IWADV 2009 Specialty Show Sweepstakes Critique
What a beautiful day it was in Morgantown on October 4th! Blue sky, green grass, trees beginning to color up, and Irish Wolfhounds. What could be better? I was deeply honored to be asked to judge puppies for this show—it has always been one of my favorites, from its very first venue at Ft. Washington through Downingtown, Pottstown, and now Morgantown. Thank you to the show committee and the exhibitors for this opportunity to learn from a lovely group of puppies. Thank you to the ring stewards, particularly Greg Kane, for keeping me on time and my equipment at hand. I had some outstanding puppies to go over, and only a few that were unsure of the ring and me. This is not a worrisome thing—most get over it in time. I did see some weak pasterns, although I often think this is an age-related growth phase and did not penalize it.
6-9 Months Puppy Dogs
1st: Nine Gates Dublin at Bullhead. A singleton in the class, this was a very nice puppy, with a long neck flowing into a nicely angled front, sufficient bone, nicely sprung ribs and a lovely sweep over the loin to shapely stifles. His head was well proportioned with a nicely rosed ear. And he moved smoothly around the ring.
9-12 Months Puppy Dogs
1st: O’Lugh’s Jagermeister of Aerie. This young hound caught my eye as he sailed into the ring with a lovely flowing stride. On examination, he had nice planes to his head with a nice ear, a strong neck blended into a nice shoulder. He had lovely reach in front balanced with great drive in the rear. He had wonderful bone, a nice tuck up from well-sprung ribs to loin and a lovely sweep down to his stifle and good muscling in the second thigh. To be really picky, he may be a trifle steep in the croup.
2nd: Aotearoa Suro Whakaheke. Another nice young hound with long legs, a somewhat plainer head, long strong neck, good front, good bone, good depth of chest. He was somewhat weaker in the loin and pelvis, and his movement was loose, no doubt due to his age.
3rd: Redtops Graedy. A very nice brindle puppy with not the substance of the first two placements. He has a pleasing head with a nicely rosed ear, and an endearing expression. He has a good front, good depth of chest, somewhat weaker in the loin than 1 & 2, and a lovely sweep of stifle down to a low hock. He moved well.
4th: Ansa Mo Caoimhin Modigliani. This puppy lacked the bone and substance of the other placements. He had a lovely head and expression. While he is balanced, he lacks angulation in both front and rear.
12-15 Months Dogs
1st: Baileysong Olcan Odyssey. Alone in his class, this hound would have stood out in a full class. He has a lovely head and ear, a strong neck flowing into a good front assembly, with good bone. His rear angulation does not match his front at the moment, and it shows when he is on the move, with more reach in front than he has rear drive. A very nice young male.
15-18 Months Dogs
1st: Ziggy of Tir Na N’og. What a strong, powerful mover this hound is—he filled my eye as they entered the ring. Not the longest of leg, nor of body, this hound just made you itch to see if your hand agreed with your eye. He had a pleasing balanced head, ears rosed high on his skull, a lovely strong neck into a very nice shoulder with forearm back underneath his body, good spring of rib, well ribbed back to a strong loin and pelvis and super muscle throughout stifle and second thigh to a low hock. He covered the ground with effortless power.
2nd: Eirian Saoirbhreathach Daibai. The second place hound has a nice head, a decent front assembly, nice spring of rib, a strong loin and croup that was a bit steep. He had good muscling throughout and was true coming and going.
3rd: Ard Rhi’s Consternation of Eagle. This hound gave me a problem. He had a lovely shape standing still which fell apart on the move. Whether this is structural or just behavior I could not tell on the day. He had good bone, good substance, a nice front assembly, strong neck into a strong although somewhat flat back. He was wanting in muscle in the stifle and second thigh and perhaps this was what caused the lack of balance on the move. He lugged on the move, making his handler hold up his front, while his rear just couldn’t get coordinated.
4th: Eirian’s Coltrane Running. This young hound had a nice head and ear, a somewhat more upright shoulder, a nice strong back with ribbing well back and a strong rear. He did not have quite the substance of the hounds placed above him.
6-9 Months Puppy Bitches
1st: Castlemaine’s For All The Days. A pretty puppy, with a beautiful head and eye, for all she wanted to roll it at me. A lovely shape with good front, long neck into a nice strong back with good sweep to her stifles.
2nd: Silver Thorne’s Heartsease. These next two little girls, so obviously sisters, were well made, with good bone, nice fronts and well sprung ribs. I preferred this one for her more balanced shape and her more coordinated movement.
3rd: Silver Thorne’s Shamrock. This little girl was also a pretty picture standing still, with good bone, front not so good as her sister, and rear not so strong. She was all over the place moving. I will look forward to seeing these two in a few months’ time.
9-12 Months Puppy Bitches
1st: Tomahawke’s Arrluk for Wolfhaven. This puppy caught my eye on entry into the ring—such power to her gait—such a picture of strength. On examination, aside from carrying a few extra pounds, she had a lovely head and expression, ears not perhaps her fortune at the moment, a strong neck into good shoulders and nice forechest, wonderful bone, excellent spring of rib and well ribbed back to a strong loin and strong stifles with good muscle. She had great reach and drive on the move and was true coming and going.
2nd: July of Aerie. Another lovely puppy, a bit less to her than #1, but a lovely head and rosed ear, long neck into good front, decent spring of rib into a somewhat weaker loin and lovely sweep of stifle to a low hock. She moved with grace and spring.
3rd: O’Lugh’s Jigger of Aerie. An interesting puppy, this girl has a lovely lay of scapula which is not answered by a commensurate length of forearm, leaving her to prop her legs forward. She is well sprung in the ribcage, has a nice topline, a good stifle and a low hock.
4th: Silverwolf Sage. Another very nice puppy, a lovely head with soft expression, nice neck into well laid shoulder, but again a shortened forearm. Good spring of rib, lovely strong sweep of stifle, good muscling and low hock.
12-15 Months Bitches
1st: Rosslare’s Mercedes Rising Star. A puppy of great exuberance and élan… having fun with her handler today. She has a nice head, but a somewhat hard expression, a nice neck which blends into a nice shoulder and barrel. She has sufficient bone, a nice sweep from withers to croup and a nice bend of stifle. Her movement was true and flowing.
2nd: Rosslare’s Kiss Me Kate. A similar puppy who did not want to be here today and was not sure of me either. She is a bit shorter-coupled than the 1st placed puppy and while she was balanced fore and aft, her movement was restricted, with a hackneyed gait both on the down and back and on the side.
15-18 Months Bitches
1st: Starkeeper Glenamadda USA Flag. This is a very nice bitch with a lovely head and expression, a strong neck blending into a nice shoulder, with a somewhat short forearm, which places her front too far forward. But she has good bone, is balanced fore and aft, has a strong rear with good muscling. She moved true coming and going.
2nd: Aragorn Cecilia O’Tailstorm. A nicely balanced young girl, front not as good as #1, and not as much to her, but she moved out beautifully and was absolutely true coming and going.
3rd: Hound Hill Tallulah. Well, this one was a disappointment—a big strong bitch with a good front, wonderful bone, good spring of rib and strong through the rear. But she just would not move for her handler. If she had shown any activity at all she would have taken the class for me.
4th: Eirians All That Jazz. Another nice bitch, although I would have liked more bone and substance throughout. She had a nice head with tightly rosed ears, a somewhat narrow chest and not as strong a rear as the other placements. She moved out truly and used herself well.
Best in Sweeps O’Lugh’s Jagermeister of Aerie. Although the 15-18 Months Dog pushed him, this young dog is striking for his overall balance and movement. His long legs and power give him tremendous movement. While still somewhat gawky, he exudes promise of great power to come.
Best of Opposite in Sweeps Tomahawke’s Arrluk for Wolfhaven. In my bitch lineup, this young puppy still filled my eye—a beautiful shape and so much substance, and yet so graceful on the move—a lovely package. I can’t wait to see her as a 2-year old.