Saturday, January 16, 2010

The character of a desert hunter

Some new pictures of the puppies here. They grow fast and it's fascinating to see which qualities that I was hoping would be produced by this breeding, come through and reveal themselves in these puppies. My purpose in this breeding has been to intensify and solidify the marriage of two 'newer' desert bred bloodlines - That of Taytok and Hatshepsut.
My goals are to preserve the Azawakh in it's natural state, as we found them - as they have been existing for thousands of years in their place of origin in the southern Sahara/Sahelien region of West Africa. This goal is presented with a challenge as soon as we take these hounds out of Africa and "out of context" so to speak.
How does one recapture those traits that make them ideally suited for living in a harsh desert environment, with nomadic livestock herders that expect the working qualities of a guardian and a hunter? How does one evaluate the presence of those traits as we live and dwell in the western world?
For me Tadawelt, the mother of these pups, is a classic, archetypal female.Her structure is moderate and not extreme in any way. She has grace and balanced proportions.Her movement - easy,fluid and agile. Part of what I greatly enjoy about her though are those things you can't see. She has an enormous desire for the chase. And whether we are out for a walk/hiking or out for a real hunting excursion - she is always keeping her mind and eyes keen to movement and an awareness of prey that might show itself. She has a spirited disposition - loyal and independent, thinking for herself yet willing to listen...aloof with strangers, though possibly interested if she decides, and yet affectionate, even downright 'cuddly' with those she is devoted to.
She loves to run and enjoys getting all the puppies and the dogs here to chase her.
She runs with abandon, fearlessly. And it is in these qualities that I see and have had the privilege to experience that I chose to focus on and hopefully pass on to the next generation.
Tadawelt's mother was Imouyene, a half desert bred female,who was out of Taytok.
Taytok was a 'new' African import from Mali, whose first breeding was to Alem'Nemehal. This breeding along with subsequent breedings helped expand the limited
gene pool that exists outside of Africa.
But it seemed to me that often desert bred blood was being used mainly as an outcross to "improve" the european lines which were very limited. It didn't look like there was much of a 'breeding back' to the line of Taytok, in order to really establish a new African line. David Moore/Daoud Abdullah Abdullah did a great amount of work expanding upon the Hatshepsut line, and her influence can be seen throughout
his breeding program. One of Hatshepsut's sons was Safouan and he was the father of Alem'Nemehal. When he was bred to Taytok this brought together the two desert bred lines. Safouan had another son named Kaisoon and he was bred to the half desert bred Imouyene (Taytok x Alem'Nemehal) - this litter produced Tadawelt and succeeded in intensifying and extending the Hatshepsut line,along with the continued presence of David's original foundation lines, and breeding forward to a second generation, the new influence of Taytok.
I chose to breed Tadawelt to Alatokh (Taytok x Alem'Nemehal)in order to 'go back into' the newer Taytok dam line, creating something that is "pure in the strain", while also maintaining the Hatshepsut line influence via Safouan and Alem'Nemehal.
Both the Taytok and Hatshepsut desert bred lines are avid hunters! They are also excellent guardians, but it is especially in their running prowess and ability
that I feel they shine. And it is a reflection on what both human and natural selection has been choosing in their desert environment of the Sahel.This breeding helps to 'set type' and hopes to extend those highly valued characteristics of the Sahel to future generations here in the west.

(To view the entire pedigree,please visit and view the Azawakh database. To read about Taytok please visit Gabi Meissen's website and visit David's website which includes a link to his blog and Gabi's website. One or two individuals from this litter may be available
to permanent,loving,well screened homes. Serious inquiries welcome. Please contact me
for details.)

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