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8th AFGHAN HOUND WORLD CONGRESS
30th April - 1st May
ITALY (Brescia) 2014

(Compiled by Steve Tillotson, June 2014)


Acknowledgement - the organizers of the 8th congress have an excellent website which is here which contains the fuller details
I have used some information from thei congress website. My thanks to the organizers. Steve T.


1. CONGRESS TOPICS/SPEAKERS

"The Afghan Hound....Hunting Machine Or Best In Show Machine?"
The goal of the 8th AHWC is to investigate the condition of the breed after 100 years of breeding selection.

  • The 8th Afghan Hound Congress opening and welcomes speakers:
  • Dr. Clemente Grosso (I), Member of the Board of Directors of the Italian Kennel Club (ENCI)
    Mr. Ulf Fjelsted Jørgensen (DK), World Congress Promoter
    Mr. Roberto Bongiovanni (I), Chairperson of the Italian Afghan Hound Club (A.I.A.L.A.) hosting the 2014 World Congress

  • The different stocks that developed in the early decades are now globalizing into a sole model.
  • Is it important to keep a morphological diversification?
    Dr. Guido Perosino (I) - Dr. Göran Bodegård (S)
    Moderator: Dr. Stefano Marelli (I)

  • From Ghengis Khan's dog to Barbie's pet.
  • The different models evolve, and breed features inevitably become extreme:
    is the "hyper-type" drifting us away from the Standard?
    Ms. Susan Rhodes (UK)
    Moderator: Dr. Stefano Marelli (I)

  • Afghans bred for Lure coursing and Racing purposes drift away from the"globalized" type bred for show purposes - Comparison between models
  • Mr. Mario Canton (I)
    Moderator: Dr. Stefano Marelli (I)

  • Which model is nearer to the so far unchanged Standard?
  • Morphological structure
    is it better judged in the show ring or on the field?
    Temperament
    development of the temperament within the coursing field would it be appropriate to consider the license of coursing compulsory to the confirmation of a champion title?
    Coat pattern
    Is the coat of today's Afghans typical?
    Despite what the Standard says, stripping is widespread and tolerated.
    Can we breed without using scissors?
    Dr. Espen Engh (N) - Mr. Åge Gjetnes (N)
    Moderator: Dr. Stefano Marelli (I)

  • The conformation judge today.
  • Are judges still able to influence breeding choices? What's their role today? Are the new generations of breeders aware that Afghans are supposed to hunt in Afghanistan or are they solely aiming to get to the Best in Show ring?
    Ms. Lotte Jørgensen (DK)
    Moderator: Dr. Stefano Marelli (I)

  • Proud or aloof?
  • How the meaning of two simple terms can influence the interpretation of the Standards - "proud" (UK) vs "aloof" (USA) by its breeders and fanciers. As well eventually the evolution and the future of the Afghan Hound.
    Mrs. Cinzia Aymaretti (I) and Dr. Emanuela Camia (I)
    Moderator: Dr. Stefano Marelli (I)

  • Voting for an International Afghan Hound Committee

  • Closing Remarks
  • Mr. Roberto Bongiovanni (I)

  • Dinner/Voting Results
  • Dinner with music and dance, during the dinner the results of voting will be announced

2. INTRO/SUMMARY by Cinzia Aymaretti Camia (Gran Pamir, Italy)

The main Theme of the Congress was the issues of breed Globalization. The presentations were intended to not just to find an answer but to make breeders minds up to the question as well to manage its risk vs its real or supposed advantage. That said the proposal of a Sole Unified Standard was an item to be taken under consideration. As the Proposal author I feel myself authorized to talk about it. I wrote a Study for a Sole Internationa Unifiedl Standard just because actually the two main Sts are not in opposition but on the contrary they are complementary,as very well said above by Stephanie Hunt-Crowley and by somebody else's posts. I presented my work at the south Afrika Congress in 2003 as a Standards extension. My aim was not to teach how to read and interpretate the Sts to experienced longtimer Breeders, ( I am aware they don't need it), My aim was to clear newcomers and newbreeders minds up (exspecially those feeling themselves "know-it-all" ones after breeding one litter).

The reason why I wrote it and wanted to promote it was 'coz In the last decades Europe saw a huge imports from USA, not all of them of top quality and most very different from European St.'s"Type" . After some years of mistruts towards the new imports, many newcomers to the breed started to mix Europena lines with US lines mostly without enough knowledge of what they were actually doing and by their own many AR judges got their mind confused about the difference. The Sole Standard or better to say an Extension to the FCI/AKC Sts. was thought to help the Breeders' views from many country joining under a shared direction even with all those most sacred differences which I never will get tired to treasure .

This need is shared by most European fanciers (like the Congress Questionnaire answers witness with 2/3 of approvals to its benefits). I Understand that this view is not as well shared by some OZ friends, 'coz I assume that maybe they don't feel-and never did- the problem dramatically like in Europe ,I suppose 'coz they have been actually greatly coooperative breeders each others with a high grade of breeding ability mixing their own lines with just a bit of the needed imports.

My opinion,sorry if I mistake.I want to assure everybody that The Unified Standard I worked at is just a new writing where both the Stds are joined without any omissions or changes but just clearly explained .That said I am aware that the International official Organizations NEVER will accept to recognize one SOLE STANDARD, but I am sure that a recognized Extension could get under official consideration. The writing of The Unified international Standard is edited on the AIALA Official 30thYR BOOk which has been presented to all the Congress attenders and can be ordered from the AIALA Club of Italy. I will be happy to share it with somebody interested by email or even after a next posting into my Gran Pamir Website (need some time to do it).

Into the same BOOK I wrote a lot of articles about AH Morphology and the History of the Breed and other items.
(AHT Ed note - Above info extracted from Cinzia's Facebook post dated 6/17/2014)

3. IMPRESSIONS FROM AN AUSTRALIAN DELEGATE by Pamela Bennett, (Doyen, Australia)

The 8th Afghan hound World Congress was held in Italy on 30th April and 1st May 2014 with speakers as diverse as the delegates from many countries, including three (3) from Australia.

Apart from those who came from Europe and Scandinavia, the British had the biggest number of people. Many of these however were in Italy for the two Championship shows, and a holiday, and not to attend the Congress. I am not sure what the purpose/vision/mission of World Congress events is…to learn from those with experience in the breed and who are able to look at the problems which may be either inherent or developmental.

I am sure that the Congress topics attempted to address many of the issues which have become a worry to breed enthusiasts across the world. This was evidenced in the results of a questionnaire which was distributed by FB contact prior to the Congress starting. Over75% of respondents indicated that the “quality of the Afghan hound in their country” was decreasing…breed numbers are becoming fewer and fewer, registrations are falling according to 75% of the answers.

Movement and fronts were the top faults, with only 2.5% considering that a tail without a ring…a breed hallmark…was a “worst” fault.

From a list of “most important” far and away, with twice as many % points than movement, was correct balance and proportions. I would have thought that from this result movement would have had equal importance. Again a ringed tail came in low down the list. To be fair the list asked for four (4) answers only.

One of the most contentious questions asked for the reason(s) for the decline in quality…the “winning” result was “a poor judging job” well ahead of poor breeding work! This was of course disputed in one of the presentations! Almost equal to poor breeding was too much emphasis on coat (growth and maintenance.

There was one other question which received a mixed response. This had to do with a universal standard…a sole breed standard in the questionnaire’s words. If the responses which indicated that this would benefit the breed were added together 65% of those who answered said it would…from absolutely would…to probably would. This leaves 1/3 of respondents who are against the concept.

To a very large degree these results were not addressed at the Congress, so could well form the basis of the content of the next Congress to be hosted by the Netherlands in Amsterdam at the same time as the World show in 2018. No doubt the first International Council has this well in hand…or will have in collaboration with the Netherlands.

This Council is formed of five (5) members, three (3) of whom are referred to as “the committee”…the other two as the reserves. This was not as I understood it to be as the three “elected” by ballot represent a small part of the International scene. And the two reserves are both women. The elected members in order are • Ulf Fjelsted Jorgensen (Dk) • Michael Canalizo (USA) • Willem Buitenkamp (NL) • Cinzia Aymaretti (I) • Iren Naaritz (EE)

Not an International representation…

The topics of the Congress covered such subjects…and I quote the titles here:

“The different stocks developed in the early decades are now globalizing into a sole model. Is it important to keep a morphological diversification?”

Presenters were Dr Guido Perosino (I), an Agricultural Scientist specializing in animal breeding and zoo-technology. His breed of interest is the Leonberger and other “big mountain dogs”.

Guido was followed, on much the same topic…they are grouped… was that well known Paediatrician Goran Bodegard well respected in his professional field and as a writer and speaker on all things “dog”.

Between them they made some good points…just a few which I jotted down at the time…some may be paraphrased

• Breeders should maintain the breed and not breed solely for self…this does not enhance the gene pool which leads to the problem of homogeneity vs variability…
• Breeders need an appropriate plan when breeding…selection…cross over…consanguinity to improve/maintain the genetic potential
• In choosing a breeding plan there should be an objective clearly in the mind of the breeder…to win in the ring…OR…maintain the breed. Show results are NOT the best way to choose breeding stock
• Selection of breeding stock should be in the hands of the breeder…NOT the judge.
This last caused some interaction both for and against… (see questionnaire results)!

• Loved one of Goran’s comments that in breeding one should not look for too much “WOW”…
• Suggested that the breed is not being well husbanded as far as breeding is concerned for the following reasons
• Judges who corrupt the standard to suit their own interpretation
• Lack of knowledge of the breed shown by many judges
• Poor education of judges by the relevant Kennel Clubs/Councils
• Show committees who invite judges because they are useful…i.e. can be subcontracted for money!

The final presentation for the first day was our Australian) National judge Susan Rhodes…From Genghis Khan's dog to Barbie’s pet.
The different models evolve and breed features inevitably become extreme: is the hyper-type drifting away from the standard?
Susan is an accomplished speaker, and my only comment at the time was “she says it all…will she do it”.
I leave that answer to you!

The second day began with a very academic erudite presentation …in Italian…yes we were in Italy. Translations were in PowerPoint slides…but lose something in the translation, when the body language might be suggesting something else.
The presenter was Mario Canton (I) who, according to his CV has been involved in the study of dogs from a scientific point of view for many many years. And it showed. His interest is in the functional morphology… He spoke on “Afghan hounds bred for lure coursing and racing purposes drift away from the globalised type bred for show purposes…comparison between models”

• Form follows function
• Is combining different functions in one dog valuable for a show dog
• Differences in structure are quite marked…can one dog do everything…have we gone too far…?

I am sure he answered some of these questions but he was cut off as he tended to go overtime.

Other speakers included Espen Eng and Age Gjetnes (N) who are both well known sighthound breeders and International judges…Espen judging Crufts in 2015 with Susan Rhodes.

Both these speakers have a wealth of knowledge about the breed and shared this, my comment is very short…maybe I was getting tired… • Should there be a common goal for the breed…looking at the foundation from which it sprang.

The final presentations were from two of the well known breeders Cinzia Aymaretti Camia and the incomparable Lotte Jorgensen.

Both were in fine form, Lotte her usual self…her verbal presentation seemed to drift from the script printed online in the Congress FB page… I recommend this to you. There are several scripts on that page.

As mentioned at the start of this report the day concluded with the election of the first International Afghan hound Council. This was not without some incidents as we were asked to vote for something that had not been presented with its objectives, no mission statement or anything that would tell an International affiliate what the intentions of this council are.

No-one was forthcoming, then or now to present these briefs; one target was to co-ordinate World Congresses, but they neglected to call for an offer to host the next one…until the Netherland’s spokesman Willem Buitenkamp stood up and asked if they were doing this, as they had at every other Congress, then offered Amsterdam with the World Show in 2018.

Sadly the weather was cold and damp…the first show was held in the rain with mud underfoot, the judge in a rain coat …no indoor venue…the weather was better for the second show, but I was in Naples so missed it!

Pamela Bennett
Editor AHC of NSW

4. BREED QUESTIONNAIRE AND VOTING RESULTS

The congress provided a questionnaire about the breed, The questionnaire and full results can be seen here
Summary and comments on the questionnairee -

QUESTIONS 1 and 2 - Is the quality of Afghan hounds declining at (1) home and (2) abroad -
(1) 65% =yes, (2) 75% = yes

QUESTION 3 - Is the number of hounds increasing - NO 75% of respondends replied no

QUESTION 4 - What do you think can influence quality of the breed?
-Good breeding
-Good judging
Over 90% felt these were the main influences on quality

QUESTION 5 - What carthes your attenion first when evauating an Afghan hound?
-Balance and proportions
-Head and expression
-Correct structure
93% of respondents felt these were the most important points

QUESTION 6 - In your opinion which is the worst fault (respondents got to pick
four points from a list of 21). The top three answers, each gaing just over 10% were -
-Bad front
-Bad topline
-Movement with no power and extension
Three of the 21 points referenced temperaent (Agressive temperament, shy temperament and
temperament lacking proudness and aloofness) and these items amounted to just over 13% so
as a category, Temperament was deemed to be the worst

QUESTION 7. - What is most important? (respondents got to pick four points from a list of 19)
The top two answsers, gaining 20.8% and 10.5% were
-Correct balance and proportions
-Powerful movement with long extension
Temperament gained just over 6% which left it in about 7th place of most important items. Again
we had various types of temerament - 1 primitive independent temperament, 2 friendly but stubborn temperament,
3 happy and showy temperament. So between questions 6 and 7 we have six different types of temperament. Oddly,
in question 6 Temperament(s) (in aggregate) amount to the worst fault, but by contrast in question
7 temperament(s) only achieved 7th place. So the supposed worst Afghan fault is not the most important?

QUESTION 8. - Do you think the breed of today has changed compared to the original stock?
84% of respondents said YES

QUESTION 9.- If you think the breed has improved, point out 2 possible reasons among the six listed. Top items were-
-Good health and nutrition care 39.6%
-Good breeding work 38.6%

QUESTION 10. - If you think the breed has worsened point out 2 possible reasons among the five listed. Top items were -
-Poor judging job 30.8%
-Poor breeding job 26.8%
In question 9 Poor Judging was one of the lowest improvement points (scored only 4.9%), so poor judging being
one of the breed's worsening points is at least consistent between questions 9 and 10. Good Breeding was
second highest improvement point in question 9 with a score of 38.6%, whereas in question 10 Poor Breeding
is rated second worsening point in the breed.

QUESTION 11.- Do you think that working on a sole Breed Standard could help preserving and improving our breed? Top responses-
YES (probably) 50.8%
Maybe NOT 21.93%
YES (definitely) 14.91%
NOT at all 12.28%
Close to 73% were in the YES direction, 27% were in the NO direction. So overall a majority think
a single breed standard would improve the breed.

12 Contributors to questionnaire
66 owner/exhibitors 52.38%
46 breeders 36.51%
11 owners 8.75%
3 professional handler 2.38%

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