Andrej Kerpan is very well known coursing judge from Slovenia. He is a member of the coursing committee in Slovenia. In this function, he has been one of the promoters of lure coursing in his country at it’s very start.
He successfully organized many international coursing events in Slovenia. During the last few years, he was officiated as a judge in more than 9 countries and was one of the judges invited to the European Lure Coursing 2015. He is also a show judge for group X.
When did you meet sighthound for the first time?
I still have vivid memory, when I saw an Irish Wolfhound for the first time. It was in my student years – early 90’s. I was traveling across Ireland so I had an opportunity to see Irish Wolfhounds there. It was love at the first sight. These amazing, huge dogs with the wonderful temperament, took my love for their breed in one moment.
Your first sighthound was an Irish Wolfhound – how you decided to finally choose Whippets?
After I moved to the center of the capital city of Slovenia – Ljubljana, I had a dilemma what to do. I was aware, the city center is not the best place to have Irish Wolfhounds. Simply is not fair to the dogs. I know that gentle giants as irish wolfhound are, could not enjoy in that environment at all.
So as a sighthound enthusiast, my choice was a whippet. Of course, it doesn’t matter Irish Wolfhound or whippet – both needs walks. We go to the countryside for a walk daily, but it is easier for me with whippets. And with whippets, we could have small walks to the city center too.
If you had to choose another breed (instead of IW and whippets) what sighthound would it be?
As sighthound enthusiast, I could say every breed has own pros and almost no cons. Every sighthound breed is special on it’s own way. If I had a possibility, ooh don’t even ask…
What do you like most in sighthounds?
Sighthound breeds have unique esthetic look and amazing possibility of their function to hunt. No matter of an exact breed, they have temperament almost like a cat, but they are still real dogs.
You are a coursing lover – what most do you like in this sport?
I simply enjoy to see dogs when they are in function and show their genes, what were like a breed to be in a way created by the human. From the beginning when I saw that amazing dog sport for the first time, it fascinated me. This speed, agility, enthusiasm of dogs and for me the most important “smile” of the sighthound at the finish, when the prey is caught. That is simply priceless.
What you like more – participating or judging?
Here I have to expand your question: judging, competing with my dogs, being a spectator or giving a seminar on lure coursing. All have own charms and advantages.
As a judge, I have the best place to see runs and I stay focused all the time during their runs. I’m just enjoying to see their performance and especially the eyes of the dogs – it is something special, to see their focus on the prey, from a close distance.
As a competitor, I don’t have so much time to see other runs, course. I need time to warm up the dog before and cool down after the run. But there is an extra excitement when you can see your own dog preparing for the run. But still, as I said before, most important is my dogs “smile” at the finish. I offer and give my dogs possibility to show genes and enjoy it.
As a spectator, I have a lot of time to talk with other coursing enthusiasts. I can watch all the runs, ok, not from as good position as judges have, but still. As a lecturer on lure coursing, when I’m giving the seminars around Europe, that is a different experience. Participants, they are all coursing enthusiasts, give me insight many times on new or different ways of coursing.
So, all that my involvement to the coursing, gives me many new informations. I just like to know more and I’m blessed to have so many different opportunities to see this wonderful sighthound sport called coursing.
What is harder – being coursing or show judge? What is the hardest or what is the easiest thing in those “jobs”?
Both have pros and cons. I enjoy judging Beauty & Performance events. One day I can see and review dog, from close distance and by hands. Next day I see that dog running and I can compare body structure with performance.
Coursing judging can be very boring sometimes, especially when some technical problems occurs and you are standing alone in the middle of the field in the nasty weather. But everything is forgotten when I see great dogs performance on the field.
Show judging is a nice job too, you have dogs in a ring and time for close examination (by hands too), not only from distance view, as a coursing judge. Sometimes dictating the descriptions for 70-80 of the same breed, can be a bit boring, but still every dog is unique. It’s possibility to make the unique description for each dog.
No matter if I’m coursing or show judge, I always look at the dog’s best things.
The biggest success, the happiest moment with your dogs?
I have happy moments with my dogs every day. I simply enjoy them and believe my dogs enjoy their life with me too. I can point out 1996 in Vienna, when my irish wolfhound – multi Ch. Meghan von den Sarrazenen – became a World Show Champion, out of 113 dogs. It was very emotional moment indeed. Year 2015, when my whippet female – multi Ch. Fierce Fireball Beakthru (Bilbi) won European Lure Coursing Champion title in Helsinki. I was crying for joy in Vienna and in Helsinki. Reminding those moments still makes me happy and excited.
How do you see yourself in next 10 years? Your plans, dreams, targets?
I always say, let’s see what life brings us in the future. I would like to enjoy dogs and try to understand them better. Meet other dog enthusiasts, share experience, have a great time with them all. I could easily say – to enjoy. I met so many wonderful people at the dog events, many of them are my great friends. I could even say, my best friends are from “dog world”.
Yes, that became my way of life and I like it.
Thank you very much for your time Andrej, see you on the field!
Photos: Максим Разинков, Juris Maurans, Markéta Sousedíková, Chartbeat