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(With thanks and acknowledgement to the Henry Dietzgen Archives Collection)

Ruth Tongren ,Westminster 1960
(Judges Critique) Shirkhan Of Grandeur BOB/Ruth Tongren 1869 photo

I will readily admit that when I entered the ring at Westminster I was nervous. The exectant hush that lays over the vast auditorium produces a tension so eletric, so vital as to be almot tangible. Once the first class came in my composure returned. I remembered the pledge I had made to myself when I applied for my license. Never, under any circumstances to equivocate on so much as one plaing, for one dog, for any reason. This was Westminster, many eyes were on me -- there was a job of work to be done.

Since there are no puppies at the Garden, the first class was Bred By Exhibitor in which there was just one entry - the Murphy's Shamir Athos - a somewhat immature, but well coated black masked red, well-balanced, but needs growing up to hs size.

Next was American-Bred, several absentees, two dogs present. One a very pale cream, sparsley coated and light-boned, nice length of head, well chiselled on a neck of good proportion - not a great dog, but good type. The other a heavily coated brindle, short on neck and overly long in body, moving poorly behind. They were in this order and as placed. Hexahoni of Khaatzman and Tarylane's Mr Wonderful.

In the Open Class there were nine present representing some nice quality and an interestinjg assortment of colors. Outstanding was Elfred's Tim Tam, a lovely black masked red, superbly handled by his breeder-owner Ellen Hoffman. A young, perfectly balanced Afghan, good length of head, shoulders well laid back, level top line, well angulated. I wud have liked to have seen him move faster, but he also shwed beautifully and with force. His coat was a true red of good texture.

Next was another red, Larchtree Of Grandeur, shown professionally by Dorothy Chenade. I have judged this dog before. He is well put together, very gay one who standing still is easy to overlook but when in action is al style. Small, though, he too is balanced and moves with drive behind. Also good neck and strong shoulders

Third, a black fawn, much in type as the first dog - lovely head, front, balance. I like to see this dog really conditioned. His coat is unfinished. In general this dog in bloom would be a definate contender. This was Tokalon's Grand Salaam - owner handled by Carol Duffy.

Fourth - Lucver Nishan, handled by Mrs Culver, owner-breeder, who has the knack of bringing out the very best in the dog. A black masked fawn - nice quarters, well let-down, good drive behind - good shoulders and front. Poor top line and plain in head.

In this class were others who in different company will easily win points. A black and silver sho has a fault in common with too many othrs. A least 15 pounds overwight - to me a grevious fault in a coursing hound. Mrs Culver's dog is also guilty of this. The black and silver Afghan appears well coated of unimpressive size, good head. I did not care for his rear action, but this may be in part due to condition. This was Mazur Sharif Of Moornistan.

Sunny showed a spectacularly colored dog with a beautiful head - faulty quarters and lacking drop off croup. Winners Tim Tam, Reserve Larchtree

BITCHES; Bred by exhibitor - 3 entered, one absent. In first place I put a black masked silver, Branwen Kumari Of Grandeur, owned and handled by Cynthia Madigan. The bitch had a long fine head, good dark eye, proper neck and shoulder. Skimpy of coat, she moves with gaiety but lacking behind because of an over length of hock which turn in slightly.

Number 2, a brindle, Tarylan's My Fair Lady, litter sister to the second Am Bred Dog, Although superior to the male I found the same over-long back and weak hindquarters.

American Bred; 2 Entries the blue ribbon to owner-handler K O'Connel with blue brindle Esioc's El Soraya - nice short back, perfect tail set, forceful hind movement - a steep should which tends to make hr paddle in front. She is a trifle doggy in size and head.

Number 2 - a tri-color, Majara Mapuh Of Balkwood - very feminine, extremely fine in head, heavily coated, quite badly out in front and lacking proper angulation - beautiful markings though light-eyed.

Open Class; Eight into the ring. On the whole I found superior quality here overall compared to the males. I can safely say that almost everyone of these bitches can finish easily. It was hard to leave some out of the ribbons.

As they entered the ring one ws so outstanding I was reasonably sure that unless closer scrutiny uncovered a hidden flaw, I'd found my winners bitch. Careful examinatin discolosed no faults and I put her to one side to pick out my othr placements. This was Mirasia Of Moornistan, a sound gorgeous mover with great angulation, short back, perfect neck and shouklders, fine long chiseled head, beaituful flowing coat. To fault her is to quibble. Throughout her showing she was handled by her owner Dr William Moore with enviable grace and ease.

Number 2 Elfred's Princess, a litter sister to Tim Tam. Also handled by Mrs Hoffman. Very like him in type, a beauty in her own right. It takes a great one to beat her and it did. The description of Tim Tam fits her in part. Perhaps she is nos quite as good in head and a shade longer in body.

Number 3 The weeding out gets harder - so many excellent bitches but Mrs Culver Lucver Firishta in beautiful coat, exquisite head, deep angulation and good front was my choice here. She again is well over-weight, showing little animation, but movingh with ease and drive.

Number 4 Gloria Brittain's Das Es Salam's Nayiba - a red with shaded mask - a bit well boned bitch perhaps and a mite too much so, light in coat but sound in body. Great length of head, well-chiseled. She has that renowned "far-away" look a true Afghan expression.

Also ran were others of indisutable quality, one a rather small blck possessing an outstanding length of neck and beautiful lay back of shoulder, fine head - out of condition and rather shy. A black masked cream I had liked awfully well on previous judging, but who here was not in top condition and gave little of herself - Shown by Dorothy Cosko. Mrs Sinden showed a cream with the blackest of masks who also showed good quality. Most of these on a different day under other conditions might well beat the others. Winner Mirasia. Reserve Princess

My hardest decision of the day was selection of best of winners. I gave the nod to the bitch who posessed a bit more maturity and bloom

Of course the icing on the cake in any large show is the arrival of the Specials in the ring. A startling class of exciting colors ws this impressive array of Champions. Owners and dogs alike so stimulated by competition, on their toes and showing as champions should. To the owners and handlers go great credit for the impeccable condition of each and every one - 12 in all - 10 dogs 2 bitches, many group and Best In Show dogs in their own right - a beautiful sight to behold. A feeling of responsibility comes over a judge at this time - a determination not to be swayed by reputation or past records, by coat or glamour or gay showmanship alone.

After careful weighting the assets and faults of each - then of selecting those to be considered - several seperately and some together I could not refuse ch Shirkhan Of Grandeur who upon his fourth return to Westminster was still not to be denied. This is what I must say of him, that at 6 years of age he is in better condition than ever. Showing with superb fire, he and Sunny Shay as always working together with incomparabe teamwork - a lesson in showmanship.

Best of Opposite Sex to the beauteous Eljac's Dragon Lady, owner handled by Reigh Abrams - this is one of my favorite type of Afghans and one I found hard to fault. From her beautiful Rudiki-type head, perfect tail set, she epitomizes the Afghan. Her greatet enemy is herself with typical Afghan indifference gives little of herself - seemingly not to care for anyones opinion.

Again in the ring were many dogs hard to turn down - each deserving tribute. To Ch Hassen-Ben Of Moornistan - so impressive - a true showman of great style, bred, owned and handled by Dr Moore. I would like to see him with a little less weight and coat, which to me covers a fine sound dogh and hampers him in his gait and movement.

A nod to Ch Matara Meetab, owned by the Murphy's of Kansas City and magnificently presented by Jimmy Stewart.

Kay Finch's matchless handling of Ch Crown Crest Mr Universe, striking color and caot and good frnt. However I found him lacking behind and top line.

To Ch Golden Harvest, possessor of great elegance and true type who needs bloom but has a quality regrettably scarce in many today.

Joan Gleason. Ch Snow Khan Of Grandeur - again a real type, small but sound.

Ray Schmidt showed a well-matched brace of brindle bitches. Having shown a brace last year myself I know what fun it is and was delighted to have them in the ring.

Lastly please let me thank all who honored me by showing under me. It was an experience and opportunity most appreciated.


BOB Ch Shirkhan Of Grandeur, (Sunny Shay)
BOW Mirasia Of Moornistan, (Dr William Moore III)
BOS Eljac's Dragon Lady, (R Abram)
WD Elfred's Tim Tam, (Ellen Hoffman)
RWD Larchtree Of Grandeur, (Sunny Shay)
WB Mirasia Of Moornistan, (Dr William Moore III)
RWB Elfred's Princess, (Ellen Hoffman)

Ruth Tongren, 1960

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