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Afghan Hound World Congress
Sun City South Africa 6 - 9 May 2005

A huge vote of thanks must go to Sue Mitchell and her hard-working committee, Clair van den Bergh, Denise Moore, Trina Opperman, Angus Peden, Gael Morison, Moira Serritslev, Lisa Stewart, and Daria Spence, without whom this congress would not have been the phenomenal success it was.

GARRY NEWTON (USA) : Current day Afghans in Afghanistan
Little information concerning the current status of Afghan Hounds residing in Afghanistan has been shared with the rest of the world. We have the history and lore of the breed as it was introduced to the Western World, but with new and current information, it seems that some of our conceptions and information might be suspect or at least be re-evaluated. The Afghan community also appears interested in current information concerning all aspects of the Afghan Hound residing in their country of origin. Garry's presentation shared information gained from Mr Wahab Kamal, who has hunted and lived with Afghan Hounds for his entire life in Afghanistan. A combined experience of about 140 years highlights Afghan Hound knowledge and lore, feeding habits, living habits, mating, and - to them most importantly - hunting.

TERRY WILCOX (AUSTRALIA) : Benchmarking Afghan gait
This presentation dealt with archival videos of notable Afghans of the last 50 years, tracing movement and its evolution to the current day. Terry discussed movement characteristics unique to this breed, and elaborated on these attributes and how they are essential for an Afghan to perpetuate correct gait.

CINZIA AYMARETTI CAMIA (ITALY) : Type diversity (standard vs bloodline types) A definitive study of a sole standard
Cinzia's presentation consisted of two separatae sections: the first was an introduction to the main topic, namely the second topic, the definition of a sole standard for Afghan hounds. Cinzia covered the diference between the terms "standard types" and "bloodline types". The importance of diversity and of global bloodline exchanges influences breeders' choices. Cinzia suggested a need to provide a comprehensive guide to the Afghan Hound morphology secrets. She presented a draft Afghan Hound "United" standard, with text fitting both the FCI and AKC standards and made comparisons between the statements therein.

GARY SINCK (USA) : The deadly blues: the defects, associated problems, and origins
Gary discussed the potential defects and problems associated with the blue colour in Afghans. He discussed the make-up of the colour blue and explained how blue is inherited. Drawing on knowledge available on other breeds of dogs and animals that exhibit blue colour, he discussed the origin of defective blues and pedigrees, development in the embryo, and the ages at which mortality is common or high.

JOHAN GALLANT (SOUTH AFRICA) : Africanis or aboriginal dog of South Africa
Africanis is the umbrella name for the various types of aboriginal dogs found in southern Africa. The existing archaeological record shows that the domestic dog made its appearance on the African continent roughly 6,700 years ago. Scientists suggest that it came with nomadic herders from the Orient. The earliest fossils were found in the Nile delta in Egypt. It is important to note that this date precedes the rule of the first pharaoh in the Old Kingdom by almost 1,500 years and that by that time the dog had spread over the entire Sahara region and along the river Nile into present day Sudan. Without denying the very important role that the Ancient Egyptians played in the history of the dog, one has to keep in mind that they were not the initiators. For the past ten years John has been researching the records of domestic dog fossils in Africa and placed them on the map. In this way he was able to illustrate the progressive dispersal of the dog over the continent. Over the centuries, and as they spread across the continent, the dogs adapted in a natural way to the specific climatological and ecological conditions of the various regions and to the utilitarian requirements of the people with whom they were living. The aboriginal dogs of southern Africa are not a diversity of breeds in the Western sense of the word. These dogs constitute a heterogeneous land race because they have not been subject to selective breeding. Their adaptation to the often stringent African conditions forged them into well-adapted, parasite-resistant and predominantly healthy animals. They are a delight from a behavioural and utilitarian point of view. They are a living testimony of how dogs were before the influence of western cynology. Therefore they are not only a cultural but also a biological and historical patrimony. They are an intrinsic part of the African renaissance.

LYNN WATSON (AUSTRALIA) : Technicolour Dream Coat
The Afghan Hound standard allows "any colour". Of course, what is unwritten is that such colours must be within the framework of what is in the closed sludbook or collective gene pool, at the time of conception of the first standard. In the strictest meaning of our standard, "any colour" is certainly not "every colour" known in canines. In spite of the standard words there are some aspects of colour thai are universally considered undesirable in the Afghan. In fact, by enforcing and restricting permissible colours, it is possible that any given standard may keep a breed free of certain heritable detects, there being uncovered more and more physiological problems directly related to the genes for certain colours or combinations, such as merle, some forms of white and black, extreme dilutions and albino.

LESLEY BUSBY (UK) : Changing scene in the UK: last 20 years
From a situation in the UK some twenty years ago, when to see an imported dog, or a dog from imported lines, was something of a rarity, it is now becoming quite a task to find an Afghan Hound that is predominately British breeding. This is because all our Afghans carry some 'foreign' breeding, somewhere way back in their pedigrees. Since the Pet Passport Scheme came into being, the influx of dogs from other countries coming into the UK has escalated at, what some regard, an alarming speed. Whether enough thought has been put into the subsequent mixing of pedigrees is open to conjecture, and Lesley has accordingly sought the opinions of many UK breeders and exhibitors - those who have imported, those who have used imported dogs in their breeding programmes, and also those who would not consider either importing, or incorporating foreign lines into their breeding programme. With the help of photographs, Lesley presented a balanced view of the chamign Afghan scene in the UK.

ULF JORGENSEN (DENMARK) : Where have all the flowers gone?
Ulf started in Afghans in the late 60s, and in the following years, saw Afghans at dog shows all over Europe, in USA and in Australia. He was impressed by the beautiful Afghan Hounds in the show rings and especially from the photos in Afghan magazines. Today, it is very difficult to be impressed. When he sees photos in the magazines, he gets so disappointed, and when he watches Afghans in the show rings, he wonders, "Where have all the flowers gone?"

The following presenters led a vibrant debate on various thought-provoking topics:

GAEL MORISON (SOUTH AFRICA) : Correct pelvic assembly

GILL ULLOM (USA) : The hallmarks of Afghan Hounds

LOTTE JORGENSEN (DENMARK) : Why do we breed Afghans?

MARY PASCOE (UK) : How easy is it to make a champion?

PAUL HEWITT (AUSTRALIA) : Judging the Afghan Hound: why is it so difficult?


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