Friday, May 30, 2008

Wolfhounds in Congress

The Federation of European Irish Wolfhounds just had a Congress and dogs came from all over with their people to Slovenia.  The Best-in-Show winner both days was from a kennel I admire deeply from afar, Pitlochry of the Netherlands. Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Fernhout! Photos of their winning champion Catweazle are here.  

Thursday, May 29, 2008

It's monumental


The bronze dog on the Irish brigade monument at Gettysburg National Military Park is one of the most famous Irish Wolfhound statues. 
Esteemed longtime breeder Elizabeth C. Murphy's archival site celebrates these places in Dublin where wolfhounds can be found: 
Mourning a lost friend, Mt. Jerome Cemetery
With heroic figures atop the Post Office Building
On top of the former Parliament House, Dame Street.
For closer views of these monumental wolfhounds, visit the Irish Wolfhound Archives.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sisterly pride

Verity's sister, Veronica, was already a Canadian champion when she went to her beloved family, the Lewingtons, in Australia. In a short time she became an Australian champion and ever since has enjoyed great successes in the show rings "down under." Sue Lewington writes:
"Last weekend Roni got her class in group (Intermediate) and then yesterday she got Runner-up in Group (Group 2) and Intermediate again ... Both shows were champ shows and we had around 120 in the group." The judge said Roni was a "lovely representative of her breed."
Congratulations, Roni!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Rocketing

We haven't been coursing for quite a while, but we hope to get our new generations rocketing through the competition fields as they do at home. It's fun and keeps the dogs physically fit. Here are three views of Erin, Rocket Girl, as she enjoyed the sport: 

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Thigh of hare, foot of cat

Stories and art of medieval European hunts feature greyhounds of all sizes, including very large hounds described as "rough-coated greyhounds."

The 1300s definitive guide to hunting, Livre de Chasse by Gaston Phoebus, shows different kinds of hunting dogs: 
Note the large "rough-coated greyhound," top left, and compare with the smaller greyhounds, at center.

Livre de Chasse and another Middle Ages work, Le Roman de d├ęduis, describe the ideal hunting greyhound: 
"Muzzle of wolf, haunch of lion, neck of swan ... eye of sparrowhawk, ear of snake ...
"He had a shoulder like the roe's;
His flank was like the woodland doe's;
Loin of stag; tail of rat;
Thigh of hare and foot of cat."
(From The Art of Medieval Hunting: The Hound and the Hawk, 2003, Castle Books, copyright John Cummins)

Compare with the American Kennel Club breed standard for the Irish Wolfhound which emphasizes that Wolfhounds are a "rough-coated greyhound-like breed." And it's only about 700 years later!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The eyes have it

A Wolfhound's eyes are mystical, full of wisdom and mystery from the Creation — and full of Irish humor and mischief, too.

Wolfhounds are a sighthound or gazehound — they hunt with their eyes, not with their noses. Mine seem very attuned to their surroundings. Move an object from one side of the living room mantelpiece to the other, and when walking casually past, they'll stop short to explore the change. Outside, their eyes capture every nuance of the landscape. At a dog show, Ginny always knows exactly how to get back to where we parked.

Omen loved to chase gophers and squirrels, of which we have a multitude here in our Canyon. When he hunted them, however, he didn't shove his nose into their ground holes; he pressed his face against the dirt, peering with one eye into the hole. Imagine being a gopher and looking upward to see a giant eye peering at you!

Omen, I miss you. Here's looking at you, kid.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Happy 10th birthday, Vanna!



This note comes from Jocelyne Gagne:
"Yesterday Vanna got the best birthday present she could get ... a straightaway 30-yard run (and then the run back). She would have gone further, but I wouldn't let her. All her coursing friends were cheering her on, and Vanna loved every minute of it!
"Susan loosed her, so I could capture Vanna on film. What a girl!!!! What a special wolfhound ...

MultiBIS MultiBISS Multi BIF Can. Am. Ch. Kellcastle Starkeeper Vanilla, F.Ch. X, JC, CGN, CGC

"Vanna and I thank her breeder Anne Spalding for letting Vanna leave the Oregon beaches to make her home in Canada, and we send birthday greetings to Vanna's litter brother in Pennsylvania, Bailey (AKA Am. CH. Kellcastle Chocolate Ribbon). The last two ice-creamers [from the 'ice-cream' litter] ... wonderful to have them celebrating their TENTH!
Jocelyne Gagne, Starkeeper Irish Wolfhounds"

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Saddle up

People who see an Irish Wolfhound for the first time inevitably offer the same bit of wit:
"You can put a saddle on that thing!" or "Can you saddle that and ride it?" or some variant ...
One time when I was walking Blake near a polo practice field, a player rode his horse up to the fence and asked, "Can I put my saddle on your dog?"
Someone should apply for a large, lucrative government grant to study why so many people consistently make the same joke and think it's original and funny.
I like to wink and say: "Yes, I could saddle up my dog, but I much prefer riding a broom!"

p.s. If you're looking for real answers to your questions about Irish Wolfhounds, please visit the Irish Wolfhound Club of America website. There, wise and responsible people offer all kinds of valuable information and expertise.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Introduction

I have lived with Irish Wolfhounds only about eight years. They bring me great joy every day. My current Irish Wolfhounds are, from oldest to youngest:
Harry. CH Rysheron's Wizard, JC. 
Ginny. CH Glenamadda Starkeeper Verity. 
Blake. Limerick Blake at Gryffindor. 
I'll be sharing more about them and hope to generate some positive discussions about the breed.