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UAE to attend Saluki Congress in Helsinki

posted on 18/06/2008: 2089 views

The UAE has been invited to participate in an international conference on the preservation of Saluki dogs. The Finnish Saluki Club will hold the Saluki World Congress 2008 in Helsinki and the Abu Dhabi-based Arabian Saluki Centre (ASC) will deliver one of the presentations. Around 1,000 participants and 800 Salukis from 22 countries will take part in event, from June 26 to July 7.

Hamad Al Ghanem, breeder, registrar general and director of ASC, will be the only speaker from the Middle East and his presentation will focus on the preservation of the pure bred Arabian Saluki and its importance in Arabian culture and heritage.

"Salukis are part of our heritage and anytime I'm going to a conference or a beauty show I dress up in our national dress and I speak a few words in Arabic, like Marhaba and Salam Aleikum, which I then explain what it means. It all helps to show people our customs and traditions, who we are," Al Ghanem told Khaleej Times.

For five generations, Al Ghanem family has been working at reviving the breeding and keeping of Salukis. Just like the Arabian horse, Salukis, the Arabian desert dogs, have become more popular in the West than in their Eastern homeland.

They are known here for thousands of years, used by Arabs mainly for desert hunting. With modern life, the need for hunting has reduced, and so did the need for Salukis. They are now considered part of the country's heritage and, therefore, a revival programme is vital.

Overseas, Saluki dogs have become popular in the past several hundred years, although they are not used as hunting dogs, only bred for beauty competitions.

During the Congress, Al Ghanem will also attend various panel discussions in which Saluki breeders will share their ideas about the breed's characteristics, its preservation for the future and breeding methods in general.

"I am very pleased that the Finnish Club has invited me to lecture during the Congress. The recent months saw quite a few successful Arabian Saluki events taking place in countries such as the UK and Australia. The Arabian Saluki is a vital part of our proud cultural heritage and has found supporters and enthusiasts all over the world. I am delighted that today Saluki clubs can be found in many countries worldwide, even in the land of the Huskies," said Al Ghanem. –Khaleej Times


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