Interview with Hound Group Breeder Nancy Lovelady – Almaboubin Sloughis
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Nancy Lovelady: My husband and I have recently retired and have a lovely home in Carson City, Nevada. I have been in dogs for exactly 40 years this year! I have been breeding about 35 years; I started with my parents, so I am a second-generation dog breeder/owner/handler.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Nancy Lovelady: My kennel name is Almaboubin which means “beloved” in formal Arabic. I currently have five Sloughis, but as with most dogs, it is a flexible number.
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
Nancy Lovelady: As this is about Hounds, I would have to indicate that the most influential sire is not one bred by me, but one owned/bred by Dr. Dominique deCaprona: Multi. Ch. Odah Shi’Rayan, SGRC, V.ORC, FCh. He was a stallion of a dog, incredibly good-natured and an absolute thing of beauty. He excelled at every venue in which he participated. He is behind many top race and show dogs in Europe, and is behind several of my dogs. He was bred by Dr. Bernd Fritsch.
Of my breeding, I would have to say that Ch Almaboubin Aaniq and his brother, Ch. Almaboubin Aaniq, have much to offer the gene pool. Both are exceptional dogs with some pretty major accomplishments: “Aafiq” finished his championship with a Group One win; and “Aaniq” finished and was awarded a Best Bred-By Exhibitor. Both are firsts in the Sloughi world!
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Nancy Lovelady: I have no “facilities,” per se. I don’t feel that kennels are appropriate and allow for the kind of attention Sloughi dog deserve to reach their full potential. I have a home, some acreage, andthey are all house dogs. My puppies are whelped in the house, and stay indoors until about 4-5 weeks, weather permitting. After that, they live in a heated garage and listen to all sorts of stimuli, which makes them amenable to most anything—musical genres of a wide variety as well as machinery of all types. (My husband is an avid woodworker and builder.) They are exposed to neighborhood children and to my own, now grown, children and to friends who come over to help play with and socialize the puppies.
What is my “process” for selecting show puppies? At what age do I make my decisions?
Nancy Lovelady: Puppies are assessed from 8-12 weeks. Temperament and health are paramount. Even having been in dogs for 40 years, I always have multiple people from a variety of breeds to assist in assessing puppies. I feel it’s a collaborative effort.
How do I prepare my pups for the show ring? Does my breed require any special preparation?
Nancy Lovelady: Sloughis are fairly easy to get ready to show. They require little more than handling classes, like most young dogs. They are sensitive, so they need to be well-socialized to the hustle and bustle of the show scene. Unfortunately, many judges seem fearful of the breed; my hope is that theyshould have a stable temperament, and should warrant no special treatment other than a light touch by the judge. They require NO grooming, other than keeping toenails trimmed.
Are there any health-related concerns within my breed? Any special nutritional needs?
Nancy Lovelady: Sloughis are very healthy dog breed overall. The only genetic marker available is for PRA, so this is well under control in the breed. I am a strong proponent of the Wisdom DNA Panel as there are many more Sloughis in their DNA database vs. the Embark Panel. Also, Wisdom has over 2.5 million dogs in their entire database vs. approximately 15,000 in Embark. (Statistics are reported by each company, so I feel Wisdom is a better DNA fit for my breeding goals.)
In my opinion, is my breed in good condition overall? Any trends that warrant concern?
Nancy Lovelady: At this point, I am quite concerned about the breed here in the US. We need more dogs in this country (probably 100-200 currently exist here in the US in total) to widen the gene pool and to standardize type and size. The Standard has recently been revised to include more DQs, which I feel is short-sighted in the larger scheme of things given our minuscule gene pool. I strongly feel that at this point in the US, there should be NO DQs other than for bite. It is my experience that the majority of judges have never seen a Sloughi , so they are often confused about what constitutes good Sloughi type.
Is my breed well-suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Nancy Lovelady: As a Sighthound, I feel that the best homes Sloughis tend to be people who are responsible dog owners in general; those who will make them part of the family. They are sensitive, sweet, and mischievous. (I have often thought that they are the “Terriers of Sighthounds!”) They are quite brilliant in finding ways to achieve their own goals.
They are a general-purpose dog in their countries of origin and should be able to integrate well with most any situation, other than a heavy-handed owner and unruly children. I feel that Sloughis are the unknown jewel of the Sighthound world. They are wonderful dogs and easy keepers, if well-bred and socialized.
Do I feel that my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Nancy Lovelady: No.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Hound?
Nancy Lovelady: There are too many amusing stories about my dogs to tell… but one always comes to the forefront: When puppy-proofing my home, I put “baby locks” on my cabinets, as my trash bin is the “pull-out” type and one of my Sloughis actually figured out how to “unlock” it by pressing her head against it!
Sloughis are beautiful, healthy, and a great treasure, IMHO.