The "Official" Version
Dixie Howell-Hirschs lifelong association with
purebred dogs began with Irish Setters and her familys interest in
game bird hunting while she was still a young girl in Idaho. The
family began traveling extensively during Mrs.
Howell-Hirschs 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 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 60 home-bred
conformation champions, over 30 coursing champions and motivated her
to become a Lure Field Trial Judge in 1978 for the American
Sighthound Field Association. Her license was grandfathered into
the AKC Lure Coursing program (1988) at that programs
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
Mrs. Howell-Hirsch is a Charter member of the AKC Lure Coursing
Advisory Committee; National Chairman of the highly acclaimed AKC
National Lure Coursing Championship in 1995; founder of the South
Counties Irish Wolfhound Fanciers Society, a social organization
for the breed; member and Breed Referral Chairman for the
Inland Empire Hound Group Club, since 1984; member and Hospitality Chairman for the Irish Wolfhound
Association of the West Coast, 1994-95-96; 1999-2000 Delegate to
the AKC; Junior Showmanship judge; 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 worlds 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. She became an AKC licensed judge eventually and has judged Internationally.
Mrs. Howell-Hirsch 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 motivates her in applying for a license to judge
the twelve sighthounds. Her more than 30 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. 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 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 five of her chosen licensed sighthound breeds
and has the distinction of being breeder-handler on her Champion
Irish Wolfhounds, Borzoi, Basenjis and Rhodesians 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
a registered kennel name with Canada (CKC Permanent), the United States (AKC
Renewable), and is recognized world-wide as the prefix of sound, functional
sighthounds. In January 2011, AKC recognized and awarded Dixie Howell-Hirsch as
a Breeder of Merit.
The "Personal" Version
I was once asked how I had become interested in the
Irish Wolfhound. My answer is a long one so please bear with me.
My husband, Dick, was "City" raised (as in Manhattan, New York)
and had once had a Saint Bernard for a pet. His toddler memory of
that dog was of huge masses of hair and body and a wet chin. We
eventually moved to our five acre ranch in Southern California in
the late 60's and he commented that we now had the space for a
Saint Bernard or an Irish Wolfhound. To which I said: "Over
my dead body will you get a Saint into my house, but
what's an Irish Wolfhound?" A few months later I had my
first introduction to a magnificent male IW at a dog show. I was
In less than a year we had a couple of wonderful pet Irish
Wolfhounds and they brought such pleasure to all of us--we've 7
kids between us (6 boys and a girl), so there were lots of
people to be cuddled and cared for by our first hounds. We lost
Bonnie to a fall off the mountain; Clyde was inconsolable for
months. We did not then know of the bonds and attachments these
hounds make, our lifestyle had sped up and we just did not think
about getting Clyde a playmate...we were enough for him, I
believed. In retrospect, however, he was not his "old"
self after Bonnie's death. He was 7 when his frailties and spinal
paralysis necessitated that he be released to The Rainbow Bridge.
Now, we were inconsolable. Children were in high school or off to
colleges, Dick's job was as much social as it was work, my job
kept me on the road 4 days a week, so there simply was no time to
research for another hound. Finally, I discovered the Irish
Wolfhound Rescue Trust, thinking I might adopt an older hound and
not be "burdened" with puppyhood. I got on the list and
I waited... and I waited... and I waited. I can smile at my
frustrations now, but not then. Finally, I retired from the 8: to 5: workforce
and could concentrate on getting us a dog. When it seemed we would never get
a hound from the Trust, I called a number of breeders and got on
their puppy buyer lists. Lo and behold, a lady in Texas had a
nice show-quality male. But, I wanted a female, so I said,
"No, thank you, we'll wait for a female." Another
breeder called a couple of days later--she had a female puppy,
but it was show quality, was I interested. Hey! What did I know
about exhibiting? Absolutely nothing! But, what the heck, sure,
send her along...the check's in the mail. Puppy to be sent in a
Suddenly, things really started moving. Another breeder in
Arizona had a 16-week-old female--the stud fee puppy which she
had to relinquish, was I interested. What the heck, sure, we'll
be over next weekend. "Bring cash, we don't take
checks." So, okay. We got Numero Uno on 4th of July
weekend when the temperature was 110 in the shade...at 10 a.m. in
the morning!! That little love leaped into the backseat of our
Chrysler, curled up with her nose facing the air conditioner and
stayed that way until we got back to California. Another
"show quality" female. Hummm. What was I getting myself
We're still a week from getting our other 10-week-old female when
Dick says: "Call the lady in Texas and see if the male is
still available." Say what?!! That would make three... all
under 6 months old, and I had wanted an older hound so I did not
have to go through the puppy mess. Ah, well. So, I called; yes,
the male was still available and she could ship that weekend. I
sent check; he came, all 12-weeks of him. The next weekend the
other female came and, oh, I almost forgot this part. During all
these negotiations, Dick had seen an ad in a newspaper:
"Irish Wolfhound Puppies, $250 and up,.Six weeks old."
He said I should go look at them and find out what a $250 IW
looked like. Afterall, the three we had "in transit"
were certainly more expensive than that!
What to name them, hummm. Dick is a "punster" and he
kept giving me such awful, off-the-wall things which simply did
not fit the dignity of this breed. Then, he hit on it. Four
hounds, 2 males and 2 females--you bet we were crazy. I'd never
do it again that way. But, I digress. You know the Irish melody
called "How are Things in Glocca Morra"? Sing these
names to that tune: Howell, Tien-sen, Gloch and Moira? Ya dig it?
I loved it and all four of them!
Sadly, Gloch and Howie were neutered and re-homed after about two
years. Gloch made height, Howie did not; Gloch had no coat; Howie
was small-boned (he was our 250 dollar hound--oh, I forgot to
tell you--yeah, I bought one). Howie showed well as a youngster,
but Gloch never liked the ring. Moira became the world's most
multi-titled bitch; Tien became our foundation bitch. You can see
her picture on our Family
Tree along with her progeny, et al.
There is, of course, much more to the saga since our acquisition
and breeding of other Sighthounds, but I think I'll leave you
guessing. You'll have to call and get . . .
"the rest of the story" . . .
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 judging 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 in Long Beach
Began mentorship of The Turrean Irish Wolfhounds Kennel (California), including
selection of foundation stock.
Update March-September 2009: Mentored The Paladin Irish Wolfhound Kennel
(Idaho) in their first successful litter, 10 healthy puppies.
Update January 2011: Presented with AKC
Award Breeder of Merit for Exemplary Commitment as Breeder of the Irish
February 2021: Downsized from 4BR/3 Stories on 3 Acres, to a Tiny Cottage on 40 Acres...more for the hounds! Of Course!