Naturally Reared Salukis, Azawakh, & Taigans
Preservation, Form, & Function
About Xanadu Farms Sighthounds
I have lived with Salukis for thirty years, with Azawakh for almost twenty-five, and with Taigans* during the last eight years.
My primary focus as a breeder has always been the preservation of the archetypal dogs and not in changing them to fit the expectations of the western show ring.
The majority of my dogs are indigenous imports or immediate descendants. I believe strongly that it is impossible to understand these breeds without taking the time to understand the people and cultures from which they come.
Does one have to understand those people and cultures in order to own one? No, but I think it makes it easier and more interesting. Does one have to travel to the countries/regions where the dogs are from? No, but it is great if you can. Researching, reading and talking with knowledgeable and experienced breeders and owners can inform as well.
One of the great things about my rather strange and stressful job working in international aid is that it allows me to travel the globe: I am lucky to get to spend time in Africa's Sahel, homeland of the Azawakh, in the Taigans' Kyrgyzstan, and in the Middle East, where Salukis originated. Perhaps most importantly, this has allowed me the opportunity to import indigenous dogs. I hope to continue to do so.
Another fervent hope is that Taigans are never recognized in the west as an “official" breed and that preservation can continue to occur primarily in Kyrgyzstan, albeit supported in this effort by a small number of breeders in the west. What has happened to Salukis and Azawakh with American Kennel Club recognition depresses and saddens me. I am on my own path in this regard but I am grateful to not be on that path alone; there are established breeders, as well as people newer to this work, who are more interested in preservation than winning at Westminster.
Of course everyone must forge their own path, but I would love it if it could be done with the dogs as they have existed for thousands of years and not what we turn them into.
*There are currently fewer than 40 Taigans in the US and approximately 750 in Kyrgyzstan, their ancestral homeland.