We thought you’d like to know a little more about our judge!

Jay and his wife, Elin (Black North), got their first Deerhound, Am and Can CH Dalmahoy Highland Specter, from Keith Allen (Frieda Pilat’s first husband), in 1970. They then went on to get his brother, Am and Can CH Dalmahoy Teann As an Rathad, and then got CH Shona of Tir Nan Og from the Wades because she was causing a divorce (devoted to Charles and refused to acknowledge Kay). Elin claims that Shona never liked her, either, until Shona was pregnant with her litter. Shona, who was always handled by Jay, became a multiple group winner — winning her final group at age 9! — and went on to become their foundation bitch, producing a litter of 15 when bred to Dalmahoy’s Teann As An Rathad.  

(An aside for pedigree geeks: Shona’s sister Barra, when bred to the Brookman’s Warwolf of Moray, produced Tir Nan Og Bhumbls, who became a foundation of the Sellers’ Vale Vue kennels, as well as the dam of Gayleward’s Kay and Charles. )

In that litter Shona produced multiple champions, as well as Black North Pan, LCM, a great lure courser that was inducted into the ASFA Hall of Fame (there was no AKC coursing when Pan was running). Another daughter, Black North Rowena, produced for Shay Rhinelander Pibroch Ann Rob’rtson Foxmoor, who produced Gayleward’s Diplomat and Gayleward’s Embassador, the latter of which was exported to the Hawkes (Nelungaloo in Australia; Pibroch’s Angela Robertson and Pibroch Victoria of FItzhugh (owned by Margaret Sudekum); and the very famous Pyns and The Needle of Vale Vue. 

Also in Shona’s litter was CH The Spector of Black North, who was used at stud both by Brownlee McKee (Giullari), and whose descendants ended up being used by both Dee Adair (Xanadu) and Maurie Lewis (Highstone) in their lines; and by Susan Coons on her bitch Giullari Fiona. Jay and Elin took a puppy as a stud fee, CH Fang’s Wraith of Black North (otherwise known as Snags), who went on to win BOB at two national specialties — 1983, under sighthound specialist Bo Bengsten, and 1985, under British breeder Judge Phyllis Poynter-Wall (Melchior) — and countless groups, all handled by Jay. She also became the first Deerhound ever to place in the Hound Group at Westminster, when Jay steered her to a Group 2 in 1984 under esteemed judge Thelma Brown, only losing to the famous (and one of the most fabulous show dogs ever) English Foxhound, CH Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Winslow, who was piloted by professional handler George Alston. 

Snags, when bred to CH Ardkinglas Ides, produced CH Black North Flamethrower, who, when bred to CH Outer Island Thomas the Rimer, produced CH Black North Trouble, who was WB at the 1991 national specialty in Lexington, Kentucky, and went on to win an all-breed BIS handled by Elin. Trouble’s brother, Black North Ringo, was used by Lloyd Simmons (Lonnkyle). Through breedings done by friends Stan and Debbie Fisher (Outer Island) and Jeff and Miranda Levin (Wykagyl), this line continues today.

Jay’s history in Deerhounds also includes a lifetime of service to the SDCA. A 50-year member of the SDCA, he was on the show committee which put on the second independent national specialty in Greenfield, Mass., in 1977, where Anastasia Noble gave BOB to Barbara Birdsall’s Sutherland’s Amazing Grace. (Tasia’s next US judging assignment was in the early 1980’s, where she gave Kathy Lagatta’s Highstone Dalkeith Willow Best of Breed from the classes.) Jay also, along with Elin, was on the 1986 specialty show committee, held at UMASS in Amherst, Massachusetts. Jay judged at the first Basin Harbor Club specialty in 1995. He has served as SDCA president, on the board, and, presently, as SDCA delegate. 

While SDCA President, he was responsible for the SDCA becoming an AKC member club. Additionally, he and Stanley Fisher, who was the SDCA delegate at the time, accomplished an unheard-of thing; they argued that the parent club—the SDCA—alone owned the Scottish Deerhound standard, which the AKC wanted to reformat and standardize to suit the AKC. It not only benefited the SDCA but all the member parent breed clubs. Without that effort, the AKC could have changed our Deerhound (and every other) standard willy nilly as it suited the AKC judging department.

Jay, a member of the Westminster Kennel Club since 1985 (he has judged Wolfhounds and Deerhounds three times at WKC), also served his local all-breed club, the Cheshire Kennel Club, as its President, Show Chair, and AKC delegate (for years). He served on the AKC’s Board of Directors from 1992 to 1996. Presently, he is an AKC Trial Board member, appointed by the AKC Board of Directors. The AKC Trial Board handles appeals of individuals for misconduct at shows, general discipline, registration irregularities, and field events.  

BIS at the Deerhound Club Breed Show 2017 was Ch. Foxcliffe Classic Liberty Freedom to Beardswood, RBIS was Kilbourne Tyne

Jay has judged in the U.K. several times and is the only American to judge their Breed Show (their equivalent of our national specialty), which he did in both 1988 and 2017, one of the few judges to be asked to judge that show twice. He has judged many regional Irish Wolfhound specialties across the USA and Canada.

One of the most important parts of Jay and Elin’s Deerhound lives were their friendships with the Grande Dames of 20th century Deerhound breeders: Miss Noble (Ardkinglas) who was godmother to their son; Miss Hartley (Rotherwood); Miss Linton (Geltsdale); and Miss Bell (Enterkine). Early on in their Deerhound careers they made the first of what turned out to be many trips to the UK — to the Dava Meeting [hare coursing meeting for Deerhounds and Salukis on Dava More in the Scottish Highlands], to shows, or just to visit. They often went to visit Tasia Noble with the Fishers and/or Barbara Birdsall, and Tasia made a point of traveling with them on her many trips to SDCA National Specialties and coming home to New Hampshire afterwards, where many memorable visits with the New England crew took place before her death in 2000. These friendships were influential on the New England gene pool, as several dogs were brought over as a result, including the famous CH Ardkinglas Eunice as well as CH Ardkinglas Zelda, CH Ardkinglas Tango, CH Ardkinglas Nicholas, and CH Milnross Myrtle, as well as the aforementioned CH Ardkinglas Ides. 

Another pedigree tidbit: Jay took a liking to Ardkinglas Justina, who Tasia had said was only good for coursing, and encouraged Tasia to breed her. When bred to Inigo of Ardkinglas, Justina produced Zuleika, who not only was beautiful herself, finishing her UK championship, which was no mean feat back then, but arguably was one of the best-producing Deerhounds ever, producing Ardkinglas Idol, who many in the U.K. considered to be the best Deerhound of all time. Idol went on to produce littermates Ardkinglas Agag, a very successful (and still influential) stud dog, and Ardkinglas Azalia, who was Reserve in the Hound Group at Crufts in 1990 and produced the very influential N litter; as well as Ardkinglas Val, Top Show Dog in Scotland in 1987, who produced Ardkinglas Kipper, whose line still appears in Kay Barret’s Stranwith kennel. Idol also produced the very famous H litter — Hermes became an influential producer in Australia; Helen, whose line continues in the UK; British Champion Hadrian, and a bitch who unfortunately never produced but was considered one of the best Deerhounds ever, A. Henrietta.

But Zuleika wasn’t done! Idol’s litter sister Iona produced Ardkinglas Sam, who many consider to be one of the best and most influential stud dogs of all time in the breed. Zulieka also produced two dogs that were exported to the US: A. Nicholas, who produced for both owner Stan Fisher as well as Brownlee McKee, and Jay and Elin brought over Idol’s brother, the aforementioned A. Ides, who kept up the family tradition by finishing in five shows and producing Black North Flaming Pearl and the aforementioned Black North Flamethrower.

So the moral of that story is if you feel strongly about a friend’s dog, speak up!