…. and some thoughts from the PBGV National Specialty

It’s May 1, which is National Purebred Dog Day!  This is an opportunity to celebrate all of the wonderful dog breeds that we have the opportunity to share our lives with. Choosing a purebred dog means having the ability to select for characteristics like size, coat type, and energy level that make it much more likely that you will find the right dog for your lifestyle. Preservation breeders work hard to produce puppies with the best possible structure, temperament, health, and longevity, all of which is much more difficult than it appears on the surface. 

I’ve owned purebred dogs of four different breeds and have worked with many others, but the breed that has always had my heart is the PBGV. I fell in love with these adorable (and very clever) hounds as a teenager and can’t imagine my life without them.  I still feel this way today, even though focusing on PBGVs has sometimes meant letting go of competition goals in sports like agility. It’s hard to accept that the breed you love most isn’t the best choice for the sport you love most, but no amount of training or conditioning can change the fact that my dogs are about 10 pounds heavier than the Shelties and Poodles that are most competitive in their jump height. That said, there is no dog I would rather be running than Spice and she has taken me places that I didn’t think were possible with a PBGV. 

Having a very rare breed also comes with some unique challenges.  For the most part, in the PBGV community, everyone knows everyone else.  This can make for really strong friendships and long term relationships that help improve the breed. It can also make it really hard to set boundaries and not tolerate abusive actions. Dog behavior makes much more sense to me than human behavior and this is an area I’m finding really difficult right now. 

This week I’m attending the PBGV National Specialty In St. Louis. We started the week with agility on Tuesday, scent work on Wednesday, followed by obedience, rally, and conformation for the rest of the week. Tomorrow and Tuesday are the national hunt tests and then we will head home. I brought a smaller group of dogs this year because the timing of the show wasn’t good for bringing the RV and all of the dogs. Muse, Gromit, Spice, and Ginny came to the show with me, representing three generations of my breeding program. They all had some nice runs in scent work and agility, but Ginny has been the star of the week so far. She’s almost 3, but I realized on the first night of the trip that she had never stayed in a hotel before.  Ginny can be a little soft at times, but has handled the trip with confidence and performed really well in all of the events. She was the first dog to qualify for triathlon (the rest of the pack are hoping the bunnies cooperate at the hunt) and I think she the only dog to qualify in all 8 runs at the agility trial. This trip has shown me that she really has what it takes to be a high level performance dog. 

A highlight of the week for me was that the club historian was able to attend with the breed archives. Looking back at the PBGVs of the 80s and 90s showed how far we have come in improving breed type and structure. A picture of an early obedience PBGV jumping 20 inches was also a good reminder of how much more accessible dog sports are than they used to be. On a personal level, I had fun locating pictures of the first five PBGVs than I owned among the archives. 

Today the hounds and I are relaxing and hoping for some fun hunting over the next couple days. Tally Ho!

CH Gebeba’s Adorable Dottie (1989-2002)

CH Dehra Sirene CD (1990-2005)

CH Gebeba’s E Street Shuffle VCD2 RN AXP AJP (1992-2008)

CH Bihar N’ Chouan Winsome CD NA NAJ CGC (1995-2007)

CH MACH ClancyBihar Eye of the Tiger CDX RAE (1998-2013)