IS THE AFGHAN HOUND DERIVED FROM THE SALUKI?
(The following article documents a debate 40 years ago between an
Afghan breeder (Patricia Kean) and a Saluki breeder (Mrs Hope Walters).
(Article compiled by Steve Tillotson, 1997)
Mrs Hope Walters (Saluki's) started the debate by writing about a critique in which a judge critcised a Saluki for having a ring tail in which Mrs Walters explained that the Afghan "which is an offshoot of the Saluki" has to have a ring tail. . Also see breed history for Russia for pictures of Tazi/Taigan Afghans.
This was responded to by Miss P Kean the Afghan breeder who suggested that Mrs Walters was having a little joke at the expense of Afghan people. Miss Kean went on to acknowledge the ancient status of the Saluki but pointed out that Afghans have been depicted in ancient cavings such as those at Balkh and that in her view all Greyhounds of the near/middle east arose independently in different countries and that Afghans are a breed of great purity and antiquity.
There were two further responses from Mrs Walters, who is clearly very knowledgeable about Saluki history. I think rather than me try to paraphrase the very expert writing its best I just quote exactly what Mrs Walters wrote.
"I was quite serious when I suggested a few weeks ago that the Afghan is an off-shoot of the Saluki. I was not trying to claim superiority for the Saluki; Afghans are magnificent, nor do I wish to cross swords with anyone over it. I am quite happy to be proved wrong, but in my opinion the evidence available up to the present day does seem to point pretty conclusively to the view that the Saluki is the parent stock of coursing hounds."
"Saluki type hounds, are depicted in archaelogical finds of the fourth and later millenia BC in Egypt and Mesopotamia, that is, at each end of theFertile Cresent where civilisation originated in the Middle East and where the Saluki si still the native hunting hound. No comparable archaelogical finds have been made in Afghanistan, nor does it seem likely that any will be, for Afghanistan only enters the pages of history in the form of Bacrtia, its northern half, in the sixth century BC with its conquest by Cyrus of Persia. But the civilisation developed subsequently there was desloated by the Mongols in the 13th centurey and never recovered."
"The Sauki is found in, but is not indigious to, Persia where it is imported from the Syria-Mesopotamia area being known as Tazi or the Arabaian Hound. As Afghanistan traded with the peoples of Syria and Mesapotamia through Persia it is quite feasible to suppose that the Saluki inflitrated into Afghanistan along the trade routes and was developed there into a hound more suitable for the mountainous terrain and climate and hunting purposes for which it was required".
"It is not uncomon for a Saluki to grow a soft fluffy down on shoulders and thighs; this fluff is different in texture from the undercoat and in some cases extends to head and flanks. This surely is further proof of the close relationship of the Saluki and Afghan. By selective breeding this outer fluff could in time be developed so that it would resemble the much shorter coat worn by the early imported Afghans in this country. At one of the recent shows there was a Saluki with a definite beard. It would be interesting to here the view of others"
A few weeks later Mrs Walters mentioned the March 66 issue of Popular Dogs " There was an account of a gazelle hunt in Afghanistan. What is interesting is that one of the names given to the Afghan Hound in Afghanistan is Tazi, the same as the Persian name for Salukis which, in fact means Arabian. They are often given Persian names. This supports the theory that the Afghan Originated in the Middle East and found its way into Afghanistan via Persia and once established developed the long coat as a protection from the cold at high altitudes."
There are some supplementary writings on early hound history , firstly an extract from "The Encyclopedia Of The Kennel" (Afghan/Persian Hound) written by Vera Shaw" and secondly "Greyhounds In Russia" (Tazi/Taigan) a translation by Mrs E M Skelton-Fortune.