Showsight July 2020


the ancestors of these dogs were brought to the islands by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians and, eventually, also the Romans. Illustrations of dogs similar in type are found in the graves of the Pharaohs and on objects in museums, so that the existence of this type of dog is recognized as early as 4000-3400 BC. In addi- tion to these three breeds, there are other similar style breeds: the Podenco Canario (from the Canary Islands); and Podenco Anda- luz, as well as the larger Portuguese Podengo, Medio (medium) and Grande (large) varieties. Known as the Kelb tal-Fenek (rabbit dog) in its native Malta and Gozo (part of the Maltese archipelago), the Pharaoh Hound is thought to have had its origin in ancient Egypt. However, a 2004 genome study of dog breeds reveals it to be of more recent development. These hounds are appreciated by Maltese farmers and hunters who preserve the breed so it may continue to hunt rabbits. Hunting is done in the twilight or early night with dis- covery by scent, barking to announce the find. This leads to a chase by sight until the rabbit holes up in the rocky terrain or rock walls. At that time, a belled-ferret is loosed into the rocks to flush the rabbit. Upon flushing, a Pharaoh Hound is close by to make the catch. Pharaoh Hounds were first brought to the UK and resulted in the first litter being whelped there in 1963, with later importa- tion to the US in 1967. The formation of the eventual parent club in the US in 1970 led to recognition of the breed as part of the Hound Group in 1984. The breed is active in ASFA and AKC lure coursing field trials, as well as National Open Field Coursing Association (NOFCA) hunts and, to a much lesser extent, LGRA and NOTRA races. The Pharaoh Hound of today, as seen in the show ring or coursing field, is little changed from its recent and current ances- try in the Maltese archipelago. The Maltese dogs tend to the smaller end of the height range of 21"–25" and do not display the sometimes-excessive rear angulation of some US and European specimens. It is noted that the Maltese farmers and hunters have little to no interest in exhibiting their Kelb tal-Fenek at shows, even when they are held in Valleta, Malta, several times a year. The Cirneco dell’Etna (Sicilian hound) has been present in Sicily since ancient times. Evidence of the presence of a Cirneco- type dog on the island is provided by its portrayal on coins, inci- sions and mosaics dating from several centuries B.C. Cirnechi (plural form of Cirneco) have historically been used as rabbit hunting dogs employing their senses of scent, hearing, and sight. They have a very keen sense of smell and are built for endurance in the harsh volcanic lava terrain surrounding Mount Etna, simi- lar regions of the island of Sicily, and rocky terrains. In the early part of the 20th century and following the First World War, breed numbers declined precipitously. Beginning in 1932, the dedicated efforts of veterinarian Dr. Maurizio Migneco and Baroness Agata Paterno Castello dei Duchi Carcaci saved the breed from extinction. The first breed standard was accepted by the Italian Kennel Club (ENCI) in 1939. It is obligatory for Cir- nechi to have passed a working trial in order to earn their breed championship in Italy. Cirnechi were first imported to the US in the mid-1990s and to the UK in 2001, with some importations continuing into the present time. The Cirneco dell’Etna entered the AKC Hound Group in 2015. Cirnechi compete in AKC and ASFA lure cours- ing field trials and, in extremely small numbers, in NOTRA and LGRA racing meets. The Sicilians have always bred small dogs for hunting purpos- es, frequently not bothering to register their purebred Cirnechi >

The Basenji has a long history in Africa, especially central Africa. Prehistoric cave paintings as far back as 6000 B.C. depict a pariah- type dog resembling today’s Basenji. also found within Group 5, but in Section 2 (Nordic Hunting Dogs). Interestingly, these last two breeds require passing working trials to attain breed championships in the Nordic countries. There are other hounds not recognized by either the AKC or FCI that still inhabit and work in various areas of the world, including Europe, the Middle East and the sub-continent of India. The Basenji has a long history in Africa, especially central Africa. Prehistoric cave paintings as far back as 6000 B.C. depict a pariah-type dog resembling today’s Basenji. Genetic analysis reveals that the pro- genitor breed branched off early on in dog history and are now indig- enous to the heavily forested areas of central Africa. One of the earliest arrivals of the breed to the US (via the UK) was in 1937. From that time on importations continued. However, beginning in 1990 a good number of the living Basenjis imported directly from Africa began to be registered with the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service (FSS). This included a 1978 import and, later, 1987 and 1988 imports from trips to Africa by four well-known Basenji enthusiasts/breeders. The Africa Stock Project was started in 1990 by the Basenji Club of America as a result of the 1987 and 1988 imports. Additional imports have contin- ued through 2016 (last publicly available record). These imports have contributed much needed breed-specific heterozygosity to the gene pool, including health benefits and the brindle color pattern. The Basenji we see in show rings today, as well as on the lure cours- ing field, hold closely in type to the African stock. There are small differences in style between the two, namely in the degree of curling of the tail and hooding of the ears. Since most of the Basenjis that course in lure field trials are also shown successfully, there is no discernible difference between dogs that show or course. The breed is still used in its native central African areas, hunting by scent and sight, in flushing game out of their hiding places and into the hunters’ waiting nets, and finding caches of eggs. That these same dogs are imported to the US and other countries and used in breeding programs is testament to the fact that the breed is little changed from its African brethren. The breed is active in AKC and American Sighthound Field Association (ASFA) lure coursing field trials and, to a much lesser extent, in Large Gazehound Racing Association (LGRA) meets of 200 yard straight runs and National Oval Track Racing Association (NOTRA) races. Similar in hunting and body styles, use of the senses, and hunt- ing abilities are three AKC-recognized breeds from Mediterranean islands: The Pharaoh Hound (Maltese archipelago); the Cirneco dell’Etna (Sicily); and the Ibizan Hound (Ibiza and Mallorca). None are silent on the hunt, giving their respective distinctive voices at dif- fering times during discovery or pursuit of rabbits. It was thought that


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