HOW TO WIN AGAINST ALL ODDS
Aswad Shi'Rayân - the Sloughi
of the year 1994.
by Bernd Fritzsch, Ph.D.
Aswad having a ball with Sloughiman
© Dominique de Caprona 1997
It is late in the evening and the return of my wife is only three days
away. She will be happy to see how well I have taken care of her
pregnant bitch. I look over to the dogs. Something is not normal
with our bitch. She is short of delivery - but this behavior
looks fishy. I get an old blanket and observe her for a while.
These are contractions running over her belly. Oh, my God, she is
apparently ready to deliver. The contractions increase but nothing
happens. Maybe something is wrong. But then again, this is
the first time I watch the birth of Sloughis. Still, her labor lasts
now for one hour. Dogs should be faster than that. Finally
a paw appears.. Oh no, it is a hind paw!!. The puppy is in
breech position!!! The bitch and I will experience each the first
birth of dogs and the only one who can help, my wife, is not here.
Well, maybe if I pull gently on the paw and press on the belly to help
the contractions that will do. Okay, we see the limb. Several
contractions later finally the hips. Now we get stuck again.
The head seems to be to large. The bitch screams and with a final
slide we get the first puppy, born to us in the USA, out into this world.
A beautiful, comparably large brindled male. The other three puppies
are positioned normally and of normal size. Three hours later I am
a happy 'father' and the bitch nurses her puppies. I could not possibly
know that I helped a champion to enter this world. He will be named
Detroit, July 9/10. 1994
American dog show. Neither the dogs nor us know what to expect.
My wife was at shows in Europe, but I have no clue! But that is why
we are here: to learn how to present dogs in America. Finally I am
standing in the ring. I should 'stack' my dog. What is that
supposed to mean ? The judge tells me to present my dog. I
do my best to position Aswad. Then the judge approaches. Aswad
starts shivering but otherwise behaves brave. Until the judge needs
to check whether his malehood is complete. That is too much!!
Aswad looks frightened over his shoulder and sits down. I think,
I blew it. However, I am allowed to continue and the judge asks me
for a triangle. She has to explain to me what I need to do.
Despite my ignorance, the judge is so impressed with Aswad and his long
strides that she hesitates between him and the competing Sloughi male.
But this time Aswad (and myself) are not quite ready yet. On the
way home I promise my wife that I will take show lessons with Aswad.
During the next four months I went every week to the training session of
the Council Bluffs Kennel Club..
Hollywood Classic, California, November
*ARBA = American
Rare Breed Association Inc.
become a large and proud young male and we have developed a special bond.
We have trained each other and are now ready for our big show in California.
It is his first flight and I do not know who is more nervous, the dog,
my wife or myself. After all, if the flight really upsets him, he
may not perform . We arrive late and the night has only four hours
His first major competitor is the then
highest ranked Sloughi. This dog was shown more often and had defeated
him narrowly at our first show in Detroit. Aswad simply performs
perfect. The judge does not hesitate one second and this time he
wins Best of Breed (BOB) for Sloughis. The next hurdle is, among
others, a very nice Azawakh, a showy dog which had lately won a Best in
Show and is presented by a professional handler. Getting a group
second behind this dog would be great. But little do I know.
Aswad just does everything perfect and again the judge sees him as the
better dog. Aswad wins a Best of Group (BOG). What a day!!
This is already more than I had dreamed of. But Aswad is not done
It is late
in the afternoon when we finally compete for the Best in Show with the
best 10 dogs selected out of 164 entries. All of these dogs have
successfully competed for BOB and BOG. Most of them have already
won one or more Best in Shows and are shown by professional handlers.
Aswad and I are novices. I am full of doubt. After all, the
highest ranked rare breed dog, an Argentine Dogo, is in the show ring.
Nevertheless, we give our best - and we succeed!!! Aswad
Shirayan becomes the first Sloughi in the USA to win a Best in Show (BIS).
I can not believe it!!! The lady with the Argentine Dogo runs to
me to congratulate. She has to convince me that I am not dreaming.
Finally, the judge comes and gives me the trophies. It is true.
Our little breech-born puppy is a BIS, multiple BOG and BOB, and our champion!!
In the evening I call my wife. She
is in heaven. Aswad is only 18 months. But for this very show
his trust in me has helped him through all the stress of the flight and
the tough competition. In his next show, in Texas, Aswad wins again
a BIS, BOB and BOG and is currently (end of 1994) after only 5 show week-ends
ARBA's* # 1 Sloughi, # 2 Hound, and one of the top ten all rare breed in
the USA. He also wins BOG and BOB in a major dog show in Toronto,
Canada and is with 19 months the highest decorated Sloughi in North America.
What a start for the show career of our puppy that barely made it alive
into this world.
also sired his first litter in 1994. There was no problem with the
birth of his kids. Some remind me of the father with the same athletic
built and the beautiful brindle. My wife and I are looking forward
to train these puppies to follow in the footsteps of their father and become
the next generation of champions.
Aswad & Sloughiman © Dominique
de Caprona 1997