Another really good moving bitch and more of the hunting type. A half-sister to the bitch in front of her, with the same degree of quality.
Bred-by-Exhibitor Bitches This is one of the nicest classes of bitches I have judged anywhere, full of quality and correct type. Any bitch in the class could have won on another day and any placement in this class should be considered a real victory.
Rockhart Raptur, Lynn Simon. See Winners Bitch and Best of Winners. Also Best Bred-By Exhibitor.
Kerryarc Repousse, M. Tyler, C. Collier, C. Tyler. A true hunting type, just slightly overdone behind but not much and uses what she has very well. She is long where she needs to be, especially in leg and muzzle. Also Reserve Winners Bitch.
Cu Mhin’s Athena, Jonathan L. Gile, Louise Penrice-Giles. This one could be easy to overlook because she is so well-balanced, all parts flowing together in harmony. She looks good on the go around but needs to get herself straightened out on the down and back.
Lonnkyle’s Provenance, Lloyd Simmons. Not the tallest bitch in the class, but she has ample substance yet is very feminine. She moves well in all directions.
Talesin’s August Beaujolais, Jim & Ellen Kroll. A very pretty bitch, full of quality, which needs more substance and more width across the thigh, but moves well with ease and determination.
Maloma’s Supercalifragilisticexpiaidcius, Peggy Profitt, S. Kelly Cromer. Very similar in type to the first place bitch, needing a little more substance.
Rockhart Valor, Lynn Simon. This bitch is dripping in quality, but she is simply too much bitch for my idea of correct type, too much “power” and not enough “speed.” There is so much to appreciate in her, but I simply couldn’t find the Greyhound in her. I nevertheless believe we need these bitches to produce good, masculine dogs of “great size and substance.”
Khaleesi’s Vicerion of the Seven Kingdoms. Patricia Storkel, John Storkel. A pretty bitch who could use slightly more rear angulation, which she could still get when she lets down in the rear. She moves well, but needs to tighten up in her feet and pasterns.
Rockhart Endeavor, Lynn Simon. Again, a bitch of great quality but too much power and not enough speed, lacking Greyhound type required of my idea of the standard. She has a strong neck set well on her body, but she is slightly off in rear movement.
Misty River Caoimhe Kylara O’Quinn, Donna Kachinskas, Paul Harris. She has good length of leg and is sound and moves well. But she could use more forechest and, like so many wolfhounds, a better upper arm.
Bio I acquired my first Irish Wolfhound in 1969 and bred my first Berwyck litter in 1977. Our hounds have won the national specialty, several regional specialties and high honors at the specialty and all-breed levels, mostly owner-handled. More important to me personally, are the number of dogs gaining high honors at our specialties that carry Berwyck dogs close up in their pedigrees. In the early 1970’s I helped establish the St. Louis Sighthound Association, founded at a time when group clubs and sighthound coursing were regarded as exotic pastimes. I am currently approved to judge 12 breeds and have judges several specialties both here and abroad. I have the great honor of being one of only three living people to have judged our national specialty twice. In 2011, I was named Hound Breeder of the Year by the AKC. In the last 50 years I have been involved with all-breed clubs, sighthound clubs, humane organizations and wildlife preservation organizations and this year will mark my 32nd year as a delegate to the American Kennel Club. Additionally, I have been an officer of the Irish Wolfhound Club of America, serving as editor of Harp & Hound. I authored “Longevity and Morbidity in the Irish Wolfhound in the United States—1966 to 1986,” which has been translated into several languages. In the years that I have lived with Irish Wolfhounds, I have tried hard to keep two principles foremost in my mind. First, to leave this wonderful breed in at least as good a shape as I found it. Second, to always give credit to the great breeders who came before me and whose dogs live on in our present-day pedigrees.
Judge - All sweepstakes classes
Dr. Christiana Hartenstein Thank you for inviting me to judge the Sweepstakes at your Specialty. I had a wonderful time – your set-up was marvelous, the hospitality fantastic and the sportsmanship wonderful. I enjoyed going over your youngsters, measuring them against my “internal blueprint”” of what an Irish Wolfhound should look and feel like.
Given the fact that we are talking about the largest and tallest of the galloping hounds, there are of course variations due to the age of the exhibits; however, all 6 youngsters shown were clearly Irish Wolfhounds. They varied, to a certain degree, in overall shape, size and substance, which is clearly to be expected. Some were less conditioned than others, and others again were not necessarily super confident. However, I was able to examine all of them and was grateful to all handlers for being so patient with their hounds. Common faults I noticed were not surprising in what I have seen elsewhere; this would include the lack of sloping shoulder blades and, in some exhibits, a general lack of angulation. Interestingly, I also noticed - in the majority of youngsters - a tendency to turn the front feet out , either unilateral or bilateral. While this fault is most likely developmental in nature, it does need watching.
Thank you again for showing your puppies under me and good luck with them in the future. May they all keep their early promise!
Sweepstakes Dogs 12 months and under 15 months
# 7 Renwyck’s Sweet William to Finnegan Shapely and well-grown 13 months old youngster with balanced, albeit moderate angulation. Reach and drive were restricted due to his moderate angles; however, he was light on his feet, sound on the down and back, and kept his shape on the move. Head overall was typical and pleasing with a kind expression. Shown in good condition, he displayed the appropriate muscle tone for age and holds promise for the future. To be critical, I would like to see him a bit more masculine at this age.
Sweepstakes Dogs 15 months and under 18 months
# 13 Glenn Eyrie’s Justified - BEST IN SENIOR SWEEPSTAKES Masculine, shapely and well-grown 15 months old youngster with good, matching angulation. He displayed good reach and drive, was light on his feet and sound on the down and back. He also kept his shape on the move. Head overall was typical and pleasing with a kind expression. Shown in excellent, hard condition, he was all male and should do well in the future. To be critical, the rise over the loin starts a tad too early.
Sweepstakes Bitches 6 months and under 9 months
# 6 Xoxo Anette from Arya O’ Marksbay CGC TKN Shapely and rangy, almost 9 months old puppy displaying good, matching angulation. She looked better standing than gaiting as she had a tendency to roach her back when viewed from the side. However, she was light on her feet and sound on the down and back. Lovely head with sweet expression, still all puppy. Shown in good condition, appropriately muscled for age. Too be critical, I wished for a bit more substance on the day.
Mendes Moxie of Limerick Well-grown 7 months old puppy with balanced, albeit moderate angulation. Reach and drive were restricted due to her moderate angles; however, she was light on her feet and sound on the down and back. Viewed from the side, she lost her shape on the move and displayed high tail carriage. Head overall was typical with kind expression. To be critical, I would prefer longer, houndier lines.
Sweepstakes Bitches 9 months and under 12 months
# 14 Enchantress of Franjo – BEST IN JUNIOR SWEEPSTAKES Well-grown and shapely, almost 10 months old youngster with good, matching angulation. She displayed good reach and drive, was light on her feet, and sound on the down and back. She also kept her shape on the move. Head overall was typical and pleasing with a kind expression. Shown in excellent condition, she was both strong and feminine. Too be critical, I wished for a bit more confidence in the ring to show off her virtues even more.
# 12 Donndubhan’s Raghallaigh of Franjo Litter sister to # 1 without her size, shape and substance. Moderately angulated, she displayed somewhat restricted reach and drive; however, she was light on her feet and also sound on the down and back. Head overall was typical and pleasing with a kind expression. Presented in somewhat soft condition, she lacked the strength of her sister. However, this can easily change when provided with ample opportunities for age appropriate exercise.
Bio Christiana purchased her first show dog in Germany in 1998 and spent the next few years learning what to do and not do in the show ring. She traveled abroad learning about the breed, visiting kennels and handling the hounds of breeders across Europe. Christiana bred her first litter under the kennel Rockhart in 2002. Am./Can. Ch. BIS Rockhart Anthem is the most successful representative of this litter. Christiana is currently establishing a new kennel for Irish Wolfhounds and Borzoi under the name Samsara.