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CONGRESS - Bushey, England 1993

Around 250 people attended the inaugural congress, held at the Spiders Web Hotel, Bushey, Hertfordshire (just north of London), England. The Spiders Web Hotel is now a purpose hotel/conference centre - not a lot of people know this, but, up to the late 1970's it was a "cafe" called the Beehive, its main patrons being motor cyclists who enjoyed roaring up and down the road outside, and a famous stop for lorry (truck) drivers.

The congress was timed to fit with Windsor Championship Dog Show which was held the day before and gave visitors the opportunity to view the breed in the UK first hand, and of course discuss it the next day. The congress coincided with a hotting up of the UK vs USA "which is correct type" debate, but in the event, such potential hot issues were debated quietly.

Speakers came from USA, Japan, Denmark, Norway, Australia, Finland and of course the UK.. Helen Furber (Australia) spoke on the origins of the breed, Mike Canalizo (USA) who used computer technology to illustrate the effect of subtle changes in the Afghans points, Lotte Jorgenssen (Denmark) provided a very interactive session by taking the microphone into the audience to solicit their views on the breed. Edwina Thomas (Australia) gave a talk about the breed in Australia. Fuki Yoshimoto (Japan), spoke via an interpreter and commented on the fad of importing ready made American Champions for show in Japan as well as giving valuable insight into Afghans in Japan. Lyne Schanzle (USA) spoke on the subject of keeping the Afghan houndy. Espen Engh (Norway) gave an overview on Afghans in Sweden and Norway. Pirkko Konttinen (Finland) explained the scene in her country. Milan Antegliavic (South Africa) raised the union jack in support of the British type of Afghan. Hazel Arris (UK and from the Yorkshire Afghan Hound Society), acting as facilitator for the day, spoke about the high value of the system by which UK Champions are made up, and expressed the view that this not be lessened in anyway. There was plenty of discussion about the "style of high order", visitors and guest speakers perhaps suggesting this attribute is rarely seen in UK Afghans, whereas the "UK Establishment" respond with the pssazzzz seen elsewhere is cosmetic. The debate will continue.

As the inaugarul congress, it was highly successful and a credit to the organisors for their initiative, hard work and preparation. It has proven to be a valuable event, particularly in bringing Afghan people from around the world together and share their knowledge and experiences.

This report has been compiled from various reports/feeds. If anybody reading this actually attended and kept notes, their contribution would be most welcome. Thanks - Steve

Video recordings of the congress and proceedings may still be available from the organisors - UK Yorkshire Afghan Hound Society (see breed club page for details, or send me an email if you have an interest and I will pass it on to the YAHS.


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