Updated 1998

Remarks on the standard 188d Updated 1998
Can not  be modified and must always accompany the FCI Standard 188d
by  D. Crapon de Caprona, Ph. D
© 1998, 1999 Library of Congress No. 4-929-904
All rights reserved by Dominique Crapon de Caprona, PhD

The new standard of the Sloughi adopted last year by the FCI  (1998), has in some ways improved the previous version, but at the same time included statements which are contradictory to what we know of the Sloughi since its recognition by the FCI in 1935. Let us look at this text in detail.

The English translation
Before looking into the contents, one should, first of all, welcome this new English translation, which , in spite of a few typos and misspellings (licence instead of license, confort instead of comfort, depigmented instead of unpigmented), reads much better than the previous one. The translation itself is somewhat misleading in only 3 instances:

1) mistakes in the translation of cm into inches concerning sizes, already established in the previous translation, have unfortunately not been corrected and should state, according to the international agreement that 1 inch = 2.54 cm, the following:
Height at the withers
For dogs: 26.4” – 28.3” ,  bitches  24”- 26.7“
the ideal size for a male (70 cm) is 27.6” and its length of body. 26.4”-26.7”
the ideal size for a bitch (65 cm) is 25.6", its length of body 24.4”-24.8”
Width of Skull:
12-14 cm equals in inches  4.7”-5.5”

2) the French expression “garrot bien sorti” means “withers defined” not “withers well projecting” which leads the reader to believe that the Sloughi should have the front assembly of a Saluki or an Afghan hound, with a distinct slope over the withers.  The withers of a well conditioned Sloughi, as we know it since 1935, although defined, are barely visible from the side.

3) concerning the underline, the expression “neither abruptly cut up nor whippety” does not really translate the French “ni heurtée, ni harpée” which means an underline which is neither abrupt nor in the form of a harp (musical instrument). No reference is made to the Whippet in the French original.

The contents of this standard

The improvements:

1) the standard starts with one major improvement concerning the history of the breed. The statement that the Sloughi has existed for centuries in North Africa is neutral and a statement of facts, and is much preferred to the previous speculative statement that these dogs had originated in the Orient, something nobody can prove at this point in time.

2) the bite is described now as a scissor bite; not a level bite, which makes sense, since virtually all Sloughis have scissor bites.

3) the tail is now precisely defined as having a curve at its tip, a distinctive feature omitted in the previous standard. One would wish that it would have stated an upward curve. Incidentally that curve is seen not only in the tail of the Sloughi at rest, but also when it moves.

4) the gait is finally described.

5) the description of the coat colors is more precise and complete.

6) the precise and separate listings of the faults and the disqualifying faults is an important improvement, allowing degrees in the seriousness of the fault.  One should mention in particular that of the difference between small white markings (a small fault) and disqualifying white markings (white socks, extensive white markings). The question of these white markings was very confusing in the previous version of this standard.

Unimproved shortcomings of the previous standard.

1) One wishes a distinction to be made between the ears of a Sloughi at rest, which are drooping, and those of the Sloughi in movement, which are folded backwards.

2) the expression “flat ribs” is still as misleading as it was in the previous standard.  The ribs attached to the sternum are flat as opposed to barrel shaped or round, but the last free floating ribs in the Sloughi are more rounded.

3) The statement that the eye color can be amber-colored with a light coat is misleading. Red brindle , black mantel or red black brindle Sloughis can also have amber-coloured eyes. This results in some part from the contrast between the eye color and the black face around it which makes the brown look lighter than if it was surrounded by a sand colored face. However in red brindle Sloughis, the eye color often matches the coat color and the eyes are amber colored (“topaz”) and not dark brown.

New confusing statements:

1) Measurements of the proportions.
To the measurements of the previous standard, some proportions and ratios have been added. The English translation using the conditional “should be” is more reasonable than the French version which in the last two sentences does not use the French equivalent of “devrait être” (should be) but “est “(“is”), a more absolute and inflexible way of describing these ratios, leaving little room for natural variations.
Although such measurements and ratios are a good tool to get a general idea of the proportions of this breed, they are pragmatically of little use as no one measures the dogs in the show ring.

2) Description of the topline:
Several statements are in contradiction here:
“gently and harmoniously curved with prominent haunch bones equal in height or slightly higher than the withers”
“Withers well projecting”
“Back: short, almost horizontal”
“Loin ….wide and slightly arched”
Fault: “ top line not horizontal”.
There are 2 additions to the previous version of the standard. The description of withers which was never an issue until now in the Sloughi, and the statement that the hip bones can be higher than the withers. The latter seems like a sentence taken directly out of the Azawakh standard.
Surely, the topline of the Sloughi cannot be horizontal if the same dog happens to have withers like a Saluki or an Afghan, and hips higher than the withers like an Azawakh, nor can it have a slight arch over the loin with such a structure. Although the translation of “garrot marque” into “well projecting withers” is exaggerated, it still means that the withers are accepted to be more prominent than they used to be. Such withers with high hip bones would result in a topline like a saddle and under the current standard, a Sloughi with such a topline would be perfectly acceptable! It was considered a major fault in the breed thus far in part because it hints at some cross-breeding between Sloughi, Azawakh and Saluki.  The correct topline of the Sloughi has always been almost straight from the withers with a slight arch over the loin, hips and withers at almost the same level.

3) Description of the underline.
We need to look here at two statements:
“sternum long and raised”
“the underline is evenly curved”
The sternum of the Sloughi is long and straight, the underline is raised between the sternum and the well tucked up belly, where the last 4 free-floating ribs align their coastal cartilages behind one another.  The sternum is a bone which is raised towards the front (forechest) not towards the back (belly). If the sternum itself was raised the underline would be a straight diagonal line from the elbow to the belly, it would not be “evenly curved”, and would result, in combination with the rather flat ribs, in a very restrained chest cavity, not a good attribute for such a fast hunting breed with large lung and breathing capacity.

To summarize, this new standard is several steps in the right direction, a few steps in the wrong direction, and one would hope that judges will not take some of the problematic statements too literally and too  seriously. Ultimately we hope the FCI standard commission will find it worthwhile looking at this standard again to streamline or correct the statements in question to remove some of their contradictions.

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