Being an owner and a longtime fancier of the Saluki and the running hounds, this is my contribution to the purebred world from the Far East, showing how important it is to judge and evaluate sighthounds’ performance under the official Lure Coursing events. (I wish we had one. You will never know how good or bad it is unless you have the system.)
Many thanks to the breeders, Shuichi Suda (JPN) of Vogue Salukis and Pirjo Grönfors (FIN) of El Hamrah Salukis, and the ancestors behind “Sophie” who have kept the breed as it is in the Breed Standard as well as for the performance for which they are meant. Thank you to the judges on the field and in the ring, and thanks to our agents and handlers, Ariel & Sarah Cukier, who took care of Sophie and finished her Conformation championship in the States.
I came to Maryland with my “fur family” Saluki girl, “Sophie,” from Tokyo, Japan. The relocation was due to my occupational reason as a cultural exchange program, which is nothing related with dogs. Sophie is my family, so she came along with me.
Sophie and I came to the United States on New Year’s Day in 2022, and our first AKC Lure Coursing event was at the Saluki National Saluki Club of America (SCOA) in June 2022 held at Purina Farms. The event secretary was very kind to explain to a beginner like myself and I was able to enter Sophie in two Junior Courser (JC) tests and Qualified Courser (QC) test. They watched how she did for two days of JC tests and, lastly, asked for a volunteer for her QC run. She passed all at her very first Saluki National!
Since then, Sophie has enjoyed many AKC Lure Coursing events, earning Best in Field (BIF) twice and was ranked No. 2 Saluki in 2022 Top AKC Lure Coursing Salukis (Bowen System). 2022 was a great year! It was such a great experience to have attended AKC National Lure Coursing Championships (NLCC) in 2022 at The Grand Oak Resort in Weirsdale, Florida, in December. On day one, Sophie placed fourth in the Breed, and on day two she placed third. It was so exciting to meet with top Lure Coursing hounds in the country.
Sophie became the first traveled Japan-bred and owned dog officially recognized by the Japan Kennel Club (JKC) that has twice earned Best in Field (BIF) and achieved the AKC Dual Championship for both Field Champion and Conformation Champion within a single year. This was a great challenge for me since there is no official Lure Coursing under JKC. There are, however, similar events called Lure Coursing in Japan, including some shorter and straight ones like Fast CAT and some oval or zig-zag. These are for fun, which is most important, but without judges or points they are therefore very different as a system.
The JKC office says that there are imported dogs with AKC Coursing titles, and there could be exported dogs but these are not officially recognized by JKC unless they come back to the country for re-registration. Since JKC is one of the FCI countries, certain Conformation results are required to have a Coursing license, which means on the field and in the ring—both are important.
I never knew that Sophie was so talented in Lure Coursing until she passed all of her tests at the 2022 Saluki National. Through those unique experiences, I feel, “If there is no system, you will never know how good/bad the dog is!”
- CH (JP), CH (AM), Dual CH, Field CH
- DC Vogue Beside The Lesedi La Rona SC
- Sire: El Hamrah Laraib
- Dam: Vogue Zero Illusion Ivory
- Breeder: Shuichi Suda
- Owner & Handler: Hiromi Koike
It might be a bit of a challenge to say, but I hope that our experience lets people or society recognize how important it is to have a system for evaluating performance in the breed and what sighthounds are born to be. Watching all the beautiful coursers on the field at AKC events (and the wonderful coursing friends with passion for hounds, educating and supporting me in every field we visited with a warm welcome) is worth more than any of the achievements mentioned here. I am thankful for and greatly appreciate the wonderful people I’ve met through AKC events.
My sincere respect goes to the breeders behind Sophie, Shuichi Suda (JPN) of Vogue Salukis and Pirjo Grönfors (FIN) of El Hamrah Salukis, and to her ancestors for keeping Salukis well balanced. The whole appearance of this breed should give an impression of grace and symmetry and of great speed and endurance coupled with strength and activity to enable it to kill gazelle or other quarry over deep sand or rocky mountains—as written in the Breed Standards!
Sophie is my third Saluki girl. My first Saluki, “Grace – Int. Ch. JKC Ch. Asian Winner 2004 Vogue JP Quality Voice ,” was in 2001 and then her daughter, “Louise – JKC Ch. Vogue You Will Be In Fairy Grace.” They always ran in happiness.
Thanks to all who have helped me on the field and in the ring. This couldn’t have happened without all of your kind friendship.
Sophie has given me the opportunity to join at Westminster 2023! And we are going!! The United States is truly a “dream come true” country. See you again soon!