As an introduction,
I am an approved American Kennel Club (AKC) dog show judge for Irish Wolfhounds and Afghan Hounds. I am currently working on acquiring AKC judging approval for all hounds within our Hound Group, with my long term goal becoming a Hound Specialist. I also am a freelance journalist having published monthly articles in the industry's largest color print magazine for many years.
It was Love at first sight.
I knew I would be obsessed with this breed until I grew old and feeble. I decided to set about studying the breed inside and out until I knew I was knowledgeable, before breeding my first litter. However, I am always mindful of the fact that we never stop learning. Over the course of my years, my mentors were critical in my education, and I am privileged to have been their protégé. My maturation under the guidance of established and distinguished breeders allowed me to learn correct shape and type. Alongside them, I had the opportunity for hands-on training: examining many dogs, observing movement and gaining the essential understanding of the sighthound musculoskeletal system.
Since 1984, and my involvement with the Irish Wolfhound,
I have bred on a very limited basis. Ballyhara is an exclusive boutique program, breeding only to improve, preserve and perpetuate the hound according to its blueprint. Simply, I am a preservation/heritage breeder. I breed to and for the old-style (classic) shape, in reverence of the hound's noble heritage.
"Strength, stature and fleetness were the points most carefully cultivated -- at any rate, as regards to those breeds used in the capture of large and fierce game."
Such requirements could not have been more aptly or ably composed by any other than Captain Augustus Graham. I abide by these words and their significance. My purpose is to protect an ancient sighthound, as best to its' original glory as depicted by the bronze memorial of the Irish Wolfhound at Gettysburg, PA., so chillingly inscribed by artist William Rudolf O'Donovan,
“This-in the matter of size and structure truthfully represents the Irish Wolf-Hound a dog which has been extinct for more than a hundred years.”
To this day, this inscription is haunting and brings chills especially to those who believe the breed indeed was extinct and reincarnated. I subscribe to the blueprint set forth by the re-creators, and I do not waver. Ballyhara Irish Wolfhounds possess abundant character and are quite true to their nature, in addition to being independent, intelligent, substantial, with great power and shape.
As a seasoned canine authority, I have been a staunch believer that less is more--quality instead of quantity. I am extremely proud of the hounds I’ve bred and owned. They showcase type and shape, essence and movement--they were and are unmistakably sighthounds. I do not advertise or linger over conformation show ring successes or the number of champions a breeder produces. I will, however, mention a very memorable moment in time for me. In the early 1990s, two of my home-bred wolfhound bitches were invited to participate in the official AKC Irish Wolfhound breed video. We were amongst some outstanding specimens--an era when type, greyhound-like shape, symmetry was bountiful--and I was honored that my bitch was one of two chosen to depict the wolfhound breed’s ideal movement.
Over these many years, I have not compromised quality and have refrained from breeding healthy, high-quality bitches in times when I felt there was not a suitable stud dog available. I have refrained from breeding during periods when there was an apparent surplus of puppies in the market. I strive to communicate that this is a "special need's" breed, and I reiterate, a wolfhound is not ideal for every household or owner. The breed has suffered from a population explosion around the globe and is frequently found in far too many inappropriate environments. Above all else, it is paramount that we safeguard the well-being of our wonderful breed. We are their custodians.
I do not believe that change is progress in all things, particularly in purebred dogs.
Our camaraderie involves preserving this magnificent breed as a hunting sighthound. Two of my mentors from many, many years past used a short, striking and memorable phrase in which I have adopted and embraced
Dedicated to the Beauty of the Functional Sighthound.
The breed standard created by our forefathers set forth the requirements of a hunting hound. To accomplish this unique purpose that dates back to antiquity is to breed so “that form ever follows function.” As an AKC Judge, this principle is most important to me, and I will continue to abide by this standard throughout my future. As a dog authority, I work to educate all-breed fanciers on anatomy, muscling physiology, the ability to function as related to form, and genetic modes of inheritance. My articles and work are numerous, all of them can be found here on my Published Articles and many of them on the Canine Chronicle website, as well as having been reprinted throughout this country and the world in various dog periodicals, publications, and educational formats. I also have produced a Keynote Wolfhound presentation and written material on the true essence of this great hound. I am happy to provide this informative booklet to any aspiring judge, breeder or student of the breed.
Please note that throughout this site, photos on many of the pictures is credited to Steve Surfman, a terrific photographer.
Please visit my business website as well. I am a New York licensed Real Estate Broker and Exclusive Buyers Agent in Lake Placid, New York.