The Complete Book of Sighthounds, Long Dogs and Lurchers

by D. Brian Plummer

"The Sloughi" from the chapter on "Rare Breeds" 


The Sloughi

John Bromily, kennel man to the coursing greyhound expert Sant, once obtained a pair of sloughis from Miss Saunders with a view to entering them to British quarry, for the physical type of these hounds would render them unnoticed in a batch of good-quality competitive match dogs. Bromily failed to train either sloughi and finally returned them to Miss Saunders who remarked that many of her buyers experience similar problems with these hounds. She added that puppies reared amongst children are easier to train and enter, though she admits she is no coursing enthusiast and is interested in the sloughi for itself rather than for its performance in the field.

Most of Miss Saunders' hounds are pale cream or fawn but brindle-coloured sloughis are not uncommon on the continent. There is a theory that because of the sensitive disposition of the sloughi, breeders have mated sloughis to sound track greyhounds to improve temperament, and this has introduced the brindle coloration to the breed. Continental breeders often deny this, stating that many of the native berber dogs are brindle in colour.

It is a pity the type has not been tested on the coursing fields of Britain. In shape and size it resembles a heavily built saluki and is ideally formed to be a successful single-handed hare catcher. Its speed is reputed to be almost equal to that of a good saluki and the flowing gait indicates that, like the saluki, it is a stamina runner rather than a powerhouse type athlete. As such, its promise as a potential match dog should at least be exploited.

A few sloughi greyhound hybrids have been bred, and according to Miss Saunders in her article in Standfast Press epic book Coursing, they have proved quite excellent "one almost unbeatable". Miss Saunders, however, discourages hybridising with both greyhounds and whippets (though whippet sloughi hybrids are reputed to have been bred) for she believes the innate nervousness of the sloughi could create longdogs, which unless properly socialised could be particularly wild and unmanageable. Thus the hybrid is seldom bred and almost never advertised.

As to whether or not the entire breed is of a nervous disposition, or whether the strain imported to Britain is a nervy one, may be disputed. Certainly there is a very small sloughi gene pool in Britain and it is probable that inbreeding is inevitable. Should the initial stock imported into Britain carry qualities which produce nervousness, inbreeding to that line will only accentuate the problem. A similar inbreeding programme amongst the very small number of Inuit dogs (Greenland huskies) imported into Britain produced such a spate of epileptic dogs that breeders discontinued the line. This does not indicate that the world's Inuit dogs are carriers of epilepsy, merely that the lines imported into Britain were so. Similarly perhaps a rather nervous strain of sloughi entered Europe and inbreeding to that particular line has accentuated the problem. Certainly puppies reared in households of parents of several children are usually far less nervous than puppies reared in kennels. Sagar believes that no Middle-Eastern type sight hound thrives in kennels, and that all desperately need human company if they are to develop properly. He is probably right!



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