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Breed Priorities – The Bloodhound

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242 – May, 2016

by Nikki Riggsbee

This series – Breed Priorities – began in 2004. It was initially a product of what I wanted to learn from a mentor when studying a new breed: what is most important for this particular breed and what characteristics define it and differentiate it from other breeds. I patterned the lists after a portion of the Irish Wolfhound and Scottish Deerhound standards, entitled “List of Points in Order of Merit.” Those lists are so helpful. Second in the Irish Wolfhounds list is “Great size and commanding appearance.” Sixteenth is “Eyes, dark.” So everything else being equal, a big dog with light eyes is better than a small dog with light eyes.

The silhouettes were included partly because I was impressed by a feature in The Classic Saluki magazine (years ago) with a set of outlines of national specialty winners which asked the readers which outlines were more correct; it was a fun and instructive exercise. Further, in the book Solving the Mysteries of Breed Type, outline is one of the five components of breed type. While some breeds are more “outline breeds” than others, the more correct outlines illustrate the correct shape and proportion for the breed.

I invite breeder-judges to take the survey on which that breed’s article is based. When there aren’t enough breederjudges, parent club mentors are also invited. The survey was never intended to be complete breed education. Nor is it intended to recommend piece- or part-judging. But the articles based on the surveys, where the experts’ opinions are averaged, provide help for students of each breed to evolve toward seeing and judging the whole dog as a unit.

Fortunately, most breed experts agree to participate. Some point out that it was more challenging than they had expected, since most people haven’t necessarily thought through which features are more or less important. Yet we do this whenever we evaluate dogs – what makes the whole dog more correct, why we place one dog over another when they are close in quality. Once in awhile, an invited expert declines to participate because (s)he considers the survey invalid as an exercise in helping others learn about their breed. Unfortunately, more Bloodhound experts declined than has happened in other breeds, although some did return a portion of the survey.

We found nine Bloodhound breeder-judges. Eleven parent club breed mentors were added to the group invited to participate. Seventeen responded and were sent surveys. Twelve completed surveys were received plus two that were partially completed.

The experts averaged over thirty-three years in the breed. Those who judge have been approved for nearly fourteen years on average. Some of the judges have judged the Bloodhound national and other Bloodhound specialties. Thanks so much to those experts who did participate in this survey.

Click here to read the complete article
242 – May, 2016

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  • April 2019