Saturday, March 29, 2014

News from Abroad: Emlek Goes Coursing!

Emlek, her bracemate, and the hare they caught
Source, Rita Korpas

I've been meaning to write a post about this for some time, but never got around to it until now. With legal coursing becoming more and more of a rarity in Europe, it is refreshing and exciting to see Magyar Agars doing what they were bred to do in their country of origin. 

Thousand yard stare
Source, János Farkas

Emlek is a relative to Gil, Pi, Patti and Pesh (she is Gil's niece and first cousin to the Operetta puppies), so when I found out that she started coursing I was thrilled! Coursing in Hungary is very strictly regulated by the Hungarian government, but is allowed for Magyar Agars exclusively because they are considered a national treasure. These coursing tests are overseen by the Magyar Agár Tenyésztők Országos Egyesülete (MATOE), which is an independent registry not affiliated with the FCI. In order to be granted permission to course, each dog must be registered with the MATOE. Unlike FCI registration, each dog must go through an individual evaluation process to determine whether they meet certain conformational criteria as set forth by the MATOE. One of the stricter requirements is that the dog be solid colored with full pigmentation on the toenails. Apparently the wisdom is that dogs lacking sufficient pigment are more likely to sustain foot injuries due to the more brittle nature of their toenails. As such, poor Gil and Pi would not be allowed to course in Hungary, but thankfully they can enjoy that privilege here in America. 

Emlek is the lighter colored dog
Source, Zsuzsanna Barabás

The coursing tests are always done by the walk-up method, meaning that the dogs walking with the gallery in a line to flush the hares. Once a hare gets up, the dogs are slipped in braces and evaluated for their coursing abilities. Unfortunately, I was not able to get more information on the judging criteria.

Emlek straining in slips
Source, Rita Korpas

Emlek and her bracemate
Source, Rita Korpas 

Watching for hares
Source, Rita Korpas

Source, Rita Korpas

 Emlek and her owner, Rita, on the far left
Source, Imre Kovács

Source, Imre Kovács

Group Photo
Source, János Farkas

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Patti's Promising Show Career

Although Patti has spent some time in the show ring, she hasn't exactly been a standout show dog. I had been so focused on showing Pi and Pesh that I had sort of put Patti's show career on the back burner. Add to that the fact that she had little to no show training, she just couldn't keep up with her siblings. Pi and Pesh finished their UKC conformation Championships in pretty short order, and both of them made big placements at our national specialty. Patti was the only one in her litter without any real show wins to brag about. Well, it looks like that's about to change.

The Norcal All Breed Club hosted three days of UKC events over March 21st through 23rd. Even though I had not had much time to prepare her for the shows, I wanted to give her some ring experience without over doing it, so I decided to enter her in both shows on Saturday.

Unfortunately there wasn't a large amount of competition in the sighthound group (at least not as much as there has been), but there were still enough dogs to make the competition somewhat challenging, and to give Patti an opportunity to get a competition win or two in group.

I'm accustomed to showing my dogs with a fair amount of handling on my part. I always hand stack them, and I occasionally use bait as well. Since I've started seriously working with Patti as a show dog I've had to resist my urge to hand stack her, because she doesn't like it, and without her cooperation she doesn't end up looking very nice. Some dogs are just that way when it comes to showing -- they prefer to free stack and gait on a loose lead. So, before we arrived at the show grounds I stopped by Burger King and picked up a sausage patty to use as bait, and hoped that it would encourage her to stand pretty for the judges.

Well, it ended up paying off quite well. In the first show she presented herself beautifully and won the group against two other dogs (a Thai Ridgeback and a Silken Windhound)! The judge told me that she showed very well, and that I should stop worrying about her and focus on how I can make the most of my opportunity to exhibit her.

She put on another good showing in the second show, but placed second to the Thai Ridgeback, thereby cutting her out of a potential competition win since the Silken had already gone home. It was late in the day by the time she was called to the ring, so she was lacking a bit in the enthusiasm she had earlier, but it was still a very good experience, and overall she made a lot of progress. I'm looking forward to showing her more in the future, and hopefully finishing her bench title soon.

She cleans up pretty good!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Litter Plans

Breeding was done on March 14th. Here's hoping Luna get's pregnant!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tribute by Charles Alexander

I have reached a point now where I feel comfortable sharing these images. This photo series, taken by Charles Alexander, shows the last moments of Pesh's life while she, Pi, and Gil were coursing a jackrabbit at the 2014 Grand Course. It's been hard to look at them, but at the same time these are the moments I want to remember years from now; not the sad ones. My thanks and gratitude to the photographer not just for taking these photos but also for his generosity and understanding.