Sunday, April 24, 2011

AZAWAKH: Color Controversy

The war rages on: how should the West African sight hound, the Idi Kel Tamesheq, be defined under the FCI breed standard?
In a nutshell: not by its color. Even Gervais Coppé agrees, as he stated on 31st March 2011 in written personal correspondence:

"Une race canine ne se définit pas sur la coleur, mais d'abord et avant tout sur la morphologie."
" A canine breed does not define itself by color, but first and foremost by morphology."

First and foremost. By morphology. If only Mr. Coppé would practice what he preached - but in fact, he did just the opposite. I have provided links below so you can read up on the gory details of the supportive data. Briefly here: Mr.Coppé is an officer in the French sight hound breed club SLAG. In his power position, he has re-drafted the Azawakh breed standard in accordance with his personal preferences which have no bearing on reality.This draft has been submitted to the SCC (French equivalent of the AKC), and if approved by SCC, this draft will wend its way up to the FCI for its approval.  The FCI is the parent or umbrella dog registry with worldwide governance over 86 member countries.

In the meantime, please sign this petition (here, with English tabs) to express your opposition to the proposal for more color restrictions being imposed in the Azawakh FCI breed standard, because it will further limit the already impoverished genetic resource of this rare breed and cause its demise. It's ok if you do not own an Azawakh, please just describe your relation to the Azawakh as (suggestions): admirer or supporter.
If Mr. Coppé cannot hear his own voice speak - [translated] "A canine breed does not define itself by color, but first and foremost by morphology" - we are obliged to speak loudly so he can hear better. Be sure to read up on the links below the photos to become informed more in depth.

Too Much White
WAY Too Much White!
Here are links that will give you a more detailed picture:
Arbeiskreis Azawakh is the German Azawakh Working Group which formed several years ago (2005) to provide information and data on the rare West African sight hound, named Azawakh.
Groupe de Travail Azawakh is the French Azawakh Working Group, serving the same purpose.

Below is the English translation of the 20th April 2011 News Brief released on the German Azawakh Working Group site:

Activities of the French "standard owner" of concern to the International Azawakh community. The Working Group is committed to providing information and reports on the efforts of breeders and enthusiasts who oppose a genetic threat to the population of the Azawakh breed. 20. April 2011

BIRTH OF A NEW BREED? THE AMAZING "Godfather" Of The Azawakh

The Fédération Cynologique International (FCI - World Canine Organization) deposited standards describing the various breeds that all member countries of the FCI in Europe, South America, Asia and elsewhere must observe. In general, each national FCI member-club is in charge of the standards for the breeds which originate from their country. In the former West African colonies of France (now the countries of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso) there was no FCI organization. The Société Centrale Canine (SCC), became the "sponsor" for the Azawakh breed, because French enthusiasts were amongst the first to import these dogs, and SCC (French Kennel Club) was the first to submit a text standard to FCI. The SCC delegates the management of this standard to the French breed club for the Azawakh, SLAG, which stands for Club du Sloughi, the Levriers d'Afrique et du Galgo.
The Executive Board of SLAG, which consists of three Azawakh breeders, decided on their own initiative on Jan 22, 2011, to request a change in the FCI standard. This decision and a new draft standard have been given until April 14, 2011 for feedback, it was announced in French on the web site. However SLAG President Jean-Francois Abisse had already delivered the draft to FCI on Jan 26, 2011. By commentary on Facebook, Abisse announced that an Azawakh depicted there with a FCI-title "International Champion", is no longer confirmable, that is, no longer considered to be suitable breeding specimen.
The Azawakh Working Group has documented protest statements received on Facebook in February (on this website under News 2011). Any idea of the change plans with discussion or voting opportunities for the SLAG members did not exist, even worse for the breeders, owners and judges of the breed abroad. You could learn about these processes so far only if: - you have visited the SLAG website which is in French. Meanwhile, the request is to change the default SCC with a request to accept it and forward it to the FCI
The Azawakh Working Group therefore makes the following the application of SLAG in comparison with the current FCI standard available in German (Documentation 1). The text is a part of the Groupe Azawakh drawing a comparison with German and English translations. It contains a number of critical comments and opinions of the authors of individual short-informed Azawakh breeder. A more intensive discussion of canine can not however be unnecessary. It is in this specific case, therefore, to avert a worsening of the situation on the part of the standard SLAG initiative, but not for the basic defense of the current FCI rules, whose reform has been the long-term concerns of the Azawakh Working Group.
The real objective of the French initiative is not shown on the official SLAG web site. This involves a fundamental redefinition of the Azawakh breed. Only the early French imports from targeted regional and tribal areas and their direct descendants are to be recognized by SLAG. Later imported "Azawakh" coming from regions of origin in the Sahel which are habitats of the nomads, with different variations of the sight hounds, are subject to the general suspicion of mixed blood. They would no longer be part of the breed described by the FCI. These hypotheses are currently only supported in an Internet blog owned by the SLAG Board members Gervais Coppé and [Manuel Grosset's wife] Ewa Grosset, and is published as a private publication. The Azawakh Working Group aims to provide space in due course to deal with these rather arcane notions.

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