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GÖRAN BODEGÅRD IN MEMORIAM

The allrounder judge Dr. Göran Bodegård died in his native Sweden in late March, shortly after his 80th birthday. He had been plagued by ill health for several years and underwent at least two very complicated surgeries for his back pain. 

Göran got his first dog, Mountebanks Sylvia, when he was only 13 years old. She was from one of the first Scottish Deerhound litters born in Sweden and became a champion, like several later imports from England and at least five dogs of his own breeding, out of the only Deerhound he had who ever produced puppies. However, although Göran always maintained a soft spot for the breed, he was unhappy with its lack of fertility and also felt that the Deerhounds he bred were not as good as he would have wanted, in spite of their success at the shows. He soon switched his attention to Greyhounds. 

Göran with the famous Deerhound breeder Anastasia Noble, Ardkinglas, in 1965.

The first Greyhound litters were bred jointly by Göran and me. We leased a bitch from the already famous Sobers kennel, now in Italy but then located outside Stockholm and owned by Bitte Ahrens' grandmother. The first litter, born in 1966, included the famous red bitch Int. Ch. Guld, dam of more than 20 champions, several of them in the U.S. Her daughter Int. & Eng. Ch. Black & White Lady was mainly shown by myself, but Göran and I co-bred a litter out of her: there were six champions, including Int. Ch. Piruett who won several BIS, one of them at the international show in Stockholm. Bred to Lady's litter brother she produced Göran's pride and joy, the great sire Int. Ch. Psykotic, who was also a BIS winner. A daughter of Piruett bred to Psykotic produced Ch. Markurell, whose son Ch. My Adventure (out of a Guld bitch) was not bred by Göran, although he was very much involved in the dog being exported to Gloria Reese. My Adventure was an influential sire and won a Greyhound Club of America specialty under Lee Canalizo in 1990.

The high quality of the breed in Scandinavia owes a lot to Göran's influence, especially through Guld. Fellow international judge and Greyhound breeder Espen Engh writes from Norway: "I know it sounds like a cliché, but for our breed here in Scandinavia, this really is the end of an era." A Guld daughter was the foundation brood bitch for Espen's famous Jet's kennel in the early '70s.

Int. Ch. Guld, bred by Göran Bodegård & Bo Bengtson, born 1966.

Guld’s granddaughter Int. Ch. Piruett, born 1972.

Göran's last Greyhound litter, born in 2011, had more than 70 lines to Guld in its extended pedigree. One of the champions in this litter, Am. Ch. Atlantic (owned by Maureen Lucas and sired by one of her Lochinvar champions) was Winners Dog at the Greyhound Club of America specialty 2013 under judge Desi Murphy.

Incidentally, none of the dogs that Göran bred ever had a kennel prefix. We discussed his decision not to use one many times. It makes tracking his breeding program more difficult but was one of many small idosyncracies that you came to associate with Göran. Since most of the litters were co-bred by him with others, they could not have a kennel name anyway, according to Swedish KC rules. To add to the confusion, several of the dogs mentioned above that he was involved in (but did not breed) carried prefixes later in life — Gulds, Honey Classic, etc. — that were not initially part of their names.

As Göran lived in the city of Stockholm, keeping dogs at home and breeding the occasional litter was always a problem and one reason that he soon turned to judging. From being a Sighthound specialist he graduated to become one of the top allrounder judges, approved for all FCI breeds. He judged the top shows in Scandinavia, including BIS at the famous Skokloster Sighthound show and at the Swedish KC's large international show in Stockholm. He judged regularly in Great Britain, awarding CCs for the first time at Birmingham in 1970 to Whippets and Italian Greyhounds. Many more UK assignments followed, including several at Crufts: I remember him judging Deerhounds there in 2008 and Whippet males in 2018 — the entry was so big that they needed a separate judge for the bitches. (He told me afterwards that he was already in great pain and under the influence of heavy painkillers during much of that assignment, but you just don't cancel a Crufts assignment …) 

Göran Bodegård with Ch. Fridolin in the early 1980s.
 
Göran judged at Santa Barbara KC in the "good old days" — in 1987 he had what may have been a record entry of 79 Greyhounds and 81 Irish Wolfhounds. He came back to judge the Greyhound Club of America specialty twice: in 1991 he awarded BOB to the more than 6-year-old multiple BIS winner Ch. Wilrick's L'Elegante, and ten years later his BOB winner was Ch. Greycott Happy Times. On that occasion he also judged Whippets the day after the specialty; his BOB winner was the young Ch. Starline's Claim To Fame ("Brie"), who went on to win the Group and her first — and her handler Mary Dukes' — first BIS. When he judged the Irish Wolfhound Club of America national specialty in 2003, his BOB winner was Linda and Jamie Souza's Ch. Oxmoon Brogan of Limerick, handled by Jamie.

Göran was a member of the Central Committee of the Swedish Kennel Club and president of the Swedish Greyhound Club. Outside of dogs he was nationally known as a pediatrician, psychoanalyst and child psychiatrist, involved in research and clinical work with seriously ill and disturbed refugee children from the former Soviet Republic.

I have known Göran since 1963; he was my oldest friend in dogs. He was just a little older but much more experienced in the ways of the world. Not always an easy person to be friends with, Göran was described by someone as a mixture of "genius and crazy," which pretty much sums him up. Since I moved to the U.S. I didn't see Göran as often as before, although we stayed in touch via email. When I saw him last summer at a show we both judged at in Norway he had difficulty walking but nevertheless fulfilled his assignment with his usual spirit (and he somehow persuaded the organizers to serve him breakfast in the ring, before judging!. We were meant to meet again at the Stockholm show in December, but it was not to be. I will miss Göran a lot; he leaves a big void, as only someone you have known most of your life can do.

- Bo Bengtson

Ch. Atlantic, Winners Dog at the Greyhound Club of America 2013 under judge Desi Murphy. 

 

Quotes by Göran: 

" Only by exhibiting good animals is a judge given a chance to perform and to develop his knowledge. Breeders have the main responsibility for the development of a breed …"

 

"If a fault crops up, there is usually a tendency to try to find where it originated (and blame some particular dog and its breeder). This is unavoidable and contains a seed for impovement, since if you can understand how this fault is inherited, then you know how to breed away from it. One should remember that breeding dogs is always full of calculated risks, and the more of a gambler you are, the more you may lose."

 

"When studying a pedigree and planning for the future, it is good to remember that bitches are more 'honest' in that they show more of their genetic makeup than a male (who may be beautiful due to its anabolic steroids). The bitches must have quality — if that is gone your family is useless. Males with quality bitches in their pedigree may very well 'hide' the qualtiy and be very useful, particularly to strengthen that specific bitch line. A common-looking male may be a genetic nugget - a common-looking bitch, never."

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