The AFGHAN HOUND (from the AHCA):
The Afghan Hound in History
An understanding of the early historical development of
the Afghan Hound will help us understand the dog itself.
The Afghan Hound evolved for a purpose. His structure not only reflects that purpose but also sets him apart from other sighthounds. He was required to be mentally independent, think on his own and act without human command. In his native lands of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India he, either singly or in packs, was the guardian of the native tribes, their villages and flocks. He killed their game, he protected, and sometimes herded, their sheep and goats.
He had to be structurally sound to survive in rugged, inhospitable areas with craggy extremes of terrain and massive temperature changes. Endurance and agility were absolute necessities for him. He didn't need the flat-out speed of the greyhound, instead requiring power and agility. Therefore he is square bodied, short loined, and has a broad, strong level topline, with a well set rear. Large thick feet were necessary for directional changes, speed and gripping power. His gaits reflect his purpose: the energy conserving reconnaissance trot used for hunting, patrolling and searching (probably slower than the gait you see in today's show ring), and the flat-out, ground covering, double suspension gallop so characteristic of all sighthounds.
His coat developed as an answer to the hostile conditions under which he lived. Long side and leg coat to protect from the bitter cold, short haired saddle and neck hair to help dissipate the heat in the searing summer months.
He developed as a rugged individualist, an athlete, and an independent thinker. He should be hard, agile, fit and trim. He looks at you and through you. He imparts a feeling of collected power, ready and able to spring. This is how he began and this is how he should be today.
The SALUKI (from the SCOA):
History of the Saluki--Its Origins
The Saluki is indisputably one of the oldest pure breeds of dog, dating back to about 5,000 BC, as evidenced by the records of early civilizations. The breed was held in great esteem and called "el hor" (The Noble) by the Arabs, and was also known as the Royal Dog of Egypt. The Saluki was the only dog allowed to sleep inside the Arab Sheikh's tent and in Egypt was often mummified like the Egyptian Pharaohs. Considered sacred, the Saluki was bred as carefully as the famous Arabian horses, with speed and
endurance in mind. The name Saluki is derived from Saluq, an ancient city in Arabia, but the breed is also sometimes known as "Tazi", the Persian word for "Arabian".
The SLOUGHI (from the SFAA):
The exact origins of the breed date too far back to be completely known and remain speculative. Representations of African Sighthound-like dogs go back to the 8th-7th millennium BC. and artifacts of Ancient Egypt show us how valuable straight eared and lop-eared smooth Sighthounds were in those days. The smooth lop-eared Sighthounds of ancient Egypt are thought to have originated from Asia (east of Egypt), but they were also part of tributes to the Pharaohs from Nubia (South of Egypt). This ancient hound resembles today's Sloughi, Saluki, Azawakh and smooth Afghan, and it is impossible without any genetic study to know whether it was a breed of its own, whether it was identical to one of these 4 breeds, or whether it was the ancestor of all lop-eared Sighthounds.
By the beginning of the 20th century, the Sloughi was almost extinct. Political upheavals had disrupted highly sophisticated breeding by leading families. A French law introduced during French occupation which prohibited hunting with Sighthounds had resulted in the shooting on sight of these dogs. Epidemic rabies had further decimated the Sloughi population. In spite of dedicated efforts which started at the end of the 1960ies in Europe, North Africa and the USA, the Sloughi is still not very common, and its breeders have an important responsibility in the conservation of this ancient breed.
The Sloughi's native countries are Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. It is the hound of the Berber and Bedouin who have always highly treasured the Sloughi's tremendous hunting skills, beauty and loyalty and treated him like family.
In the old days, the Sloughi used to hunt desert hare, fennec (desert fox), gazelle, large mountain gazelle, hyena, ostrich, and jackal. Today it hunts mainly desert hare, fennec, rarely gazelle, and protects the goat and sheep herds by hunting their predator the jackal. Like all Sighthounds, Sloughis are open space hunters which rely on excellent vision, speed and stamina to catch their prey. They chase on sight anything that moves, however far away. Although the breed hunts mainly by sight, it also relies on scent and sound to do so.
The Sloughi is also an alert watch dog, which remains aloof and cautious with people it does not know. Sloughis take time to warm up to strangers allowed to enter the house, and it is always best to let them do it at their own pace. With its owner the Sloughi is gentle, affectionate and very loyal. Once it has bonded with someone, the Sloughi does not always change owner with ease. Bedouins treasure this attitude and have bred their Sloughis accordingly.
The AZAWAKH (from the AAA):
The Azawakh is an ancient race of hounds indigenous to Africa's sub-Saharan Sahel, an area lying within the borders of present day Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso, where principally the Tuareg nomads raise them. Historically it was the Tuareg nobles who prided themselves on breeding the most perfect Azawakh, called "oskas" or "idi-idi", beautiful coursing hounds whose ownership inferred status and prestige upon their masters. Bred for millennia to guard, hunt, and to adorn, they continue to serve these purposes even in today's threatened Tuareg culture.
The Azawakh closely resemble the Middle Eastern Saluki and the North African Sloughi, but with basic and subtle differences. For example, the Azawakh's natural beauty is austere, angular and architectural, contrasting the arabesque loveliness of the Saluki or the rather somber dignity of the Sloughi. All are hunters, but the territorial instinct of the Azawakh is typically more pronounced. All three are almond eyed, lean, and graceful, but the Azawakh appears at once more sere, more attenuated, more feral. Especially aristocratic, they move with an almost feline grace; collected, elastic, articulate, their demeanor guarded and mysterious, their glance fierce, predatory.
The Azawakh are extremely alert and intelligent but their instinctive reactions to stimuli often underscore the reality of an aboriginal temperament. They are fiercely loyal, readily form an attachment to a single master and in their own home are independent, loving, and playful, though visitors usually remain under suspicion for quite some time. In unfamiliar situations or surroundings they may be reserved, avoidant, even unapproachable.