Sulhamstead Kennels

Judging reports, etc. through the years. I have put in photographs of the hounds mentioned where they are available.

Irish Wolfhounds at the Ladies' Kennel Association Show, 1924


It was particularly interesting to the writer to see in the Daily Mail of April 28 a photograph of Mrs. Beynon with her Irish Wolfhound, Buller, who had successfully led two attacks on marauding lions, as it proves that to-day there is still a great opportunity for breeders of this fine hound. The breeder of the thoroughbred always keeps in his mind that the horses he breeds must prove their ability on the turf. The breeder of the champion beast at Smithfield thinks about the great honour when he is mating the parents - and I wonder if breeders of Irish Wolfhounds think of wolf when they are mating? The writer hopes to be able to take half a dozen of these noble hounds to Canada before many years pass, and have a real holiday hunting wolf, and it is with that object in view that he presumes to criticise the hounds at the above show.
Should space allow, I think that it would be of great value to the breeders of these hounds if they had a description of the wolf and his character. I do not think that a description given over a hundred years ago, when they knew something of wolf, can be improved upon, so I therefore quote it:-
"Tall, gaunt and grim, well knit in frame, all sinew, bone, and muscle, not an ounce of superfluous flesh on his carcase; his countenance is an epitome of villainy; cunning sharpens his nose, ferocity snarls his lip and threatens on his fangs, cowardice lurks in his restless eye, and suspicion in his pricked ear. Nor do these outward signs belie him, for cowardice, ferocity and cunning are mingled through his nature. Mark his stealthy pace; 'tis the silence of a murderer. His lithe spring tells of folds o'erleaped at midnight; his massive jaw has, among his bolder wintry troop, tonr the horses throat or the bull's broad dewlap. Examine him as you may, no redeeming feature will you find. Take him while a cup, rear him in kindness, he will sullenly suffer your care in infancy, and rend you in his strength. His very love is blood-stained, for the whole pack set on the favoured male and tear him to pieces. Has he run down an antlered prey, or, ghoul-like, violated a new sepulchre - he will gorge unto stupefaction; yet can his wiry strength endure through a week's hunger. In summer, while the forest and the mountain afford him food and shelter, he seldom ventures on the plain, or if 'with Tarquin-ravishing strides' he skulks towards the sleeping flock, there needs but the distant bark of the watchdog - nay, his own shadow - to scare the wretch back to his den. But when the winter's snow has driven him famishing from the woods, vainly is the armed brow of the bull bended to meet him; vainly the boar gashes at his side, or the sturdy dog grips him by the throat; on, on, on, rush the fell pack, blind to all dangers, reckless of wounds and of death; they drag down their noble foe, bury the yet living flesh in their insatrate maw, and dash on to new murders. War, pestilence, and famine are the wolf's purveyors. In war - leagued with the raven, the crow, and the vulture - he follows in the track of the armies; and often does the far sentinel of the outpost see him prowl about, or hear him crunching the mangled corpse. When famine and pestilence are abroad he becomes more daring as they advance. He boldly stalks through the streets, snatches the infant from the mother's dry bosom, drags the dead and dying indiscriminately from their deserted beds, and revels amidst the general doom. No wonder that man and beast should pursue him to extermination as the common foe. It frequently happens that cattle discover him away from the mountain fastnesses during the summer; they then form a large circle around him, while they gradually contract until every horn of the drove has staked him to the earth. The horse pursues him and tramples on him; the boar drives him from his path; but the dog is his most implacable enemy. The latter will follow his long gallop for miles nor pauses in the chase until exhausted. If the wolf is overtaken - and it is only with the best of hounds that this happens - the wolf struggles desperately, but in silence, and dies, as he has lived, a sullen savage."
This graphic description of the wolf needs no embellishment, but I should think that the writer of that article did not know that we should now have hounds that can pull a wolf down in a run. We have made tremendous improvement during the last twenty years as regards size, power, and soundness. Perhaps a general criticism of the breed may be that the heads are too much like a Great Dane. The Irish Wolfhound Club standard calls for a long, level head, not too broad over forehead; and that standard is absolutely correct, as without the length of muzzle I contend that a hound cannot get sufficiently deep into the throat of the wolf to enable him to puncture the jugular vein. Do not forget that wolves are not killed by tickling their throat, but by drawing their life's blood. To enable a hound to get to close quarters he must be built to gallop and stay the course and must be as fit as the wolf when the fight does start. It seems to me to be such a pity that many hounds to-day are shown fat - not fit. It ought to be a pleasure to give them sufficient exercise to keep them full of muscle and health, and then, given the right bodily formation, we are on the right track.

The hounds were judged by Mrs. Heywood, and she drew 69 entries, with the bitches out-numbering the dogs. It was difficult to followher placings at times, and she appeared to me to go for size more than type and soundness. I would again remind exhibitors that I am really criticising the hounds from their ability to work.
Of the 11 dogs, Ch. Felixstowe Kilshane and Courage of Grevel were absent, and the remainder were led by Felixstowe Kilcullen (1st, limit and open, K.C. challenge certificate [and, as this is his third he is now "Champion"], silver cup for best dog under two years, specials for best limit and open dog) a great shaggy gaunt hound, standing 38in. at the shoulder - what I should imagine the wolfhound was like some hundred years ago; great quality, and beautiful well-placed shoulders, deep through heart, nice legs and feet, head not as long as I like them, tail rather wispy. He is now nearly two years old, and I expect the next time I see him to be muscled up, as he must now be finished growing and galloping will not hurt him. From the point of view of hunting wolf I think he is too big, but he looks like galloping when trained. He should make a great hound by the end of the year. David, a big massive dog, good bone, with straight legs, not deep enough through heart, strong in skull, too short in muzzle, also shown too fat, which accentuates his massiveness. I cannot say I liked him, as in my opinion he has not the type of the Wolfhound, but rather that of a great massive rough-coated Dane.

Felixstowe Kilcullen   David
 Felixstowe Kilcullen  David

Comberford Mick, a nice dog, with good body, plenty of heart room (and it is essential), with a good well-arched loin. He is, however, weak below the knees and hocks, with the latter rather "cow"; nice length of head, good eyes, but owing to his legs I do not think he can stay, but can probably go fast. Patrick of Ifold, a young dog of good type, under 14 months, about 35in. at shoulder, real nice head and eyes, well-placed shoulders, good bone, rather weak behind the shoulders and in hocks; not muscled up. I consider that if he gets plenty of long, slow work, and develops strength and muscle, he will make one of the best. He might have been 2nd in limit and open and yet not had more than he deserved. Wolf of Ifold, a litter-brother to Patrick, much too good a 'doer', as I think he would be a nice compact, active dog if shown about 2lb. lighter in condition. He, too, has a well-placed shoulder, hardly long enough in neck, a shade straight in stifles, does not carry quite so much "character" (I wish I could put a definition of it on paper) in head as Patrick. At first sight in the ring I thought that Wolf was the better of the brothers, but on handling them side by side, as I had the privilege of doing after judging, I have no doubt Wolf has to give way. He, too, could have taken a higher place in the awards.

Patrick of Ifold  Patrick of Ifold 

Gabriel is a brother in blood to David, is built on similar lines, and carries many of the family characteristics. Cruachan of Ifold I rather liked as he appeared to be sound and active, but lacks any outstanding features that attract a judge at first sight. Fionn-Ma-Coull of Brabyns, taken bit by bit, seems all right, but as a whole is not symmetrical, and does not look like galloping.

Cruachan of Ifold   Fionn-mac-coull of Brabyns
 Cruachan of Ifold  Fionn-mac-Coull of Brabyns

Thirteen bitches were entered in the open class, of which Ch. Rachel, Lady Grevel of Grevel, and Modesty of Grevel were absent. The standard of the bitches right through was much higher than that of the dogs, but then in all kinds of stock it is easier to breed good females than males. Crewkerne Georgie (1st, open, K.C. challenge certificate, silver cup for best bitch under two years, and two specials) seemed to fill the judge's eye; she is a well-grown fawn bitch, nice bone, straight legs, really good feet, not in her best coat. I fear she would not go fast or stay, owing to weakness in loin and back. She is plain in head, but may improve as she is only 14 months. She was shown in too high condition. Comberford Brenda, a nice bitch in front, with good shoulders and heart room, nicely turned loin, but weak in joints and down on pasterns. Ch. Felixstowe Killcoo, it is my considered opinion that this bitch was the best Wolfhound at the show. A rare bitch, that I certainly cannot fault in legs or body, and the whole outline is most symmetrical. Her marvellous depth, beautiful loin, great hindquarters, good bone, and straight legs, strong lashing tail, and every leg in the right place, makes one feel that she would prove her worth in the tight corners. She would, no doubt, benefit from some fast work. To be hyper-critical, she is possibly a shade too broad across the forehead and a little full in cheek, without, however, having the slightest suspicion of 'domed' head.

Crewkerne Georgie   Felixstowe Killcoo
 Crewkerne Georgie
(owned by Mrs. Charles Southey)
at the L.K.A., May 1924
 Felixstowe Killcoo

Nessa of Brabyns should have taken higher place in my opinion; a nice typical good-bodied bitch, with a lot of attractive points. Rather looks as if she had rickets when young, head a shade plain, but fit and well; I should like her very much. Gwernfed Nadah, a very sweet, typical, sound little bitch of the right shape; her only fault is that there is not enough of her, and a trifle light in bone. She is a littersister to the winner. She can gallop to good purpose, as she has recently run down and killed two stags in her owner's park. She deserved a higher position in the placings on her type and soundness alone. Mavourneen of Stourton is a very tall bitch, built too much on the lines of a greyhound, plenty of scope about her, and I should think fast; she may when furnished make a good one. Morna of Brabyns I liked in many ways, as she gives the impression of speed, but somehow I do not consider her typical, as she resembles a Borzoi, and that impression is no doubt helped by a slightly Roman nose and a silky coat. Josephine I missed, so cannot criticise. Felixstowe Alana, a very nice bitch with a good body, a trifle plain in head and ears, and down on her pasterns; in good condition (she was shown much too light); she ought to do some winning yet; she was dull in coat and I wondered if she was "wormy". Jilldon is a nice little puppy, ten months old, rather too narrow in head and light in bone, but that can be corrected when mating her in due course. Sulhamstead Thelma is my own puppy, eight months old and pleases me. I must leave the criticism of her to someone else at a later date, but I doubt if there was a dog or bitch at the show that had the muscle she had. I might add that she has been systematically trained since she came to me at eight weeks of age.

Jilldon   Sulhamstead Thelma
 Jilldon, albeit at a much later age than at this show  Sulhamstead Thelma

It's the hind legs that propel the hound, and the great thing with the forelegs is to get out of the way of the hind action; for that reason I like the pads of the forefeet to be turned slightly inwards. I think that on the whole I could have found six that I would like to hunt wolf with, but I assuredly found few that I shall carry in my mind's eye when breeding the ones I want. Which were they, did you say? If you have not gathered the ones together, then write to me and I will tell you - in confidence.- J. NAGLE

Back to Page on Early Days at Sulhamstead

In The Field of January 29th, 1925 appeared a letter from Captain A.V. Shewell, headed IRISH WOLFHOUND TYPE:-
"I have been noticing with regret the recent tendency towards overweight in the breeding of Irish wolfhounds. The fact appears to have been almost lost sight of that the breed is essentially a sporting one. The wolfhound, although heavier than its cousin, the deerhound, should otherwise bear a close resemblance and on no account be as massive as a Great Dane. The results of recent shows make one speculate as to what would have been the fate of Champion Cotswold if bred a few years hence, unless this tendency to sacrifice type and soundness to size is checked. I trust that the approaching coursing meeting will do much to right this matter."

James Nagle replied to this as follows:
"Capt. A.V. Shewell in his letter to the Field of January 29th remarks on the tendency of the modern wolfhound towards overweight and mentions that recent winners on the bench are too heavy. He expressed the hope that the coursing meeting held for the breed would do much to rectify matters. I do not know if Capt. Shewell attended the meeting, but I can vouch for the fact that the actual winners of all the events were the heaviest that competed. In addition, these three winners were well-known bench winners. Capt. Shewell (and, indeed, all breeders) must not forget the fact that the wolfhound, after running down its natural quarry, has a fight at the end of the run, and need I point out the advantage that weight has in a fight? Champion Cotswold would still have been champion if bred and exhibited within the last few years, as we still have many judges in our breed who value 'type' before actual size, but I would point out that it is possible to have size, type and soundness combined. There is, in my opinion, a decided tendency at the present time to get away from the real wolfhound type, as many of the exhibits of the present day have too much of the appearance of the Borzoi and the flat sides that accompany that type of hound.
The Irish Wolfhound Coursing Club has a rule that any wolfhound which does not come up to the standard of the parent club (Irish Wolfhound Club) as regards height and weight, cannot compete at its meetings."

In February, 1925 James Nagle wrote in the Our Dogs column Wolfhound Whines (usually written by Isaac Everett of Felixstowe Kennels):

"The Editor has been kind enough to give me permission to use the "Whine" column for news of interest to Irish Wolfhound breeders and members of the Irish Wolfhound Coursing Club. The applications for nominations for the next coursing meeting, to be held in October, will close this week, and I hope to be able to give some surprising figures next week. The Amesbury cup, value 25 guineas, and given by the residents of Amesbury, will be for all-ages. The Stonehenge cup, also value 25 guineas, will be confined to puppies - that is, dogs and bitches whelped on or after January 1st, 1924. In addition to those two stakes, a plate confined to the beaten dogs in the Amesbury cup first round will be run for, and the value of the plate is 12 guineas. A similar piece of plate has been presented by Mrs. Southey for the Druid plate, for the puppies beaten in the first round of the Stonehenge cup. A third plate will be given for the dogs that were beaten in the second rounds of both cups, so that all dogs have a couple of chances of securing a piece of plate. The meeting will commence on Wednesday, October 20th, and will probably last three days. Let's hope the weather will be kinder than it was for the January meeting.
I hear that Mrs. Van der Leeuw of Holland has something out of the ordinary in a young dog, Caragh Chieftain, which at 9½ months stands 38in. at the shoulder! He must surely finish nearly 40in. and that is "some dog". His sister, I know, stood 33½ in. at the same age, and I suppose Mr. Everett will let us have a look at her during the summer shows. They were bred by Mr. and Mrs. J.H. Bruce Lockhart, Rugby, who, up to now, have not exhibited, but I hope will put Caragh on view at the club show.
The Coursing Club wants a few more members to make a hundred, and I shall be grateful to any member that will send me name and address of anyone interested in the sporting end of the breed."

On May 22nd, 1925 James Nagle wrote a report on the Bath show judged by Major Harding Cox:-
"The 245 entries were a compliment to the ex-Service men and to Major Harding Cox, who judged the breed for the first time in the capacity of a Club judge. The standard of hounds exhibited was high, many young and promising specimens making their first appearance at this show. Major Harding Cox was very methodical in making his placings, and the ringsiders could follow what he was doing.
One entry in Puppy Dogs, Sulhamstead Hooligan, ten month puppy, 35 in. on shoulder, good depth. Dogs - Junior: Connal of Brabyns, a fawn, nice front and quarters, lacks size. Thor of Ifold, dog with a good head; not quite in show condition. Courtesy of Grevel, a really good dog. Novice: Speenham Wolf, good legs and feet but untypical head. Cragwood Darragh, red fawn, little coursing head, but well showing. Graduate: Fionn-mac-Coul of Brabyns, sound dog but lacks size and quality. Gabriel, sound and heavy, not quite typical in head. Courage of Grevel, dog that never gets his merits, sound, nice bearing, great depths; I don't quite like his head, but I love his expression. Limit: the newcomers were Ch. Patrick of Ifold, Torna of Ifold, and Wolf of Ifold and they were placed in that order, with Fionn-mac-Coul. Patrick has good front and reach of neck, but is not quite typical in head, and is somewhat weak in back. Torna also has somewhat similar look in his face, and is not so good in front; and Wolf resembles his two brothers in type. The soundest of the four was Fionn-mac-Coul. Open: Ch. Felixstowe Kilshane is a dog of wonderful depth, beautiful head and dark eyes. King Shane, wonderful front, legs and feet, beautiful quarters and hocks. After a keen struggle King Shane of Brabyns won, thus annexing his second certificate.

Courtesy of Grevel   Courage of Grevel
 Courtesy of Grevel  Courage of Grevel
Torna of Ifold   Felixstowe Kilshane
 Torna of Ifold  Felixstowe Kilshane

Bitches - Puppies: Maga of Brabyns beat Sulhamstead Thelma. Junior: a sweet bitch of excellent type in Margot of Clonard won, her only fault is that she is too small. Clodagh of Ouborough, the LKA winner, a bitch of great freedom and size, stands 34in. and is just over a year. Graduate: Maureen of Ifold has good expression and coat, great substance, not in show form. Scacat, small typical bitch, with a very good movement. Special Limit: Crewkerne Georgie, good size, legs, feet, and rear quarters; fails in head. Open: the newcomers were Ch. Felixstowe Killcoo and Ch. Rachel. Rachel was lame, and her place was at home. Kilcoo, in rare form, after a struggle beat Thelma (note: presumably this should have read Clodagh since Thelma was beaten in Puppy) and won the certificate. Brace: Capt. Hudson. Team: Mrs. Barr's magnificent team of ten.

 Margot of Clonard  Clodagh of Ouborough
 Margot of Clonard  Clodagh of Ouborough in 1925

A Resume on Irish Wolfhounds

Irish Wolfhounds have in the last three years continued to make progress in spite of the fact that the economic slump has caused many fewer to be bred. Naturally this factor hits a big breed much harder as they are more expensive to rear and feed. It is perhaps a blessing in disguise for the breed as only the best are bred from and there is little temptation to take a litter from moderate specimens.
There is one point I think breeders can congratulate themselves upon and that is the general level of soundness in the breed. It was forcibly brought home to me after I had judged in America at the great Westminster show; there are many beautiful typical large hounds over there, but because judges have concentrated on size too much and have forgiven poor movement and cow hocks, there were not many that could hold their own in variety competition.
In the past few years here, Mr. Rank's Ch. Fethard of Ouborough and Ch. Cloghran of Ouborough have been best all breeds at Championship Shows several times and in 1938 the Ouborough hounds won best brace and best team all breeds at Cruft's, which is a very fine performance.
Sulhamstead Derrie and Sulhamstead Fella both won the Brewers Cup at Birmingham Championship Show for best Wolfhound, Greyhound, Borzoi or Deerhound, at 10 months old. Sulhamstead Fella won the National Puppy Stake (66 entries).
At Manchester Championship Show in 1937 Mr. Cuttle's Hawthorn Rusky won the Puppy and Novice Criterion, both open to all breeds.
I am stressing these wins because I think they are of great importance in showing that the standard of Wolfhounds is high if they stand up to the severe competition against the cream of other breeds. The faults of a big dog are plain and visible for anyone to see - they are magnified by the size of the animal - there is no concealment possible and if they are not good movers it can be detected in a second. In view of this I think we can be pleased with their show achievements.
Soundness and activity have been greatly helped and encouraged by the meetings of the Irish Wolfhound Coursing Club. In dogs Sulhamstead Finn has won 5 Open Stakes off the reel against all comers. Other good dogs are Ch. Faithful Grey, Jan MaCoul of Brabyns, Hugo of Pentavalon, Vaughan of Gammaton and Rippingdon Magnet. In bitches Wood Smoke and Banba of Brabyns are a fast pair and other good winners are Sgeolan of Ouborough and Sheila of Brabyns. There is no better cure for a nervous hound than a spell of coursing - I have known it work wonders.
It is to be hoped that entries will improve now that times are better. There are many promising young hounds in the country coming along.
The few that have been sold abroad in the last few years have done very well. Miss Croucher has heard good news of a bitch she sold to Holland which has become a champion there. Mrs. Hartland-Rowe sent a dog to Sweden that has done a lot of winning. I sent a brother to Sulhamstead Fella to Austria who has won a Challenge Certificate and I hope he has survived the recent happenings out there.
I do hope that breeders will remember to only send good and typical specimens to customers abroad. It does such a lot of good when the purchases turn out well and the recommendations given to friends will repay the seller handsomely.
I want to ask everybody who sells a puppy to try and persuade the new owner to become a Member of the Irish Wolfhound Club. The more members we have, the more shows can have classes for the breed guaranteed and more specials for novices given. If the sporting side appeals there are pleasant days in the country to be had at the meetings of the Irish Wolfhound Coursing Club, where the question of who has the fastest dog and best worker can be settled.

FLORENCE NAGLE, Hon. Secretary of the Irish Wolfhound Club
Annual Report 1935-6-7

Sulhamstead Finn   Woodsmoke
 Sulhamstead Finn  Woodsmoke
 Banba of Brabyns  Sgeolan of Ouborough
 Banba of Brabyns  Sgeolan of Ouborough

IWCA Specialty, 1959

How the Judge saw the 1959 Show, by MRS. FLORENCE NAGLE

I was very glad to have such a wonderful entry of Irish Wolfhounds to judge at Mr. Haskell's beautiful estate, Woodland Farm, Red Bank, N.J. It was the annual specialty show of the Irish Wolfhound Club of America and there were 63 hounds entered.
The early classes in dogs did not produce anything outstanding. They were large, a bit on the leg and inclined to have a roach back and mouths need watching.
The winner in open dogs (and winners dog) was Flynn of Ballygran, a typical hound with nice head and expression and a lot of quality; very thin and out of condition but he seemed to me the most correct in conformation and type. I see he came from Ireland. He certainly wanted some of the fat that was surplus on the other hounds.
In puppy bitches I had a very nice one in Liath Cailia of Ballylyke. She stood out for type and conformation and was much the best puppy of either sex.
Muirna of Killybracken won the bred by exhibitor bitches, a nice bitch with a good stifle and low-set hocks, inclined to be a little long in body but I gather she had not eaten for four days which would not help her.
The American bred bitch was won by Ludworth Tara, a very nice bitch, well muscled up and showed well; just marred by a very light eye.
Winners bitch was Cragwood Lovely Mary, well shown and put down, a bit out of coat and I should like more bend of stifle and angulation of hocks; small, well-carried ears and typical head.
The best Irish Wolfhound was Ch. Brogan of Hillaway, C.D., a huge, fine dog. He had the correct hound shape, and good conformation, very sound and moved well; nice type. His hocks lack angulation and he is a little heavily built for my taste; a few pounds less weight would improve him. He should make a good sire for bitches on the small side that need a dog with substance.
Best of opposite sex was Ch. Brickeen of Hillaway, a very nice bitch, good type and conformation, sound and very like her brother, Brogan.
I was amused to find I had got a brother and sister for my B.O.B. and B.O.S. The dog on the day was just the better mover but their owners could be very proud of both of them.
My stewards were wonderfully helpful and the exhibitors took my decisions, perhaps to them strange, with great patience and so I will ask a little more forbearance while I give you some advice.
The American hounds have great size and substance but for many of them a little slimming would be advantageous and the following points want watching:
Mouths needs attention. There is a tendency to roach backs; as a result of so much concentration on size, straight shoulders and stifles have crept in. It is essential to aim at depth of brisket, good stifles and low hocks with good angulation.
The three things to try for are type, conformation and soundness. When you get all those you will breed many winners.
When you have a good hound you want to put him down in the ring to the best advantage, hard and muscled up, the ears and neck tidied up - and don't leave a lot of hair falling about on the knuckles. It makes them look as if they have rickets.
My B.O.B and B.O.S., the brace and team were beautifully shown and I was struck dumb with amazement to see how they went around the ring trotting so well together and then stayed put standing when told to do so by their owner.
I had a wonderful time in America and my criticisms are meant to be helpful and come from 45 years' experience of breeding Irish Wolfhounds.
The stud dogs from your country have done great things over here and I hope the ones we have sent out will help you in the same way.

Published in Harp & Hound, Vo. X, No. 3, Summer 1959

 BoB & BOS IWCA Specialty 1959
 Ch. Brogan of Hillaway, BoB, and Ch. Brickeen of Hillaway, BOS

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