Stud Dog of the Year Award 2008 for Top Honcho

The Irish Greyhound Review awards took place at Shelbourne Park in Dublin this week, and were presented by Martin Cullen, the Minister for Arts, Sports and Tourism.

Top Honcho was talk of the town as this great stud dog won the Stud Dog of the Year award yet again, for what is his seventh year in a row.

Top Honcho is owned by Michael and John Dunne, the Dunne brothers from Portlaoise in County Laois and they accepted the award in person from the minister. On the Irish Greyhound Review forums, one or two members are now claiming that surely this must make Top Honcho one of the greatest sire dogs worldwide.

One criticism of stud dog awards is that they are generally awarded on the basis of the number of champions sired by the stud dog over the course of one year. However, criticism is aimed at this ‘quantity over quality’ approach, especially in the aftermath of the recent BBC Kennel Club programme, stating that this sort of approach encourages commercial breeders – not so much a problem from the stud dog point of view but certainly from owners of bitches.

A solution is proposed that breed clubs should be basing their Stud Dog of the Year awards on other criteria, taking into account the number of puppies sired by the dog so that it is the percentage and therefore consistency of champions sired that matters from the number of litters. After all, a Stud Dog of the Year award only makes a stud dog more popular, increasing the usage and therefore the direction that the breed could take.

For a breeder to make an informed choice on a stud dog, figures that should be available – but are not – should include the number of litters, litter size (although many believe it is the bitch that determines this rather than the stud) and the number of champions bred from these.

Opponents to this argument do argue that the percentage then could be inaccurate based on how many puppies are not even shown and therefore not given the chance to become champions and so the debate continues.