It all started when I got my last litter. I didn’t get any bitch and only one grizzle male. As Shamali needs bitches to survive and as its trademark is based, among other things, on its black grizzles, I started to look for an alternative. I contacted my friends at Al Wathba, where Shamali Fajr al Nasr was siring a litter, but when the result still gave no grizzles, I immediately asked my friend Benny to go through the saluki breeders of Europe except Britain in a hunt for someone with black grizzles. I felt that I should open up for some more years of breeding by going out to new blood lines, even though there was no pressure to do so. While I was occupied with the H-litter Benny found some time to do the research, in reality he presented the result within 24 hours. He recommended me to take a look at Khayif Salukis situated in Rolbing on the French side of the German – French border.
This is a region that was, about 1150 years ago, named the dukedom of Lothringen after one of the sons of Carolus the Great (or Charlemagne). It has been more or less involved in all conflicts between France and Germany, from the medieval ages, the Napoleonic wars, the Franco-Prussian War, until the First and Second World Wars. It is situated in the mountains of the North-Vosges in the French department of Moselle, in the arrondissement Sarreguemines (in German Saargemund, originally a Roman settlement) and in the kanton of Volmunster. Rolbing (Rolbingen in German), a small village with about 250 inhabitants, lies south-west of Frankfurt-am- Mainz and north-west of Strasbourg, in a region where German and French speaking people live close to each other as they have done for hundreds of years.
I got a very good impression of Khayif Salukis from the web-site http://www.saluki-web.de/Englisch/Frame-saluki-Engl.html Eva has since 1990 bred twenty litters, of which fourteen have had at least one black grizzle parent and four have had two. It became very clear to me that Eva had a large interest in black grizzles. I studied the pedigrees as a mad man, but I had to concentrate on the still living litters and that limited my research somewhat. Further I was not looking for any of the Swedish lines that Eva had used lately, as those wouldn’t bring me anything that wasn’t already available. Still I was aware that coming litters probably would include some Swedish blood. During my studies I became especially interested in what I saw from the M-litter and O-litter. The father of the O-litter was a French male that I knew some good things about, Ch. Raquim Chalid al Firdous and the mother was one of the best show and brood bitches at Khayif during the last years, the black grizzle Ch. Khayif Inakija Kiku.
Eva told me by mail that she probably was going to mate a bitch from the O-litter, Ch. Khayif Tiy Ovaani Sidah, who also is an International Coursing Champion. Now the only issue was the quality of the dogs, how they were brought up and this I couldn’t find out about without going down to Rolbing, which we were to do soon.
When I had decided that I wanted to go to Khayif kennel I got in touch with Eva Mackowiak, the owner of Khayif Salukis. She was pleased to let us come, but probably very surprised by such distant (about 2140 km away) visitors. I asked Benny to go with me to have a co-driver and someone to lend me a second pair of eyes and ears. Then Eva and I found two days (the 12th and 13th of July) when both parties could find time to meet, and about a month after my first contacts with Eva, Benny and I were on our way while Elin took care of all our six salukis. In the end we travelled 4720 km in total with my new and fantastic hybridcar (electricity and gasoline), a Toyota Prius Exequtive, which is equipped with a much needed navigator.
We started our trip on the 10th of July and our first stop was at Villa Malla, a B&B Hotel, outside of Helsingborg. We slept there for a good prize and the took the H&H Ferries to Helsingør. After that we took the Great Belt Fixed Link and further the Little Belt Bridge to Jylland (Jutland) and then down to Kappeln, a little village in northern Germany, west of Lübeck, where the owners of Ovaani had a summer house.
At the middle of the 11th of July we met Angelika and Ludwig, the owners of the black grizzle bitch Ch. Khayif Tiy Ovaani Sidah, the particolor grizzle Ch. Khayif Ra Makhali Ana and the tricolor male Khayif al Raanan Sayan (father of the T-litter). We took photos and had a look at the conformation and movement of these dogs. I was pleased to se that Ovaani had a lot of the qualities that I am looking for.
After a couple of hours and some saluki-talk we turned the car south with Frankfurt am Main as our first goal. As we came closer to this big city the landscape become more and more hilly and the Prius really had to prove itself, which it did with glory. On the road there were a lot of cars and even though the Autobahn is broad it became more or less crowded. As we went along we had to deal with more and more trucks, first we thought they were hundreds, then thousands and at last we had to say there were tens of thousands of them and more were added as we drove further. To these complications, which were rather easy to handle, cats and dogs began to pour down. It was worse than a deluge and the sky became dark and it was hard to see the road in front of us. Those hours were very tiring, but at last the evening sky became normal and we could drive that last kilometres in normal darkness.
But there was to be one last adventure before arriving at Bottenbach. With about 5 km left we came to a sudden shutting off of the road. It looked very formal so we decided to try a small road into the woods. Our dutiful navigator/GPS started to calculate a new route and led us deeper and deeper into the woods on a nearly non-existing dirt road. After about one km we decided to turn around and go back to the shutting off. The nice Prius did its job and back at the “gates” we decided to take a chance and break some rules. We moved the “gates” and after returning them to their original position we followed the original instructions of the navigator. After a careful drive, on a road that has seen better days, we managed to come to another “gate” in the village Kleinsteinhausen, we moved and returned these “gates” too and silently the electric engine took us though the village from where we could continue and at 00.30 the 12th of July we arrived in Bottenbach, a small village in Rheinland-Pfalz in Germany about 8 km from Rolbing in France.
Our built-in GPS-based navigator had once again led us directly, even though its solution at the “gates” was a bit too ambitious, to the main door of our goal, this time der “Snapskeller” in Bottenbach.
Der Snapskeller had a cowhouse, a pub/snapskeller, some new hotel-rooms of good quality and a huge backyard with a beer, snaps and liquor store. Somewhere they also produced their own snaps and liquor. We had the opportunity to test their liquor and we found it very good.
That night we slept in our very nice rooms and in the middle of the day we took the Prius to Rolbing and Eva. We stayed most of the days of the 12th and 13th of July with Eva in her nice house that she has bought four years ago in a rather bad state. Since then Eva has renovated the house mostly all by herself and further added a garden. I have to say that I admire the job that she has done, the house is nice and the garden even more so, how she get the salukis to treat the garden as well as they do, I don’t know.
The house is very much adapted to her salukis and her work with producing very beautiful leather-collars (http://www.windhund-shop.de/). There are beds and sofas adapted to her salukis all over the place, but still she keeps up a good standard. The dogs can use the whole house and the whole garden, except a small space in the garden and a small room that the puppies have for themselves at times. Eva is a well organized breeder with the salukis living in a “paradise” of their own, she even has rented a rather large meadow less than two km away from her house that she has fenced in for the salukis to run loose in, something they seem to enjoy to the fullest. In short, Eva is a pattern to follow for many saluki breeders. This is important to me as this was one of the main reasons for me to visit Eva, I wanted to see how the puppies were brought up.
Also the relation between Eva and her salukis may be a pattern to others, her contact with her bitches and their willingness to obey her and be cuddled and handled by her was very nice to see.
I loved every minute that I was together with all of the Khayif salukis. None of the Khayif salukis, including the visiting salukis that we met were shy. In fact, all were friendly or not too interested in people, in the typical saluki way. Ramesha and Shima became my personal special friends, together with the two puppies Timila and Taljee.
When it comes to the continent I have come to the conclusion, only (please note) by looking at the web, that one of the main problems is, as here in Sweden to a lesser extent, the straight upper arms. Here many of the Khayif salukis were better than expected. When it came to movement I found it over all very satisfying. The heads and bodies were mostly excellent and croups were better than most. Without a formal judging situation my overall impression of the Khayif salukis was very positive.
To allow us to meet other Khayif salukis than her own Eva invited three families that owned Khayif salukis to meet in her home. Together with the salukis owned by Angelika and Ludwig that we meet at Kappeln, this gave us a possibility to meet fourteen salukis bred by Eva at Khayif.
These are the salukis that we met:
Khayif V'Qesnah Khama Lelaah – cream and Khayif Bey Shakeeba Sameh – grizzle, owner -Sabine Stuppi
Khayif Tiy Onanja Sajarii - grizzle parti and Khayif Ra Makhena Ana – grizzle parti, (sister of Shima), owner - Renate Schmidt and her husband Dieter Schmidt.
Ch Khayif Tiy Oseya Faanah – black grizzle, (mother of the T-litter) and the puppy bitch Khayif Cem Tahima Imsadii – black grizzle, owner - Eva Gollan
We met two puppies still staying at the kennel until the owner could get them, they were the bitch puppy Khayif Cem Timila Suvaali – tricolor, and Khayif Cem Taljee Sadiq, the tricolor male puppy (owner Sigrun Keller, also owner of Khayif Tiy Ofendi, who we didn’t meet).
Khayif al Ramesha Tadanii - grizzle, Khayif Pajumah Elif - cream and Multi Ch. Khayif Ra Mashima Ana (Shima), black grizzle, owner Eva Mackowiak (Khayif salukis).
In all we met eleven grown up Khayif salukis from the six litters: M (3), O (3), P (1), Q (1), R (2) and S (1) and three puppies from the T-litter. All in all fourteen Khayif salukis, four who where black grizzle, three grizzle parties and two with other shades of grizzle.
My impression of the Khayif salukis is very good and I am impressed with both the breeder Eva Mackowiak and her “puppy” buyers. This is an opinion that I know that Benny share. I will finish this article by thanking Eva from the bottom of my heart! I hope I have found a new friend and someone to work together with in my breeding in the years to come.