Dogs and handlers stand in the show ring at the
Afghan Hounds of America’s National Specialty Show in Greeley. (Photos by Terry Frei)
Victorias JP Pallasathena M-Topone, her work done
for the day, willingly stepped into the crate in handler Teri Tevlin’s huge Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van.
The 5-year-old black and silver Afghan Hound had
just been named the winner of the Best of Breed judging at the Afghan Hound Club of America’s National Specialty
Show on Thursday at Greeley’s Island Grove Park.
After nearly three hours of reviewing from judge Jay Hafford, his decision was sudden, leading
to hugs and congratulations for Tevlin from other handlers and show officials.
Victorias JP Pallasathena M-Topone with handler
“Pallas” just stood there, calm and unaffected.
A few minutes later, after guiding Pallas into the crate, Tevlin checked her cell phone —
were so numerous, she couldn’t even preview all of them with an aggressive scrolling. The news had traveled fast, in
part because Afghan Hound enthusiasts around the country watched the judging live on Facebook.
Tevlin shows “Pallas” for breeder/owner Shinobu
Iijima of Japan. The hound lives with Tevlin in East Hampton, Conn.
“She was bred and born in Japan and came here a year and a half ago for
me to show her and campaign,” Tevlin said. “She is probably the No. 2 Afghan in the country right now. She is
the epitome of an Afghan. She has the perfect form, the perfect shape and she just exudes the Afghan’s attitude. She’s
a little snotty but very silly and cuddly.
“I thought she’d have a chance because I drove two days out here. We don’t drive two days if
you don’t think so. I love her so much inside and out.”
Tevlin said that after Greeley, Pallas probably wouldn’t be shown again
until at least next month.
was a lot for her,” Tevlin said. “We’ll probably go out to some specialties in New York. I’m not sure
how long she’s going to stay, but I’m hoping through the end of the year and maybe Westminster again.”
Tevlin, a pharmacist for Anthem
by trade, said she had been involved in the dog-show world “my whole life. My dad was a Great Dane breeder and we’ve
been doing this my whole life.”
Victorias JP Pallasathena M-Topone runs with
handler Teri Tevlin.
The AHCA’s national specialty is essentially its annual national championship, wedged in among prestigious all-breed
shows, such as the Westminster Kennel Club Show in New York, the National Dog Show in Philadelphia and the Beverly Hills
Dog Show. It also serves as a five-day national convention of Afghan owners, since many come without having dogs entered to
attend meetings, awards and social functions. Because it has become increasingly expensive and more difficult to ship dogs
on commercial flights, show dog owners tend to pick their spots more so than in the past, and many drive to the sites in mobile
homes or oversized vans.
Thursday Best in Breed judging, the highlight of the show, produced was a bit of an upset, but only mildly so.
The most successful Afghan show dog in the country
now, Agha Djari’s Fifth Dimension of Sura, nicknamed “Finn,” was named the show’s “Select Dog,”
a runner-up that is cited as elite and is awarded points toward its Grand Championship.
Tevlin’s own dog, Kamy Heir to Poseidon of Spice Hill,
won the best veteran category and also veteran sweepstakes.
So it was a productive trip for her to Colorado for the national show, and it was both competitive
and social for the human attendees.
“It’s kind of just like a social group,” Tevlin said. “You can have motorcyclists or
people interested in certain breeds, it’s the same thing. It’s social. Some people don’t like each other,
some people do. But most of the time everybody gets along and we have fun.”
In Greeley, too.
Agha Djari’s Fifth Dimension of Sura, considered
the top Afghan hound show dog in the country, came to Greeley for the Afghan Hound Club of America’s National Specialty
Show. He won Best of Breed in Friday’s Denver Afghan Hound Club Specialty on the same site.
The Afghan specialty is just
part of what has become Greeley’s surprising prominence on the regional and even national dog show circuit. The Greeley
Kennel Club’s all-breed shows are considered the top shows in the Rocky Mountain region, and national specialties here
represent either Western or Midwestern gathering points, depending on perspective.
“This is a great, great venue,” said Russ Hastings, the AHCA’s
president. “I think everybody’s had a great time. We came to Greeley because alternating by years, we start on
the East Coast, then the middle of the country and then the West Coast. This was the year for the West, and the Denver Afghan
Hound Club stepped up and said they’d help us. So here we are.”
The 2019 Specialty will be in Virginia Beach, and the Afghan owners —
so often regional in orientation — will be getting back together.
“I think it’s first of all, love of the breed,” said Hastings.
“That’s what brings us all together initially. And then after that, you form friendships. It’s not just
the dog. You form friendships with people that were caused by the dogs. The national is a place where people come from all
over the world and they get together with friends they might see once a year. Everyone comes to the national to renew those
old acquaintances and just enjoy the camaraderie that comes with the interest in the breed.”
Agha Djari’s Fifth Dimension of Sura, or
“Finn,” got a bit of revenge at the same site Friday, being named Best of Breed in the Denver Afghan Hound Club
Specialty, a followup to the National Specialty that involved many of the same dogs. Thursday’s winner, Victorias
JP Pallasathena M-Topone, was named Best Opposite Sex.