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Molly Sharpe

Chaman Afghan Hounds UK Page 1
(By Steve Tillotson October 2013) Photo Molly Sharpe 1935

The above wonderful photo is very rare and shows Molly Sharpe at the youngest age than any other picture I have previously seen. The photograph was taken in the first year that Molly Sharpe acquired her foundation Afghan hounds - 1935. The photo was uncovered by Lyall Payne (Bletchley Hall Afghans, New Zealand). Lyall had the delightful experience of meeting Molly Sharpe when she was the grand old age of 80. The photograph was taken on 1 December 1935 and published in the Glasgow Sunday Post (Scotland).

Chaman Afghan Hound Kennel was founded in 1935 by Mrs Molly Sharpe. Her Chaman Afghans are known the world over, USA, Canada, Australia, Scandinavia etc. Mrs Sharpe owned and bred Afghans before, during and after the second world war and she bred Afghans into the 1970's. At the first post war Championship show over 50 percent of winners had Chaman blood, 32 percent were pure Chaman and all the bitch classes were won by Chaman bitches, evidence of the significance of this Kennel.

We recently published an article on Canadian Breed History which includes many mentions of Chaman Afghan hounds and reveals how important Molly Sharpe's exports to Canada and North America were to the foundation of the breed in both countries. See the above article for further details on Pic Of Chaman, Manda Of Chaman (bred by Miss Semple,Pushtikuhs, owned then exported by Molly), Taj Akbar Of Chaman etc

Molly Sharpe's first Afghan hound was Ch Garrymhor Faiz-Bu-Hassid and his sister Garrymhor Nazeem, both bred by Mrs Olive Couper (Garrymhor, England). Shortly after that, Molly acquired Garrymhor Souriya's litter sister Safiya, and later still Souriya's litter brother Amanullah.

Early Chaman hounds, Left to Right
Tarik, Garrymhor Nazeem, Safiya, Garrymhor Faiz-Bu-Hazid Photo Chaman Hounds 1936

Mrs Molly Sharpe described Safiya's color as "chinchilla" ie silver blue, elsewhere it has also been described as "Fawn & Dark Brown. Stephanie Hunt-Crowley (Chandhara Afghan hounds UK/Canada/USA) has documented the accurate information in the Afghan Hounds International database, Stephanie writes "A personal letter written by Mrs Sharpe states she purchased Safiya and her brother Amanullah for the pedigree not the colour. This was not a rumour - this was a personal note to me from Molly Sharpe, which I have in my possession. I wrote to Molly and asked her what color Safiya really was because of the various descriptions, and that was her reply".

I (Steve) will throw some new "confusion" in on this topic. In 1977 Molly Sharpe wrote - "Juliette de Bairacli Levy has written of her greys, mine were Safiya and Amanullah. Incidentally, while in New York I learned that the first blues were descended from the greys (a reference to the Laurance Peters imports). So chinchilla or grey? Perhaps it's a mute point but thought I'd just document what we know. (Ed note: - . It may be that when Molly wrote this 40 years later she simply mis-remembered the colours of Safiya and Amanullah, I think the soundest reference is Stephanies, mentioned above.

Molly bred around 80 litters in the 42 year period between 1936-1978. Molly bred around 10 litters during the period of WWII (1939 to 1945) and was one of the few breeders who managed to do this. It's beyond the scope of this article to detail every Chaman litter, however, I have taken the time to work my way through all 80 litters and study them, and hopefully present to readers in summary form, some of the changes in Molly's breeding program as they occured over time and development of her bloodlines

Let's explore Molly first litter born 24/4/1936

Pedigree of first Chaman litter 24/4/1936
Parents Grandparents Great-Grandparents Great-Great-Grandparents
Kulli Khan of Kuranda Potentate Bm Ooty Zorawar Bm
Dil Bm
Ch Ranee Rajah Bm
Begum Bm
Tarza Baluch Taiza Bm
Nurm Bm
Daghai Ooty
Safiya Ch Ashna of Ghazni Ch Sirdar of Ghazni Parent Not Recorded
Parent Not Recorded
Shireen of Ghazni Malik of Ghazni
Rani of Ghazni
Ch Alfreda Shahzada Afghanistan
Parent Not Recorded
Afroz Afghanistan
Parent Not Recorded

This first litter produced the first Chaman champion - Ch Taj Akbar Of Chaman who was eventually exported to Miss M M Wilson's Dutch kennel "Woodcrofts" via which Taj Akbar made a significant development to the breed in the Netherlands. Before his export to the Netherlands Taj Akbar sired litters whelped in Canada (El Myia) and a son - Tuan Of Chaman was exported to the USA. What a start! A champion in the first litter, exported to continental Europe and offspring contributing to the establishment of the breed in the USA, not bad for a newcomer to the breed! But wait, there's a very interesting twist to this story...

In 1977 Molly Sharpe wrote the following - "Safiya was sent to be mated to Ch Asri Havid Of Ghazni (owned by Phyllis Robson) but he did not oblige. Instead Safiya was mated to Kulli Khan Of Kuranda" (ed note - Kulli Khan was the last pure bred Bell-Murray hound). Molly continues "The first Afghan I saw was one of the Bell-Murray's (they lived in Dumfries at the time) and I didn't care for him at all, with his long bare legs. Then Ch Chota Sahib appeared on the scene and changed my feelings completely.

"What worried me most was movement, the Ghazni and Bell-Murray types
moved so differently and I could not but wonder which was correct"
Molly Sharpe, 1977

Later on in the same article Molly Sharpe writes "In those days I was the youngster who always asked questions. What worried me most was movement, the Ghazni and Bell-Murray types moved so differently and I could not but wonder which was correct. The Bell Murray Afghans had far more reach and drive, really covering the ground, whilst the Ghazni type, with their greater bend of stifle, had far more spring, particularly noticable in Miss Semple's Pushtikuhs. In those days the two types were not blended as nowadays, then there was also the difference in coat pattern. Remember there were no books on the breed then, they came later:.

(Ed note -Whilst Molly mentions she was a "youngster", she was no newbie to the world of breeding and showing dogs, She also bred and showed Boston Terriers, Daschunds and Irish Setters, so her problem in reconciling correctness of movement in the Afghan hound is a very interesting observation/comment)

Ch Chota Sahib Photo Chota Sahib

Edna Carlton, UK and her hounds are relevent to the very early days of Chaman. Molly Sharpe purchased Safiya, a bitch, and her litter brother Amanullah from Edna Carlton. Safiya was bred by Miss Alice M M Simmons (Bericote, England) and her first owner was Edna Carlton, who sold Safyia on to a Mr and Mrs Roe (Ghanistan, UK) and then eventually Safiya became the property of her third and final owner - Molly Sharpe, along with litter brother Amanullah

(A little aside/detour at this point - Bericote. This is not a kennel name you will find in the pedigree history of the breed, but Miss Simmons was one of the earliest and most adventurist enthusiasts and breeders, beginning in the late 1920's. We should acknowledge, that whilst Safiya did not carry the Bericote kennel affix, that via Safiya and the Chaman breeding program, Bericote breeding made a huge contribution to the development of the breed, We'll do more work on Bericote at some future date and include it in the Infulential/Small Kennels section)

Molly Sharpe with Ch Garrymhor Faiz-Bu-Haassid 1936 Photo Molly Sharpe 1936

Another photo of Molly Sharpe and her Chaman hounds 1936 Photo Molly Sharpe 1936

Researchers (Steve) comment re the above photo. The photo is a scan of a postcard. So as early as 1936 Molly's hounds were sufficiently famous that post card manufacturers featured her and her hounds on their postcards.. Glad they did, coz its a great and exceptionally clear photograph. I obtained a copy of the photo but had no details whatsoever of who the person was or a date. but I immediately recognized something in the photo, the lady's "coat". It is clearly Molly Sharpe, and given that she is wearing the same coat as in the photo above this one, I am dating this photo to around 1936. I suggest the hounds are all her foundation Afghan hounds mentioned previously. I got interested in the car too. Molly wrote in 1977 "I had a baby Austin bought for 50 pounds sterling, sold it four years later for 75 pounds sterling (the car would have cost around 150-180 pounds brand new). Down the A1 (main North/South road in UK, predating motorways, still exists, but largely displaced by the M1 motorway) through all the towns and villages to London. This car never let me down". Molly also recites a story where she once stopped on the lonely Penrith to Carlisle stretch of the A1 and was approached by two lorry (truck) drivers. But as soon as they saw the dogs they scooted away. Interestingly Eileen Snelling told me a similar story, so apparently female drivers, driving in isolated parts of the UK in that era had some reason to fear truck/lorry drivers. Molly's car was possibly an Austin 7 or and Austin 10, the four door model with "suicide doors" (google that). Top speed probably 55 mph, cruising speed 35 mph. So it would take Molly around 10 hours to drive from Dundee to London, add time to this for rest breaks, exercise the dogs etc, an intrepid lady thats for sure.

Molly Shape with hound at Falkirk, Scotland, May 1938 PHOTO Mollly Sharpe 1938

16th Dec 2013, Update on Molly's car, with thanks to Surrey Vintage Vehicle Society (England)

Already at this early stage in the Chaman story we gain valuable insight from Molly about the early hounds in the UK. Molly commented that her initial meeting with a Bell Murray hound was not favourable, she planned for her first litter to be sired by a Ghazni dog and when the dog failed to oblige, Molly used instead the last pure-bred Bell Murray hound (Kulli Khan of Kuranda) as sire for her first litter. That turnaround from not initially liking the lightly coated Bell-Murrays to making a conscious decision to use a Bell-Murray stud dog is a striking turnaround. The only clue as to why Molly changed her position on the Bell-Murrays is in her own words "Then Ch Chota Sahib appeared on the scene and changed my feelings completely". So what was it about Chota Sahib that was so important to Molly? We'll explore that on the next page.

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