Saluki Breed Magazine - Showsight


SALUKI STANDARD: WHY IS IT BRIEF, WHAT DOES IT TELL US, AND HOW DO WE SEE ITS LANGUAGE REFLECTED IN PHOTOGRAPHS? W hy is it brief? It is brief because, in the 1920s, there were multiple types of Salukis being imported from a wide region of the world, from North Africa to the Middle East and surround- BY DIANE DIVIN

ing countries—a huge geographic area. In order to ensure that the 1923 British breed standard encompassed the various regional types of Salukis without competing minutia, its description cov- ered all the types of Salukis at that time, and so it was brief. The American Saluki standard duplicated this in 1927. Does this mean every Saluki you see today is correct, just a different type? No, of course not, but it does mean that it is impor- tant to educate ourselves if we want to understand what is cor- rect and what is not. The Saluki standard is the oldest unchanged Sighthound standard in America and the oldest unchanged Saluki standard in the English language. The Saluki, feathered or smooth, needs to remain in its original forms, which means it needs to remain an athletic dog that is a successful hunter—especially known for its long-distance hunt- ing capabilities at high speeds. Their origins, in hot to temperate climates and from sand to rocky hills and mountains, meant they had to be quite versatile—and the dogs that were the most success- ful hunters in each of these types of regions were the ones selected for breeding. If a hound could not contribute to the cooking pot, it was not part of the breed’s future. This basic wisdom resulted in a variety of regional types, but there is some definite consistency among these in structure. Let’s look at the picture described in words below as well as the photographs included here. What does the Saluki standard tell us? The word you find the most in the standard is “moderate.” Being a judge myself, I have discovered that different breeds use the word moderate to mean slightly different things, so we have to get past that conun- drum and see what the word means in Salukis. Usually, flashy dogs—those that immediately grab your eye in the ring—are not the moderate ones. Extreme specimens may have sweeping rear ends or a majestic and unnatural periscope of an upright head car- riage or Tremendous Reach And Drive (TRAD) or some other exaggeration. The next time you are watching Salukis, try focus- ing on those dogs that are moderate, balanced, without exaggera- tions—and have easy, light movement at a trotting pace.


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