ABOUT THE SLOUGHI
This article was provided for our 2017 yearbook and is reproduced here by kind permission of Dr. Dominique de Caprona.
Dominique is an eminent authority on the breed having been a devoted owner of sloughis since 1962. Together with Dr. B Fritzsch she is the breeder of the Shi'Rayan Sloughis in the USA and their dogs have set milestones there.
She is also the author of two books about the breed.
SLOUGHI: A COMPREHENSIVE OWNER'S GUIDE
THE SLOUGHI 1852-1952
Four Sloughis with their masters, a tracking Braque and two tracking Rateros in Algeria, North Africa
(Rateros are a Podenco type, Braque a Pointer type) © Mangelsdorf
UNDERSTANDING THE SLOUGHI
By Dr. M.-Dominique de Caprona
This article was first published in Sighthound Review in the USA
It has been edited to reflect the UK side of the Sloughi history and standard
© de Caprona 2016
Bensekrane’s Saff, country of origin Algerian Sloughi © de Caprona
Endemic to North Africa, the Sloughi, besides being a national treasure for its countries of origin (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya) has had a long and detailed history in the Western world. Following are a few milestones.
In 1867 Eugène Gayot, citing the Baron de Noirmont, writes “....The North of Africa produces very tall sighthounds, usually fawn brindled and with short hair, named Sloughis in the Arabian language. In Algeria, the natives hunt wild boar, jackal, hartebeest and gazelle with them. These dogs, highly treasured and difficult to find when they are pure-bred, were well known and appreciated by our ancestors; in a letter written to Charles IX by Pierre Bon, consul of Marseille, one sees that the King of Algiers sends to this prince Barb horses, lions and fawn sighthounds....” Charles IX of France, of the Valois Dynasty, was King of France from 1560 to 1574 .
In 1852, the General Daumas wrote the historic description of the Algerian Sloughi in his book “The Horses of the Sahara”. Late 1800s and early 1900s, the Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian Sloughis inspire famous artists of the time; the sculptors Antoine-Louis Barye , Gaston d’Illiers, Alfred Dubuccand and Jules Edmond Mason; the glass maker René Jules Lalique; the painters Henri-Emilien Rousseau, Eugène Fromentin, Jean- Léon Gérome, Auguste Le Gras and others. Famous Italian and French writers Gabriele D’Annunzio, Alphonse Daudet and Joseph Kessel were also taken by the breed. Following the occupation by France of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, the Sloughi becomes a French sighthound by “right of conquest”.
In 1906, the Dutch artist Auguste Le Gras, who was the first to import Sloughis from Algeria and Tunisia to the Netherlands at the end of the 1800s, draws the ideal Sloughi. This drawing is still a reference to serious breeders and judges. The Sloughi was known and admired in France and other European countries long before the Saluki.
In Great Britain, it is probably through the descriptions of the various "oriental" Sighthounds by the Hon. Florence Amherst at the turn of the 20th century, that the dog fancy became aware of the group of various dog populations referred to as Slughi - colloquial arabic for "Sighthound". Among these various breeds she encountered during her travels, the author referred to one of them as the "Slughi of the Sahara", the breed we know today as the Sloughi. According to Hon. Florence Amherst, it seems that some of the first Sloughis were imported to England at the beginning of the 20th century by Mr.H.C.Brooke, and were bred by Captain J.P.T.Allen.
The Hon.Florence Amherst clearly considered these various populations of Slughi-Shami, Slughi-Yamani, Slughi-Omani, Slughi-Nejdi, Slughi of the Sahara to be distinct, relying on the Arabs themselves who considered these various group of dogs as different from one another. She also was quite against mixing these various populations, when she wrote "Though different types are found in the same localities, natives are very careful not to mix the breeds".
She concluded later on in the same text "It should be the object of all those who import the Greyhounds of the East and breed them in this country, to try to keep distinct the different varieties, which in many cases have been so carefully preserved in their own hands. The historic interest attached to each breed is alone a sufficient inducement to do so."
Unfortunately, this wise advice was ignored by some and after World War 2, the opinion developed in England that all of these distinct breeds were the one and same breed, namely the Saluki.
Mr. and Mrs Waters were writing in 1969, "today the Salukis of North Africa, Arabia, Syria, Persia and the steppes are all recognized as being of the same breed and of only two varieties, smooth coated and feathered." These authors also wrote that "officers of the French army returning from Algiers, where the French had been established for half a century, occasionally brought back with them Salukis bred in the Sahara desert". They ignored the fact that these dogs had always been smooth, and had always been referred to as Sloughis. At the same time the authors failed to acknowledge the development of the Sloughi breed in Holland at the turn of the 20th century, with Sloughis imported from Tunisia and Algeria. Later on Mrs. Hope Waters seems to have changed her mind about Sloughi and Saluki being the same breed.
In addition, in the translation of the famous book entitled "les Chevaux du Sahara et les Moeurs du Désert" of the General Daumas -The Horses of the Sahara and the Ways of the Desert- which described the Algerian Sloughis' importance in the Algerian society at the end of the 19th century, the word "Sloughi" in the original text was replaced by the word "Saluki" in the English version, adding to the confusion.
Whereas most of Europe agreed with Florence Amherst that the Sloughi of North Africa was a breed different from the Persian and Afghan Sighthounds, some of her own countrymen and women denied the importance of her keen observations, confusing the Sloughi with the smooth varieties of the Saluki and the Afghan hound. Thus was the long history of the Sloughi breed, its distinctive features and its well-established origin in the North African countries ignored.
After WW 2 and the interruption of all Sloughi breeding in Europe, followed by not even a handful of breeders in the 1960s, the early seventies witnessed the renaissance of the breed in Europe. It is also at that time that the FCI standard of the Sloughi, which the French had put together in the early 1900s after claiming the Sloughi, was given over to Morocco.
In the United Kingdom, the first Sloughis were imported from Sweden in 1972 and became the foundation of the Djaeser kennel of R. Morland Austin. They were International Ch. Serdouk, sand black mask, bred by Lieutenant Colonel J. Gaston, and the bitch Richa Talata, brindle, born 1964, by Saiyed out of Richa Etnen, bred by Mimoun Seliem Batna, Algeria. While these two Sloughis were in quarantine 4 puppies were born, the first Djaeser litter. It seems that Richa Talata had been bred to Shab Ben El Djaeser in Sweden prior to traveling.
In 1972, Mr. Nicholas Morland Austin (Djaeser) enabled the Kennel Club to accept the breed by providing proof of pure breeding of his Sloughis with registration papers from other registries recognized by the KC. The first Sloughi breed classes were held on April 13, 1974 at the Hunting dogs of Ancient Egypt open show. BOB and BOS were litter mates Djaeser Patchouli Etnen (red brindle) and Djaeser Magda Wahad (brindle).
The Sloughi Club was established in 1999 once it had the 25 members required by the KC. The Studbook, residing with the KC, was started earlier, in August of 1972. The KC has it owns standard of the breed
During all these years and until more recently, the Sloughi was met with a lot of skepticism and downright antagonism by a small faction of the Saluki Fancy- the misconception being that this breed is just another version of the Saluki. This attitude has considerably undermined the efforts of Sloughi owners, particularly in English Speaking countries. However, it seems that the new millennium has brought with it a more tolerant and knowledgeable attitude toward this breed, as open minded people exposed to these dogs see the differences. Dog Genetics’ recent DNA findings, by various scientists in different countries, have shown that the Sloughi has a clear genetic profile distinct from other dogs and other sighthound breeds.
Apart from its DNA, what are then the physical features that make a typical Sloughi? This article aims at illustrating the standard of the breed and describing correct Sloughi type. The new UKC standard is based on the FCI standard for the breed, established at the time the Fédération Cynologique Internationale was created in 1911. The modifications of the FCI standard for the UKC are cited in the text.
Before evaluating a Sloughi, it is important to understand the role of these Sighthounds in North Africa. The Sloughi there is an all-around working breed of sighthound, guarding dwellings, protecting herds of sheep and goats against jackal attacks, and hunting hare, jackal, gazelle, and boar. Guarding requires a keen sense of who is a stranger and who isn’t. This results in the Sloughi’s typical aloof and cautious reaction to strangers, including judges. It also results in a breed with high prey drive, solid structure and strong jaws.
The first impression one gets of a Sloughi is that of medium to large sized, lean, somewhat bony, squarely proportioned, proud and aloof sighthound, with a far looking gentle gaze - males impressive while elegant, females more refined and usually smaller.
Ideal Sloughi by Auguste Le Gras 1905
Apart from the lop ears that were imposed by the French on the breed in 1937, Auguste Le Gras’ drawing still represents most of the structural characteristics required of the Sloughi today. The artist captured the square proportions, the almost level topline from the base of the neck to the hips with a slight curve over the loin, the underline from a deep chest with long sternum, barely reaching the elbow, to a high tuck up. It shows the correct muscular shoulders, front legs, slope of bony hips, hind-legs and oval shaped feet. Angulations are typically moderate front and rear. The neck, the strong head with correct profile and slight stop are typical. The thin tail is carried with the correct upward curve, the curl varying among individuals from a tight curl to an open curl. Although a Sloughi in optimal physical condition shows muscular definition, it is always lean, and should not have bulging greyhound-like muscles. Males are often taller than females, their size ranging from 26-29 inches (66-72 cm) at the withers, whereas the females’ height ranges from 24-27 inches (61-68 cm). Bitches are allowed to be a bit longer in body than the dogs.
Seen from the front, the Sloughi should not appear barrel chested, the ribs are relatively flat and the last floating ribs slightly rounded. The chest is neither too wide nor too narrow.
Classic moderate Sloughia of recent African lineage (Algerian and Moroccan)
Correct head, front and rear. © Marieke Wegner (Germany),
Classic moderate Sloughis of recent African lineage (Tunisian, Algerian and Moroccan)
with correct silhouettes
Bitches are allowed a little additional length of body, as with other breeds too
Left © de Caprona, right © Marcus Arndt (Germany)
The Sloughi’s coat is always short, its skin very fine, close fitting to the body, without folds. There is a large variety of coat colors in the breed. To use the breed’s terminology, solid coats in all shades of dark mahogany fawn to light sand, with or without black markings such as dark overlay, black mantle, black ears, brindle, black mask are accepted. Although these coat colors exist in the country-of-origin Sloughis, liver mantle, liver brindle, liver mask, blue mantle, blue brindle, blue mask, white and black are not part of the current FCI standard and not cited in the AKC standard. Parti-colors were never part of any standard. Small white markings on tip of toes or on chest are usually tolerated, the ideal coat color being solid with no white markings.
Some of the Sloughi’s coat colors. “The Nap” Tempera by the author.
From left to right: red brindle/black mask, sand/black mantle, sand/black mask, sand, red sand/black mask,sand/brindle/black mask, sand/dark overlay/black mask
Male Sloughi showing the correct lean muscles of the breed
as well as a rare combination of most of the black markings of the breed: black mantle, brindle, black mask
© de Caprona
Variations of fawn, from mahogany red fawn to light sand © Chaouki (Finland)
Elegantin Magma and V’Hibba Shi’Rayan
On the move, the Sloughi appears effortless, feather light and covers ground without excessive reach and drive. His back stays level while he trots. The tail, with its typical upward curve, is to be carried no higher than the back, although the AKC standard accepts the upward curve reaching above the line of the back when the animal is excited. Puppies and Juniors are fleet of foot too.
Correct natural gait of the Sloughi, multi Ch. Malala Schuru-esch-Schams, FCI Eurosighthound 2016 © Kristina Kosmas
Sloughi Puppies are, from early on, sound movers.
The Sloughi’s head appears at first as relatively wide, particularly in males. This good width of skull is coupled with similar lengths of skull and muzzle, with a slight stop. Seen from the side, the head is longish, refined, delicate but rather strong. Seen from above, it has the shape of a long wedge, the skull being the widest part, tapering to the tip of the nose. Between the ears, the skull measures about 4-6 inches (12-14 cm). The skull is distinctly rounded at the back and curving harmoniously on the sides. The nose is black with thin and supple lips just covering the lower jaw and the corner of the mouth is to be barely noticeable. The Sloughi’s scissor bite shows normal teeth set on strong jaws. The AKC standard adds a level bite. Strong dewlaps and flews are to be avoided.
The medium sized lop ears are mobile and expressive, and can fold backwards when the dog is nervous or moving.
The expression of the large brown eyes is alert, gentle and slightly melancholy. Their color are shades of amber in light coats to dark brown, eye rims being pigmented.
Bensekrane’s Saff © de Caprona and V’Hadiyyah Shi’Rayan © Markus Arndt
Left: Correct planes of skull and bridge of muzzle in relationship to each other
Right: Proportions of the Sloughi head seen from the front
Left: Phareeda Shi’Rayan © de Caprona
Right: head seen from ¾, Qalb Elassad Ayda © Liina Niemelä
The characteristics of the Sloughi that make it such an attractive breed are also further highlighted indirectly by what are considered faults or disqualifications in the breed. The FCI standard lists faults as any departure from the foregoing points stated in the standard - the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded to be proportionate to its degree. They are specified as follows: Bad ratio between length of body and height at withers, head and body slightly too heavy, stop too pronounced or not enough, eyes too light, top line not horizontal, croup narrow, too or insufficiently oblique, belly not enough tucked up, rounded ribs, chest not long enough, seen from the side cut up or very arched, tail too short, with too much hair, badly carried, muscles roundish and protruding, hair hard and coarse, small white mark on chest. The KC standard states the faults as follows: “Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.”
Although the KC standard does not do so, the FCI standard lists a set of disqualifying faults as well. They are the following: body clearly longer than high, haunch bones lower than withers, depigmented areas on the mucous membranes, over- or undershot mouth, ears erect, or raised with tips drooping, too long, folding backwards (rose ear), hair semi-long, Fringes on legs or tail, white stockings, larger white markings, color not in accordance with the standard. For both standards, male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
Although the 1938 FCI standard mentioned the Desert and Mountain Sloughis, the current standard no longer does; the KC however does mention this important distinction.
The Sloughi has charisma and presence and an ideal coat color has very little or no white markings.
Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Estonian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Baltic, Nordic Ch. Qalb Elassad Anig
Owner: Joanna Sjövall, breeder Pia Chaouki, Finland © Satu Lukkarila (Finland)
A good example of a top show Sloughi. International, Luxemburg, Polish, German VDH, German DWZRV, Dutch and Belgian Ch. Chameh Schuru-esch-schams has so many titles to her name, won in many different countries, that it is impossible to list them all. Here is a short selection. She is German National Specialty winner 2012, FCI Eurosighthound winner 2012, Amsterdam Winner 2012, Belgian Winner 2012, Winner Donaueschingen 2013, European Winner 2014. She was #1 Sloughi in Germany 2012, 2013, 2014, and in the Netherlands 2012. Owner Kristina Kosmas, breeders: Ingeborg & Eckhard Schritt (Germany) © Kristina Kosmas
Sloughis are athletes with a strong prey drive. They have long been admired for their coursing and racing ability, having already been coursing in France in the early 1920s. It is a good tradition in the breed to promote dual championships.
Top Dual Champion in Europe. German, Danish and Dutch Ch., FCI Eurosighthound winner 2015, Ganoosh Areen Ksar Ghilane, FCI European racing winner 2015, FCI short track racing Champion 2015, FCI World oval racing winner 2016, German Champion for Beauty and Performance. Owner: Anja Schwarzat, Breeders: Cora Nürnberger & Ylenia Gasparini, Germany. © Schwarzat.
Ganoosh represents the best of a team work between North African (Morocco and Algeria), American and German breeders.
International and Dutch Ch. Sahsheer Shiana Kahli, 2016 National Specialty BIS, #1 Sloughi in the United Kingdom 2016,
owner: Anne Chapman-Damms, breeders: Carol and Barrie Davies, United Kingdom.
Last but not least, Sloughis of good breeding age gracefully, and can be shown in Veteran classes with success. Their life span is usually about 11 to 12 years old under optimal care. However, quite a few Sloughis turn 13-14 years old, while some have reached the age of 16, and one is even known to have turned 17 years old.
Aging with grace, 12 years old Multi Ch. BIS O’Dah Shi’Rayan, Field Champion, Oval Racing Champion, Superior Gazehound Racing Champion 5. The only Sloughi in the US at this time, combining top show wins with impressive racing and coursing titles.
Owner: Dr. Bernd Fritzsch, breeder: Dr. Dominique de Caprona (USA). © de Caprona.