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Bell Murray Afghan Hounds entered at Westminster 1924
(Author Steve Tillotson, May 2012)

The following notes were published in the NYT in 1924. I don't know whether or not Major Bell Murray did in fact enter his Afghan Hounds at Westminster that year, further research needed to ascetain this. However, we are aware that Miss Jean Manson had visited New York with several of her Bell Murray Afghans in the early 1920's and Miss Denyer "of Kaf" (Bell Murray type Afghan Hounds) wrote an article for the American "Dog Fancy" magazine in 1926. So the Bell Murray team were certainly actively involved in promoting the breed in the USA in the early 20's. The east coast Dunwalk kennel registered the first Afghan Hounds with the AKC in 1926 (three Bell Murray hounds imported from the UK). The east cost O Faida Valley Farm kennel registered the first homebred litter with the AKC in September 1928. Here's the NYT article about the Bell Murray plans for Westminster.....


"Major Murray to exhibit old breed at Westminster Kennel Club Feb 11.

One of the oldest breeds of dogs will make its first appearance in an American bench show when the Westminster Kennel Club opens its forty-eighth annual exhibition on Feb 11. This is the Afghan Hound, several of which are being brought over for this event by Major G. Bell Murray of Kirkpatrick-Fleming Dumphriesshire, Scotland, to be shown in the miscellaneous class during the three-day exhibition.

As the name implies, these dogs come from Afghanistan. Major Murray spent a number of years in the British Indian Service and it was while in Northern India that he became interested in the breed. In their native country they are used for coursing deer and antelope, and have proved themselves to be fleeter and more sure-footed than the greyhound. However, it is possible that their familiarity with the wildness of the country, which puts a premium on these characteristics, gives them an advantage they could not hold if pitted against the greyhound in the latter's natural environment.

With considerable dificulty, Major Murray obtained a number of specimens from Afghanistan to build up his kennel. The Afghan hounds resemble long-coated greyhounds with ears like those of spaniels or setters. Their forelegs are heavily coated and in that point they are not unlike old English sheepdogs, or, perhaps more nearly, Irish water spaniels. Naturally, in a breed where strength and stamina rate so highly, there must be plenty of bone and muscle.

Experts Agree on Antiquity

Experts on dogs are generally in agreement regarding the antiquity of the various breeds of coursing dogs that come from Asia and Northern Africa. Decorations in ruins that date back thousands of years show that the dog most known in these continents was of the coursing type. It is believe that the European dogs of the greyhound variety were developed from the African and Asiatic types. This would put the Afghan hound among the species from which the modern and more highly perfected dog has been drawn

(Source New York Times, January 20, 1924)

******Update 5/21/12 - I am reliably informed that the FIRST TIME that Afghan Hounds were exhibited at Westminster was 1927, so Major Bell Murray didn't get to exhibit his hounds at Westminter in 1924 as mentioned in the NY article above. The likely explanation for the non appearance of Major Bell Murray was that in 1924 he was the subject of a bankruptcy proceeding and likely the Major decided to postpone his visit in light of that pending situation. However, two Bell Murray lineage hounds (one BM bred by the Major and one Cove Afghan hound bred by Jean Manson) were exhibited at Westminster

Steve Tillotson, May 2012

Related content:
Westminster 1927/1928
Westminster 1934
Kasi Of Cove, 1927. UK export to USA, by Lyall Payne/Steve Tillotson 2013
Bell Muray - Cove House, Scotland
The "myth" of the Sinai Penninsula (by Steve Tillotson, November 2013)
Early Afghan Hounds
Hyland Afghan Painting

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