Rev Herbert Wheeler Bush
(By Steve Tillotson November 2013)
Rev Bush is mentioned in a number of the breed books as an expert on Eastern and Oriental hounds, but, hithertho, that was about all we knew about him. We have recently uncovered a couple of press cuttings that give us some information about the Rev Bush and which support the breed credentials associated with him.
Rev Bush was the Vicar at Bathford in the west country of England, about 100 miles west of London. He spent considerable time in India and was responsible for founding The Kennel Club Of India (1908) and for founding and editing the Indian Kennel Gazette (1902).
In 1881 a large group of church people and other notables were touring and visiting the West Country of England and they visited the young Mr Bush, below is a press cutting of that occasion, which, interestingly mentions Mr Bush's Afghan hound (this is 1881 - forty years before the breed was recognized by The Kennel Club!). We have no further details on his hound
Rev Bush's experience in India/Afghanistan spans 3 decades (1881 - 1912) and due to his pivotal role with the IKC he would have been very well positioned to comment on the breeds early days.
Our next snippet is the press announcement of Rev Bush's death in 1927. This snippet provides further details on Rev Bushs's life and career
Margaret Niblock in her book on the breed (The Afghan Hound a Definitive Study) quotes from the writings of Rev Bush
Page15 - In Volume II of the Kennel Encylopedia, 1908 is a chapter on Eastern greyhounds, the Rev H W Bush shows photographs of the smooth-coated and feathered vaieties of Arab Hounds, or Salukis, owned by an Arab Sheik - similar to those seen in the ring today. He refers to the Persian hound as merely a larger edition of the Saluki but with a stronger coat on the body and legs, with heavily feathered ears and tail, and standing twenty-seven to twenty-nine and a half inches at the shoulder. Mr Bush then goes on, "From Seistan in Persia, are obtained very heavily coated hounds, mostly fawn in colour with black faces. Very handsome, taking dogs they are." From the two photographs, which were taken at the same time at Quetta, it wil be seen that they breed true to type. "The younger hound was brought down into India, and after a while lost most of the heavy coat on the back, while the hair on the loins showed a decided tendency to "cord" reminding one of the Afghan hound, with which there is no doubt they are closely related. Dogs of this type are to be found at Chageh (Baluchistan-Afghan border)' at Nasratabad (Persian-Afghan border) - both places wide apart; as well as over a lage area on the Eastern Persian borders:. This would include the Seistan, or Sistan area.
One natural, untouched photograph entitled "The persian Greyhound Zardin" shows the famous hound owned by Mr Barff, upon which the first Afghan hound breed standard was based. The second photograph of "Persian Greyhound (Puppy) by Zardin" (AHT ED - shown at top of this page), has unfortunately had the coat heavily touched up. There is no mistaking this Persian Tazi for anything other than a typical specimen of our Afghan hound
Mr Bush tells us that the "Afghan (or Barukhzy) hound" found in fair numbers along the borderland and northern India and further south, where they eventually lose the greater part of the coat, are used for hunting purposes. They are not as big as the Persian hound, but more massive with thicker skulls, eyes lighter-coloured and often yellow. With little hair on the back, the thighs and forelegs are covered with long, thick hair which becomes corded. There is a tuft of hair on top of the skull, but the tail (which is carried high) is almost always covered with short hair and has no feather."
Page29 - The description of the Afghan given by the Rev H W Bush in 1908 is a reminder of the temperament of its ancestors and the influence of environment and native handling. "They are nasty savage beasts, especially in the neighbourhood of their own villages, and bite black and white men indiscriminately, though they have a preference for sampling the white...
Page 31 - "Mr Bush ends his observations on Afghan temperament by saying "When obtained as pups they can be trained and become amenable to English rule.... of course their dispositions vary, and we have come across gentle ones"
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