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The Afghan Hound Standard
By (Bill "Taffy" Morris,Taff NZ)

Afghan Hound Times - Bill Taffy Morris Judging Article , New Zealand

Briefly outline your own background in the breed

Sheila and I imported the first breeding pair of Afghan hounds into New Zealand in 1961. We exhibited the first Afghan to win Best In Show at a Championship Show - Champion Reserview Abdul - he won BIS on more than one occasion

As a judge, what is your opinion of the afghan hound standard as a descriptive medium to work to when judging the breed?

Adequate, better than a lot of other standards but I would like to see more detail regarding gait/movement. Basset and Beagle standards on movement are excellent

Selecting important aspects of the standard, which do you feel rate the most important when judging, why and how would you rate these qualities against each other? Do the same criteria apply to you as a breeder?

I personally don't rate any one part of the written standard more important than any other part. In my view, like jigsaw pieces, no matter what piece you prefer, without all the pieces you don't have a picture.

Are there any facets to judging the afghan hound that you feel are unique to the breed and what allowances do you make for these features, as a judge in the show ring?

Afghan temperament is unique - all things being equal the Affie that can give the judge the impression of being dignified, aloof whilst still possessing a certain keen fierceness deserves to be rewarded.

If you have seen/or judged afghan hounds in other countries - how do you feel the dogs compare?

Tough question. Having lived through the heady days of the 70's -- 80's a time when Australian Affies were the best in the World, with more than a dozen at any one time being capable of taking out BIS at any level, makes comparison difficult. It's my view that we have lost ground.

Having bred afghan hounds yourself and then asked to make judgment on the breed in the show ring, how do you feel judges influence the direction a breed is going and have they (or you) influenced the afghan hound breed in particular.

Unfortunately or fortunately depending your view, Judges have little influence on any breed in New Zealand

Following on from this - what as a breeder/exhibitor are (or were) your expectations of breeder judges and what can exhibitors expect from you as a breeder judge?

Re breeder judges (dare we call them specialists) There were no New Zealand Judges in this category when I exhibited. What can exhibitors expect from me - no favours if the exhibit is sound, typical and well presented they have every chance. Exhibitors should pay more attention to the procedure of the judge during the examination of their dogs, this should give an indication of the judges ability to assess the animal. As a spectator I have heard exhibitors make rermarks regarding the judging of their dogs "oh he/she didn't like my dog because...." This is an assumption and not a fact. If you know why and would like to know, after the group or Best In Show judging take your dog with you and ask the judge, its that simple.

Afghan Hound numbers in the show ring rose until the late seventies and have fallen ever since - what effect has this had on the breed in this country?"

Not too bad an affect -- my view is that the people who stay with the breed have the breed's interest at heart and strive for quality rather than quantity.

A breed suffers through popularity and Afghans have been there and done that. Any other breeds have had similar experiences and overcome them. I'm certain Afghans will, through devotees of the breed once again come to the fore.

If you feel thre is a problem with quality today in the breed, wherein lies the answer? What must the exhibitor, the breeder and the judge alike do to ensure improvement?

The answer is easy -- talk to each other -- not so easy!!

Quality control lies with the serious breeders not judges. Experienced breeders are the guardians of any breed, most of whom have far greater knowledge of their breed than most judges, perhaps a serious week-end seminar stressing emphasis on structure/movement with possible use of the excellent movement videos available using incentives to encourage judges to attend could achieve quicker results

Three extra questions I have asked and answered that could be of interest.

An Afghan goes BOB in good company at an International Show and is a ncie specimen of the breed. The group judge is an all rounder and not a hound judge - what, in your opinion does the Affie have to do to win the group?

The good specimen would need to be balanced at all times and move true with style, head held high, at much better than a trot.

What in your opinion are the easiest points for a judge who is not very experiened with the breed to find fault with?

Open tails, round eyes, bad mouth.

What in your opinion are the more difficult points for the same judge - leaving aside movement?

Expression, shoulder angulation, correct length of tail, body/back regarding length, also position and length of loin, correct feet. I have observed many juddges who don't bother handling feet and would never know if feet were large or toes arched.

Bill "Taffy" Morris,Taff NZ, 1991

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