Eric Steele 2017 Morning Specialty Critique

Thank you to the Northern Cascade Saluki Fanciers for inviting me to judge their specialty show. I’d not spent much time in the Pacific Northwest — and was expecting cool weather — not record setting heat and smoke filled skies from forest fires in British Columbia! The salukis did not seem much bothered by this!

Overall, I was most impressed by the fitness of the entries. I believe very strongly in the elusive mix of elegance and athleticism, the power of a hunter combined with the air of effortlessness.

As a breeder, I feel compelled now, after having judged at several significant specialties across the US in a relatively short span, to comment on one thing I find at least potentially alarming: hard nobs or kinks at the end of tails. In all the time I’ve been in salukis I’ve never known this to be a problem. Of course I have seen gay tails and unusual tail sets, but this is something
new to me. Does it matter? One cannot see it just by looking. It doesn’t seem to affect movement, at least not at the gait and speed needed in the show ring. Perhaps it doesn’t bother some judges — but it should bother breeders. It doesn’t feel right. And it’s a structural abnormality — and I’d be interested to see if there is a genetic component, a breeding source. The tail is part of the spinal structure of the dog, not to be overlooked simply because a dog might otherwise perform well in the ring — and I am raising a flag of concern.

Best of Winners Best Opposite AM

2017 AM Best of Winners / Best Opposite Sex – Sadik RFR Catch A Breeze

WINNERS DOG – SADIK RFR CATCH A BREEZE: I selected a very handsome parti. He had a very masculine outline, stood over his ground, and a clean topline, nice headpiece and far seeing eyes that drew me in instantly. He was in excellent condition and moved with grace and economy. He might be just on the edge of being a little too much dog — but on the day he was a standout. He was definitely typey — and the only one of his kind.

Best of Winners Best Puppy AM

2017 AM Reserve Winner’s Dog / Best Puppy – Kushiel’s Freespirit Midnight Masquerade

RESERVE WINNERS DOG – KUSHIEL’S FREESPIRIT MIDNIGHT MASQUERADE: From the 6-9 month puppy class. A charming tri-color puppy who had a nice outline and moved well, especially for a youngster. I hope he develops a bit more rear musculature.

Winners Bitch Award of Merit AM

2017 AM Winner’s Bitch / Award of Merit – Can Ch Canapus Imperia

WINNERS BITCH – CANAPUS IMPERIA: I chose a very sweet black fringed fawn from the open class. She too was distinct in her type — one that I recognize and am admittedly drawn to. She had a nice head, dark eyes, well placed shoulders — though I might have wished she had a better front.

Reserve Winners Bitch AM

2017 AM Reserve Winner’s Bitch / Best Bred by Exhibitor

RESERVE WINNERS BITCH – SANTANA SIRIANNI COME MONDAY: A very nice smooth tri bitch — a real huntress. There is a lot to like about her — compact and powerful. I would have liked a softer flex at the pasterns and a smoother integration of the shoulder muscles into the whole. But I am sure she is a rabbit killer.

Best in Specialty Show AM

2017 AM Best in Specialty Show – GCH Kushiel’s to Solace My Heart, SC

BEST OF BREED – GCH KUSHIEL’S TO SOLACE MY HEART: I chose a very lovely black fringed dark fawn bitch. From the moment she entered she was a standout — and never put a wrong foot down. A lovely outline, clean topline matched with a curvy tuck up. Great shoulders, nicely laid back. And she raised herself especially when she was stacking on her own. She had a nice head and very expressive eyes and ears — almost flirty. She moved with cool confidence and refined carriage. I think she is real quality!

BEST OF WINNERS and BEST OF OPPOSITE SEX – SADIK RFR CATCH A BREEZE: To the Winners Dog. He was more impressive in the specials ring!

SELECT DOG – GCH SCIMITARS ARTIC HURRICANE: A nice red with light face and darker feathering. I liked many things about him — he stood over his ground and was in good condition. A bit straight in the pasterns.

Select Bitch AM

2017 AM Select Bitch – GCH Sirianni Scimitar Perfect Storm

SELECT BITCH – GCH SIRIANNI SCIMITAR PERFECT STORM: Seemed like a littermate to the Select Dog they were quite similar in many ways — beyond their coloring. I liked her head and expression considerably. What she lacked in comparison to the BOB was largely in her muscle tone and condition — and its
subsequent effect on her movement, which was clean and sound but not as effortless and commanding.

Award of Merit AM

2017 AM Award of Merit – Ch D’Ansor Dar Be’ance Al Sayad

AWARD OF MERIT – CH D’ANSOR DAR BE’ANCE AL SAYAD: I selected the Lure Coursing bitch — a tight, typey silvery smooth. I was impressed by her — and have no doubt she would excel in the field. In most ways she also maintained that elegance and type, a great topline and tight waist — though a bit straight in front and too developed at the shoulder.

AWARD OF MERIT – CANAPUS IMPERIA: also to the Winners Bitch.

Again, my thanks and appreciation for this opportunity.