Azawakh - the rarest dog of all
THE Azawakh is the Touareg sight hound. The Touaregs are also known as the Blue Men or the Veiled Men of Africa. They are a small population of Berber people in the Sabei area of Africa (Mali, Burkina Paso and Niger). The Azawakh made its appearance in Europe around 1970; the first ones arrived in the former Yugoslavia and went on to France. The breed found a dedicated but small crowd of admirers and they continuously attracted attention. The breed name Azawakh came from the Azaouakh river valley.
Skinny and delicate at the first glance, but sturdy and full of temperament - this is the most refined sight hound of them all, but inside there is a strong mind, a fierce hunter with strong guarding skills - characteristics that have made them the unique sight hounds they still are today in Europc and in their native countries. Few breed winners in the show ring today have as short pedigrees as the Azawakhs the famous Best in Show winner of the prestigious Longchamps show in Paris, Ch I'Fillingue de Garde-Epee's mother was bred in Mali, Africa. Her offspring made their mark in Azawakh history winning group placings, and numerous BOB wins all over Europe.
Every year an expedition takes place in the Sabei area, when Azawakh enthusiasts make a journey to visit the different Touareg tribes that still breed Azawakhs and to secure the gene pool. Puppies from Africa are brought back to enlarge the gene pool - this is the way the Azawakhs are bred today. The old Yugoslavian and French bloodlines are bred pure with recent imports from Mali, Burkina, Faso and Niger - this is the guarantee that the breed is true to its origin.
The Azawakh community is very international - a female puppy bred in Sweden was exported to the US in 2001. Puppies bred in the US from an American-born male and an African import female now reside in Germany, France and the Czech Republic. The first UK litter was sired by an African male residing in Germany and the mother was bred in France from the second litter from in the UK. Many puppies have been exported to the US and two to Scandinavia. In March 2007, 15 Azawakhs lived in the UK, with more imports on their way.
Much has been said over the years about Azawakhs and their temperament. Some are less socialised or well-trained for the show ring; others are shown with perfection. This is not a dog for everyone. They have a strong mind, a powerful guarding instinct, a very reserved temperament and should always be treated with the utmost respect and care. They are not vicious, evil or aggressive! But they are different from the rest of the sight hound family and they must be accepted for their uniqueness. If you would like to know more about the Azawakh you are welcome to visit the website and also to join the breed club and email list.
The azawakh is particularly slender and elegant. showing great refinement. His bone and muscle structure are visible beneath very fine and dry skin. This sight hound gives an impression of being a tall and racy dog by virtue of his elegant framework and his leanness, always elegant without coarseness. His frame fits into a standing rectangle, bitches can be slightly longer. Capable of speed and endurance, enjoys the closeness of his family. He is alert, attentive to his surroundings, distant and somewhat reserved with strangers, gentle and affectionate with those he is willing to accept. Head and skull are long, fine, dry and refined head, rather narrow, without excess. Skull is almost flat, rather elongated. The directions of the axes of skull and muzzle are slightly diverging. Eyebrows and frontal groove slightly marked. Marked occiput. Very slight stop. Nostrils well opened, nose black or brown.
Almond shape, quite large, dark or amber. Eyelids pigmented. Ears set quite high. Fine, always drooping and flat, not "rose ear", quite wide at base, close to the skull, shaped as a triangle with slightly rounded tip. Ear base rises when the hound is attentive. Jaws long and strong. Scissor bite.
Good reach of neck, long and muscular, slightly arched. The skin is fine, no dewlap. Dewclaws permitted. Long, slightly oblique shoulders.
Topline is straight or rising towards the hips. Quite prominent withers. Short, lean and often slightly arched loin. Distinctly protruding hip bones, always placed at an equal or superior height to the height of the withers. Oblique croup without accentuated slant. Forechest not very wide. Chest well developed in length and depth but without reaching elbow level, not loo wide but enough heart room. Long, visible, slightly and evenly curved ribs. Sternum accentuated, loins in a continuous curve to a high tuck up.
Thighs are long with prominent and dry muscles. No exaggerated angulation. The stifle is perpendicular in keeping with the angulation. Hocks are parallel without dewclaws. Feet rounded, fine and tightly closed toes, pads are pigmented. Tail set low, long, thin, lean and tapered, covered with same type of coat as the body. Carried hanging with the tip slightly raised. When the dog is excited, it can be carried above the topline. Gait is always very supple and covering the ground with light, lissom movement of high order, never resembling a hackney action, giving an impression of lightness and elasticity. The movement is an essential point of the breed.
Short, fine, down to absence of coat on the belly/abdomen. Colour, red or sand, from the lightest to the darkest of these colours, also all brindle colours acceptable, with or without black mask and/or blaze. White markings on forechest and/or throat. It is essential that the tail has a white tip and at least a trace of white on the feet, which can extend to sleeking, high up the leg. Height at the withers: dogs 64-74 cm, bitches 60-70 cm. Weight: dogs 20. 25 kg, bitches 15 - 20 kg. Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.