Judge Dixie Howell-Hirsch’s lifelong association
with purebred dogs began with Irish and English Setters and her family’s interest in game
bird hunting while she was still a young girl in Idaho. Her father was involved
with Purina Mills in evaluating different formulas for Sporting and Working
dogs; she helped him keep records of feeding, training and activity levels of
these two hunting breeds. Later, the family began
traveling extensively during Mrs. Howell-Hirsch’s high school years and she
had to be content with a family pet rather than a field dog until she began
raising her own family a few years later. While married to her first husband, Dixie
began breeding Doberman Pinchers for the guard dog industry and Toy Poodles for
the society crowd; both breeds were quite sought after in the mid-1960's Divorce
and subsequent relocation and remarriage brought Mrs. Howell-Hirsch to the Irish
Wolfhound breed and lure coursing. Her success in breeding, showing, and
coursing since the late 1970's has garnered over 70 home-bred conformation
champions, over 35 coursing champions and motivated her to become a Lure Field
Trial Judge in 1978 for the American Sighthound Field Association. Her license
was grand-fathered into the AKC Lure Coursing program (1988) at that program’s
inception. Two of her home-bred hounds have the distinction of being the first
Irish Wolfhound to earn an AKC Field Champion title and the first bitch to earn
an AKC Dual Championship -- field and bench. Many others have subsequently
followed to Dual Championships.
Mrs. Howell-Hirsch was
1999-2000 Delegate to the AKC; became a Junior Showmanship judge; is symposium
speaker, author and lecturer on the Sighthound Conditioning for Coursing and
Conformation; author of numerous articles on Coursing and Conditioning for such
magazines as Dogs International. Mrs. Howell-Hirsch has produced top
winning sighthounds for exhibitors in many countries around the world, and bred,
owned and exhibited one of her hounds to 12 international titles in 9 countries
(besides the U.S.), who became the world’s most Internationally titled Irish
Wolfhound PLUS holding a lure coursing championship, and another home-bred hound
had 9 titles from 5 countries PLUS an AKC Dual Championship..
promotes a strong commitment to functionality in the sighthound and the duality
of purpose where the form follows the function in a natural evolution. It is
this commitment which motivated her in applying for a license to judge the
Sighthounds. Her more than 35 years of field experience, from the required
hands-on inspection process to the judging and scoring procedures, proves Mrs.
Howell-Hirsch to be eminently qualified in the field, and cognizant of
sighthound breed hunting styles. Her numerous assignments
as Sweepstakes judge for most of the sighthounds, sporting, terriers and working
breeds attests to her knowledge, experience and peer acceptance. She is
currently fully licensed to judge Basenjis, Borzoi, Irish Wolfhounds, Pharaoh
Hounds, Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Border Terriers, as well as Junior Showmanship,
and Provisional License will be applied for in Rottweilers, Bassets, Greyhounds,
Scottish Deerhounds, Whippets and Ibizan Hounds, for AKC sanctioned conformation
shows. Mrs. Howell-Hirsch is a recognized breeder-judge in all five of her
chosen licensed sighthound breeds and has the distinction of being
breeder-handler on her Champion Irish Wolfhounds, Borzoi, Basenjis,
Rhodesians and Border Terrier in three countries (US, Canada, Mexico). As such an authority, Mrs.
Howell-Hirsch judged at the 1999 World Show in Mexico City, along with 60 other
eminent International judges.
kennel, SUNSTAG, holds a registered kennel name with Canada (CKC Permanent), the
United States (AKC Renewable), and SUNSTAG is recognized world-wide as the prefix of
sound, functional sighthounds.
Just The Highlights
Update February 1997: Approved
to Judge Junior Showmanship
Update October 1998: Approved for Irish Wolfhounds,
Borzoi, and Border Terriers.
Successfully completed Borzoi and Irish Wolfhound Specialties
assignments in Neumunster, Germany.
Update May 1999: Judged for the World Show
in Mexico City with 60 other eminent International judges!
Update October 2001: Completed provisional
assignments in Irish Wolfhound, Borzoi and Border Terrier as
Breeder-Judge; applying for additional breeds.
Update May 2002: Additional breeds
(Basenji, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Pharaoh Hound) Provisional with
Breeder-Judge status for all.
2004: Began Mentoring Three Kennels: Azteca (Mexico), Rohan (Florida) and
Update December 2007: Completed provisional assignments. Future plans to
request additional Sighthound breeds.
Update June 2008: Two more home-bred hounds (Jazz & Lacey) complete their
AKC Championships within a week of each other!!
Update July 2008: Approved for Additional Breeds. New Application being
prepared for six more breeds.
Update December 2008: CH Sunstag D'Lacey was invited to and attended the
Eukanuba (Invitation Only) event in Long Beach, CA
Began mentorship of The Turrean Irish Wolfhounds Kennel, including
selection of foundation stock.
Update March-September 2009: Mentored The Paladin Irish Wolfhound Kennel
in their first successful litter, 10 healthy puppies.
Update September 2010: An addition to Sunstag family brings in an
extended gene pool!