About The Society

A Brief History of The Society for the Perpetuation of Desert Bred Salukis

by Elizabeth Al-Hazzam Dawsari

The Society for the Perpetuation of Desert Bred Salukis would not have any critiqued Desert Bred Salukis if petroleum had not changed the economics of the Middle East radically in the last half of the twentieth century. The Saluki did not change. Late twentieth century Saluki imports were not noticeably different from originally registered British Saluki foundation stock imported during the early years of the twentieth century. What has been altered is the means by which Salukis have been acquired by Westerners. The American oil industry made it possible for non-military non-British personnel to interact with “native” peoples (Arab, Iranian, North African, Kurdish, Turkic, etc.). Had economic conditions not thus influenced the Middle East, Americans would have had no reason and, thus, little opportunity for contact with tribal peoples and, consequently, few if any Desert Bred Salukis would have been acquired for import to the United States.

Commencing in early 1970s, a group of Saluki fanciers joined forces to locate and evaluate Salukis imported to the United States directly from the Middle East. Mrs. Eugenia Kissinger spearheaded this nation-wide effort. And, thus, the Desert Bred Saluki Critique Program, based on an FCI model, was designed and commenced recording data in 1974.

By 1982, the Saluki Club of America was involved in the effort to find a solution to enable imported Middle Eastern Salukis and their progeny to gain entry into the American Kennel Club’s Saluki Stud Book.  During the 1980s, the Parent Club put the question of recently imported Middle Eastern Salukis to the membership for a vote. While the vote was overwhelmingly in favor of opening the studbook, it failed to meet the AKC requirement of 2/3s of the membership voting by less than 10 votes.

In 1989, the four members of the Saluki Club of America’s Desert Bred Committee (Eugenia Kissinger, Carl Rodarty, Elizabeth Al-Hazzam Dawsari and Gail Goodman) were encouraged to remove the Desert Bred Saluki Critique Program from the Parent Club and establish a separate organization, the Society for the Perpetuation of Desert Bred Salukis.  With the consent of the Parent Club, all records of the Desert Bred Saluki Critique Program became the sole property of the Society for the Perpetuation of Desert Bred Salukis.  The 1994 By-laws defined the responsibilities of the Society for the Perpetuation of Desert Bred Salukis to owners of Desert Bred Salukis.

During the early years of the 1990s, the Society’s Critique Program became a registry recognized by most, if not all, Sighthound performance clubs, including the National Open field coursing Association (NOFCA), effective June 16, 1991, and The American Sighthound Field Association (ASFA), which commenced accepting the Society’s registry on January 1, 1992.

The year 2002 marked the acceptance of the Society for the Perpetuation of Desert Bred Saluki’s Stud Book as a U.S. Domestic Registry by the American Kennel Club after a favorable ballot by the Parent Club supporting the Domestic Registry.

The Desert Bred Saluki Critique Program of the Society for the Perpetuation of Desert Bred Salukis then and still requires each Desert Bred Saluki to meet specified criteria through the Critique process including physical examination by three qualified judges who must examine individual Salukis according to AKC standard.  Please note that the AKC standard, drawn from the 1923 British standard, was adopted in 1927 and remains unchanged from that time. These standards were based on Middle Eastern imports and their immediate descendants, i.e., foundation stock.

Additionally, the Society requires DNA profiling of all Critiqued Desert Bred Salukis entering the breeding population. Photographs document the Salukis presented for evaluation. Upon successful completion of the Society’s critique process by each Generation 3 Saluki, owners can apply to the AKC for admittance to the AKC Stud Book.