The Arabian Saluki Centre: Reviving Hunting Traditions and Preserving Purebred Breeds
The Arabian Saluki Centre in Abu Dhabi aims to revive the sport of hunting with Saluki dogs, preserve purebred breeds, conserve their traditions, and use them in falconry. The Centre also provides the necessary information about raising, training, and breeding the Saluki, as well as providing health care, microchipping services, birth registration, passports, and pedigree issuance, in addition, to travel arrangements in accordance with the approved laws.
In conjunction with the establishment of the Emirates Falconers Club in 2001, the Arabian Saluki Centre was launched in Abu Dhabi, the first of its kind in the Arabian Gulf region and the Middle East, with the aim of reviving one of the most beautiful pillars of desert traditions based on hunting using Saluki dogs.
The Saluki Dog is an important part of the Arabian hunting heritage. The Arabs have known, raised, taken care of this breed for more than seven thousand years, and thus considered a symbol of the desert and wild hunting traditions. The Arabian Saluki is characterised by exceptional endurance, intelligence, and loyalty and it played an important role during falconry trips, due to its ability to find prey hit by the falcon and hidden among bushes, tall grass, or other hideouts.
ADIHEX – first heritage event in Arab region
The Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (ADIHEX), an annual event, represented the first heritage event in the Arab region that celebrated the loyal friend of mankind who has accompanied him for thousands of years. The “Arabian Saluki Beauty Contest” was a unique initiative launched to enhance interest in purebreds of hunting dogs, and to strengthen the relationship of the new generation with the pillars of ancestral heritage and traditions.
Organised by the Emirates Falconers’ Club, ADIHEX will be held from 23rd to 29th August 2023, officially sponsored by the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC), and the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) where the event takes place. Whereas the sector partner is Caracal International LLC, and the industry partners include the International Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey, the European Foundation for Falconry and Conservation, the UAE Equestrian and Racing Federation, Dubai International Horse Fair, and Game Fair – France, in addition to the official automotive partner ARB Emirates.
It is attributed to the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition that it was the first to highlight, through beauty contests, the importance of falcons, horses, camels, and hunting dogs alike, which added to ADIHEX an attractive competitive atmosphere. In the past editions, these contests had a great turnout, attracting fans and enthusiasts of heritage from the Emirates and the Arab Gulf countries, in addition to tens of thousands of visitors and tourists of different ages and nationalities.
Arabian Saluki Beauty Contest
ADIHEX, the largest of its kind in the Middle East and Africa region, has been organising an annual contest to choose the “most beautiful hunting dog”, in which participation is limited to the category of “Arabian Saluki”, one of the oldest dog breeds in the world, which symbolises the wild hunting and desert traditions.
The contest differs from other dog competitions that focus only on the external appearance, it is more concerned with the personality of the hunting dog, its skills, reflexes, and sensory response.
The accurate evaluation and judging criteria include the breed characteristics of the participating Saluki dog, the behaviour (such as walking and running), overall appearance (such as head, eyes, nose, mouth, ears, teeth, and jaw), structure and shape (size, neck, shoulders, chest, back and tail), appearance (skin, colour, movement, and legs), in addition to hunting and chasing skills, general impression, and psychological features.
The management of ADIHEX announced the launch of a new version of the Arabian Saluki Beauty Contest for this year, where the owners must ensure that the participating dog is healthy, microchipped, and has a vaccination certificate.
The Contest includes four categories: a round for “smooth (hoss) males,” a round for “feathery (Aryash) males,” a round for “smooth (hoss) females”, and a round for “feathery (Aryash) females.”
Huge participation in 2022 contest
It is noteworthy that 97 participants from the Emirates and several countries participated in the Arabian Saluki contest, which was organised during ADIHEX 2022, whereas the first place for the category of male smooth (hoss)went to “Sahm” for its owner Mansour Juma, and the second place to “Shayboub” for its owner Al-Rawdah Al-Sharqiya, while the third place to “Warsan” for its owner Khalifa Ben Hamel.
In the female smooth (hoss)category, “Aza” owned by Cindy, won first place, while “Khamisa” for its owner Khalifa Al-Ghaith won second place, and the third place went to “Farha” from the Warsan Farm.
As for the male feathered (aryash) category, “Audi” owned by Alexandra Sullivan came in the first place, “Burkan” owned by Mohammed Al-Mas came in second place, and “Lahab” owned by Sarah Abdulaziz Al-Rashdan came in third place.
“Phoebe” owned by Ayutaya won first place in the category of female feathered (aryash), while the second place went to “Junia” owned by Sarah Abdel Aziz, and “Barsha” for its owner Khalifa Al Ghait came in third place.