A big thank you to exhibitors for such a large entry & to my stewards for their help & efficiency. I always enjoy judging & today it was sheer delight for the depth of quality in the exhibits.

I haven’t judged in Britain for four years & there have been changes. On a positive note, I would say that ribcages have improved, most had a reasonable length & there were none who were slab-sided or narrow. Most hounds were in excellent condition, remarkably so, with better muscle development & tone than I have ever found. This comes from breeding as well as fitness so that is pleasing. With very few exceptions, coats were good & natural-looking.

On a more worrying note, there are some things that really need watching. One thing that has almost disappeared & is so necessary to type is the correct arch over the loin with a long fallaway to wide hips. Heads really need watching. One of the problems of a couple of decades ago was heads that were heavy with big brow bones & too much stop & there were almost none like that here. However this problem has been replaced by an equally bad fault in that the whole head is too large when seen in profile.

When I first started looking at Deerhounds a long time ago, (& it is true of all sighthounds) I was struck by how small the head was in proportion to the body & how wide the hindquarters were. Both of these points are being lost & are necessary if a Deerhound is to be typical. There were also a couple who looked like miniature Irish Wolfhounds. This had nothing to do with size, in fact they weren’t big but nevertheless were Wolfhound in type. You can have a large or small Deerhound (within the Standard) but the first priority is that it looks like a Deerhound. Again it doesn’t mean these oddments were unattractive, after all one can have most attractive Irish Wolfhounds or indeed mongrels, but they are not Deerhounds. Also just because a Deerhound has an attractive head & expression, doesn’t mean that it is necessarily a typical head & expression.

Please watch all these things before they become entrenched & more difficult to breed away from.

The lights in the hall made it very difficult to assess eye colour, so I ignored that, but I do have to mention that some eyes were rather round, giving a somewhat surprised expression.

However, most of the hounds were lovely, there were some very close classes & overall there were well over a dozen hounds to whom I could have happily awarded a CC. My dog challenge line-up was so impressive it brought a lump to my throat.

VD (4,2a) 1 Finnett & Harrington’s Ch Hyndsight Wind Of Change, very typical & appealing hound, this dog shows that you can get a masculine head that is still a beautiful head of the correct shape & proportions with lovely expression, small well set ears, strong neck, better shoulders & front construction than 2, good ribcage with depth, spring & length, good topline standing, low hocks, long tail, lovely condition, excellent coat. Could stride out more in front but otherwise moved well. RCC; 2 Parsons & McKinnon’s Brackenford Dalesman at Claonaiglen, different sort of head but still attractive, good proportion, flat skull, lovely small, well set ears, good neck though not as strong as 1. Straight front, good length of ribcage, nice topline held on the move, balanced angulation, moved well.

PD (3) 1 Cheshire’s Kilbourne Nuin of Deeranwith, comfortable winner here, attractive head & expression, in proportion, good neck & shoulders. Front could be better. Good feet, good ribcage, very good topline & well angulated hindquarters, good tail, lovely condition. Moved well behind, a bit wayward in front; 2 Honeyball’s Wolfscastle Idole for Honeytail, more immature, very long head but nice ears. Good shoulders & upper arm, excellent feet, good ribcage, nice topline standing, good coat & condition; 3 Spring-Arnold’s Sorisdale Macmanus, close between 2 & 3. Nicer head, ears could be smaller, not as good in shoulder. Good topline standing, moved well behind, good coat & condition.

JD (6,1) Lovely class of all very promising youngsters. Very attractive & typy although the ribbing on all the dogs could have been longer. 1 Rhodes & Spencer’s Gentom Renown, lovely overall shape, a typical Deerhound, beautiful head, by far the best head in the class, lovely well set & held ears, good neck, reasonable shoulder, deep brisket, good topline & reasonable fallaway, good bend of stifle, excellent coat which enhanced his appearance, moved the best in the class; 2 Francis & Blatchford’s Cloweswood Acer of Peopleton, reasonably nice head, dark eyes, ears could be better. Reasonable neck & shoulder, straight front, good topline, nice fallaway, good bend of stifle. Very close hard coat gave him a different look than the rest of the class, just needs a bit more of it when he matures, moved a bit close behind but OK in front & profile; 3 Van Zanten-Boomgaard’s Cscarf O’Cockaigne, had a lot of what I was looking for in the breed, very attractive & typical but unfortunately not a typical temperament & needs to overcome his apprehension in the ring, not very happy to be handled. Reasonable head, flat skull, nice ears, good neck, straight front, good feet, very deep brisket, lovely topline & fallaway, good width across thigh. Great hindquarters standing but needs to tighten in movement behind, moved well in profile. Excellent coat, I liked him a lot.

YD (6) 1 Van Zanten-Boomgaard’s Calhoun O’Cockaigne, won on overall appearance & type, reasonable head, flat skull, lovely tiny ears, good neck & shoulder, very good front, excellent feet, reasonable depth of brisket, good topline & fallaway, good bend of stifle, excellent coat. Moved well in profile, a bit close behind; 2 Taylor’s Kilbourne James Dene, different sort of dog, nice head, good ears, reasonable shoulder, good front & excellent feet, good forechest. Would like more length of depth of brisket. Good topline & fallaway, nice bend of stifle, low hocks, moved reasonably well all round; 3 Foy’s Glenfoyble In The Gloaming, reasonable head & neck, ears could be smaller. Good front, looked better standing naturally, excellent feet, good body. Flattened his topline on the move although he did stride out well in profile & move reasonably well all round.

PGD (14) 1 Peach’s Readwald Thor to Kilbourne, really scored on his lovely head & expression, nice ears, good neck, reasonable shoulder, good forechest & ribcage. Could have a longer fallaway but good length from hip to hock. Excellent coat, moved well all round; 2 Taylor’s Lyart Yes Minister, quality not quantity, not the biggest dog in class but by far the best mover in the class. Stands well, moves well, very natural, nice head, lovely tiny ears, good neck, good shoulders, very good ribcage, nice bend of stifle, excellent condition, good proportions. Would just like a bit more of him; 3 Piggott’s Greyzicon Blythe Spirit, bigger boy, lovely head & dark eyes, good neck & shoulders, good forechest, reasonable ribcage, excellent topline & long fallaway, good length from hip to hock, nice bend of stifle especially standing naturally, very good coat, moved reasonably well all round.

LD (17,5) Some really lovely dogs here but difficult as I couldn’t get everything I wanted in one dog which involved some hair-splitting decisions &, like the last class, the first three were all rather different. 1 Pink’s Romanie Rye at Greyhawks, very typical Deerhound, won on overall balance & type, lovely head & expression, ears could be smaller. Good neck & shoulders, good front, reasonable forechest, excellent feet, good ribcage, very good coat, moved well coming & going & in profile; 2 Helps’ Greyfriars Gille of Beardswood, masculine head, quite strong but not unattractive, dark eyes, ears could be smaller but he held them well. Good neck & shoulders, reasonable forechest, good front & feet, good ribcage, good hindquarters with width across thigh & length from hip to hock, excellent coat, moved well all round, liked him very much; 3 Day’s Demerlay Dorian Grey at Celticmoon, good overall, attractive head & expression, good ears. Could have a stronger neck. Reasonable shoulder, good forechest, straight front, reasonable ribcage, good width across thigh, standing naturally looked heaps better with a good topline & fallaway held on the move, excellent coat, moved well coming & going & lovely profile movement.

OD (11,1) 1 Rhodes & Morton’s Ch Gentom Peacemaker, appealing, masculine hound, good size & balance, lovely head & expression, strong neck, good shoulder, good front & reasonable forechest, excellent feet, good ribcage, good topline & fallaway kept on the move, good angulation all round with nice bend of stifle & length from hip to hock, excellent coat, moved well & strode out freely. To be really critical I’d like a bit more weight on him but he’s still very young, just a lovely typical Deerhound male, everything done well without exaggeration. CC & BOB; 2 Helps’ Ch Beardswood Marmion, very typical, slightly taller male, attractive head & expression, good front, excellent feet, very good forechest, good ribcage. Good topline standing but flattened a little on the move, otherwise moved well. Excellent coat & condition, again a really lovely male; 3 Van Zanten-Boomgaard’s Dutch/Int/Lux Ch Craffitsh O’Cockaigne, very tall hound, looks so different than the rest, what you see is what you get as he has so little coat. Attractive masculine head, good neck, shoulders & forechest, absolutely excellent front & feet with thick pads, reasonable ribcage with good spring though perhaps could have a bit more length. Very good topline & fallaway, good bend of stifle, moved well all round, really loved his profile movement, so relaxed & easy & light on his feet. Have judged this dog in France, loved him then & still do, but I do wish he had grown a coat with age as one can’t get a typical ragged appearance with a coat like this.

GCD (4) 1 R Rye at G; 2 Gilhooly & Morrissey’s Lord Seafield of Hartvalley, attractive dog, unlucky to be unplaced in limit in a very strong class. Lovely head & expression, ears could be held better. Good front & forechest, excellent feet, good ribcage with spring & length, good fallaway, very good coat & condition, nice hindquarters, moved well all round; 3 Seymour-Jackson’s Ghiltan Hero, very attractive head & expression, aquiline nose, good ears, good shoulders, reasonable chest, squarer outline. Moved reasonably well though not as well as 2. Excellent coat.

VB (6,2) 1 Friedrich’s Fr Ch Sister Jaufea of Muma, won on overall shape & type, beautiful feminine head & expression, small well set ears, reasonable neck & shoulder, good front angulation, good front & feet, good ribcage, good topline standing but flattened a bit on the move. Well angulated hindquarters with good width across thigh & low hocks. Good coat, pity it was spoiled by such a sculpted underline but beautiful typical bitch, much better standing naturally than stacked, moved well all round; 2 Lucas & Dargonne’s Sorisdale MacKechnie for Packway, pretty feminine bitch, very close up to 1, lovely fine head & expression, nice neck, good shoulder & forechest, good front, excellent feet, good ribcage. Not quite such good hindquarters as 1 but moved well all round. Very lovely bitch; 3 Seymour-Jackson’s Ghiltan Larch, another lovely bitch, attractive head & expression, good shoulder, front & feet though not such a good forechest. Good ribcage, very good fallaway, nice hindquarters, moved well.

PB (6) 1 Taylor & Peach’s Brackenland Tan to Kilbourne, ideal proportion & balance overall, quite a nice head though wouldn’t want it any bigger, reasonable ear, nice neck & shoulder, good forechest & straight front, good feet, length of ribcage, nice topline & fallaway, good hindquarters, balanced angulation, moved very well all round, really liked her. BP; 2 Peach’s Kilbourne Teine, another nice puppy but lost out on squarer croup with not such a good fallaway. Lovely head & expression, nice ears, good neck & shoulder, forechest, front & feet, good ribcage & bend of stifle, lovely condition. Movement a bit loose in front but only a baby; 3 Owen & Brodie’s Wolfscastle Efa, attractive head & dark eye, ears rather flat. Reasonable neck & shoulder, good forechest, straight front, excellent feet, very good length of ribcage & depth of brisket, long fallaway, good bend of stifle.

JB (7,1) 1 Hird’s Cloweswood Scilla, what a lovely bitch, very typical, pretty as a picture, lovely head, dark eyes, tiny ears, good shoulder, good forechest for her age, straight front, excellent feet, excellent ribcage, lovely topline, good bend of stifle, moved very well, keeping her outline on the move, still feminine even though she had no coat. Liked her a lot; 2 Grimshaw’s Jamalison Winter Gayle, quite a nice head, good shoulder & forechest, nice outline, good fallaway & rear angulation, excellent coat, moved very well; 3 Gilhooly’s Freyja at Nobys, very attractive bitch, nice head & expression. Neck not as strong as the others. Good shoulders, very good forechest. Brisket not as deep & squarer croup so not as shapely as 1 & 2. Good coat, moved well all round.

YB (10,2) 1 Morgan’s Ladygrove Calamity Jane at Amiro, beautiful head & that typical soft expression that I didn’t find as often as I’d have liked. Lovely ears, good neck & shoulders, straight front, very good ribcage, excellent topline with very long fallaway, good bend of stifle, good tail, excellent coat & condition, moved very well coming & going & in profile, keeping her outline, lovely bitch; 2 Taylor’s Guinivere Starshire from Kilbourne, another nice youngster, nice ears, good neck & shoulders, very good forechest for her age, straight front, excellent feet, good ribcage. Would prefer more bend of stifle. Moved well; 3 Peach’s Witch Way to Kilbourne, nicer head than 2, more feminine with attractive expression, nice ears, good neck & shoulders. Forechest not as good as 2. Squarer croup, good bend of stifle, moved well all round. Three attractive bitches.

PGB (13,4) 1 Mansell & Duddell’s Canerikie Coco Chanel, won on her lovely outline standing, nice head & expression, good neck & shoulders, very good forechest, good front & feet, nice ribcage, long fallaway, good width across thigh, excellent coat & condition; 2 Cartmell’s Dream Dance for Cusidh, preferred this head to 1, lovely head & expression with darker eyes, lovely small high set ears, good neck & shoulders. Not such a good forechest. Straight front, good feet, good depth of brisket but slightly flatter in topline. Shapely hindquarters with width across thigh, nice coat, moved well; 3 O’Brien & Quinn’s Kilbourne Fire Crest, actually thought she would be my winner, very attractive in profile, lovely balanced outline, good length. Unfortunately her head let her down. Good neck, very good shoulders, good forechest, reasonable front, good length & depth of ribbing, good topline kept on the move, nice long fallaway, shapely hindquarters & width across thigh, excellent coat, moved well all round.

LB (14,2) My favourite class of the day, absolutely fantastic with bitches to whom I’d have been happy to give a CC, having to leave without even a place-card. 1 Finnett & Heathcote’s Hyndsight A Box Of Dreams, what a gorgeous girl, the perfect size, correct proportion & type I was looking for, all feminine curves, had so many outstanding virtues & she just exuded type, had the most stunningly beautiful head & expression, aquiline nose, tiny ears, good shoulders & forechest, good feet, excellent ribcage, good topline, long fallaway, width across thigh, really good bend of stifle, beautiful on the move, just everything I was looking for. She also won the award for the one the judge most wanted to take home. CC; 2 Cannon & Wickstead’s Kilbourne MacBeth, just loved this bitch as well, very similar proportions & size, lovely head & expression, lovely ears, good neck. Not quite such a good shoulder as 1 but a better front. Excellent feet, good ribcage, topline & fallaway, lovely hindquarters with good width across thigh, low hocks, excellent coat, really good on the move. RCC; 3 Girling’s Pyefleet Rokesby, another excellent bitch, preferred the heads of 1 & 2 but otherwise she was lovely. Reasonable shoulder, good forechest & front, excellent feet, good ribcage, nice topline, good hindquarters with width across thigh, good long tail, loved the white tip, excellent coat, absolutely excelled in profile movement, really fantastic.

OB (13,3) Another nice class, hair splitting decisions. 1 Bailey’s Ch Greyflax Waterloo Sunset, beautiful head & expression, nice small ears, good neck, very good shoulders, reasonable chest, straight front, very good depth & length of brisket, good ribbing, nice topline & fallaway, shapely hindquarters with good bend of stifle & width across thigh, held her topline on the move, moved very well & really strode out, lovely typical feminine bitch; 2 Gomm’s Canerikie Cookie Crusher to Wildtor, another attractive feminine bitch, lovely head & typical expression, good neck & shoulders, better forechest than 1, straight front, good feet & ribcage, nice proportions, good topline & fallaway. Would prefer more bend of stifle, better outline when relaxed. Moved well; 3 Finnett, Heathcote & Piggott’s Ch Hyndsight Heaven Can Wait, beautiful type, perfect head & expression, aquiline nose, beautiful ears, good neck, excellent shoulders, good chest, excellent ribcage & topline, good bend of stifle, excellent feet, nice coat. Moving rather short in front.

GCB (3) 1 Shannon’s Lealla Joka, won on type & proportions, preferred her head, better front than 2, excellent feet, excellent ribbing, good forechest, shapely hindquarters, excellent coat; 2 Daniels’ Killoeter Lurag for Hamiltonhill, good neck & shoulders, excellent feet, good ribcage, fallaway & bend of stifle, excellent coat; 3 Shannon’s Lealla Is Fearr, feminine head, nice proportions, good topline & fallaway, excellent feet, nice bend of stifle, good coat.