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Sloughi Fanciers Association of America

The Sloughi in AKC: why a genuine North African dog
is more important than ever

Nancy Lovelady 2017

       On the eve of Westminster, show excitement is building in the dog community, on both social media and television,
with the participation of three newly AKC recognized breeds, one of which is the Sloughi. 
As a Sloughi owner and potential breeder, I am concerned for the breed's future, because with fame and popularity, there is always a cost. 

       The first concern I wish to voice is that of genetic integrity.  According to scientific studies , many hounds in Africa and the Middle East
 have been separated by geography, leading to their evolution as pure breeds, even though they have similar functions.

       True Salukis are found primarily in the Middle East, in the Arabian Peninsula, Iran and related environs.  True Sloughis originate in North Africa,
in the Mahgreb area, including the countries of Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco(which is listed as the Country of Origin according to the FCI),
and sometimes in Libya. It is not my intent to write the history of the breed, as Dr. Dominique Crapon de Caprona, has thoroughly and efficiently
 explained it in her books, 'Sloughi', published by Kennel Club Books (2004) and in 'The Sloughi: 1852-1952' (2007), the only books currently
published on the breed.  She has also been cited in Best in Show Daily (2016) and authored recent articles found in Sighthound Review (2017)
 about the history and evolution of the breed.

       As Sloughis will undoubtedly become more popular with AKC recognition, it is imperative of those who choose to breed their dogs
 to continue to breed only genuine Sloughis, not Saluki-Sloughi crosses. All this will do is create a 'new' breed such as the Labradoodle types
 so expensive and popular today, and lose the subtle nuances, characteristics and traits of the breed.   It won't take long for the Sloughi
to become a 'generic' hound.  Also, be aware this is not an American only problem. There are many breeders in Europe who breed and sell
 Saluki-Sloughi mixes, so please don't think I am throwing stones at Americans only.  

       I feel it is an opportunity for the American Sloughi fancy to truly improve the breed, and negate mistakes that have occurred elsewhere,
instead of perpetuating poor breed quality and type.

        I do realize this is a controversial statement, but it is the truth. The 'average' person/puppy buyer will not know this, which is why breeders
are SO important, especially when laying the foundation of the breed here in the States. Breeders will be making the breeding choices,
 not the puppy buyers. With so few dogs in the country, every  breeding made is crucial to the breed as a whole.  Sloughis are also a very fortunate
 breed, compared to many others, as dogs are still bred in their native countries, from which we can refresh the gene pool with dogs
that still can and do perform their purpose, which in the majority of breeds is completely unavailable.

       The next claim I expect to arise is that Sloughis are quite rare, and it is too expensive to import dogs from reputable breeders abroad,
so why not?  Again, this points back to American breeders. They must be willing to import dogs which are true Sloughis, and breed only
these dogs, should they be of sufficient qualify. We need to protect the breed and grow it slowly here, so that we do not incur genetic disease,
impure lines and generally poor specimens, as famed AKC judge Anne Rogers Clark used to call, "the drag of the breed'.  

       And lastly, how can you tell if your dog is a cross? Look on the pawpeds Sloughi database and look far back into a dog's pedigree.
Look for the following names: Laba'an Il al Khalij (registered as a Sloughi, while his feathered littermate was registered as a Saluki(!),
Jenna (a smooth Saluki), and L'Karla Diane(Smooth Afghan--yes, they exist!). Laba'an was listed as a sire for three breeds: Salukis, Sloughis
and Azawahks, making his contributions much more far ranging and concerning, as he impacts three different breeds.

       What is more important than just the names listed above is the percentage in which these three dogs are found in a pedigree
(on Pawpeds click on "Foundation" to find the percentages of contribution of each dog in the pedigree).  They are still found in
 varying amounts today, as they appear in some European dogs as well.  Closely bred dogs of quality, although somewhat objectionable,
are not nearly as detrimental to breed type as mixes. 

       Again, it is not my intent to castigate or shame ANY breeders,  but I think that here in the US, we have an amazing and rare opportunity
to improve what has in the past, been an unfortunate situation. We must all be honest with ourselves, look at pedigrees and not blame. 

       Our job as breeders and owners is to move the breed as a whole to improve the breed. 

       It is my sincere hope that the newly evolving Sloughi dog show world works to be inclusive, honest and motivated to produce
the best genuine Sloughis in the world...hopefully in 10 to 20 years, other countries around the globe will be interested in importing
our dogs to improve their stock versus the opposite! 


Nancy Lovelady is a California resident, with over 35 years of breeding, showing and handling experience,
and has participated in AKC, FCI and IABKC shows. A second generation Cairn Terrier breeder under the McHan kennel name,
she bred, and handled dogs for her kennel and others, while working full time and raising a family. She became enamoured of hounds in the 90s,
 but due to an experience with one of her dogs bloating, she searched to find a healthy, feisty sighthound breed, and has fallen in love with the Sloughi.
 She is currently an AKC approved judge in terriers and some hound breeds (including Sloughis) and has judged IABKC shows.  


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