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ASPECTS OF US AFGHAN HOUND HISTORY
Steve Tillotson,1993

1. INTRODUCTION

An important part of my research material are the copies of the AKC Stud Book pages for Afghan registrations from 1926 to 1991 (I am usually about 12 months behind the latest issue). If you are familiar with the AKC system(s) you will be aware of the changes in the system over the years. For example, up to 1945 the registrations included town/state of the breeder. Up to 1952 all Afghans were registered, since this time only Afghans that have produced a litter appear. The records have always shown colour. Each entry gives the registration number of the parents enabling tracing (subject to odd errors).

My Computer database now holds about 40,000 Afghan pedigrees from around the world, supplemented by paper records for the US and several European countries. I can therefore trace Afghan movements around the world. I start this article with a look at the "geographical" distribution of Afghans in the US in the early years and then come up to date and look back towards these early days.

2. GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION (USA)1926 - 1940

It almost started in Conneticut. Around 1926 Valley Farm kennels in Stamford imported two BELL MURRAY hounds and bred a litter in October 1926. In 1935 Kingway Kennels Philadelphia bred from two BELL MURRAY hounds imported in 1933. Sadly neither of these lines was continued or figure in pedigrees since

.

It really did start in Massachusits (Prides Crossing) via the Prides Hill kennels in 1932. Kennels of significance by the late 30's included the following;

Massachusits       Prides Hill, Barberryhill, Allsworth, Arken,
                   Far Away
New Mexico         Kandahar
Philadelphia       Kingway (moved to Colorado 1936?)
California         Fatima (Los Angeles), Kuhsan (Redwood City)
                   Oakvardon (Van Nuys), Dellire (Hollywood)
Ohio,              Willard Drown, Arthea
Texas,             Blue Bonnet, Cyann
Conneticut,        Eugene Beck (Norwalk), Pommelrock (Greenwich)
New Jersey         Doreborn, Yore (MTY)
Other              Kerrin (Detroit, then Indianapolis, then New
                   York?)
Washington         Beg Tute

There appeared to be three main clusters of breeders - east coast, west coast, southwest. The east seemed to major on Badshah (Ainsdart), Westmill, Ghazni imported lines, The east coast more varied having some of these lines plus indian imports (Fatima), UK imports (Kuhsan) plus lines from the south west states. The southwest started with east coast lines then used Badshah' brother (Tufan) back into the east coast lines. So we could perhaps conclude there were five or six distinct types existent by the late 30's. Its quite striking to stick some pins in a map of the USA in the late 30's and see how far flung and how few the kennels were!

From this point on the breed advanced rapidly in the US and I have yet to research this sufficiently to understand the next stage of evolution.

3. COLOUR (PAST AND PRESENT)

The main colours in the US in the above early days were cream, black, red, fawn, brindle, black and tan, silver, gold (few!). By contrast in the UK in the same period fawns, reds, golds, creams, black and tans seemed the norm (few brindles!).

I took a sample ("dipstick auditing?") of US pedigree colours as listed in the AKC stud book for the month of January for the years 1930/40/50/60/70/80/90 and see a gradual broadening in colours which include black and silver, silver, blue, white, black and white, apricot, domino and a myriad of brindles.

The UK's colour distribution is changing (since the 80's really) with more frequent occurance of black and tan, black and silver, black and cream. brindles etc. However, cream, red, black and tan and gold still appear to dominate.

I have been looking at a couple of significant (modern) US pedigrees. In particular Elmo of Tutankhamun and Triumph of Grandeur. Black, blue, silver, cream, apricot and variations dominate throughout. Virtually no red, gold or even black and gold (black and tan) exist. Interestingly, looking at Pahlavi Puttin on the Ritz (red) (another important US dog) the dominant colours in his pedigree are black, cream, black and cream and he has thrown a lot of red offspring.

4. THE SHIRKHAN FACTOR

Its a well known fact that Shirkhan of Grandeur appears in most US pedigrees. I am researching to try and find out why? Noting the geographical aspect of US Afghan development it is interesting that Shirkhan appears in pedigrees coast to coast

I have had a preliminary look at this, so dont take the following as a scientific statement (in fact I welcome your help/views!).

Shirkhan was used at stud in many important kennels/lines including Akaba, Ben Ghazi , Crown Crest, Patrician, Al Peraa, Hilltop, Jo Fran, Kubera, Moornistan, Stormhill, Tajmir, Chandhara. New Shirkhan lines were derived from these matings and include Timbala, Sahadi, Patrician, Khayam, Rhyng Tayl, Gray Dawn, Kashmiri. Later kennels used the above lines in their breeding program, for example Coastwind (Akaba), Mecca (Ben Ghazi), Holly Hill (Sahadi), Ammon Hall (Holly Hill), Stormhill (Ammon Hall). Inter mixing the bloodlines then firmly places Shirkhan on both sides of the pedigree.

I have had a look at some modern pedigrees to see how Shirkhan figures in them. I ran the inbreeding measurement program which shows the level~ of inbreeding and which ancestors contribute to it. This shows the extent of Shirkhan's prescence in the pedigree. By the way dont worry about the emotive word "inbreeding", most breeders argue they "linebreed" which results in somewhere between 0 - 20 percent "coefficient of inbreeding". Much above this and you are into the realm of inbreeding as a breeder would understand it.


Dog                      Total    Shirkhan's contribution
Triumph Grandeur         15.2             4.1
Elmo Tutankhamum          4.6             0.2
Kabik Challenger          7.1             2.8
Coastwind J Osiris       13.7             3.8
Genesis Red Cloud         5.4             NIL
Zuvenda Razcym           15.8             2.1
Pahlavi P O T Ritz       10.2             1.4

Shirkhan appears in ALL of the above pedigrees so why is Red Cloud not showing any Shirkhan inbreeding? It is because the "common ancestor(s)" which result in inbreeding (in this case) are Akaba Afghans. Shirkhan is "behind" these common ancestors so his contribution is disguised. By comparison with Triumph's pedigree where Shirkhan is "behind" Blu Shah he is ALSO there in his own right as a common ancestor in other lines/matings.

To complete the picture, the following list shows the top contributor to each dogs inbreeding score;


Dog                      Largest Inbreed Contributor
Triumph Grandeur         Blu Shah Grandeur 9.3 (out of 15.2)
Elmo Tutankhamum         Infashia Grandeur 1.10 (out of 4.6)
Kabik Challenger         Shirkhan Grandeur 2.8 (out of 7.1)
Coastwind J Osiris       Coastwind Nepenthe 6.2 (out of 13.7)
Genesis Red Cloud        Akaba Royal Flush 1.5 (out of 5.4)
Zuvenda Razcym           Mecca's Falstaff 12.5 (out of 15.8)
Pahlavi P O T Ritz       Mecca'S Falstaff 6.2 (out of 10.2)

5. SUMMARIZING US PEDIGREES

To close this article I ran the pedigree trace on the above list of dogs to see how they compare. The trace counts the number of ancestors and how many times they appear up to any depth of pedigree. The following list shows which ancestor occured most times at the given generation levels.


Dog                    Born    8gen          10gen      13gen
Elmo Tutankkhamum      12/82    Blue Boy   Badshah   Sirdar
Kabik Challenger        6/81    Shirkhan   Taejon    Badshah
Coastwind J Osiris      6/82    Shirkhan   Taejon    Sirdar
Genesis Red Cloud       6/81    Shirkhan   Taejon    Badshah
Zuvenda Razcym          5/78    Blue Boy   Badshah   Sirdar
Pahlavi P O T Ritz      9/83    Shirkhan   Blue Boy  Sirdar

As you can see Elmo's pedigree is as old as Razcyms' who was born four years earlier. Red Cloud and Challenger are the youngest pedigrees because they only get back to Badshah of Ainsdart at 13 gens.

Other observations are, no Akaba in Ritz's pedigree, no Akaba in Elmo's pedigree, no Mecca in Osiris's pedigree, so there are different lines in the US!

Final observation, it has been stated Pahlavi Putting On The Ritz. is an important global stud dog. Of all the above pedigrees, Ritz's contains the highest occurance of recent ENGLISH influences. Specifically, at 8 generations Ali Baba of Scheherezade, Bletchingley Ragman of Scheherezade, Benihaar Autumn Heather (half English). Ali Baba's inbreeding contribution is just a bit more than Blue Boy of Grandeur. There's also Dutch lines (Ophaal of Crown Crest/Van Der Oranje Manege) and German influences (behind Moornistan).

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