Editor’s Page: Remembering Our History

Celebrate Hounds with Dogs in Review's June 2010 Issue

Dogs in Review

Welcome to our June Hound Issue. In sifting through the statistics of top-producing sires and dams, and compiling ads, it was gratifying to see the number of dedicated dog breeders and exhibitors who value versatile, dual-purpose hounds. It would be easy to settle for glamorous, exotic, eye-catching show dogs but to their credit, many well-respected fanciers in this Group strive for the total package. Their conformation champions with Junior or Senior Courser titles — the occasional Earthdog title too — bear testament to that commitment.

The same expectation of dual-purpose hounds is reflected in the comments by the Pharaoh Hound and Ibizan Hound authorities who were interviewed by Bo Bengtson for his “Back to Basics” comparison of the two breeds.

It was also revealing, a few weeks ago here in Southern California, to see a leading professional handler of sighthounds as well as one of the nation’s top Hound judges each wake up at the crack of dawn to drive to a lure-coursing trial with their own dogs.

With any luck, these fanciers’ dedication to keeping hounds versatile will rub off on their protégés and inspire others to make multi-functional hounds a priority in their dog breeding programs as well.

“Remembering our history,” however, isn’t limited to keeping in mind the original purpose of our breeds; it extends to appreciating the icons of our sport, the great men and women who have contributed to making the dog fancy what it is today.

This issue contains an interview with second-generation Dachshund dog breeder, exhibitor and judge Dorothy (“Dee”) Hutchinson and a tribute to colorful professional handler-turned-judge Roy Holloway. More recently, we lost well-respected judge Bob Moore and, as this issue goes to print, retired professional handler Corky Vroom. Collectively, these four stalwarts of the fancy represent several hundred years of dog knowledge. Newcomers to our sport arrive, make a splash and disappear with alarming regularity, typically fixating on current winners and overlooking the greats within their midst during their brief flirtation with show dogs. Many of our living legends choose to keep a low profile, sharing their knowledge with those who are astute enough to ask questions but otherwise not pushing themselves on anyone. Not everyone is in a position to write books or tour the country giving seminars.

In the days of benched shows, it was the oral history shared by the old pros that educated newcomers. One-on-one time spent hearing anecdotes about the great old dogs of the past or learning a grooming technique from a master of his craft enabled rookie exhibitors to improve their skills and advance.

Benched shows are a thing of the past but learning opportunities still exist while we have our great dog breeders, handlers and judges. We can’t afford to let their wisdom and knowledge slip away. Study your pedigrees, talk to your mentors and find out who the greats in your breed are. Then introduce yourself to them in a letter or a phone call. Take them to lunch. It is an absolute eye opener and a huge privilege to have a great dog breeder of the past grade your litter without knowing either parent, simply relying on knowledge of the breed.

These are priceless resources; a legacy to be treasured.

Allan Reznik, Editor-in-Chief

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Dogs In Review