Interview with Owner Handler, Daniela Bruhwiler – Purebred Sloughi Dog Breed
Daniela Bruhwiler has been showing and presenting her Sloughis with AKC since 2010, when the breed was accepted into the Miscellaneous Class, but she fell in love with her first Sloughi in 1987. She is an active member of ASLA, the AKC national parent club for the breed, as well as a breed mentor and presenter. Daniela lives with her husband, three Sloughis, and two cats in Dalton, Georgia, where the couple owns a small manufacturing business which never leaves enough time off to go to all the dog events they would like.
I received my first Sloughi in 1987 as a gift from Tunisia, one of the breed’s countries of origin. This was my introduction to the breed which led me to look for a Sloughi after I moved to the US in 2005.
When were you first introduced to the sport of purebred dogs? To your breed?
Daniela Bruhwiler: I received my first Sloughi in 1987 as a gift from Tunisia, one of the breed’s countries of origin. This was my introduction to the breed which led me to look for a Sloughi after I moved to the US in 2005.
How many years in dogs? How many as an Owner Handler?
Daniela Bruhwiler: It was by pure accident that my husband and I started to attend dog shows.
We chose our first Sloughi as a companion. To meet other Sloughis and their owners, in 2007, we attended a specialty held by the American Sloughi Association—now the AKC national parent club for the breed—and our companion Sloughi turned out to be a wonderful ambassador for the breed and a consummate show dog!
Only in 2010 did the Sloughi enter the Miscellaneous Class, and thus, we showed and presented the breed. By 2016, when the Sloughi was fully recognized in the AKC Hound Group, we had come to love dog shows and everything around them.
Do you attend show handling classes? Have you attended any handling seminars?
Daniela Bruhwiler: I have attended classes, as they were available pretty much at the beginning of our “dog show career.” Most learning was by doing and observing, and with the hands-on help from friends and fellow exhibitors.
Have you found virtual learning tools to be helpful? Classes? Videos? Websites? Social Media?
Daniela Bruhwiler: Certainly, but I consider one-on-one critiques the most helpful. Showing my dogs successfully has a lot to do with how the two of us interact and connect in the ring.
Do you compete in the National Owner-Handled Series? Are rankings important to you?
Daniela Bruhwiler: I have shown in NOHS since this has been available to us. Showing a rare breed is, possibly, a little different, as it has been foremost about the breed, and not about the individual.
Of course, it is exciting and very rewarding to realize that your dog is among the first few or the top-ranked, but I can very much enjoy the successes of friends and their Sloughis.
In which class(es) are you most likely to enter your dog(s)? Why?
Daniela Bruhwiler: I am showing two Sloughis currently: the GCHB in Breed and the youngster in Puppy Classes, according to his age.
Is it a challenge to compete with your breed(s) as an Owner Handler?
Daniela Bruhwiler: Most Sloughis are shown by their owners, so, no, I do not consider it a challenge in regards to competition.
Because the breed is a low entry, rare breed (plus relatively new to AKC), it has happened that a Group Judge has never before seen a Sloughi in person. Therefore, the real challenge may be that more familiar breeds are chosen for Group placements.
Are you intimidated by the Professional Handlers? By the Judges?
Daniela Bruhwiler: At the beginning, I was very nervous going into the ring. Professional Handlers who love what they are doing are in a class of their own. It is much different for me, an Owner Handler. The shows I can attend are limited by the time that I can make available, and the distance for travel, but I show my dogs that I train to be a companion and live with 24/7. I know my dogs’ quirks and I know the Breed Standard, which makes it possible to show with confidence.
Who have been your mentor(s) as an Owner Handler?
Daniela Bruhwiler: My dear friend and breeder of all of our Sloughis, Erika N. Wyatt of Ocerico Sloughis, has taught me most everything about the breed and about handling.
How important is the Owner Handler to the future of the dog sport?
Daniela Bruhwiler: I think the importance of a broad field of exhibitors, Juniors and Owner Handlers, is being recognized more and more. I appreciate that more show clusters pay more attention to these exhibitors. It is possible that the Owner Handlers are closest to interested dog show visitors, to talk about their breed and about dog shows. It is by the example of the Owner Handler that new exhibitors could become excited enough to enter shows as exhibitors themselves.
What are your goals as an Owner Handler? Is there a victory that has eluded you?
Daniela Bruhwiler: I have been blessed with many successes in the ring—and I am not missing anything.
My goal is still to show up in OH Group to add diversity and size to it. Also, to present the Sloughi to judges who have not seen the breed in person before. (Hoping the following funny story does not repeat for other exhibitors or other breeds.)
Is there a funny story that you can share about your experiences as an Owner Handler?
Daniela Bruhwiler: I was BOB with my Sloughi and went on into OH Hound Group and, honestly, I don’t think that this would ever happen in a regular Hound Group: The judge approached us for examination and said, “Poor guy, you have lost all your hair!” It was not the first time that a judge mistook the Sloughi for another breed. It made me smile and I answered, “Sloughis only come with a smooth coat.”
It is by the example of the Owner Handler that new exhibitors could become excited enough to enter shows as exhibitors themselves.
Are you looking for a Sloughi puppy?
The best way to ensure a long and happy relationship with a purebred dog is to purchase one from a responsible breeder. Not sure where to begin finding a breeder? Contact the National Parent Club’s Breeder Referral person, which you can find on the AKC Breeder Referral Contacts page.
Want to help rescue and re-home a Sloughi dog?
Did you know nearly every recognized AKC purebred has a dedicated rescue group? Find your new best friend on the AKC Rescue Network Listing.
Sloughi Dog Breed Magazine
Read and learn more about the noble Sloughi dog breed with articles and information in our Sloughi Dog Breed Magazine.
Sloughi Breed Magazine - Showsight