REMARKS ON THE STANDARD 188d
Can not be modified and must always accompany the FCI Standard 188d
by D. Crapon de Caprona, Ph. D
© 1997 Library of Congress TX 4-795-951
All rights reserved by Dominique Crapon de Caprona, PhD
In using this standard to judge Sloughis in shows, some of its statements should be applied with caution. The following comments from judges of the Club of Sloughis and African Sighthounds ("Club des Sloughis et des Lévriers d'Afrique", SLAG, created in 1935, affiliated to the FCI and the Société Centrale Canine, France), who know the breed best should be kept in mind when judging Sloughis:
1) Concerning sizes, Sloughis provided by traditional nomadic breeders are much smaller than Sloughis bred in Europe, i.e. fed with meat-based diet and with access to veterinary health care. A mistake has been made according to which the females should be shorter than the males. Since the vocation of a female is to become a dam, the relationship height-length cannot be the same in male and female ( i.e. the female's body can be longer). Since there are so few Sloughis in the first place, it would seem wiser to be less restrictive about sizes at the withers**.
2) Concerning the head, one should first criticize the numbers given (12-13cm,14cm or 4"3/4-5", 5"1/2), which are not based on a biometric study. Such widths of the cranium are larger than half the length of the head (23-24cm or 9"-9"1/2) and result in heavy built heads, which are important faults. These numbers, according to our measures, do not represent the reality, and in fact contradict the adjectives "elongated", "fine", "elegant" used for the general description of the head. The width of the cranium seems to range from 11 to 12cm (4""1/4-4"3/4). One should handle such measures in terms of percentages, in relation to the height, and here the length of the head (the width of the cranium does not represent 50% of the head's length).
3) The neck is eminently dry, with no apparent musculature, springing well up from the shoulders and slightly arched in its upper profile, its length is similar to that of the head.
4) The ears are not implanted high, but at the level of the eye or a little under the eye, which is quite different. Ears slightly pulled backwards are accepted but not looked for.
5) The ribs: the expressions "flat ribs" should not be used because it is confusing. Although it is true that, as in all sighthounds, the ribs of the Sloughis are so-called "flat", it does not mean that the chest should be too flat. In particular, in the last third of the chest, the ribs are slightly rounded. The chest is not well described, especially its depth (anterior-posterior dimension) which is crucial in a sighthound like the Sloughi specialized in long distance runs.
6) The tail, it can be held as high as the horizontal line of the back when the dog is excited. It is excessive to expect the tail to be held under the horizontal line of the back. One should also remember the characteristic upward curve of the tip of the tail.
7) The tibio-tarsal angles of the Sloughi are not well rounded. Since the Sloughi has a relatively short body on long legs, the articulations are well open and in harmony with its general proportions.
8) The color: since there are so few Sloughis, one should not be too restrictive. The predominance or preference of one particular color is regional or tribal. One should not forget that white marks (on chest and toes) are more or less conspicuous, depending on the overall color. Certain colors, in particular the darker ones, could be more penalized than the lighter colors because white is more conspicuous on them. It is perfectly possible to have a single colored coat and tolerate a few small white marks, especially since this breed has difficulties surviving (degradation of the traditional breeding in the countries of origin, few subjects, large geographical distribution of the breed).
As a matter of fact, the older standard (188b), 1935, was less severe on details following a realistic approach to the protection of this breed. It is dangerous to write an "ideal" standard if it leads, as a consequence, to the disqualification of a large number of subjects, or if it cannot be applied. For example , the older version of the standard described a folded ear held slightly away from the cranium. Why has this observation been removed? Why eliminate Sloughis which could otherwise be very close to the type? Why reduce the Sloughi population which is still in a critical survival period? "Flat ears" are dominant over ears that are not flat or folded, and judicious choice of Sloughi mating will tend to eliminate ears that are folded. Would it not have been possible to include information gathered from experience and Genetics?"
These comments reflect a positive attitude towards the conservation of the Sloughi. Although the coat color sand with black mask is the favorite in many countries (Sloughis with this coat color have been bred sometimes to the exclusion of the other coat colors), this does not mean that very good individuals cannot be found with fawn, brindle or sand (or fawn) with black mantel coats. Because the coloration can influence drastically the look of a particular individual (in particular the brindle which is a "camouflage" color), it would make sense to judge Sloughis in separate groups according to coat colors (the sand and fawn together, the brindle together and the black mantel together, provided one can find enough Sloughis to make groups). In selecting Sloughis for reproduction, priority should be given to the morphological type, temperament and general bearing. The small white markings on the chest and the tip of the toes , very common in the breed, are often overlooked in Europe as long as they stay small and do not resemble the white markings of the Azawakh. Since there are so few Sloughis, and since no dog is perfect, breeding should concentrate first on selecting with great care mating in which the dogs compensate each other in their defects on details (see comments on the flat versus folded ears, same applies to tail held high or low or small versus no white marks) while enhancing each other in their typical morphology. Good looks should not be bred at the expense of temperament. Because the breed is threatened in its countries of origin, Sloughi owners today have a great responsibility in preserving this old and rare breed. They can do so only by a careful and controlled breeding and puppy placement program, with an accent on quality instead of quantity.
**Only since the creation of the Azawakh standard in 1980, has the Sloughi standard been modified: the white patch on the chest, after being accepted for some 50 years, is now a fault in the Sloughi; the same thing happened about sizes: the maximum size is not 75 cm (30") anymore but 72 cm (29"). We do not consider these changes to be fair. Many years of selective breeding in Europe have not managed to get rid of these little white marks, suggesting that they are a part of the Sloughi's genetic make-up. The decrease in the allowed size discriminates against the "mountain type Sloughi" larger than the "desert type Sloughi".
The comments cited at the beginning of this text
were part of a longer text presented at the FCI January 5, 1980. They were
summarized and translated from French into English by Dominique Crapon
de Caprona, Ph. D., February 26,1992.
* a small white mark on the chest, a few white
hair at the tip of the toes, hard to see on light coats, should be tolerated
on dark coats. ** The maximum size at the withers should not exceed 30"
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