And the Scottish Deerhound wins at the Garden!

February 15, 2011

Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d write: The Scottish Deerhound won Westminster tonight.

Okay, I know that there are ten million things wrong with dog shows, purebred dogs, and the whole genetic mess that is the world of the closed stud book.

I also know that popularity is a deadly curse for dog breeds.

But can we set that all aside for ten seconds, just long enough for me to scream: OMG! A Scottish Deerhound won Westminster!

I was once at a pet fair with a friend who was a hearing dog trainer, who was there to do a demonstration. I brought my beautiful Lillie with me — a conformation champion and my beloved companion who slept on the bed with me every night until she died at the age of 12.

And a woman with two children walked up to me and said, “That’s a face only a mother could love.”

It’s not the only time something like that’s happened to me, that some jerk felt the need to tell me that my sleek running machine was “bony” or that face with its melting eyes was “ugly.”

So like I said, I know all that other stuff is true. I really do. But would you just dance around the room yelling with me and Rawley tonight, because someone saw the beauty in this breed that I see every night when I go to sleep, and every morning when I open my eyes?

And please join me in sending congratulations to my friends Ceil and Scott Dove, who bred the lovely GCH Foxcliffe Hickory Wind and share their lives and 50-acre Virginia farm with her, and to her other owner, Sally Sweatt.

And hey, Gina… this, too:

Photo of Hickory courtesy of the Westminster Kennel Club.

Filed under: non-profits and charities — Christie Keith @ 10:29 pm


  1. Rawley is absolutely gorgeous. Honestly, I’ve never seen a dog like him before and am quite smitten. So glad his breed “represented” this go around. It woke a few people up…me included.

    Comment by Bonnie — February 15, 2011 @ 10:42 pm

  2. Congrats, Scottish Deerhound fans!

    Well, I tried.

    My flatcoat photos submitted to David Frei didn’t get picked for the Westminster KC opening collage of sporting dogs doing the job for which they were bred.

    OTOH, the pheasant being retrieved by the golden retriever on the intro was flushed by and retrieved by my FCR Pete the day before I made that golden photo.

    So FCRs do the work, Goldens get the glory.

    My photo gets national exposure, but I’m disappointed. Sigh…

    Comment by Patti S. — February 15, 2011 @ 11:36 pm

  3. Congrats! For you, Rawley, and your friends!

    Comment by Liz Palika — February 16, 2011 @ 12:01 am

  4. I was on the phone with the potential breeder of my next puppy (who will be Kaylee’s successor, if everything works out to my plans- his dam has several siblings working as SDs, including one with tasks nearly identical to what I am looking for.) and the high pitched squealing noise she make is completely unspellable. I was sure it was going to be the Peke! (And it may be a great Peke, but I still really do think show Pekes are hideous. THANK GOD.)

    It seems to me that also, Scottish Deerhound breeders are in a very good place to make sure they don’t have much of a downside from the potential wave of popularity, aren’t they?

    Comment by Cait — February 16, 2011 @ 2:44 am

  5. Congratulations – to you, Rawley, and your friends!

    Comment by Ingrid King — February 16, 2011 @ 4:39 am

  6. Yup – now you know how I felt that evening in 1999 when Kirby the Papillon took it all. Despite all that other stuff, it’s a heck of high when your breed takes the Garden!

    Comment by The OTHER Pat — February 16, 2011 @ 5:11 am

  7. Way to go, Hickory, Christie, and Deerhound owners everywhere! I completely understand the bursting pride. And also, to hell with what anyone else thinks of your dog. Some people will never get it.

    Comment by David S. Greene — February 16, 2011 @ 5:36 am

  8. Congratulations and dancing seems most appropriate! I thought she was an excellent choice and a really lovely girl.

    Comment by Janet Boss — February 16, 2011 @ 5:53 am

  9. As a dog breeder, do you realize how frustrating your comments are? That Deerhound was symmetry in motion – and that is a direct result of very careful breeding. That incredible movement is impossible without a breeder working towards incredible structure – which will result in a healthy, sound dog.

    Are there breeds with problems? Of course, but as someone who strives to breed Labrador Retrievers who are orthopedically, genetically, behaviourally sound dogs and more importantly, someone who strives to give families a healthy family pet, your denigrating of those of us who use conformation as one of our tools to ensure our dogs are healthy specimens of the breed was disappointing.

    Breeders are dog lovers too. Most of us have rescues in our homes along side our ‘bred’ dogs. We too read your blog. To be dismissed is disappointing.

    Comment by Leslie K. — February 16, 2011 @ 6:06 am

  10. What an incredible win.

    I’m sure Hickory’s people are all over the moon! BTW, showing really is a small world – Sally owned and bred French Bulldog for many years, with Colette Seror-Secher. Colette also owned some of the first DDBs imported Stateside.

    Comment by Frogdogz — February 16, 2011 @ 6:41 am

  11. Now everyone will know why they are called Dear Hounds. I bet Rawley is full of himself this morning!

    Comment by Carol Lea Benjamin — February 16, 2011 @ 6:59 am

  12. I’m thrilled! And it’s so funny: I again picked the winner.

    I wasn’t watching last night — wasn’t feeling well and went to bed. But my neighbor, who has had top-winning Afghan hounds for decades — called to ask me who I thought would win a couple minutes after BIS judging started. I was half-asleep, and muttered, “The Deerhound.”

    Hadn’t seen any of the group winners at all … but, there you go. I can pick ’em, even when I haven’t seen ’em.

    And Christie, I hope you told that woman her kids were ugly, too. I wouldn’t worry about the popularity rise for the breed: They’re just too darn big for most people to consider, although I sure have learned to love them since you and I became friends.

    Cool picture, Patti … although Pete would have been a more “real” selection, since I doubt that golden got much beyond the club “field fun day.”

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — February 16, 2011 @ 7:01 am

  13. Amazing to see! I, too, never thought I’d see the day this gentle giant would be on that podium… Great breed! I thought immediately of you, Christie! :-)

    Comment by Dr. Robin — February 16, 2011 @ 7:09 am

  14. Congratulations, Christie and all of the Scottish Deerhounds out there!

    Perhaps we can go in the lab and work on a toy version? I mean, they think they are lapdogs already…

    Comment by Dr. Tony Johnson — February 16, 2011 @ 7:13 am

  15. Congratulations, hound and deerhound lovers! It’s fun to see a hound on the podium again after Uno the beagle did it. Hooray for hounds!

    Comment by Glenye Oakford — February 16, 2011 @ 7:17 am

  16. I loved it. I’ve met several deerhounds and always been impressed by their sweet natures. I hadn’t noticed just how light on their feet they are until I saw Hickory float around the ring. Good dog!

    Comment by schnauzer — February 16, 2011 @ 7:25 am

  17. Christie, I was laughing last night to myself as I went to bed wondering what your first words would be when you saw the win. It’s a wonderful win and what a champion. Happy days.

    Comment by Laura B — February 16, 2011 @ 7:26 am

  18. I was rooting for the deerhound. One look at that peke should make anyone root for the deerhound.

    Comment by retrieverman — February 16, 2011 @ 7:32 am

  19. Pekes are really kinda cool dogs as individuals … but that can’t-breathe-moving-footstool thing has GOT to be changed. The breed once looked more like a Tibetan spaniel, which is to say, it was once a relatively normal, healthy DOG.

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — February 16, 2011 @ 8:25 am

  20. Nice piece in the NYT, with a PERFECT Quote:

    “Back up, people, this is a DEERHOUND!”


    Comment by Gina Spadafori — February 16, 2011 @ 8:47 am

  21. I’m not a NYT subscriber. What kinds of comments prompted THAT response?

    Comment by The OTHER Pat — February 16, 2011 @ 8:54 am

  22. Photographers were crowding her after the win, and Hickory hid her head behind her handler.

    She’s not a terrier, and that’s as it should be. :)

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — February 16, 2011 @ 9:09 am

  23. Anyone who thinks they are ugly is just not someone worth bothering to think about.

    Although if it helps, someone once said my flat-coat looked like a lawn dart.

    I’m hoping that the size of the Deerhound will really make people think twice and not cause a surge in popularity. Let them all go buy another Scottie.

    Comment by Alison — February 16, 2011 @ 9:21 am

  24. Hi there,

    I watched the crowning of the best in show last night and my very first thought was, “Christie must be thrilled!” I’m happy for Hickory and her humans, but I’m ecstatic for Christie!

    Comment by Dr. Nancy Kay — February 16, 2011 @ 9:30 am

  25. Comment by Alison — February 16, 2011 @ 9:21 am

    “Let them all go buy another Scottie.”

    Better yet, let’s hope they all go and do their homework and buy or adopt the pet that is best suited to share their life with them and not be swayed by popular fads or dog show wins.

    Comment by The OTHER Pat — February 16, 2011 @ 9:34 am

  26. I found it interesting what the judge answered when asked why he choose her. (For those who watched it on TV)

    He said she was the closest to old (100 or 150 years) pictures of the breed he had studied.

    I wonder if that is significant to others. I’m only superficially familiar w/ the breed, so don’t know if they have been less ‘altered’ compared to the Peke, Fox terrier, or some of the other smaller dogs (in shape, health, etc.). But I wonder if one can read into his choice a personal rejection of the extremes of the show ring since some of the other smaller dogs don’t look much like they did 100 years ago?

    Comment by Rachel — February 16, 2011 @ 9:42 am

  27. Harper and I were jumping up and down clapping. Well, I was clapping; her tail was wagging. And I feel for you. Some stupid jerk walked up to me once and said that Savanna (a brindle Greyhound) was the ugliest dog he’d ever seen. He’s lucky I didn’t kick him.

    Comment by Kim Thornton — February 16, 2011 @ 9:55 am

  28. Rachel, I missed that … makes a great choice even better. And I tell you what: I bet that dog can hunt!

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — February 16, 2011 @ 10:08 am

  29. And I also wonder if the Italian judge is going to be invited back. Per the NYTimes, maybe a bit more toned down than his spoken comments last night, “This one feels perfectly the standard in all the ways,” said Dondina, who is the first Italian to judge the top prize. “I am a hound person. I had Afghans, I had whippets, I had Irish wolfhounds. I never owned a deerhound. This is my dream.”

    I don’t follow the show ring, and am completely ignorant if they try to have a new judge for Westminster every year, but he strikes me as a little less self censoring/P.C. than we’re used to in the U.S. I wonder if his preference for hounds is going to rile all the breeders up.

    But I concur- I love that a beautiful, large and gentle souled dog won.

    Comment by Rachel — February 16, 2011 @ 10:39 am

  30. Well, of COURSE an ITALIAN judge rocks. :)

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — February 16, 2011 @ 10:40 am

  31. Oh- I should have seen that coming.

    I really enjoyed his frankness and seemingly easy going way.

    Comment by Rachel — February 16, 2011 @ 10:47 am

  32. My first thought upon hearing and seeing this was of Christie Keith and her “dear”hounds…and what would be written today…wonderful dogs. All the office has been curious to know more about deerhounds.

    Comment by mary francis — February 16, 2011 @ 3:33 pm

  33. Gina wrote: Well, of COURSE an ITALIAN judge rocks. :)

    ESPECIALLY if he is a HOUND MAN!

    Comment by Glenye Oakford — February 16, 2011 @ 5:41 pm

  34. Congratulations Christie ! Nice to see an under recognized breed win. BTW comment #9 is not me ! Changing my user name to original Leslie K.

    Comment by Leslie K — February 16, 2011 @ 7:57 pm

  35. Like most folks around here, I had one thought when I saw the news – here comes an issue of the Scottish Deerhound Connection!

    My breed of choice is the ACD – and I can totally understand your mixed feelings on the subject. I would be screaming it from the rooftops and very concerned all in the same moment. Like Deerhounds, ACDs are not for everyone…

    As for stranger introductions, I can only imagine the comments one would get walking around my town with a Deerhound. Two of my dogs are merle – you wouldn’t believe how many people apparently have never seen such a thing.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about them “taking off” however… I keep seeing comments everywhere about “Hickory the Irish Wolfhound.” :OP

    Comment by Kim — February 16, 2011 @ 9:14 pm

  36. We were doing the highland reel in the living room. Deer hounds, Wolf Hounds and Borzoi are the most elegant dogs. That fluid movement and those dark wells of soul that we call eyes. I love the deer and wolf hound fur – I love scruffy. Anyone tells me my dog is ugly, my reply would be – ‘have you looked in the mirror lately?’

    Comment by cheryl — February 16, 2011 @ 9:15 pm

  37. We get the ugly all the time…either you love our dogs, or you don’t. Some are simply majestic…the deerhound is also one of those I believe. Beautiful dog in my eyes!@

    Comment by Mary — February 17, 2011 @ 8:26 pm

  38. Just wanted to add that I’ve just found out that one of Hickory’s owners apparently is a whipper-in at the Old Dominion hunt in Virginia. That’s a pretty houndful life all the way around. Congrats again–and go, deerhounds!

    Comment by Glenye Oakford — February 18, 2011 @ 12:34 pm

  39. As an owner of an Irish Wolfhound, I am thrilled for Hi_kory’s win!!! (key for letter after b is not working…) She is beautiful and it is great to see her win! Yay!!!

    Comment by Debbie — February 18, 2011 @ 7:17 pm

  40. I agree with all above who say deerhounds and wolfhounds are beautiful!!! they are! they are so beautiful and fluid when they move, and their big beautiful eyes!!! hurray for the gentle giants!

    Comment by Debbie — February 18, 2011 @ 7:23 pm

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