GRAY SUMMIT, MO (KPLR) – Jocelyne Gagne made the journey from Canada to Gray Summit, Missouri this week to be around some gentle giants.
‘They`re gentle in stroke but fierce when provoked,’ says owner Jocelyne Gagne.
These hounds that will astound are the tallest breed recognized by the American Kennel Club.
Tuesday the canines were competing at Purina Farms.
‘Bennie is our big show man who was number one male in the country last year,’ says Eilleen Flanagan. ‘The two boys love going out to dog shows, they get to stay in the hotel room.’
They are the hotel room, especially when most wolfhounds stand 32 inches and weigh 120 pounds.
‘They’re giant but that’s okay too,’ says Linda Souza who came from California.
‘Is it the closest thing to owning a bear?’ asks Patrick Clark.
‘Yes, probably,’ laughs Souza. ‘Or a pony.’
This dog, not pony show is going on all week long in Gray Summit.
Owners and breeders are here from as far away as France to compete, compare notes and learn more about these sight dogs that hunt with their eyes, not their noses.
‘They are bred, the wolfhound in particular, was bred to take down historically they hunted both predators and large game,’ says Lloyd Simmons a judge at the event.
The big breed known to be owned by kings and queens has a loyal following, even though their lifespan isn’t the longest.
‘The average age is still between six and eight years of age,’ says Gagne. ‘Yeah, not very long is it? So we’re really trying to increase that and have lots more 10, 11 and 12 year olds around.’
The hounds are here in celebration of the 85th annual Irish wolfhound club of America national specialty.
In layman’s terms, it’s the most important dog show for your breed.
‘I’m the fourth generation in my family to have Irish wolfhounds and they’re part of you,’ says Flanagan. ‘They’re part of you like your other half.’
A much bigger other half, that’s as big as a wolf and can hunt one down too.