It was my great pleasure to judge the NSC Championship on 27th April and a report on this memorable day and a fuller appreciation of all those concerned in making it such will appear in breed notes and also the NSC Newsletter. I would like to thank the NSC for the invitation to judge, which I consider a great honour, all exhibitors for their entries and my two most amiable and efficient stewards, Jill Chapman, who first stewarded for the club back in the days when I was its Secretary, and newcomer to the NSC role, Janet Kay. They made my day immeasurably easier by keeping me on track.
It is 17 years since I last judged the NSC Championship show and a great deal has changed in that time. Back then, I had 158 dogs making 207 entries. This time there were 103 dogs making an entry of 130. This is obviously much fewer but 17 years ago entries were much more bouyant with entries across the board at all shows being on average double what they are now. The last time I judged the NSC Ch Show it was so pressurised with so many dogs to assess and many really large classes to get through that it all flew by too quickly and in some senses seemed over almost as soon as it had begun. It was rather like bolting down a delicious meal one didn’t have time to savour. This time I was determined to really savour the occasion, and did so.
Sharley Park has been the home of the NSC Ch Show for many years and in recent times it has only once been held elsewhere, at Nantwich, when Sharley Park was double booked. Yet, while the venue remains the same it has changed dramatically. Gone are the days of lunches in the packed bar and so too have the welcoming refreshments, tea, coffee and biscuits ad lib, all because of health and safety measures I gather. One thing that should have been changed in the interests of health and safety but hasn’t is the punishing harsh lighting which is heavy on the eyes and induces headaches (and doesn’t flatter dogs of certain colours), points I don’t suppose anyone was much concerned about or took into account when designing the hall for sports and leisure purposes. The lack of the bar and the other facilities has without doubt affected the overall ambience and character of the show significantly but the warm welcome given to all by the officers and committee goes some way to compensate for this loss.
The other great change since I last judged this show is the Salukis themselves. In the main they are utterly different from those of even the relatively recent past and it has to be said that the change isn’t for the better. Quality overall has suffered very badly, as has movement, and anyone who thinks differently (and from what I read in judges’ critiques few, if any, do) must be kidding themselves. Either that or they have no idea as to what a Saluki should be and I am inclined to favour this hypothesis, especially since so many people at the show seemed to be extremely concerned and unhappy about the increase in non-specialist judges at Championship shows and their lack of knowledge in depth about the breed and its finer points. There remain some outstanding specimens which could hold their own with those of the past or anywhere else in the Saluki world but they are few and far between. Faults such as insufficient under jaw, over-long upper lips, upright pasterns and even small cat feet, over-size and over-weight that were rare or unseen in the UK twenty years ago are now commonplace and breeders have to ask themselves why. Problems of poor shoulder and upper arm angulation have always been in evidence but nowadays good shoulders are the exception rather than the rule and upper arms with poor or virtually no angulation are the norm. It is therefore unsurprising that movement is generally poor with a minority of exhibits moving precisely and correctly, fewer doing so with style and only a couple or so showing what should be characteristic Saluki movement the breed standard calls for. It is easy now to see why judges on KC Judges Development Programmes or at breed seminars find it difficult to recognise true and Saluki movement. This is because it scarcely exists and far from being the distinctive light, lifting, effortless yet forceful movement it should be it is now that of a generic long-legged long dog.
On a more positive note. I came across no bad mouths, and only one very short tail. Eye shape and colour were consistently good and muscular condition was much better than I’ve come to expect it. Almost all exhibits were well-turned out and with clean teeth, though a few would benefit from some attention to their coats and its condition.
On the basis of what I saw in the exhibits that came under me, I think that I can identify the major problem for the breed that has resulted in these unfortunate changes. It is, I believe, quite simply that there is a lack of quality in depth in the bitches. In the past bitches always had the edge and then by a considerable margin on the dogs and this is how it should be. My old mentor and partner Eileen Skelton-Fortune always maintained that the strength of any breed lies in its distaff or female line. Horse and other livestock breeders of any renown will reinforce this view. In the final analysis, it doesn’t matter how good a sire is, if he is put to a poor female specimen he is likely to produce poor to average progeny. Whereas, with an excellent bitch the dog she is mated to is less important, though one would be mad to mate a first rate bitch to a poor male specimen.
As usual, and like most judges I know, I was looking forward to assessing the bitches and I found myself disappointed. In fact, I was beginning to get quite depressed by them. In some classes it was a struggle to sort them out. Some bitches with reasonable to good conformation and/or movement were either hugely overweight or utterly lack lustre on the move, or both. Those that were OK as regards weight then all too frequently failed on movement, especially in front. Some movement that looked good from the side and rear proved to be dire in front. Generally, also, most of the bitches were very tall, so one way or another I can sum up matters by saying that there is simply too much of them; more quantity than quality.
The situation was a bit like waiting for buses in that after waiting so long for some really good specimens when they did turn up they came all at once making those decisions very difficult indeed and based entirely on more subtle, finer breed points and my personal preferences. I would happily have given CCs to the winners of Mid Limit, Limit, Open and Veteran Bitch as they were all worthy of the award and I am confident that some of the other bitches in the challenge will in time go on to be CC winners and gain their titles.
In the final analysis, and after a lot of weighing up of subtle breed points, I awarded the Bitch CC to a 9 year old who fulfils my criteria for a Saluki bitch as regards size, elegance, femininity, conformation, balance and precise movement.
Overall, I found more quality in the dogs (which was the same when I judged in the USA recently, so maybe this trend isn’t confined to the UK) and I awarded the top honours to two young males who ooze quality, type, style, refined masculinity and excel in true Saluki movement.
Several exhibitors initially seemed rather non-plussed by my judging style and one commented to the effect that I had adopted the continental style of judging. This is certainly not the case. I have judged in this way pretty much all through my judging career and have yet to see another judge anywhere who does likewise. I realised many years ago that running dogs in a circle at the start of a class is pointless because no-one can properly assess a class running together, especially a large one, as the brain simply can’t take in that amount of information, and besides, it makes me dizzy. By moving each exhibit individually I can ensure that I can actually focus on it which is not the case when an entire group moves together. Any handler knows that all too often their exhibit is missed entirely in the run around as the judge’s attention is, at best, taken with one or two dogs to the neglect of all others. For me, movement reveals the structural integrity of the entire dog and when going over each exhibit immediately after seeing it move I know exactly what features I need to check as regards its conformation, features I can then confirm, or otherwise, by seeing it move again in a triangle. Moving exhibits individually like this also prevents the kind of showmanship whereby some handlers allow their dogs to run into the rear of others, or overtake them, and it also ensures that exhibits are not restricted by having slow moving handlers/dogs in front of them. I also believe that the initial solo run around relaxes and settles the exhibits which can be stressed or over-excited if they are required to run with a group of strange dogs. All in all, therefore, I find this system fairer to all exhibits and handlers and an effective way of focusing my attention on key points of conformation that might otherwise be missed. Before reporting individually on my class placings, I’d like to point out that since moving to France 9 years ago, I have judged Salukis in the UK only once,8 years ago, and virtually all the exhibits apart from some of the older veterans were completely new to me.
MPD: 1. Carter’s Charrioak Regulus A promising fawn and white with a nice outline, good head and eye and decent under jaw. Good front angulation, nice slope to pasterns and good feet. Long rib cage, good tuck up and tail length. Moved steadily and well. Presented in lovely coat condition – really silky – and with very firm muscle tone.2. Levers’ Charrioak Alshemali Fawn dog with a nice head and good eye, though I’d prefer more under jaw. Shoulder layback OK – I’d prefer more return of upper arm- and good body, lacking depth at the moment, good length to loin and moderate rear. Movement in front was rather loose and it took him some time to settle but this, like other aspects of his development, should improve with maturity. He and the his other siblings in this class are, after all, just babies.3. Harrison’s Charioak Algieba Gold boy of nice type, for my preference needs more under jaw and better angulation in front but has a good rear and tail length. His topline fell away a little but this could be because his handler struggled to get him settled and stacked. Moved steadily.
PD:1. Barrett’s Majo’s Liqorice Addiction A very nice grizzle dog, attractively marked. Good eye shape and colour. Refined head with good length of muzzle. Shoulder and upper arm angulation could be better, as could pasterns which were a little upright. Lovely rear quarters which he used effectively on the move, really driving forward with good distance between his pasterns and hocks and precision, A very promising youngster.
JD. I entry, absent.
YD: 1.Buckley’s Hisilome’s Kareef Cream dog with good outline, good shoulder and upper arm. Good depth and length of rib cage, correct loin and good rear. Moved steadily with correct distance between pasterns and hocks. I would prefer more slope to his pasterns and more under jaw. Won here on overall balance.2. Barrett’s Khalil’s Bashaar Bisr A close decision here between 1 and 2. Nice black of good breed type. Much preferred his head, eye and expression to 1. Moved well with good propulsion from the rear but he is a little long in loin and lost out on overall balance as a result. His dew claws need trimming.3. Edge’s Fernlark Elswavo. Red of nice type. Good head with a nice flat skull and decent under jaw. Good outline, shoulder, upper arm, loin and rear quarters. Moved quite well but a shade close behind.
ND: 1.Haworth and Dornock’s Mumtaz Perseus at Zoraden Surprised to find this deep red red dog in novice. I understand he has been recently acquired by his owners after a bad start and it is all credit to them that the dog handled as well as he did and looked so fit. I found him correct in all departments with a nice head, and good dark eye but I would prefer more under jaw. I loved his colour and also his movement. He strode out beautifully and was true in all directions. Excellent pasterns and feet. Shown in terrific condition. This is a dog who is worth persevering with as he could trouble the best.2. Harrison’s Charrioak Algieba 3. Ingram’s Asil El Sagir Black smooth, rather strong in head, with good depth to his body and tuck up and moderate quarters. Moved quite well.
GD: 1. Cowie’s Mumtaz Hercules Lovely stylish bl/fr fawn of good breed type with an attractive . refined masculine head, good eye, neck, shoulder and overall. Lovely slope to pasterns and good feet. Nice length and depth of brisket and super quarters. Moved steadily but I would like to have seen him extended more as he has the propulsion in his rear to take it and cover more ground. Steady in front with good width between his pasterns. A little close in rear but this didn’t detract from his other qualities.
PGD: 1 Cowie’s Mumtaz Hercules 2. Main and Jackson-Main’s Kasaque Omar Nice black of good type. Nice head, good skull, eye shape and colour. Good depth of chest, top line, under line and rear. Moved well but was very lack lustre.3. Bounds Alsahra Dakota A nice b/w parti of good breed type overall. Good eye but a little too much stop. Generally good outline if a little flat over the loin. Front OK with good pasterns and feet. Moved well but very close behind.
MLD: Edge’s Fernlark Rum ‘n Black at Dawnchase b/s of very pleasing type, with a very nice refined masculine head, albeit lacking under jaw, good eye shape and colour, neck, shoulders and forearm and correct rise over loin. Slightly upright in pasterns but with good feet. Moved well with enough distance between pasterns and hocks. Quarters need tidying up more to show rear angulation and because, as it is, the long hair from stifle to hock makes rear action (when viewed from behind) difficult to assess.2. Owen and Stanmore’s Sivendra Tahmas Altaya A very nice gold with a good masculine head and nice flat skull, good eye shape and colour and a good under jaw. Nice outline overall but slightly upright pasterns with correct feet. Moved stylishly and with adequate width in rear but was a tad erratic in front when moved slightly more quickly. A close decision between him and 1.3. Steer’s Ali ‘Fu’Ad of Fernlark Parti colour of good type. Nice head and expression and good flat skull. Lacks under jaw. Very good neck, excellent width of chest, depth and length with the correct arch over loin. As stacked by his handler, he seemed to lack any angulation in rear but puzzlingly, given this, his movement was the most stylish in the class. I placed him on the basis of his rear angulation, only to find as I wrote the critique that standing by himself without the handler’s intervention he settled into his stifles and the entire configuration of his quarters improved dramatically. I went and looked at him from a different angle to confirm what I was seeing and saw that when relaxed his rear is quite OK. Had the handler allowed the dog to stand more naturally his placing would probably have been much better.
LD: Campling’s Classicus Conway A sturdy black and white fellow taller and bigger all round than I like but so well made, with good pasterns and feet, lovely topline and quarters and a refined masculine head but a slightly light eye that gives him he has a somewhat cross expression. Moved really stylishly with proper Saluki action, light, lifting but with plenty of propulsion from the rear. 2. Cryssollor’s Anasazi Malt Whiskey a nicely constructed fawn of a size I much prefer, with a refined head , good eye shape and colour. Pasterns could be more sloping. Good length and depth of rib cage, correct loin. Good croup and rear. Moved precisely but without the flow of 1.3.Quadling’s Kasra Zebadiyah At Malenkhai a tall profusely coated gold, rather strong in head with a good under jaw.. eye shape and colour. Neck OK but I would prefer more angulation to the shoulder and more slope to the pasterns. Good depth and length of chest, good loin with the correct rise. Moved precisely but didn’t really use his quarters to good effect on the move and so didn’t cover much ground.
OD: All three of these dogs are class acts but for me the winner stood away from the rest.1. CC, BOB, BIS Glaister and Sanders Parker Ch Classicus Cassander. Loved his refined masculine head and expression and pretty much everything about him but especially his superb movement which is of the kind not often seen these days, light, lifting, ground covering , economical and effortless. I would prefer a slightly darker eye but that is nit-pickingly nit-picking. A fabulous dog.2. RCC and RBIS Steer, Fitzgerald and Johnston’s Ch Jorjenjo Mirzam at Fernlark A lovely dog of terrific breed type, with excellent conformation, overall balance and substance, beautiful pasterns and feet. Moved correctly and stylishly. Preferred the flatter skull, eye shape and under jaw of the winner.3. Hudson’s Ch Glenoak Kiyan A very sound classic dog with a lovely head and excellent overall construction. Moved steadily and well. Hasn’t quite got the pazzazz of 1 and I prefer the pasterns of the two placed above him.
VD: 1. White’s Mumtaz Khamsin of Timellie a tall red of good breed type, well bodied but somewhat flat over the croup. Tha,t and rather upright pasterns spoiled the overall picture for me. Moved quite well with good distance between hocks and pasterns but without animation.2. Bloomfield’s Safaniyah Kulak Shaded red that needs a trim in both senses – being overweight and rather too hirsute – but is nevertheless a nice specimen with good overall construction, good eye shape and colour. Moved well in all departments but without any enthusiasm.3. Tomkins Sivendra Abishai A nice well constructed black with a lovely head really dark well shaped eyes, and good body. I thought at the outset would be my winner. His side and rear action were excellent but sadly his loose front action really let him down. SVD/ B: 1. Payne’s Caryna Bacchus at Ilsham An elegant 11 1/2 year old fawn in great shape for his age with a nice head and expression. Moved well with correct distance between his pasterns and hocks.2. Hudson’s Kasra Ni’mah of Glenoak a lovely 12 year old bitch just how I like them, smallish, beautifully proportioned, with a pretty head and good eye shape, well angulated fore and aft. Unfortunately, slightly lame in one rear paw, notwithstanding which she moved well.
MPB: 1. Davies and Harrison’s Charrioak Sheerzam A lovely pale cream with a sweet head and expression, good eye shape and colour and excellent pigment. Nicely constructed with good pasterns and feet. Good length and depth of rib cage, good quarters. Moved soundly and precisely. Stood away from all others in this class. Should have a promising future.2. Webb and Benoit’s Mounir Har Kala Rachi A smooth b/s. Loved her for size, type and overall balance. Good head and eye and excellent expression. Elegant neck and good contours overall. Would prefer a little more slope to pasterns. Rear movement was fine but her front movement let her down. Hopefully, this will settle down with maturity.3. Carter’s Charrioak Zeta Leonis A very immature pretty pale fawn with a lovely expression and nice body. Strode out quite well, precise in all directions, moving better than 2 but lost out to her on maturity. She just needs time.
PB: 1 Davies and Harrison’s Charrioak Sheerzam.2. Parker’s Khalils Cressida-Classicus a more mature tall fawn and white parti. Rather strong in occiput but otherwise is pleasingly constructed with good depth and breadth of brisket, tuck up and correct rise over the loin. I’d prefer a little more bend of stifle. Moved steadily but without enthusiasm.3. Burtenshaw and Cook’s Fernlark Snow Grouse at Daandazi Cream of nice type with lovely head, eye and expression, a nicely refined foreface lacking a little in under jaw and a pleasing outline overall. Good neck and layback of shoulder but rather upright in upper arm and needs to drop in brisket. Moved well with good distance between pasterns and hocks.
JB:1. Williams’ and Macro’s Kasaque Raissa Lovely deer grizzle, sound all through. Lovely classic sculpted head with flat skull, good eye shape and colour and a lovely neck. Would prefer slightly more angulation in shoulder and upper arm. Well balanced body, good rear, action good from side, front and rear.2. Mansell and Duddell’s Fernlark Schussboomer A gorgeous glamorous bitch of lovely type I was sure would be my winner when she was standing but she ‘side-winded’, moving on the diagonal all the time despite several attempts. She could be better angulated in front but her rear is excellent with good distance between pasterns and hocks when moving. Hopefully, with time and training she will begin to move true. She has youth on her side.3. Parker’s Khalil’s Cressida-Classicus.
YB: Not an easy class as 1 and 2 were both seriously overweight and this detracted from their appearance and their basically good qualities.1. Tomkins Galifa Sivendra al Djiibaajah Red bitch lacking in under jaw but with good overall construction, pasterns and feet and nice quarters. Moved well but was much too fat.2. Edge’s Dawn Queen a grizzle bitch to whom exactly the same comments apply as to 1, except that her movement, while true, was less propulsive in rear than that of the winner. 3. Fisher’s Ruweis Taghaada. I loved this youngster for type. Gorgeous head, eye shape and expression. Nice flat skull, good neck and overall body proportions but whose shoulder/ upper arm configuration makes her appear much too shallow in brisket and hence very immature for her age. Otherwise she is lovely and moves very well with correct distance between pasterns and hocks. I can fully understand the owner being somewhat aggrieved to be placed behind two overweight bitches but underneath their padding I preferred their conformation.
NB:1. Williams and Macro’s Kasaque Raissa.2. Smithson’s Chisobee Sahraa U Aasifah Lovely deep red of nice type with good head, eye shape and pigment with good neck, feet and pasterns, deep brisket, nice loin and rear. Used her quarters well but a little loose on the front right leg. She also has a tendency to pace and to prevent her idling ‘in first’ needs to be pushed up a gear or two at the outset to get her going. GB: 1. Rogers’ Labakhan Lorique This nice bl/fr fawn took time to settle. Lovely type with good eye shape and colour, good pasterns and feet. Upper arm and shoulder best in the class. Nice top and underline, good quarters used well on the move. Moved true in all directions. 2. Shimmin’s Hisilome’s Keepsake for Cranstal A very attractive rather tall cream with feminine head, good eye shape and colour, lacking in under jaw. Good topline and croup but I’d prefer rather more angulation of shoulder and upper arm. Moved well in all directions. I preferred the pasterns and feet of the winner.3.Bounds’ Alsahra Arabella A lovely, beautifully balanced smooth silver grizzle of excellent size with nice head and expression, good outline, excellent pasterns and feet. Initially,I thought she’d be the class winner, especially since her rear action is so good, but she was let down by very erratic, loose front action.
PGB 1. Smithson’s Chisobee Sahraa U Aasifah. 2. Mansell and Duddell’s Fernlark Despina of Canerike An attractive red with a nicely chiselled head, good eye shape and colour and good under jaw. Good neck, reasonable shoulder, a little upright in upper arm, good pasterns and feet. Pleasing top and under line, good length of body with correct rise over the loin, but her well-made quarters not used to good effect as she lacks propulsion in rear and is a tad close behind.3. Lewis’ Al-Yaman Sahar from Knightellington An ultra sound bitch lacking glamour and nose pigment whose head could be more refined and eye darker but overall conformation and movement absolutely sound and true. MLB:1 Parker’s Khalils Allegra-Classicus A beautiful b/w parti with a classic head, beautiful eye colour and shape and great pigment. A lovely front with good pasterns and feet. Body correct in all areas with a lovely sweep to quarters from an excellent croup. Moved stylishly and soundly in all directions. 2. Rogers’ Labakan Chiffonier A gorgeous bl/fr fawn of pleasing size with lovely eye shape and colour, beautiful balance overall and stylish correct movement. Very unfortunate to come up against 1 whose under jaw and pasterns I preferred but it was a very close decision. Both these bitches should have sparkling careers ahead of them.3.Pass and Horn’s Fahima Safaniyah Al Djiibaajah (Imp) A very sound nicely made b/t bitch with a pleasing head and a goodish eye for her colouring who moved well. I would have preferred a bit more return of upper arm but overall a very good bitch who held her own in tough competition on the day.
LB: 1 Jasmine of Canerike A beautifully constructed bitch, rather on the tall side for me, with lovely proportions and angles, refined chiselled head with good eye and expression, correct body in good condition with good pasterns and excellent feet. Moved well but the handler tends to overstretch her in rear which ruins her outline completely. 2. Everton’s Kasra Zeleka A tall well proportioned cream bitch of nice type with good head and eye which moved precisely and true in all directions. I preferred the under jaw, forearm and longer feet of the winner.3. Steer, Cook, Fitzgerald and Burtenshaw’s Kirman Dafnia at Fernlark A gorgeous little bitch of a size and type I love. A delightful head, gorgeous expression, everything in the right place and proportion. Her side action was good but she moved closer in both the front and rear than I like. Nevertheless, given her other qualities she would have been a serious contender for a higher placing had it not been for the fact that she was carrying enough weight to make two of her.
OB:1& RCC Garratt and Oakey’s Ch Caryna Meilishia A beautiful black bitch with a classic head and expression. Everything about her is correct; lovely conformation and balance, pasterns and feet. A fabulous light mover with excellent width between hocks and pasterns. I loved her.2.Williams Ch Kasaque Miracle A lovely sound bitch, with a good head, elegant neck, good front, the best shoulder of the entire entry,excellent pasterns, feet, brisket, tuck up and quarters. Moved soundly and precisely in all departments. It was a very close decision between her and the winner but in the final analysis I preferred the head of 1 and her flowing movement.3. Chryssolor’s Gemini Jeu D’esprit for Anasazi Despite the excellence of my 1st and 2nd placings, this little bitch would have been my class winner had it not been that she looked rather fed up and was very lack lustre on the move. Had she put more effort in she would have won. For me, she is perfect for size, has excellent conformation, a lovely chiselled head, good eye shape and colour and is beautifully balanced. Her movement is true in all directions, she just needs to shift up a gear or two.
SBB: 1. Burtenshaw and Cook’s Fernlark Snow Grouse at Daandazi.2. Tomkins’ Sivendra Hasida VB: 1.CC BOS Garratt and Oakey’s Ch Caryna Calisto A gorgeous, dainty, beautifully proportioned silver grizzle, correct in all departments and in wonderful form and condition for an ‘old girl’ just a couple of months short of her tenth birthday. I love her size, overall shape and balance and her precise movement, true in all directions. When it came to the challenge for Best Bitch she was up against three serious contenders, all excellent in their own right, and all potentially worthy winners. I could have slept easily in my bed that night had I awarded the CC to any of them. The eventual decision came down to nit pickingly small factors. I preferred the expressions of the other three bitches and they each had more propulsion in rear, which I prefer, but it was Calisto’s size and femininity that were ultimately the deciding factors. In the challenge for BIS, I preferred the more dynamic rear action of the Dog CC and RCC winners.2. Webb’s Ch Al Caliphs Nuray A very nice cream, well constructed and sound in all departments with good movement. I preferred the eye shape and more refined head of the winner.3. Smithson’s Ch Chisobee Serenarian A lovely quality black grizzle with a gorgeous head, eye and expression, good under jaw, balanced in all departments with very good pasterns and feet and a good sweep to quarters. The only thing that stood between her and first place was that she moves closer behind than I prefer and 1 and 2 moved with the distance I like between their hocks.
Progeny: 1. Harrison’s Charrioak Meridionalis at Dawnchase The dam is a nice, sound, bitch who moves well and her progeny are good for type, overall construction and movement. A pleasing ensemble.
Brace: 1. Chryssolor’s.very well matched pair of excellent breed type.
Best Smooth: 1. Carter’s Haana Har Kala Rachi at Clearwing A very attractive, well balanced and sound black.2. Bounds Alsahra Arabella Breeders Competition: Steer’s Fernlark Consistent for type and movement, with free side action.
Helen Graham judge 1st May 2014