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Halloween Hamper Raffle Winner Announcement

Huge congratulations to Karen Cox, the winner of The Fortnum & Mason Frightfully Delicious Halloween Hamper.

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We would like to thank everyone who has bought tickets, and have collectively raised an outstanding £936.75

A massive thank you to you all for supporting the IWCT.

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Preserving Rare and Vulnerable Breeds

We were recently contacted by the Kennel Club and invited to take part in a collaboration day that the Kennel Club holds with Nikon to promote rare and vulnerable breeds, as the Irish Wolfhound is now on this list. As part of raising awareness with the public that these breeds though relatively rare are still very much alive and healthy, a joint day between the KC and Nikon with photographers is held at Stoneleigh, and we were honoured to be invited to bring a couple of our Wolfhounds along. During the photography session, there was a chance to speak to the other rare and vulnerable breed owners and get an insight into what they do to keep their breeds both vital and healthy while numbers are falling. In our opinion as breeders of Irish Wolfhounds, health testing is an essential tool moving the breed forward in the 21st century. The gene pool is smaller, and it is so important to utilise the tests that are available to try and ensure the future health of the breed.

Kennel Club Bonaforte Nikon

The Irish Wolfhound is the largest of the giant breeds and to keep them happy and healthy they have to have access to free galloping on a daily basis alongside proper nutrition and comfortable living conditions. It is becoming much harder for people unless they have their land to exercise these hounds adequately. Most sighthounds are very prey driven and can cover a lot of ground in a short space of time, so there are challenges for owners in these times when public spaces are becoming less accessible. While there are people, who have a real interest and passion for owning and living with the breed these points are considerations when choosing the Irish Wolfhound.

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Lively at Leeds!

Leeds Champ Show was very eventful for us here at Bonaforte.

Bonaforte's Earl Grey aka Bertie

Bonaforte's Earl Grey aka Bertie

Under well-respected judge Per Iverson, the Bonaforte's had a cracking day out. Bertie Bonaforte's Earl Grey, came 1st in Limit handled expertly by Roisin and went on to be awarded his 1st RCC to overjoyed applause by our owners who had gathered to support him and Roisin.

What was rather special is his dam Creamy was placed 1st in Veteran bitch handled by Phil Appleyard. Creamy's two grandsons and Bertie’s sons were shown for the 1st time placing 3rd and VHC in puppy. A real family outing, with Stan Bonaforte’s Justice coming 3rd in PG dog. Tracy is delighted that both her boys are qualified for Crufts.

We were very pleased that Chatty Bonaforte’s Back Chat handled by Maggie Holder came 2nd in Limit bitch. Chatty's son, Niall Bonaforte's Kelly's Hero, came 2nd in Junior and last but not least the delightful Tempe Bonaforte’s Jussis came 1st in Gradutate bitch handled by Linda, these two are enjoying the days out. Sharon Lake showed her boy Woody Grimm D'Harcourt, for the 1st time and was rightly proud of him because despite thinking that he would run her out of the ring he placed 4th in Open Dog…a real achievement!

Bertie admiring his RCC and Stud Book Rosettes - thank you Maggie Holder 

Bertie admiring his RCC and Stud Book Rosettes - thank you Maggie Holder 

While we are utterly delighted with Bertie’s RCC the pleasure for us is knowing that all our owners are having a good day out regardless of placings.

Solid and supportive friendships have been forged, and it is as much about meeting up and enjoying a day out as it is about showing dogs, after all, they ALL take the best dog home.

I would like to thank Amanda Brown, for not only putting together these news articles, but for encouraging the Bons to have a go at showing and also to Maggie Holder for mentoring, her support and expertise, is invaluable.

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Bonaforte’s Meldrew Making his Mark!

When establishing the Bonaforte Kennel, the show ring was never my goal. The health of my hounds came first and foremost and is still my primary driver. I ignored criticism for not showing my dogs against their peers, as my aims conflicted with the wildly misconceived constraints on a dog's aesthetic form.

In recent times I have been so happy to see some of our owners with encouragement taking their 1st steps into the ring and doing very well.

Recently Bonaforte’s Meldrew (aptly named as he was such a vocal puppy) with his owner Julie Grimwood took part in the East of England show and qualified for Crufts. Julie, a show virgin, found it a nerve racking experience but I was delighted to see both Arthur and Julie so proud of their win.

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It makes all the hard work you do as a breeder so worth while when you see such happy hounds and owners.

Congratulations Julie and Arthur Crufts 2018 will be a lot of fun ☺

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Not one but two Veterinary Cardiologists attend Bonaforte's Heart Testing

We have just completed another 3 day marathon of heart testing here at the Bonaforte Irish Wolfhound Kennel. Over 40 Wolfhounds in total and as usual all of our hounds were tested and we are very pleased with the results.

We were extremely fortunate to have Dr Serena Brownlie here as always, and again she was joined by Professor Malcolm Cobb. This gave the experts the opportunity to double test our Wolfhounds, examining and comparing their results as they each tested the same hounds in turn. Both of the eminent Veterinary Cardiologists were using completely different testing equipment, yet despite this and keeping in mind they both have their own techniques and interpretations of the heart, both cardiologists agreed on their findings and our heart test results. Not of course that we needed this confirmation, as Dr Serena Brownlie is a valued and respected expert in her field, but what excellent validation for us here that the experts are in agreeance with our heart test results.

We also hosted some of the final year Veterinary Students from Nottingham University and it is heartening to see students who have such enthusiasm and passion, and they spoke very highly of their course and how well it prepared them.

We hope that by opening up our Kennel to the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science at Nottingham University, it will be beneficial for the future of our breed. We are absolutely delighted that both the Veterinary Cardiologists were very happy with the heart test results and their findings and the overall health and fitness of the Irish Wolfhounds in the Bonaforte Kennel.

As usual our owners showed how dedicated they are to our efforts in heart screening by bringing their hounds to be tested. We are fortunate that the importance of this testing is understood by our owners and as we enjoy a lunch together it’s a great opportunity for us all to catch up and chat, all about Wolfhounds of course!

Whilst we understand that there are other health issues affecting the Irish Wolfhound, we strongly believe that as we have the facility to test for heart health and it is a vital tool in securing the future health of our Wolfhounds. Making educated choices for matings based on proven test results is one of the safeguards for future puppies health and although there are no cast iron guarantees it does give an indicator and is the least all breeders and owners should be doing. The Irish Wolfhound Health Group now have a page where breeders and owners can upload results and we sincerely hope everyone will support this.

We believe our Wolfhounds deserve the very best, we put a lot of time, thought and effort into ensuring they have happy, healthy, and secure lives, to that end we must say a personal thank you to Dr Serena Brownlie, who comes along twice a year to heart test our hounds. Not only is she a highly respected eminent cardiologist she is also a very gentle caring person who guides us all through what can be a stressful time. Who amongst us doesn’t hold our breath when our hound is being tested until we get what we hope is going to be a good result. Serena is as kind and gentle with us and our owners as she is with all the Wolfhounds, a truly dedicated lady who the breed is lucky to have at the helm of the Heart Testing Scheme.

So please if you have a Irish Wolfhound join the Irish Wolfhound Heart Testing Scheme and get your hound tested. Please, please, please publish the outcome regardless of the results. It could make all the difference to their quality of life, and to the future of the breed.

We look forward to seeing more of our owners and Irish Wolfhounds at the next session in Nov 2017

Please follow the link for:   Bonaforte Kennel Heart Test Results.

Please follow this link for:  More information on how and where to Heart Test your Irish Wolfhound through the Irish Wolfhound Health Group Heart Testing Scheme.   

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Bonaforte Bonnet Bonanza!

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Bonaforte Bonnet Bonanza!

Amanda Brown - The Bon Events Co-Ordinator 

Amanda Brown - The Bon Events Co-Ordinator 

The Irish Wolfhound Club should be applauded for hosting such a happy relaxed event with a very social atmosphere. The judge Ms Maggie Holder (Mascotts) had a super entry of 103 (making 105) and everyone said that she was not only very decisive and efficient but very kind to the dogs. It was particularly encouraging to see quite a few newcomers having a go in the ring and we are immensely proud of 2 of our owners who entered the ring for the 1st time. Bonaforte’s Miss Issippi (Pemba) made her debut at 9 months shown by her young friend Charlotte aged 12yrs. We are all so proud that they have qualified for Crufts. There is something very special about the relationship between a Wolfhound and a child and together these two really showed their deep connection. Owner Ann was simply bursting with pride as were we. It is important to encourage new people and if yesterday is anything to go by Charlotte could well go on to be a junior handler as she was a natural! Our 2nd owner who was entering the ring for the 1st time was none other than Andrea-aka The Lancashire Bomber, along with her gorgeous boy Bonaforte’s Kashmere who was also entering the ring for his 1st attempt. We were all delighted at how easily they took to it and Andrea being so proud of the fact that they both remained upright and all feet on the floor! The Irish Wolfhound Club Championship Show 2017, was an excellent venue for the Bonaforte show owners to meet up. It is heartening to spend time with our owners and their hounds, it was guaranteed to be fun and Good Friday was no different. In keeping with the Easter theme Amanda organised an Easter Bonnet Competition and what a creative group they were, it was a triumph of ingenuity getting bonnets to stay on Wolfhounds heads long enough to be judged and a lot of laughter at the spectacle we were. The laughter was of course accompanied by huge amounts of lovely Easter themed cakes made by the Cake Ladies. We put a lot of thought into the choices of homes for our puppies and it is wonderful to meet up with them and their owners and see how happy they are. The friendships forged between our owners and the support they give each other is so heartening and it is one of the things that gives us the most pleasure. Happy Easter to All

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Bonaforte's Identical Twins.

Bonaforte's  Identical (Monozygotic) Twins 

Bonaforte's  Identical (Monozygotic) Twins 

It has now been confirmed that these Bonaforte girls are monozygotic, identical twins and born 3 years prior to the South African puppies - a verified breed first!

The article about identical twin Irish Wolfhounds puppies in the press in August 2016 spiked interest, when the BBC reported on a case of identical twin Wolfhound puppies being born in South Africa, following a vet assisted Caesarean delivery, and later tests proved that the twin puppies were indeed genetically identical and this appears to be the first recorded/proven case of monozygotic twin puppies. The article, written by Melissa Hogenboom, goes on to explain that although non-identical twins are not uncommon in some species, genetically identical (monozygotic) twins are thought to be a far rarer occurrence by the scientific community: It seems unlikely that identical twin puppies are particularly common. "It has taken so long for us to find a monozygotic pair, so they are probably rare," says Carolynne Joone of James Cook University in Townsville, Australia.

Lab Test Results confirming the Identical Twins 

Lab Test Results confirming the Identical Twins 

Lab tests on the ‘Bonaforte Twins’, who were born naturally at home at Broadholme House Farm in 2013, have now confirmed that those 2 puppies are also monozygotic, identical twins.

Every puppy born at Bonaforte is special, but when the E litter joined the world on 1st September 2013 there was a heightened level of excitement as 2 of the puppies were attached to the same placenta and we immediately knew they were twins (but not necessarily identical). The twin puppies (Bonaforte’s Ella and Bonaforte’s Eloisa) were significantly smaller than their litter mates, but they were always inseparable and always appeared to be identical.

In fact, they were so devoted to each other that it became obvious they could never really be parted form one another:

“whelping them was an amazing moment, one I shall never forget. From the moment they were born they displayed the "Twin Bond”. They always played together, away from the rest of the litter and always slept together. It was magical to watch them. We decided from the start they must live their lives together.” (Carla du Rose)

They eventually grew to be similar in size to their siblings and by a strange twist of fate they found their forever home together with the most special of owners - even though their owners had no idea they would actually end up with not 1, but 2 Wolfhound puppies! Maureen Nicholls and Ann Welford have been lovingly caring for the 2 girls, whom they named Ellie and Poppy, for over 3 years and the Bonaforte Twins remain as devoted to each other as they are to their owners. Even now it is almost impossible to tell them apart, even for their owners:

Bonaforte's Identical Irish Wolfhound twins 

Bonaforte's Identical Irish Wolfhound twins 

“They really still do everything together; they wee together, poo together, even sniff together. If by some unusual chance they are in different rooms and one is getting a crafty cuddle the other one appears, as if they know that the other one is getting attention. We can tell them apart if you really look but the main way is Poppy always has a red collar and Ellie has what ever is next nicest (don’t think she minds). We took them to the groomers once and when I got back she was so upset as she had taken off the collars and did not know who was who and was worried I wasn't going to be able to tell which one was which!” Maureen Nicholls, owner

The main reasons that identical twin puppies are so uncommon is partly because they are rarely genetically tested to evidence the possibility and also because they often do not survive: “It is thought that identical twins are rare because, when two foetuses share one placenta, they do not get enough nutrients from the mother and are therefore less likely to survive” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/earth/story/20160830-first-identical-twin-dogs-discovered). The twin puppies form South Africa were delivered at a veterinary surgery and therefore it was the suspicions of the vet that led to further investigations and testing and when litters are born at home it is possible twins will go unnoticed by the breeder. Carla however was fortunate to spot that the two puppies shared the same placenta, and keenly watched as the Twin Bond between them grew.

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Faked with Satire

When reading this week’s Our Dogs breed notes, I was reminded of the old saying “if you can’t say anything nice then don’t say anything at all”

I buy the paper and read the notes for interesting items relative to the breed, so the information about the Society winners was very welcome (though in the case of the puppy bitch winner incorrect). What I found surprising was the “critique” of the breed note writer from her position of watching ringside. Her hideous and unwarranted comments were faked with satire, and will certainly not be the flavour of the month amongst the exhibitors and many others in our breed.

I must admit that like everyone I enjoy watching judging and like everyone I have my thoughts on placings etc. but in this case, the breed note writer was NOT the judge. No one paid for her opinion, it was merely that of a bystander and whilst I afford everyone the right to their opinion and it is a part of the day out at a show, but it was not her place to use the breed notes to give her personal opinion on the dogs on the day, particularly before the judge’s critique is published.

We have a breed which is numerically small and at a time when many shows and judges are struggling to attract entries, those people who take the time to pay to enter their dogs should surely be encouraged rather than being disparaged by a breed note writer sitting ringside. After all whilst we all may have our opinions they are only valid to anyone else, including readership if they have been actually asked for. When reading this week’s Our Dogs breed notes, I was reminded of the old saying “if you can’t say anything nice then don’t say anything at all”

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12 Bonaforte Irish Wolfhounds Qualified for Crufts 2017

Dave with Kensie and Luna with her handler

Dave with Kensie and Luna with her handler

Sharon's Nigella 

Sharon's Nigella 

The last Crufts qualifying show of the year, the LKA, saw another celebration for Bonaforte. Making her debut in Puppy Bitch at 9 months was Bonaforte’s Kensies Kisses; handled by owner, Dave and cheered on ringside by co-owner, Boris, Kensie, she was awarded a 1st place in her group under judge, Mark Cocozza. Well done Kensie! With Sharon’s girl, Nigella taking 2nd in a strong PGB class, something tells us Crufts is going to be a big lively day out for all our owners and an excellent opportunity to catch up and have some fun. The Bonaforte Kennel now has 12 Irish Wolfhounds qualified for this epic show, which is being judged by breed specialist Pat Pask (Baronglen). Pat is also one of the Vice Presidents of the Irish Wolfhound Club and along with her husband, Peter Pask, they have both dedicate their lives to our breed.
We take breeding Wolfhounds very seriously here at Bonaforte, and our priority is to breed for health, fitness and temperament and so we are especially proud that one of our owners, Rachel and Rob’s Wolfhound, Jake (Heliodor’s Born To Run) successfully passed his assessment and he is now a registered Pets As Therapy dog. There comes a point in life where owning a dog is no longer an option, a very sad and difficult time for people who have lived with and loved dogs all their lives. The charity ‘Pets as Therapy’ provides canine visitors to give people the opportunity to interact and enjoy the company of a dog; it is scientifically proven that petting a dog has a positive effect on peoples’ moods and behaviour, so this charity provide a unique and very rewarding service. Rachel and Jake have already carried out their first few visits bringing a hefty dose of Wolfhound sized happiness to people who can’t get out and about. We are immensely proud of both Rachel, for giving her time, but also to Jake for being a wonderful ambassador for our breed.

PAT dog Jake 

PAT dog Jake 

Finally, we would like to wish all our owners and all visitors to this site a very Merry Christmas and a very Healthy and Happy New Year.

“Residents of the Springfield Cottage Residential Care Home were overjoyed to meet PAT dog Jake, a gentle giant who brightened everyone’s day” (taken from the Pets As Therapy Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/petsastherapy/?fref=ts)

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