Sunny Shay (Grandeur) and Marna Dods (Horningsea, UK)
Difference Between American and English Afghan Hounds
(Afghan Hound International Magazine Interview 1969)
(Acknowledgements - This article is from the "Henry Dietzen Archives". Also thanks to Rick Mcdowell, Publisher of Afghan Hounds International)
Editor: What do YOU two feel is the principal difference between the American and the British Afghan?
M. Dods: In England, the Afghans generally appear to be longer bodies and heavier all over as opposed to the cobbier, leggier, and lighter-weight American dog.
S.Shay: Yes, and I did see proportionately more light eyes in Britain at the shows that I attended than one sees over here
M.Dods: In Canada, I did feel that the dogs there had an all-over excellent attitude or outlook. They excelled in Afghan expression... they did suffer in fronts, however. In England we do have grand fronts and use them well in movement, but have generally lost the bearing and arrogance. I saw much of this bearing over here in America, as well as the Canadian shows.... but I fear that there is a decided lack of it in England. Ring training does tend to produce a better outlook and certainly handling of a dg and attention to his deportment will produce poise. We do not get around to lead training until at least seven months of age whereas in this country, it begins at two and three months. Perhaps this has a bearing on the situation.
Editor: Do you feel that this is an inherited trait, or strictly an acquired one?
S.Shay: Brains make the show dog, The cloddy dog is often the stupid dog. I discard these and choose alert, observant animals. SHIRKHAN was the product of four generations on one side and three on the other of line-bred, intelligent animals. I have no time for training, so if I bred the intelligence into them, they WILL show when the time comes. Their attitudes are good because they are interested in life around them.
M.Dods: Certainly this has merit...however, some dogs are of a quieter nature and this trait too, can be inherited
Editor: What are your observations on movement in the ring today?
M.Dods: The bad movers appear to have a common problem, for the most part. They possess short upper arms and often over angulated rears that do not balance the structure of the dog, therefore you have improper movement - hackneyed in action as the front tries to move out ahead of the rear but cannot, structurally.
S.Shay: The resulting movement is unreasonable and unnatural due to the lack of balance. The straight fronts also result in broken pasterns.
M Dods: The pasterns can begin breaking down as soon as the puppy begins to walk, if the shoulders are straight to any degree. This front problem is a real threat in numerable areas as many new breeders, and some older ones as well, do not truly understand how the front should be constructed. The judges place emphasis on the show dog supreme and the short, smart steps are showy. This, coupled with the modern coat and the wrong sort of movement, is attractive to many judge and breeders alike who do not understand the Afghan standard on movement, therefore the improper dog often wins... and in winning... establishes a precedent and wins again and again. People breed to him.. and his improper offspring follow in their parents' footsteps and the breed suffers.
S. Shay: Another point that hasn't been brought up, but is getting prevalent... the legs on today's dog seem to be getting shorter. Our rears are great but with the straight front assembly, three is no possible way that the animal can move out free and easy as the standard intended him to do. Legs are rarely sat beneath the dog but fall, like a 5-gaited horse, right straight down in a line from the base of his skull, down his neck, upper arm, and right down into his pastern joint in a classic gunbarr structure. This is terrible, as so many are apparently unaware and few are attempting to change this trend, it would seem
Editor: Do you find any other comparison, other than general size and type and the difference in fronts, between the English and American dog?
M Dods: Yes, I saw many ewe necks here, and while we have our share in England, I don't feel that it is prevalent, yet.
Editor: What is your definition of a great dog?
M Dods: A dog of sound body and proper type, of steady temperament that can pass his quality and even more of his own quality to his get.
Editor: And you Sunny?
S. Shay: A dog that possesses great bearing and type, that owns the piece of a ground that he stands on.. and passes this to his offspring, no matter linebred, outscrossed or inbred
(Afghan Hound International Magazine, 1969)
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