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3rd World Afghan Congress Report #8
Zita Fogarty (IRELAND)
"A VIEW FROM IRELAND OF THE 3RD WORLD CONGRESS".
In June 1997 I attended my third Afghan Hound World Congress. Having travelled to the UK and the USA congress's I looked forward to Denmark with anticipation. The UK, being the first World Congress with Windsor Championship Dog Show on the same weekend. At this first congress we got an overview from each country on their hounds, and although we only scratched the surface of the Afghan world, there was a definite bias against the English Afghan which was unfortunate as the word bias should not be applicable to any facet of a world congress on any breed.
In San Diego ,as would be expected from the USA, we were treated to the glitz and glamour and a vast array of topics and speakers, and I thought in general a more down to earth view of the world's Afghans from each speaker, including the faults as well as the virtues this time. We had the opportunity over the weekend to view America's top Afghans at the National, and what will remain in our hearts forever, a video of Afghans in motion which brought a lump to our throats, a joy to hearts, and reminded us all that no matter what our differences, this breed would keep us all together.
And so to the third World Congress and I thought maybe time to get down to the "nitty gritty" of the Afghan Hound, its structure, temperament, movement, its future, and an opportunity to view some of Europe's top Afghans at the Afghan Hound Club Of Denmark's 25th Anniversary show. But I must admit that I found it disappointing to be discussing the taping of tails, disgusting that we should be shown how to clip and trim an Afghan which included the use of scissors and saddened to hear that we are losing one of the worlds top breeders.
Firstly let me say a special word of thanks to Lotte and Ulf Jorgensen for their efforts in organising this congress and let me say that having attended each congress I can honestly say that I have seen some great Afghans in the UK, USA and Europe, and that it does not matter to me where an Afghan comes from, so long as it meets the standard.
But I question the relevance of discussing the taping of tails at a world congress. It must be agreed that the taping of tails is wrong. It causes confusion for the breeders of the future when trying to decide which dog to use. How do you know which line is carrying a ring tail, a breed point that must be retained, if you do not know who is taping tails. However, you cannot make people do the right thing, you just have to hope they will.
On the other hand all the standards the world over state that the cat must be allowed to develop naturally, and please don't let us get into the silly talk of "then it should not be washed and groomed". The standard was drawn up by people who were quite well aware that the dogs would be washed and groomed and yet they included the statement the coat must be allowed to develop naturally, thus making the point that it should not be clipped or trimmed and the USA and Canada actually included these words in their standards and yet here we were at a world congress with an Afghan on a table and a lady showing us how to give a dog a saddle, how to strip the face, neck, and tail, with no discussion on how to breed the relevant points into our lines. The attitude seems to be why bother when you can manufacture these by hand. I suppose a lot easier than taking the time to produce puppies with these qualities, i.e. ring tails, saddles etc. I must say that I found the demonstration offensive and inappropriate.
This following on the heels of learning that one of the top Breeders in the world says that she is retiring from breeding because she is not prepared to breed what is currently winning in the ring today. This statement made my heart sink because surely it is this strength of character that is required in the breed to withstand the production of the "flashgan" and to protect the future of the Afghan.
One speaker asked the question who are we breeding for! The answer for me will always be "the future of the Afghan Hound". We have this hound who should have a mind of its own and the ability to hunt and survive. We are here to conserve this hound, not alter it, to make it perform like a clockwork toy. These hounds are not performing toys and if you own such a creature you no longer own an Afghan Hound.
I look forward to the fourth World Congress in Australia and I am hoping that the down to earth Australians will set our minds to the task of protecting the Afghan Hound.
Zita Fogarty Sept 97
Yarabis Afghan Hounds
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