Show Dogs: Not Just the Wealthy
by Joan Harrigan
Judy McDonald grew up in Queens, N.Y., and her father worked as a fireman. She remembers watching Westminster on her family’s black and, white television. “It always interested me,” she says. “But when I said I wanted a show dog, my mother told me that they were just for the rich.” Now, after two decades of showing her Bloodhounds, McDonald can testify that this is a sport that everyone can enjoy.
McDonald lives outside Dallas in Lucas, Texas and works as an accounting consultant. Mostly, she handles her own dogs, though handler Michael Brantley was showing her 3-year-old male, Rocket Man at Westminster. After the judging, Rocket Man sat on a low grooming table and drew quite a crowd in the benching area.
His crate was decorated with a model rocket, just in case you forgot his name. An introduction to him was immediately followed by face-scrubbing kisses and a warning from McDonald to “watch your earrings! He’ll get them!” A Bloodhound is a seriously large dog—Rocket Man weighs in at 136 pounds—and McDonald has six at home, ranging in age from 11 years to six months.
The decision to add a Bloodhound to your family should not be taken lightly, and McDonald often discourages prospective pet buyers. “This Is not the ‘lie on the front porch’ breed that people think they are,” she says. “They slobber, they are destructive, and they need attention from their family. They are very gregarious and love children, but this can be a negative, as they can easily knock a toddler over.” And, McDonald cautions, if you like to keep things on your coffee table, you can forget that if you have a Bloodhound.
According to McDonald, this is a breed in which owner/handlers can still be competitive. In fact, the “Bloodhound people” drew her to the breed. “I liked being with them,” McDonald explains. “It’s really a nice family.”
Rocket Man, more formally known as GCh Flessner’s International Space Station at Honidge, has his “event entry” certification for tracking. McDonald also likes to do performance events with her dogs—she owned the third Bloodhound in breed history to gain an agility title.
Initially a Rottweiler owner, she bought her first Bloodhound as a friend for her male Rottie, Bruno. She wanted a non-domineering dog who would be a gentle companion and playmate. However, she soon found that the Bloodhound bitch had Bruno obeying her.
As a good breeder should be, McDonald is protective of her breed. “I encourage people who can provide a good home to look at Bloodhound rescue,” she says. “Unfortunately, there are a lot of Bloodhounds in rescue. It’s a wonderful breed, and you can’t beat the hugs!”
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