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Pure Dog Talk - 503 – Examining the History of Sighthounds with Bo Bengtson

Examining the History of Sighthounds with Bo Bengtson. Bengtson, author, publisher and Whippet breeder, attended his first dog show in 1958 in his native Sweden. He joins host Laura Reeves for a deep dive into the intricacies of sighthounds.


תאריך עליית הפרק לאוויר: 15/11/2021.

Laura: Pure Dog Talk is the voice of purebred dogs. We talk to the legends of the sport, and give you the tips, and tools to create an awesome life with your purebred dog. From showing- to preservation breeding. From competitive obedience- to field work. From agility- to therapy dogs, and all the fun in between. Your passion- is our purpose.


Laura: Welcome to Pure Dog Talk. I am your host, Laura Reeves, and I am so excited, I have back with us again, You guys might remember a while back we had a conversation with Bo Bengtson and Paul Lepiane. And Bo is back, and we’re going to talk about sighthounds, like, the whole glorious beauty and elegance and mystery and all of the fabulous things that are- sighthounds. So, welcome Bo, I'm really excited to have you come back and talk to us.

Bo: Thank you Laura, I'm glad to be here.

Laura: So for people who, perhaps, have for some strange reason never heard of Bo Bengtson, which I can't imagine, tell us a little bit about yourself. We call it the 411- how you got started at this and your involvement?

Bo: Okay. I started a long, long time ago. 1958, I went to my first dog show, and it was right away, like lightning struck. I was 14 years old, I think. And… I knew that… just knew right away, that this was what I wanted to devote my life to. It was really fascinating. It was a combination of… I think someone has said it's a combination of zoo and circus and stage theater, or something like that. It's true.

Laura: yes.

Bo: Today, I probably wouldn't think it was so exciting, but I remember a lot of that first show. And I have been ever, ever, always most interested in dog shows. And I guess, because I'm old, and because you get interested in history too… And the sighthounds are not bad. They've been my favorite ever since, forever. And… they are a very old, old breed, old type of dog. And they have been around for a long, long time. And… when I came to this country- I was born in Sweden, I was brought up there, and I was involved in dogs for 20 years there. And I moved to this country, in California in 1980. And I have ever been in California ever since, and I love sighthounds. We started a sighthound magazine in 1984, “Sighthound Review”. And… in… through different variations, permutations, we started an old-breed magazine too, which is very well, “Dogs in Review”, which you might remember.

Laura: Yes. My favorite dog magazine of all times. I miss it desperately. [laughing]

Bo: I miss it too, but we don't miss the stress that came with it.

Laura: Yes.

Bo: Yeah. It's very wonderful. Okay. And the “Sighthound Review” was sold at the time, and I got it back. And most recently I made it into a Whipper magazine, because I'm basically retired, and I don't need the stress so much.

Laura: Right. It's a lot, right? I mean, that's something that I absolutely appreciate, even with just my little podcast, the amount of time and energy we put into this, is pretty incredible. And we are all grateful. You also had a book, that you published, a few years ago, I think, "Best in Show”. Yes?

Bo: I had a very good book, that was a big book. And I did a lot of research for several years beforehand, and it sold very, very badly. Unfortunately, the publisher, who did a beautiful job on printing the book, it's called "Best in Show- history of show dogs and dog shows”. And… unfortunately, they changed it. It's the same thing that happens with movies that get out, I guess. Because the team that were involved in the book, and produced the book, got laid off or whatever. And the new team that came in, they didn't care about the book at all, which was very, very sad. My “Whippet” book, another book I've written, has done extremely well and sold out, and charted a lot of money on the internet, whenever a copy is available. But this one, you can get on Amazon for 5$, or something like that. It's really, really kind of embarrassing.

Laura: Oh, that's a shame! It is such an amazing book!

Bo: It was very good. Great reviews.

Laura: It's a fabulous book!

Bo: Yeah. I had a lot of fun with it. And it was a lot of work to do it. And I'm kind of disappointed that it didn't sell, as well as it should have. And a lot of people don't know about it.

Laura: Well, we're going to fix that.

Bo: [burst laughing] OK!

Laura: The next episode you and I are going to do is, we're going to talk about the history of dog shows. And we're going to talk about that book more. But today, I think,


Laura: I really want to tap into- that fabulous sighthound knowledge. So, give us a definition, for people who don't come from sighthounds. Talk to us… I mean, clearly it says- sighthound. They're hunting by sight. [laughing] What else do we have?

Bo: You have to know a little bit about coursing, if you're involved in sighthounds. They have remained the same, for thousands of years, the basic type. And eventually… they weren't breeds early on, but different types of sighthounds. And, if you look at the early description of coursing, which is- the pursuit of game with sighthounds by vision, by sight, that's why they're called sighthounds, as opposed to scent-hounds. That is a sport that's now, these days, illegal in most of the U.S., not in out here west, I don't think. But in many, many states it's illegal because it's considered cruel. And it's been superseded by lure coursing, which is an artificial form of coursing. And that is basically when you realize, how amazingly fascinated the sighthounds, all sighthounds, are, of anything that runs, that is small.

Laura: Yes.

Bo: And sometimes to the detriment. Unfortunately.

Laura: Yes.

Bo: But it's a very fascinating thing to watch.

Laura: Well, and I think about, you know, sighthounds to me are absolutely the epitome of… that, dog developed to work with man. Bringing home an antelope, or bringing home a rabbit, meant the difference between people starving to death or not.

Bo: Well, it was very much that… it was before firearms, basically, when the only way you had to hunt- was with the dogs. And whatever they could course and kill, was basically today's dinner. Firearms made sighthounds very much superfluous. And I think the sport then, was inherited by… it became very much a status symbol. And that's why sighthounds, of course, they are aesthetically pleasing. And so many rich people and noble people, aristocratic people preferred to hunt with sighthounds, not because of need, but because it was a beautiful spectacle, and pretty expensive spectacle, too. In various parts of the world, Queen Elizabeth I, was very fond of coursing. In Russia, they coursed with Borzoi. And in the Far East… there were Salukis or different Saluki types.

Laura: And, when we think about the sighthounds, it goes all the way from Afghan Hound to Whippet. In size, and in style… But all of them have that sort of “airs above the ground” feel about them. Yes?

Bo: Well, that is true, but also, there is no official definition of what a sighthound is. So there is a great disagreement about, what breeds actually count as sighthounds. You can count as few as four or five as pure sighthounds, and as many as 40 as sighthound-related or different types of sighthounds, breeds that we don't know in this country, and breeds that we probably wouldn't define as breeds, but more as types of different… you know… there are different breeds in India, for instance, that we don't see at all in this country.

Laura: Right. There's one that starts with an M. Help me out here! [laughing]

Bo: There is probably Mudhol Hound you're… going after.

Laura: Yes!

Bo: Well, there are a lot of… we mentioned Caravan Hound, is probably one of them more defined. We have also Chippiparai and Chortai and Kanni and Kazakh Tazi and Rajapalayam and Rampur Hound, although they are probably… they have been crossed so much with Greyhounds. And you've got Taigan and Tazi. And I don't think we would necessarily call all of them breeds, but certainly you get very offended if you are an Indian, and if you are a fancier of these breeds or types of sighthound, we would probably say that… describe them as types of Saluki or Greyhound crosses, very similar.

Laura: I know I did an interview with a fellow about the Caravan Hounds. That was a fascinating conversation.

Bo: They're fascinating breeds, and lots of American, I shouldn't say lots, but a few Americans and Canadians have gone to India and the Far East and whatever, and looked for these dogs and tried to research them. And they have had very mixed fortunes, I mean, I don't know whether you can call them breeds. They're not consistent enough for that.

Laura: Well, and I think, one of the things that's also fascinating to me, is… you have your Afghan Hound, you have your Saluki, you have your… just very ancient, very traditional… your Russian Wolfhound, your Borzoi. You have these breeds that are, very much, long in standing and in development. And those are very much specifically coursing breeds. And you have newer breeds, say for example, the Whippet or the Rhodesian Ridgeback or something along those lines. Talk about the differences, in those developments of those breeds.

Bo: Well, I think we have to go back again a couple of thousand years, because there have probably always been different sizes of Greyhounds, Greyhound types. The big ones, which were the ancestors of the modern Greyhound, and we have the different smaller ones that were ancestors of the Whippet and the Italian Greyhounds. That doesn't mean that they have not been crossed, because they certainly have suffered several crosses of Greyhounds. But I think that Whippets, although they weren't described as a breed, until late 1800s, they were certainly been around much longer. There's something like… I mean, Catherine the Great of Russia, had little English Greyhounds, as she called them. And they were very important to her. And she nursed them herself, and they slept on a pink couch in her bedroom. But whether they were Italian Greyhounds or whether they were Whippets, who knows? I mean, they were very small… probably, whether they were Italian Greyhounds or Whippets, it is kind of irrelevant these days.

Laura: Interesting. That's a story I had not heard. I love that! And then, let's talk about the breeds, that are more than the Irish Wolfhound, the Scottish Deerhound, the Rhodesian Ridgeback, the Borzoi, the breeds that were coursing really large animals.

Bo: Right. The Irish Wolfhound was coursing wolves. And the Deerhound was, of course, coursing deer. And the Wolfhound is basically... A new breed, a recreated breed, I should say.

Laura: Recreated, yeah.

Bo: Yeah. About 200 years ago, almost… 150 years ago. Captain Graham, was born in 1833. He made it his life's work, to recreate what he thought Wolfhounds were supposed to be. Since the wolf did not exist in Ireland anymore, he basically recreated them using Deerhounds, using Great Danes, using various breeds, and he was quite open about that. And, I think Wolfhounds are, maybe for that reason, who knows? They are one of the breeds that really are in trouble right now. Their quality is very high, but would you believe that the Wolfhound standard actually uses the word graceful, I think? They should be graceful. And that's not a definition you see of most Wolfhounds. And they certainly should be a Greyhound of greater size and strength, as well as the Deerhound. And you wonder whether they really are. I mean, we get into modern judging these days.

Laura: Right.

Bo: But if you look at the Irish Wolfhound from 1927, there is a wonderful... Have you heard of British Pathe? They're historical… They show little videos before the main feature in movie theaters in the old days.

Laura: Oh, wow.

Bo: I think I remember that from when I was very, very young as a kid. And in 1927, there was something a Wolfhound was best in showing in Ireland, and it was really beautiful. And that was only 50 years after the breed had been recreated, basically, by Captain Graham.

Laura: Right. And I think it's very interesting to look at the phenotype of these breeds that were coursing larger game, versus the phenotype of a small game-coursing dog, a Basenji, or a Whippet, or a Pharaoh Hound even, or Ibizan Hound. So… so much variety and style within the basic concept of sighthound.

Bo: Well, there is the debate whether Ibizan Hounds and Pharaoh Hound are really sighthounds. That's some of the fringe breeds. I mentioned earlier that there is a great disagreement about which breeds really are sighthounds.

Laura: Right. That's why I was poking it. I was poking it, God! [laughing]

Bo: [with a smile] Right. Okay. Well, we have anything from, like I said, four or five breeds that are key breeds. They are definitely breeds. Actually, you can say as… she has two breeds. The Greyhound and the Saluki are basically the ool sighthound, what sighthounds are supposed to be like. Even Whippets, you get a little bit different, because they definitely have been crossed with Terriers and some other stuff in… probably some of them in the 1700s, 1800s, and some of them in the 1900s as well. We know that. That is documented. But as soon as you get a couple of steps, what is a Terrier? What is a Sporting Dog? Basically, they are very artificial, our group division.

Laura: Right.

Bo: And I think that, the breeds don't lend themselves to that, that easily. If you take one step away from the Saluki, you get the Afghan Hound, which is a little more powerful. If you take several steps away from the Greyhound, you get the Ibizan Hound and you get the Portuguese Podengo, and that kind of thing. So…I'm not sure whether they are sighthounds or not. Of course, I believe the main.. the big, big controversy concerns the Ridgebacks, if they are really sighthounds or not.

Bo: Yes. That was where I was headed. I was meandering my way to Ridgebacks, because this is such a fascinating conversation to me.

Bo: It's a fascinating breed and I like it very much, but… I don't personally consider them sighthounds. ASFA, the American Sighthound Field Association, have them as… they are allowed to course. And AKC, I think, has them coursing too.Yeah.

Laura: Yes.

Bo: They do lure coursing. And… most of the coursing people, say they have a different way of coursing. And they were never meant to course rabbits the way that the Saluki or Greyhound were. And if you mention to anyone in Europe that Ridgebacks are sighthounds, they get absolutely appalled [Laura is laughing]. They may like Ridgeback, but they absolutely could not understand that at all. So it depends a little bit on where you are, and who you are, and what breed you consider sighthounds.

Laura: See? this is the conversation I wanted to have! So, let's pick another one. Now, I think about... we actually own Ibizan Hounds. And to me, their structural development to do their job, is so radically different, than any other sighthound that I can think of. And yet, they hunt by sight!

Bo: Right. They hunt by sight, but they also hunt in a different manner than Greyhound or Salukis do. They… very much jump,

Laura: Yes!

Bo: They very much try and get at their game through, in different terrain from what Salukis and Greyhounds do, with open field. The islands where they are born, where they have been created… they're very much sighthound type in body. But they have straighter angles. They have those ears, that's straight up. And they hunt in a different manner. ok?

Laura: Very different. And, so that is fascinating to me. And then I think about one of our newer breeds, at least newer recognition to the American Kennel Club, certainly ancient in its own country, the Azawakh. That sort of was a hunting dog, but was a camp guardian dog. But still gets sort of lumped in with sighthounds.

Bo: I think in looks, it's very much a sighthound. Very much. An extreme sighthound. Very close to the Saluki, but more… I think they're beautiful. I was so afraid that they would become ‘the breed of the day’ with the heap New York crowd, you know, all the little black dress, and the black coffee and the Azawakh, or something like that. Because they're not for everybody, certainly they have a very, very difficult temperament. I was visiting a breeder, the leading breeder in the world, I think, in Italy. And she had a bunch of Azawakh. And they wouldn't say hi to… the young dogs, but they were like a horde of wild horses, kind of. [Laura laughs] And for a second, there they were a little bit like Dobermans. They were very threatening. And… they are supposed to be- guard dogs, too.

Laura: Right.

Bo: And the Tuaregs who have them, in North Africa, use them as guard dogs, as well as hunting dogs. So… in that sense, they're not… typical sighthounds, but most sighthounds have no guarding instinct at all.

Laura: Right.

Bo: It's kind of refreshing in many ways, but inconvenient for some people. But Azawakhs certainly do. And when I'd been there for a couple of hours, the older ones came up and wanted to say hi. And… you felt a nose sniffling your hand, or something like that… would be behind you. And if you turned around too quickly, they were gone, basically.

Laura: Right.

Bo: I think a lot of AKC judges have problems with Azawakh. It's not very easy to have. I was judging them in Europe and had about 20, or something like that. And they were really beautiful. But most of them didn't like being touched at all. And Azawakh should have been like that. And a couple of them were totally hysterical, didn't want it. They couldn't do anything with them. A very, very difficult breed, a different breed. And they're certainly beautiful, and certainly wonderful in their own way. But you can't expect to get what you get from most dogs- from them.

Laura: Right. Exactly. Hang tight, guys. Got a little bit of information for you. We'll be right back to the podcast in a minute.


Laura: You know, you talk about the Azawakh as the “don't touch me, I'm too good for you”. And to me, that's sort of a component of many of the sighthounds. Irish Wolfhounds were a breed that I showed a bunch of, and love. And they're relatively people-neutral, right? Like, they're cordial to people. But so many of the sighthounds are that, “you are a serf and you do not touch me” sort of thing. [laughing]

Bo: They have that attitude, especially the eastern sighthounds, especially the Azawakh, the Saluki, the Afghan Hound, and to a certain degree, the Borzoi. And I like that very much. I mean, you have to be pretty confident, and you can't assume that the dog will do your bidding. It does very much what it wants to do, and you consent. And if you are really good, they will actually show their affection to you. The western dogs, western sighthounds are a little more… normal in that sense, like most dogs.

Laura: Right.

Bo: Whippets are immediately affectionate. I remember when I first got into this country, I was very new on the board of the American Whippet Club. One of the breeders was telling me how he liked the fact that his dogs were a little stand-offish. And I thought that was kind of shocking because Whippets are supposed to overwhelm you, and go get right, and love you very much right away. And most of them do.

Laura: Yes. Whippets, to me, are a fabulous breed. I couldn't understand them. I came from sporting dogs. Like, Whippets, I just couldn't get the fascination with Whippets. It's forever and ever and ever. And then, at one point I was handling dogs with an individual that had a Whippet, that needed to kind of get away from home. Get a little “un-mommy-ized” and go on the road. And she came home with me, and I was ill, that day, and I crawled into bed and curled up in the fetal position as I wanted to do at the time. And, that dog came in and curled up right against the part of me that hurt so badly, like this living heating pad. And it was instant, I’m like- Ok, now I get it! [laughing]

Bo: That's very typical of Whippets. I should perhaps mention that I have had Whippets since 1961 or something like that. I think of my first Whippet from England in those days. And I've had Whippets continually, ever since. And I always think that, yeah, that would be really cool to have a more impressive, more magnificent, more macho breed. If it's a Great Dane or whatever, something like that. But whenever it's time to get a new puppy, I… it's very hard not to get another Whippet instead.

Laura: [Laughing]

Bo: Everybody says that they're like peanuts and you can't have just one. You have to have two or three or something like that. And that's basically true. I have three right now, and I am getting a fourth very, very soon.

Laura: Oh my goodness. There's a puppy! I can't stand it. It's so cool! [laughing]

Bo: Yeah. Sworn many times. It's probably my last puppy. I've said about six times before.

Laura: I was going to say, we've all said it, Bo [laughing]

Bo: Yeah, yeah. I know.

Laura: Oh my gosh. Okay. So let's move from, say, the Whippet, the very personable, very cuddly, very people-oriented dogs, to old- ‘going to chase something and not listen to you if it gets out of your yard’.

Bo: But…

Laura: And take that, and put that next to another, I would characterize sighthound, a different type of sighthound, the Basenji. Similar size!

Bo: Well, Basenji is questionable also. Again, the same as Ridgeback. A lot of people would not consider it as a sighthound. They do course, I like Basenjis very much, but I don’t think they’re really sighthounds. They certainly do not belong to what the pure sighthound breeds are, and they don't belong to the FCI group sighthound. I think perhaps the difference is that, we in this country don't have a long tradition of sighthounds. There is nothing... AKC has formally decided what sighthounds are, when they started lure coursing. And AKC, I mean, they have the Spitz breed as one of the sighthounds, which has absolutely nothing to do with sighthound at all. I can't imagine what they… do that for, but they do have that.

Laura: Which one is that? Help me with that. I'm not...

Bo: I think it's Norrbottenspets or something like that, which is totally...

Laura: Oh, interesting.

Bo: AKC Lure Coursing has Afghan Hound, Basenji, Borzoi, Greyhound, Ibizan Hound, Irish Wolfhound, Italian Greyhound, Pharaoh Hound, Ridgeback, Saluki, Deerhound, Whippets. And they also have Azawakh, Cirneco, Portuguese Podengo, which is interesting, Saluki. And they used to have Thai Ridgeback, but they don't have it anymore. So I guess they don't exist anymore. But instead, they have something called Peruvian Inca Orchid, which I didn't know that... They are apparently a breed in the making.

Laura: They are in FSS, I think. I'm not sure. Maybe they've made it to miscellaneous. I haven't actually looked recently.

Bo: Yeah. And AKC also have, I want to mention that, they have this Norrbottenspets, which is a Spitz breed, comes from my part of the world.

Laura: Right.

Bo: And… Absolutely nothing in common with sighthounds at all. And I don't know why they actually… It's so weird. So weird. [Laura laughs] I mean, absolutely no relationship to sighthounds at all. And the people in that breeder, apparently, like the fact that they can compete for lure coursing title, because it's one more title they can compete for.

Laura: Right.

Bo: But I think it's very strange.

Laura: Interesting. All right. I'm just adding Norrbottenspets to my next thing that I want to find somebody to talk to me about. [laughing]

Bo: Yeah. I think that will be really interesting. I've only talked a little bit to the parent club, and they didn't care. They didn't think they were sighthounds, but they were happy to do lure coursing anyway. So that's okay.

Laura: Fascinating. So, all right. Back to our, if you will, as you said, ‘ore [original] dog’. Yeah. The Saluki on one side. I always say that Salukis, if there's ever a breed that was like from the head of Zeus… [laughing]

Bo: [laughing] Right. Yeah. I think that's pretty true. I mean, not exactly from the head of Zeus, but… It did exist 10th century AD. There were… perfectly typical Saluki, were pictured in a painting on silk from the 10th century AD. Some Kyrgyz hunters on horseback. That's now in the National Palace Museum in Taiwan. And, I've seen the picture, you know, reproductions of that picture, but I want to see it. That Saluki looks beautiful! And it's so many hundreds of years ago, you know?

Laura: Right. I wanted to just continue to follow on the Saluki, and then just looking at the phenotypical difference between a Saluki and a Greyhound. You can see the quasi-sighthounds or the almost sighthounds or the descended from sighthounds. You can see the direction they came from, right? Either Saluki or Greyhound.

Bo: Right. Right. It's Saluki or Greyhound you should have in your mind. The smooth Saluki is probably even more typical than the feathered Saluki, but they were pretty rare these days. Did you know there are smooth Afghan Hounds, by the way?

Laura:[with awe] I knew there were smooth Salukis- I had no idea smooth Afghans!

Bo: They're very, very rare, but once in a while, they come not badly coated- but smooth Afghan Hounds. It's kind of interesting. And there used to be wire-haired Whippets. Did you know that?

Laura: No! Wire-haired Whippets. I have heard of long-haired Whippets, but not wire-haired Whippets!

Bo: No. Long-haired Whippets is Silken Windhounds. They're kind of popular. They are breeding now. We have had lots of problems with those 20 years ago, or 50 years ago, or something like that. But these days, I've actually judged them in Europe, would you believe?

Laura: As Silken Windhounds? Really?

Bo: Mm-hmm. Did this discuss if they really are purebred or not? I mean, they are a new breed, and they are obviously a constructed breed, but they didn't exist long-haired in the old days.

Laura: Okay.

Bo: Wire-haired did.

Laura: Interesting.

Bo: Salukis have a very interesting history. Have you seen this beautiful picture of Zilla, the only Saluki in England, from the early 1800s? She was called a Persian Greyhound, but she is quite definitely a Saluki and modern show type. And of course, there is a huge James Ward oil painting in color, from 1807, I think.

Laura: Yes.

Bo: It was first owned by a British breeder, but then was sold to an American, and it is now on display at the Dog Museum in New York.

Laura: Yes.

Bo: And it's definitely worth seeing. It's very gorgeous.

Laura: I saw it when I was there. It is incredible.

Bo: It's huge. It's life-size. And the dog, it looks, don't you think it looks very much like a modern Saluki? I mean…

Laura: Absolutely.

Bo: It has tons of feathering and… very beautiful.

Laura: Absolutely. And then… the Greyhound, and I think in dogs generally, we talk about the Greyhound type and the Mastiff type, and everything comes from one or the other.

Bo: Right. Right.

Laura: So within the sighthounds, the Greyhound is maybe even the more “ore dog”, and just the concept of the Greyhound type, like the Irish Wolfhound is, a rough-haired Greyhound type. Whaaa! Okay, [laughing] Right?

Bo: Well, if you go back a couple of thousand years, there is a wonderful treatise on coursing, by a Greek statesman called Arrian, who was very modern in his approach to the Greyhound. He liked it. He said- You should talk to them, you should basically let them sleep in bed. He describes his own dog very, very, very sweetly as, you know, when it pops first one leg and then the other on his… on him, whenever he's eating something, because he wants something too. And he feels just like this guy from a couple of thousand years ago is sitting in the room with you, and talking about his dog. It's kind of cool.

Laura: Wow.

Bo: And this was definitely a Greyhound. He describes the… physical features and they are very, very gentle and sweet natured, as it says. Very cool.

Laura: And… talk to me about the things that we think of, sighthound related, the rose ears in many cases, that beautiful elegant neck, the rise over the loin, to create the double suspension gallop, all of that. Can you talk to just the structure pieces that are sighthounds?

Bo: Sighthounds should be, And this is very important for the AKC judges to remember, for all judges to remember, that all sighthound breeds should be judged basically on running gear. Ears, yeah, fine. Heads, fine. It's important. But feet, and proportions, and the legs, and angulation, is really an important thing. That is the crucial thing, whether they can function or not. Ears, maybe heads, et cetera. Eyes, I always get in trouble with this, because I don't think eyes are that important. But in some breeds they are, of course, but they are more… a mark of distinction on breed type…

Laura: [expresses agreement] Hmm!

Bo: Than really functional, because it doesn't matter how the eye is shaped or what color it has, or how big it is, if the dog can see it really well.

Laura: Right. I always am fascinated by that whole, I don't know, to me, the piece that screams sighthound to me, is elegance. Even an Irish Wolfhound, a good one, has an air of elegance about it.

Bo: Right, right. I was afraid you'd ask me about the difference between Irish Wolfhounds and the Scottish Deerhounds, because… the AKC standard is very, very similar. I mean, I've actually, before this, my talk to you, I studied them very carefully and compared them and… there is very little, there are differences, but not very much. And… like I said earlier, the Irish Wolfhound, it says in the standard, it should be strong, though gracefully built. And how many are gracefully built at all? I don't think so. And they definitely should be elegant as well as powerful. And that's a very, very difficult breed.

Laura: Yes.

Bo: Very difficult to produce. Because it's contradictory. That's basically all the sighthounds. It's very, very easy to get them as elegant as possible, and certainly Whippets, but getting the requisite balance and substance, and the angulation, also as well, it's not easy.

Laura: Okay. And this is a thing that is just so fascinating to me as I'm proceeding in my judging career. The balance, between power and elegance, is breed specific. And where a dog falls on that spectrum defines its breed, so often? Can you speak to that idea?

Bo: Basically, I think that, you need both. You need both elegance and you need substance. And you need a good length of loin, and pretty much everybody except the Azawakh, of course, which should be as short as possible, and high as possible. I… don't think, Azawakh, I'm not sure you need a lot of substance as well as the elegance, but all the other breeds, you do need that.

Laura: Right. I just, I love that continuum. All right. Well, Bo, we're going to get to talk to you more about history and dog show history, and amazing dogs, and amazing places, and amazing knowledge. So, I thank you so much for your time. And I absolutely know everybody out there does as well.

Bo: Thank you so much. I appreciate that.

Laura: Like the NPR of dogdom, Pure Dog Talk is here for you. To make sense out of everyday things. To add nuance to your understanding. And tools to your tech box. To bring history to life, and propel the living history of purebred dogs, into the future. One of my favorite events over the last year or so, has been the virtual after dark for patrons of the podcast. Anybody can join this amazing community of dog enthusiasts, by visiting the website, and clicking the ‘become a patron’ link on the homepage. While you're there, zooming around on the site, you can check out our shopping tab too. There's even a Pure Dog Talk swag link. Oh no. Share the love, with all our cool gear. Check it all out at Your support adds up to a huge voice for purebred dogs.


Laura: As always, if you have any questions or input, we'd love to hear from you. The show notes, and links to resources on today's topic, are available at Drop us a note in the comments, or email to Remember guys, this podcast is for you. So if you want to know something, give me a holler. We'll do a podcast for you. If you wouldn't mind, you could help me out here. Take a couple minutes to visit iTunes and give us a review.

Sponsorship: The Dog Show Superintendents Association is a proud supporter of Pure Dog Talk. Our dog show superintendents are the hardworking people who make the dog show function. They are advocates for education and mentorship in the purebred dog fancy. So stop by the super's desk at your next show. Tell them how much you love Pure Dog Talk and give them a shout out for their support. That's all for today. Thank you for joining us on Pure Dog Talk.


לעוד פרקים של הפודקאסט לחצו על שם הפודקאסט למטה

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