Thursday, June 30, 2011

Azawakh Advancement In AKC

Today, June 30, 2011, is an auspicious day for the Azawakh in the U.S. Some regard it as a tragedy, others rejoice. Today, this rare West African desert hound is advanced to  Miscellaneous Group status in AKC and is for the first time eligible to be shown in conformation in that registry.

Historically, AKC is notorious for distorting and destroying breed traits to suit the pet market. So please, let us not forget what Dr. Werner Röder from Berlin, who led nineteen ABIS expeditions to bring dogs back from West Africa, had to say:

"The Azawakh of the Sahel arise as one of the world's last and rarest existences, in which an entire race of dog is still shaped by its historical purpose; an ancient form optimally adapted to its natural environment and surviving free of the genetic depletion brought about by selection according solely to aesthetic criteria. Those in the west who love the race share a unique opportunity to heed Xavier Przezdziecki's redemptive words: The belief held by all breed associations in "improvement" should not apply to the sight hound as it is almost perfectly formed by nature. Indeed, as they are a loan from nature, man is charged with their preservation."

American Kennel Club
Azawakh Breed Standard
Miscellaneous Class
General Appearance   The Azawakh is an African sighthound of afro-asiatic type, which appeared in Europe towards 1970 and, comes from the Nigerian middle basin, among others, from the Valley of the Azawakh. For hundreds of years, he has been the companion of the nomads of the southern Sahara. Particularly leggy and elegant, the Azawakh gives a general impression of great fineness. His bone structure and musculature are transparent beneath fine and lean skin. This sighthound presents itself as a rangy dog whose body fits into a rectangle with its longer sides in a vertical position. Faults – Heavy general appearance.

Size, Weight, Proportion   Height at withers: Males 25 - 29 inches, Females 23 - 27 inches.� Serious Fault – Size deviating more than an inch from the norms of the standard. Weight: Males 44 – 55 pounds, Females 33 – 44 pounds; in correct weight 3-5 ribs should be visible. Body Proportion: Length of body/height at withers – 9:10. Length of body is 90% height of hound.� This ratio may be slightly higher in bitches.

Head   Eyes – Almond shaped, quite large. Their color is in keeping with the coat color. Eye rims are pigmented. Ears – Set quite high. They are fine, always drooping and flat, quite wide at the base, close to the skull, never a rose ear. Their shape is that of a triangle with a slightly rounded tip. Their base rises when the hound is attentive.� Skull – The skull is almost flat, rather elongated. The width of the skull must definitely be inferior to half the length of the head. Width of the skull/length of head = 4:10. The width of the skull is 40% the length of the head. The superciliary arches and the frontal furrow are slightly marked. On the other hand, the occipital crest is clearly protruding and the occipital protuberance marked. Faults – Wide back skull, prominent stop. Muzzle – Long, straight, fine towards the front without exaggeration. Planes – Long, fine, lean and chiseled, rather narrow, without excess. Length of muzzle/length of head = 1:2. Length of back skull is 50% length of head. The directions of the axes of the skull and the muzzle are often slightly divergent towards the front. Nose – Nostrils well opened. The nose color is in keeping with the coat color. Lips and Jaw – Lips are fine and tight. Jaw is long and strong. Cheeks are flat. Bite – A scissor bite is preferable; a level bite is allowed. Serious Fault – An overshot or undershot jaw. Teeth – Full dentition; the teeth are healthy and strong.

Neck, Topline and Body Neck – Good reach of neck which is long, fine and muscular, slightly arched. The skin is fine and does not form a dewlap. Topline – Nearly straight, horizontal or rising toward the hips. Withers are quite prominent. Body – Length of body/height at withers – 9:10. Length of body is 90% height of hound. This ratio may be slightly higher in bitches. Fault: Body too long. Chest – Height of chest/height at withers – about 4:10.� Height of chest is 40% of height at withers.� Well developed in length, deep but without reaching elbow level. It is not very wide, but must have enough space for the heart, so the sternal region of the chest must not abruptly become narrow. Forechest is not very wide.Ribs – Long, visible, slightly and evenly curved down to the sternum.� Underline – The chest is curved like a keel consisting of dry muscle and visible skeleton. The sternum is well defined, rising very high into the lumbar arch without interruption. Back – Nearly straight, horizontal or rising toward the hips. Hipbones are distinctly protruding and always placed at an equal or superior height to the height at the withers. Serious Fault – Hip bones placed distinctly lower than withers. Loin – The lumbar section is short and dry, often slightly curved over the loin. Croup – Oblique without accentuated slant. Tail – The tail is set low, thin, lean, and tapered. Length should reach the hock. It is covered with the same type of hair as that of the body. It is carried hanging with the tip raised or when the hound is excited, it can be carried in a sickle, ring, or saber above the horizontal.

Forequarters   Forequarters are seen as a whole: long, fine, almost entirely vertical.� Shoulders – Long, lean and muscular and only slightly slanting seen in profile. The scapulo-humeral angle is very open (about 130�). Dewclaws – may or may not be removed. Feet – Rounded shape, with fine and tightly closed toes. Pads may be pigmented.

Hindquarters are seen as a whole: long and lean; legs perfectly vertical. Thighs – Long and prominent with lean muscles. The coxofemoral angle is very open (about 130�). Stifle – The femorotibial angle is very open (about 140�). Hock – Hock joint and hock are straight and lean, without dewclaws. Feet – round shaped, with fine and tightly closed toes. Pads may be pigmented.

Skin and Coat   Skin – Fine, tight over the whole body. Hair – Short, fine, down to none on the belly. Color – Color and markings are immaterial. Serious Fault – Harsh or semi-long coat. Coat not identical to the standard.

Gait   The Azawakh’s movement is agile and light, without hackney action or pounding. He has particularly graceful, elastic movement at the walk and at the trot gives the appearance of floating effortlessly over the ground. At the trot, the front foot should not extend past the end of the nose. The gallop is leaping. The movement is an essential point of the breed. Fault – To move with exaggerated reach and drive or heaviness.

Character and Temperament   Quick, attentive, distant, reserved with strangers, but he can be gentle and affectionate with those he is willing to accept. Fault – Excessively timid character.

Approved by AKC on November 10, 2010
Effective June 30, 2011

Eligible Registries: American Azawakh Association, Any Acceptable Domestic or Foreign Registry

Contact: American Azawakh Association, Deb Kidwell, President, 30083 Rows Mill Road, Rhoadesville, VA 22542, Phone: 540-854-8431, Cell: 540-207-2009; Email: Deb Kidwell

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