Judge's Critique -
October 26 & 27, 2008 – by Jim Behan
It was a great honour to
judge at your Specialty in Oct, 2008. Thank you for your kind
invitation. I felt very privileged to be escorted to the show ring by
the famous Fighting 69th Regiment. A lovely touch.
May I say a very sincere Thank
You to my ring stewards. Marc Campbell and Linda Deutch. I appreciated
your guidance and patience in keeping me within the rules and procedures
over the two days.
IWAGS certainly is the “Veteran Specialty”. It was
great so see so many beautiful “oldies”, and to see seven Irish
Wolfhounds entered in a class of 9 years and over was wonderful. I hope
your present young hounds will develop into the marvelous specimens like
the veterans seen here today.
I would like to confirm my
observations and worries which we talked about during the dinner after
the show. What delighted me most was seeing so many typical Irish
Wolfhounds. It is said that “Type is what Breeding is all about”. I
congratulate you on keeping this ideal in mind.
There are three areas that
worried me: heads, teeth and toplines.
Let me talk about heads first. Although the
majority had good heads, of correct length, there were quite a few that
were spoiled by high frontal bones. This seemed to be almost exclusively
confined to the males - and just keep an eye on the muzzles, a few were
weak, lacking fill-in under the eye.
My second worry was toplines;
far too many were flat with no rise over the loin. This was present in
every class and is serious because it is so prevalent.
My third and biggest worry area
is ‘bites’. This is becoming a serious problem in the breed. In my
opinion a good bite is a very important characteristic in the Irish
Wolfhound. I know it was not written into the original standard, maybe
that was a mistake, but no doubt it was considered so important and
fundamental that it was not felt necessary to do so. The Irish Wolfhound
Club of Ireland did decide to put it in about 30 years ago “scissors
ideal, level acceptable”. There were just not enough scissors bites to
be seen in the hounds exhibited, far too many were level. When level is
bred to level, it will lead to undershot. Please pay particular
attention to this serious problem and breed away from the level bite,
thus increasing the frequency of the correct scissor bite.
1. Desert Dune at Curiann
A very nice typical puppy of 8 months. He has a
good head. He is strong in the forequarters with good angulation. His
topline is good. He has lovely hindquarters and is strong on the move.
He has a good quality coat.
2. Carrickaneena Croppy Boy
Another good youngster of quality. He has a nice
head and is adequately angled at the shoulder. Although he strides out
well, he moves close behind at this time. I do like his overall outline.
3. Carrickaneena Cruiscin Lan
Another lovely young hound. He has a good head
which he carried very well; He has enough strength of neck. He does need
to tighten up in front, he is quite loose and this affects his movement.
He is very promising.
4. Carrickanena Roddy McCorley
A litter brother of 3rd above. This fellow needs a
lot of time. He looks well on the stack but loses it on the move. He is
very weak behind and wide in the front. But he is young and he should
improve with time.
Puppy Dogs 9-12 months
1. Carnasserie Chord
A tall grey of only 9 months. His head is spoiled
by too high a frontal bone, which is a pity. He has a beautiful ear,
well placed. His neck is strong which goes into a nice clean shoulder.
Good length of upper arm. His topline is good and he moves very soundly.
2. Redtops Cullen
A good head with a correct bite. His front is
spoiled by flipping his left front leg while on the move but I feel this
may settle down in time. He has good outline but needs to bulk out as he
is quite narrow throughout. But again this should improve as he matures.
He has very good feet.
3. Aotearoa Oldline Tumanako
This young hound has an acceptable head and his
bite is O.K. He has a good neck. Needs to strengthen in the back.
Although he is a little short coupled, he is nicely angulated in the
rear. Love his harsh coat.
4. Paula’s Mighty Quinn
Although this puppy has overall good shape, he
needs condition badly. His head is O.K. He has a good topline. He
strides out well.
12-18 months Dogs
1. R Noble for Pete’s Sake of
This hound has a
nice head carried on a strong neck which flows into a good shoulder.
Good angulation of forequarters and hindquarters. I would like a better
topline, but his croup is good. Not as tall as the others in his class.
2. Erinwood Concerto
A big lad with loads of condition. His head is good
but I would like a little more length of neck. He has just enough
angulation in the forequarters. His topline is very good. Would like
more width through the hock. He moves out well but is a little close
3. Taliesin’s Wheaten Wyncher
This is a nice young grey hound. He has a good
neck, and a nice head. Topline is a little weak just now. He is a very
nicely made hound. It is a great pity that he was so shy on the day. I
do hope he will gain in confidence.
4. Mythic’s Arabus a Kindred
A tall light grey coated hound with a nice head.
His ear is O.K. too. His neck is a little short. His shoulder has just
enough angulation and his topline is fine. Although he carries his tail
up too high, it seems to be correctly set.
1. Can. Ch Aotearoa Oldline
young dog with a head of correct length and good strength of muzzle. He
carries his lovely ear nicely up on the head. I like his arched neck and
it blends nicely into a shoulder that has enough angulation. Although
his topline is level, his croup is nicely sloped. He is a free mover
with drive from a nicely angulated rear.
2. Fleetwind Carroy Duan Amergin
This hound is nicely balanced, front and rear. He
has good lay back of shoulder. His good head is marred by a frontal bone
that is too highly arched. He carries a lovely ear. I would like a
stronger neck. His wheaten coat is of correct texture. Pity he carries
his tail too high. His movement is good.
3. Carrickaneea Meirgire
A nice tall hound with a good head. I would like a
little more length of neck. His shoulder is nicely angulated. His croup
starts a little too far forward which spoils his topline. He is a free
Bred by Exhibitor Dogs
1. R Noble McEwan of Eagle
A typical hound with a good head. He has a good
front with a nice lay-back of shoulder. His topline is O.K. Moves well
at the correct pace but, strangely enough, when he moves too quickly his
front reach shortens. He has a good ribcage. He had a nicely bent stifle
and good width through the hock.
2. Carrickaneena An Firic Aris
I also liked this hound.
He carries a nice ear on a good head and has a good neck. His
forequarters are adequately angulated. His topline is flat and his loin
is a little too long. His movement is O.K.
3. Castlemaine Infinity
Another pleasing hound. He has a good head,
although his ear is not folded. He needs a little more length of neck.
He has a nice front and his rear is nicely angulated. He lacks rise over
the loin. His movement is good.
4. Crionnacht Carrickaneena
A tall grey with
a good head and a good bite. I would like a little more length of neck.
He has a fairly good shoulder and nice length of upper arm. He moves
American Bred Dogs
1. Starkeeper McEnroe of
A lovely red
wheaten. His head is of correct length and would be perfect if he just
had a little less frontal bone. He has a good neck. He has very strong
forequarters. I would like a little more rise over the loin. Lovely tail
set. His hindquarters are very good, with nice angulation. Strides out
2. FCH. Taliesin’s Wizard of Wideview
Not a very big hound. He has a good head with a
level bite. His lovely ear is well placed. His neck is just strong
enough. Although I would like more angulation in front, it is balanced
with the rear. Topline lacks rise over the loin. It is important to move
him at the correct pace, otherwise his front suffers.
3. Skywalker’s A’Patriot Game
A typical head with a good ear. Has just enough
angulation in the forequarters. His back is weak at present, needs more
muscle. He has a nicely sloped croup and his rear is O.K. Carries his
tail too high.
4. Gatsby of Aerie
A very tall hound. His head is a bit weak in muzzle
and a little too high in frontal bone. He has a lovely arched neck. His
shoulder is a bit straight. He is very well bodied up. He has a good
topline. His hindquarters are nicely angulated with very good width
through the hock. A pity his movement is spoiled by being tied at the
1. Cnoccarne Carrowmoragh, CGC
I really fell for this hound. A lovely typical
hound with good conformation. He has a typical head and a strong neck of
correct length which blended nicely into the shoulder. He has a good
topline with lovely croup and correct tail-set. He has great depth of
chest which it is well ribbed up. Forequarters and hindquarters well
angulated. Everything seems balanced, nothing is exaggerated. He moved
true and with a good stride. (Winners Dog & B.O.B)
2. Wolfhaven Aint No Fool to
Another very lovely
hound. He has a good head; his neck is just strong enough. He has a good
shoulder and uses his upper arm beautifully on the move. He has a
correct topline and he is well bodied up. To be critical, I would like a
little more width through the stifle. (Reserve Winners Dog)
3. Erinwood Gaston
This hound has a good head and a correct bite, his
neck is good enough. I would like more angulation at the shoulder. His
topline would be improved by a stronger loin. He has a lovely croup and
his rear angulation is better than his front.
4. Glenamadda Starkeeper Armagh
Also a typical hound. He has a pleasing head with a
level bit. He needs more angulation of the forequarters. He has a lovely
spring of rib. Topline lacks rise over the loin. He has adequate
angulation of the hindquarters but he was not using his rear on the
Puppy Bitches 6-9 months
1. Lismore Koi
A very elegant young hound, with good height.
Although she was out of coat, it did show her outline to advantage. She
is well angulated front and rear and has good length of limb. Good depth
of chest and well ribbed up. Well balanced.
2. Skywalker’s La Bella Zingara
at Tir Alain
young hound. Very well put together. She has good angulation front and
rear, well balanced. She is lacking in confidence just now. I hope this
improves as I feel she has a good future.
3. Mystic Mesa at Curiann
A very substantial puppy with great bone
throughout. The angulation of her forequarters is not as good as her
hindquarters. She is well bodied up and her topline is O.K.
4. Starkeeper Karontara Carolina
A very small bitch. She is very sweet in
temperament and is very shapely. Everything is in the right place. My
fear is that she will not gain enough size. I hope she does.
1. January of Aerie
A very attractive girl. She has a lovely head and a
good neck which blends into her shoulder correctly. Nicely angulated
forequarters and hindquarters. She has a correct topline and is well
bodied up. Moves well. (Best Puppy)
2. Carnasserie Duet of Eagle
A tall elegant puppy with a good front. Not quite
as well angulated as lst. She has a strong neck. Her topline is good as
is her underline. Moves O.K.
3. Riversong’s Long May You Run
A well proportioned young lady. I preferred heads
of lst and 2nd. Her neck is just good enough. Her front needs more
angulation at upper arm but it is balanced with her hindquarters. A
nicely made puppy.
4. Oldline’s Lee Ridge Roslin
This lady does not have the quality of the three
above. Her head is good but her neck is a bit short. Her topline is good
enough. I would like more angulation of the hindquarters.
12-18 Months Bitches
1. Aotearoa Tuatea Sophie
A very sweet girl with a very pretty head. Her dark
pigmentation enhances her coat colour. She has a nicely angulated front,
is well bodied up with a good rib-cage. She has a strong topline and
well angulated hindquarters.
2. Talisker Laurel of Whitehall
Another very sound youngster with a lovely head and
a nice neck blending into the shoulder which is adequately angulated.
Topline could be a little better. Nicely angulated hindquarters. She
carries herself freely on the move.
3. Starkeeper California Ierne
A bitch of good quality. Her head is carried well
on a good neck. She has just enough angulation in front and her topline
is O.K. too. She strides out well but moves close behind.
4. Sherwood’s Alanna of
A nicely made
lady with a good head. She has strength throughout but I would like more
angulation in front and rear. She is well bodied up. Needs to settle on
1. Kellykerry Peony of Aerie
This is a pleasing girl. She carries her lovely
well placed ear on a very good head. Her bite is correct. Her strong
neck blends into a nicely angulated front. Her topline lacks rise over
loin. Nice depth of chest. Nicely angulated hindquarters. She moves a
little close behind.
Bred by Exhibitor Bitches
1. FC Carrickaneena Crionnacht
This is a really
lovely bitch of quality. Her overall outline is pleasing to the eye. I
like her head. Her neck is strong and of good length. She has just
enough angulation at the front. Her topline lacks rise over the loin.
She has nice spring of rib and is bodied up nicely. Good angulation of
the hindquarters. She is a good mover. (Reserve Winners Bitch)
2. Skyes Tess
A sound bitch. Her nice head is well carried on her
long, strong neck. She needs more angulation in the front which does
affect her reach on the move. She has good depth of chest but lacks rise
over the loin. She drives well from behind.
3. Guffaw of Aerie
This lady has a nice head and a good mouth. Her
neck is also good. I would like more angle at the upper arm, although
her shoulder has adequate lay-back. She has a flat topline . She needs a
longer second thigh to give adequate rear angulation.
4. Aotearoa Whakamaru
This bitch has a good head; her neck is good enough
but could be a little stronger. Would like more angulation at the front
and rear. Topline lacks rise over the loin. She is well bodied up with
enough heart and lung room. Moves true coming and going.
1. Carrickaneena Slieveanorra
A very good bitch with a very acceptable head. I
like her neck and her shoulder is good. She is strong in topline. I
would like a little more forechest. She has good, balanced angulation of
the front and rear. A sound mover.
2. Crionnacht Carrickaneena Daly
This lady has a very
nice head set off by a lovely ear. She has nice length and strength of
neck. I would like more lay-back of shoulder. The topline is O.K. Her
stifle is nicely angulated. She moves well.
3. Gordon of Aerie
A bitch I like. She has a good head with correct
bite, and an elegant neck. Her shoulder and front could have more
angulation. Her topline is flat. She lacks reach, although her
hindquarters are nicely angulated. She moves close behind.
4. Kellykerry Peggy Sue of Eagle
A very tall bitch with a head complemented by a
lovely ear. Needs more in the neck. Her front is a little straight and
her topline is level. Her rear angulation is better than her front. She
has very good feet.
1. Crionnacht Carrickaneena
I was very taken
with this lovely, typical bitch. An elegant lady, well balanced. Her
head is good, she has a level bite. Has a strong neck of correct length.
Nice at the front too. Good overall outline with correct strong topline,
finishing with a lovely croup. Her rear angulation matches her good
front producing good movement. Very true coming and going. (Winners
2. Wolfhaven Caper of Aerie
Another very good typical bitch. Again, a good head
with a lovely ear and a strong neck. Her front has just enough
angulation. Her topline is good and her movement was very good also. The
winner was more balanced in conformation.
3. Taliesin’s Lasa Bella
A very nicely coated grey with correct bite. Her
head is spoiled by a weak muzzle. Her neck is strong enough and her
shoulder and topline are O.K. She moves well coming and going.
4. Glenamadda Starkeeper Venus
A tall lady with correct bite. Her head is O.K. but
her ear is not rosed. She has a nice neck. I would like more angulation
in the forequarters. Her topline is flat, no rise over the loin. She has
long thighs. Her movement was just O.K.
1. Laislinn Starkeeper Rayne, SC, FCH
A good bitch, her head is good with a correct bite.
I like her strong neck and her shoulder is nicely angulated. Her topline
is also strong. A pity about her ringed tail. She has a good quality
coat and her hindquarters are acceptable. She moves well.
2. DC Carrickaneena Slan Leat
bitch. Her bite is level. I would like a stronger neck. She has a nice
front, she is lacking in topline. She is not as strong in the
hindquarters as the winner, but overall a nice bitch.
1. Am Can Ch. Curiann’s Celtic Rune
A lovely hound, still as sound as a bell. He has a
grand head, his bite is level. Still strong in body and nicely angulated
in front. A little over-angulated behind. His Topline is still strong.
The longest tail I have ever seen. Sound mover. (Award of Merit)
2. Ch Skyes Comet
Another grand hound. Very well made too. He has a
nice head. He is well bodied up but needs a little more angulation in
front which resulted in lack of reach on the move. He is a bit lazy
today but he moves true.
3. Ch Carrickaneena Ultach
A very good hound, still moving very soundly. He
has a nice head but a light eye. He is still strong in body and moves
well around the ring.
4. Ch Karontara Starkeeper Dylan
Another hound of whom to be proud. I like his head.
His neck could be stronger. He holds his topline on the move. He is
still a sound mover.
Veteran Dogs 8-9 Years
1. Ch Carrickanena Dearg Mac
A very typical dog.
He has a lovely head and his ears are nicely carried. His good neck
meets a nice shoulder. His topline is still very strong. Maybe losing
out a little in the rear, but that is alright at this age.
9 Years and over
1. Ch Ironweed Deataig
Yet another lovely hound and at 10.5 years he is
brilliant. His head is lovely. He has a good front. His good topline is
still intact. Getting a little weak behind now but would still give some
of the youngsters a run for their money.
Bitches 6-8 Years
1. Ch Giggles Aerie of Eagle
A very lovely elegant lady, just oozing type. She
has a nice head with a good bite. Her neck is good and it joins a nicely
angulated shoulder. Her upper-arm is a little straight. Her topline is
sound. To be critical she should have more reach, but really lovely.
2. Ch Starkeeper Glenamadda Realtan
Another lovely girl. She also has a good head and
neck. Her topline is still very strong. Her feet are a bit too long and
she is not using her stifle joint enough while on the move. She is a
lovely typical hound.
3. Caithness Ruby Saoirse
I have type written over all my notes on these
lovely veterans and this lady is no exception. She is well built, her
topline is still good and she carries herself very well. She is sluggish
on the move and I would like her to keep her head up.
4. Ch Knocknarea Tamsin
She is a lovely hound. Head strong but elegant, her
neck may be a little short. Her topline is good. She needs more
forechest. She has good angulation of the hindquarters.
Bitches 8-9 years
1. Ch Ballincu Kellair Ashleigh CGC
Elegant girl, very feminine. She has a lovely head.
Her neck is strong and her front is still good, as is her topline. She
is nicely angulated at the rear and still moves very well.
2. Ch Rosslare Kindred Mythic
Still very sound
and true on the move. She has a lovely head, although her ear is carried
flat and her neck could be stronger. Her topline is still good. She is
sound behind and still drives strongly.
3. Ballincu Kelair Alleagan Rua
Another lovely bitch. She has a good head. Her neck
is elegant, but she is a little upright in shoulder. Her topline is
good. A bit sluggish on the move on the day. A lovely bitch.
Bitches 9 Years and over
1. Ch Golden Lass of Nutstown
Still great at ten years old. Very sound and in
very good condition. She still holds her overall outline, even on the
move. She has a good harsh red/fawn coat. She is lovely and moves
2. Carrickaneena Sise
Her 9th birthday today. She has a lovely head and a
beautiful ear. Her front is still O.K. and her topline is good. She has
balanced angulation front and rear. Still moves well.
3. Ch Carrickaneena Ruithneach
A gorgeous 11 year old with a lovely ‘old
fashioned’ head. Her neck is good but her shoulder is too straight. She
is in lovely condition, although getting weak behind now.
4. Ch Kellcastle Starkeeper
She is a lovely 11
year old. Her black pigmentation contrasts with her lovely red/wheaten
coat. She is so elegant with her beautiful head. She is in wonderful
It was a great joy and a privilege to witness so
many beautiful veterans. Thank you for bringing them to me.