The well attended Irish Wolfhound Club Educational Seminar today was very suitable for both newcomers or prospective judges as advertised. 

Coffee and biscuits awaited us on our arrival and the talk commenced promptly.  

It was heartening that Liz Thornton ( Mochrashounds) started her talk by emphasising the importance of fitness and function. I could not agree with her more, and to me this is paramount for our beloved Irish Wolfhounds, whether they are pets or show dogs or both.  Your sighthound is a hunter and to catch the rabbit he or she has to be healthy and fit. 

Our speaker also highlighted the fact that bad mouths are on the increase, could this be mother natures way of telling us that they are not being used as intended.  Those powerful jaws, along with their fitness and strong hind propulsion is there so they can hunt and fend for themselves. 

The second important question was asked by Gary Bee, “Why are there two breed standards - The Kennel Club and the Irish Wolfhound Club?”  

A question we all needed the answer to.  Liz eloquently advised us that they judge from The Kennel Club Breed Standards and that is a description.  However the essence of the Irish Wolfhound they feel is better described by The Irish Wolfhound Club Breed Standards. 

Comparisons were made between the Irish Wolfhound (Jan Pain’s - Ravensbeech ) and a Deerhound, ( Mr Mrs Pursglove’s) Two beautiful hounds and very patient. 

After a short break we were organised in groups and had  4 dogs to go over, with a CC judge to help us.  Our first dog was Diane Redfern’s Rainster Rory, fine and majestic.   Mrs Pursglove was especially helpful and informative with our group when we moved on, explaining and demonstrating extremely efficiently and clearly the chest and forequarters.  We then progressed to a lovely bitch, who’s chest and forequarters are her strength, Jackie Morris very kindly moved her for us too. Our next dog was supervised by Jean McDonald-Eliot, and she had us comparing the spring of ribs with the last hound we went over.  We all found  this comparative discussion very informative. 

What I personally found challenging was the fact we did not see the hounds move first. I am use to movement being my tell to both the construction and also the strengths and weaknesses of the hound. So having looked first at the outline and balance, the hands had to help you with the rest. When Jackie Morris (Amarach) very kindly offered to move her girl for us outside after lunch I was back in my comfort zone.  Like the hounds, movement is everything for me and today confirmed this.  The hands are helpful, but the eye for movement is the key for me.  

It was very nice to meet and greet those we only know from Facebook and very nice to meet new people, especially those who have been in the breed for many years and are keen to share and reassure.  Having the expertise there today was extremely helpful.  Especially to hear and see their different methodology and preferences.  Such a shame Dagmar Kennis-Pordham (Solstrand) could’t make it today. 

We all took a certificate home with us which was a nice touch, and can be added to the CPD collection. 

Big thank you to everyone who made today possible and of course to the lovely Irish Wolfhounds, who bring us all together. Finally, great work going on in the kitchen too - Pauline Ashby (Ashgrove) et al.  and a good chance to catch up.