Saluki Clubs join forces
During recent months an extremely worrying issue has caused the Saluki or Gazelle Hound Club and the Northern Saluki Club to join forces. Their concerns are based upon the belief that fringe breeders have introduced impure stock into the breed, which has culminated in the production of a colour that is not included in the Saluki Standard, is not accepted as correct in Salukis and was seen by the Bedouin, the original custodians of the breed, as a sign of impurity. That colour is brindle.
Following the AGM of the SGHC and the committee meeting that followed, it was agreed that immediate action should be taken. Having established a plan of action, a meeting was held at senior level at the Kennel Club, where the Breed Representative and Chairman of Committee were given leave to address those judging the breed in the form of a letter. At the AGM the membership had also agreed that moderation in the breed was being forgotten. It was decided that the brindle colouration as well as the move away from moderation in our hounds, are both areas where the functionality of the breed could be in jeopardy. Therefore the letter that is now being sent to those judging Salukis, at breed and group level, contains information stressing the importance and responsibility judges have in keeping our breed pure and able to function as a fast and enduring hunting dog.
It is understood that those judging Salukis will have knowledge of the Standard. However, many people have never seen a brindle Saluki. Therefore it was seen as appropriate to make judges aware of the possibility that they could come across an exhibit with this colouration and remind them that it is a serious fault and an indication of possible impurity. This colour pattern has actually been seen previously but was accepted as being introduced from a cross-breeding. Indeed it is thought that the brindle colour came into other breeds through cross-breeding with the Bulldog and that colour gene is carried forward through a continuation of that trait when crossing other hounds or lurchers with a Saluki. Unfortunately, the progeny could also carry characteristics such as round bone. This is totally unacceptable in the Saluki which has bladed bone. The latter provides strength with lesser weight and enables the breed to function at speed over great distances.
The two clubs are in the process of working with geneticists to produce a database of colour genes and coat patterns to provide a base of colours that have been evident in Salukis, in the UK, over many years. Once that has been achieved then scientific evidence can be produced of any impurities and decisions can be made about future registrations and how to retain the purity of our breed through the Breed Standard.
Tampering with colour and producing the extremes of conformation and function can only detract from what has been a successful hunter and companion for thousands of years. We must always remember that the Saluki is an original dog, not a man-made breed and it is the responsibility of Saluki breeders, owners, judges, and anyone associated with this wonderful breed, to ensure that this remains the case.
In response to the joint statement regarding the appearance of brindle in the UK and the threatened deviation from correct breed type, the clubs received a vote of ‘total support of and our thanks to the committees of both clubs for taking this bold and very necessary action to preserve the breed and for keeping faith with our original UK breeders and their Salukis. We as guardians of the breed should look to the past for our future,’ which was signed by the following: Mrs T. Abbott, Burydown Salukis, 60 years in the breed; Mrs A. Birrell, Tazi Salukis, 46 years in the breed; Mr P. Browning, Rabia Salukis, 48 years in the breed; Miss A. Chanter & Miss V. Davies, Chandav Salukis, 50 years in the breed; Mr H. & Mrs P. Kendall, Gulzar Salukis, 42 years in the breed; Mrs M. Knott, Telika Salukis, 40 years in the breed; Miss A. McIntosh, Cottonore Salukis, 38 years in the breed; Mrs C. Ormsby, Yazid Salukis, 44 years in the breed; Mr B. Pether, Askalam Salukis, 43 years in the breed and Mrs Z. Rawson, Mumtaz Salukis, 48 years in the breed.
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