Interview to a Deerhounds breeder and judge: Björn Fritz (Fritzen's kennel)


by Sandra Zanolla - Italy


I had the luck to know Mr.Bjorn Fritz and Mr.Klaus Kruger, thanks to dear
friends Bitte and Pieri,who breed the deerhounds I had in my head, the Deerhounds of my dreams.
Mr. Bjorn Fritz is also a Sighthounds judge. He kindly gave me this interview.

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Why have you chosen this breed and how did  you approach and started in it?

We, Björn Fritz & Klaus Krüger, started almost at the same time with Deerhounds. Not knowing that we would one day breed these unique animals. My first Deerhound was Bedly of Baskerville. She was born 7th April 1982 her nickname was “Sally”, I got her from Jürgen Papenfuß & Jürgen Rösner. She became later the foundation bitch of the Deerhounds in the renowned kennel “von der Oelmühle”- because I was also a co-breeder in their kennel. Klaus first Deerhound “Maggie” (Magic-Melody born 23rd January 1985) was from the well known Dutch kennel “of the Funny Hill”. He got her from the Evertz family which had imported several Deerhounds and Irish Wolfhounds from that kennel.
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What does " Deerhound" mean for you?

Interesting question, - when I think back what other have said about the breed I would very much like to repeat their points of view. It is the most perfect creature of heaven. The breed is tall, elegant without being fragile, not aggressive, not smelly, not noisy, devoted to the owner and most of all a reliable companion.

How long have you bred Deerhounds?

Since January 1990.

What impresses you most when looking at a Deerhound?

The typical Deerhound at home is always friendly never hectic or noisy. And in the field an athlete with this look in his face “I enjoy live – I enjoy being with you”.

Have you ever bred a deerhound that you consider to be nearest to your ideal?

Anyone who answers this question with a yes is either ignorant or has not read the standard. I have seen superb examples of the breed, - such as Betsinda of Rotherwood, Ardkinglas Idol and her beautiful daughter Val, Rosslyn Carric and her son Killoeter Onich. A mixture of this lot would be perfect! The best Deerhounds we bred are from our point of view F. Dorian Gray and F. Kate.
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What are the best memories you have of this breed?

The best memories I have are from the time I lived in the United Kingdom. I met and became friends with the leading Deerhound and sight hound people. These are definitely my most positive and influential memories.

How many dogs do you have?

We have always between ten and fifteen dogs.

What are the principles you follow when planning a litter?

The dogs have to “fit”. This means that we would never breed two dogs that have the same fault. We are very lucky to know the background of our dogs more than well. We do like to choose a male where we know the background. Other breeders have shown us with their breeding results that going into lines where you have no knowledge of, can give you a rather different type of Deerhound. And sometimes that is not what the standard describes and is asking for.

What do you suggest is important  to look for choosing a puppy in a litter?
And at what age do you decide if a puppy has show potential or is just a pet?

We do not like to choose or make definite decisions before they are eight weeks old. Deerhounds do develop rather late. At six weeks they look all the same. We love broad well developed hind-quarters, low hocks, a long body, small ears, small feet and a dark eye.

What do you do to achieve the best physical and mental development for a Deerhound?

Deerhounds have to go every day for a walk. For puppies a big garden is lovely, they should know that a vacuum cleaner is not a monster. Also a radio with a good station (I mean with people speaking and different sounds of music is very helpful) We do believe that puppies should get as much exercise as they want and not as they are forced to get.

What is your breeding plan for the future?

This year we will use three different British males. Two living in the UK one is an import to Germany.

Who are the most influential Deerhounds among the dogs of the past and the present?

No doubt the Ardkinglas dogs have been most influential. Behind all present dogs is either Ardkinglas Inigo or from the present hounds Kilbourne Shamus a son of Rotherwood Brandon who is again also behind several other winning stock.

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What are the most serious faults in the breed today?

Well, where shall I start? Is it the breed or some breeders that try to create a different type…? A Deerhound should be in very good condition till he reaches a good age (above 10!). Many breeders do not care about the health of their hounds, so few are above five years in the kennels or in the show-ring. Talking about the breed-faults, - incorrect coats (no mane, no face furnishing), bad feet (to flat), poor angulations, etc. Of course it is not easy to breed superb examples of the breed but we all should at least try, I think some just put a Deerhound to another one and hope for the best…………

How much time do you spend daily with your dogs?

All the time that we do not have to work to earn money for keeping our beloved companions.

Where do your dogs live?

In the house, except for the very young ones. But they also come in when we are at home.
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Do you find shows useful, is showing for you a joy or a necessity for a breeder?

We enjoy shows and especially meeting all our “doggy” friends. Very few Deerhounds enjoy the show-ring. We do love huge competitions like the Breed Show or our annual specialty.

And how many shows do you think a deerhound can " tolerate" (or bear)

As I said a Deerhound is not a show-dog. Usually it is more the owner who loves to go all the time to dog-shows. Maybe they get compensation for what they do not get at home or at their work. It is not for their dogs, a Deerhound rather has a good walk or good run in the fields. Even with our top winning dogs we have never been to more then ten shows during a year.

Do you work with other breeders?

Yes, otherwise we would not be there where we are.

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