The Wolfhounds in my life – 1970 onwards

Ch Solstrand Ex Gratia Mochras, dam of Ch Isadora in Black, winning open bitch at Crufts ( Peta Innes).

Above – our Ch Solstrand Ex Gratia Mochras ( Ch Mochras Ipse Facto ex Solstrand Babushka). ” Gracie” was a high quality bitch with a good front and beautiful head and coat. She died tragically young aged six from DCM, on a very hot day and with no warning we lost her within minutes.

Mochras Natalia – an exceptionally good moving wolfhound of great size and bone.

Natalia ( by Marumac Feril) won 2 CCs, and was my last hound from the line running back to Clonara Alia. She died of osteocarcoma aged six. Her dam was the outstanding Ch Solstrand Isadora in Black, who was by Ch Shadow of Kilmara. “Dora” was our Ch Ex Gratia’s daughter.

Ch Mochras Banrion as a seven year old with her daughter Gaeltara in the background.

Going back rather further – this my first Champion, born 1973 by Ch Caio of Eaglescrag ex Buckhurst Theresa. She was bred to Ch Outhwaite Hamish to produce Mochras Gaeltara, who won two reserve ccs and in turn produced Nord Ch Mochras Valentinian to Ch Witchesbroom Wizard.

Valentinian ( Boy) was to become notorious later as one of the first carriers of Progressive Retinal Atrophy to be identified, there is a page on PRA in the Irish Wolfhound on this site. PRA was my first encounter with a serious inheritable disease and wolfhound breeders handled its appearance very responsibly.No DNA tests in those days, but  even without them we managed to minimise this disease by isolating the bloodlines which caused it, not breeding carriers together.

Ch Mochras Banrion, aged 18mths. From my first litter, Ch Caio of Eaglescrag ex Buckhurst Theresa. Sweet natured and an outstanding moving hound, dam of Gaeltara, died aged 9.

I was so fortunate to get “Rosie” in my first litter, she taught me a lot as far as looking at the whole picture was concerned. Her incisors werent perfect, she had a ring tail – and everything inbetween was so well made, producing wonderful flowing movement.

One Star and Ottaline in 2008

And this was the end of the line. One Star is seven ( 2012) and Ottaline died of a nasal tumour when she was four. Star was castrated as a result of anal adenosis, he and his brother Odin both handsome hounds who might well have been exhibited more widely in other hands. Star was best dog as a youngster at the IWS Open show. Odin became well known as a breed representative at ” Discover Dogs” for many years, John and Margaret Sherlock long time friends and wolfhound owners. The “O” litter was by Ch Cornovi Cassian ex Juxtalia Io, a descendant of Ch Mochras Ipse Facto. The ” Maxim” line was to come back to the UK unexpectedly in 2005 through his A.I. son Am Ch Carrickaneena Slieve Gullion ( Redemption).

Some of my earlier wolfhounds below, Tessa was the first.

Buckhurst Theresa ( born Jun 1970) with her grandchildren. Tessa lived to over 11, which was the norm for her family in those days.

In 1976 I purchased Eaglescrag Larkspur, Ch Lysander’s litter sister, as a puppy. “Lark” was a great little coursing bitch, did well at live coursing on hares which was allowed in her lifetime. She was runner up at the joint Saluki/ Wolfhound meet judged by the well known artist Michael Lyne, for instance. She was bred to Am Ch Seplecur Christian, son of two famous champions, before he was exported to help found the “Stoneybrook” kennel. Sadly this her only litter contained many health problems, which was an eye opener for me after healthy puppies from the Buckhurst family. OCD, HD, the healthiest puppy developed epilepsy aged six and my own lovely puppy was named “Vixen” as she was so aggressive even as a five week old puppy, driving her littermates away from food. The line was terminated, both Lark and her daughter died at what seemed to me then to be young ages ( 6 and 7) from cancer.Dealing with Vixen’s acute jealousy and rage when she was in the presence of other dogs was a full time job as she would attack with little warning, and this experience certainly crystalised my interest in mentally sound wolfhounds – like the ones I was used to up to this point.

Eaglescrag Larkspur, Ch Lysander's sister ( 1976)
Eaglescrag Larkspur, Ch Lysander’s sister ( 1976)

I went back to Buckhurst to purchase a puppy I had spotted when visiting the kennel. Buckhurst McCafferty was a huge male, heavily coated and with an attractive head. I liked his pedigree and I loved his character. “Mac” developed OCD lameness  ( osteochondritis dessicans) after scaling a gate and jumping down several feet. He was operated on at the Royal Vetinerary college and restored to complete soundness, winning a CC amongst his various awards, living to ten and a half with no problems.

Mac was used at stud and although I told breeders of his condition it didnt usually put them off. Slightly later on so many wolfhounds were lame with this problem that a genetic component had to be thought about. I dont remember Mac producing a puppy with OCD, but nowadays one wouldnt use an affected hound ( I hope !). Chs Clindhu and Caio of Eaglescrag had this condition, their breeder was originally open about this but later refused to speak on the subject. No blame could be attached, as it was seen to be something which could happen to growing youngsters and ” resting would cure it”. It was only in the late 70s that operations started to be done to cut away the irritating broken bits of cartilege which caused the lameness. Breeders changed direction after what seemed like an epidemic of OCD affected hounds, using males they knew were sound growing up ( one tell tale sign was seeing the dog in the ring as a youngster staying free moving, never lame, across a number of shows). Its one of the reasons I used Ch Witchesbroom Wizard for the “V” litter – but we moved into the path of another mutation, the newer one producing Progressive Retinal Atrophy ( q.v).