This perhaps, to some, may seem a last minute decision of convenience. There was actually a great deal of thought that went into the planning. I had talked to Norma about using Anubi for Gem on and off for a couple years, but the time was never right for her to raise a litter. When Gem came to me the unspoken assumption was that I would use Anubi. However, I'd already bred Anubi to Gem's half-sister and I knew that the pairing was very similar. Well, as we know, I only got a singleton from that litter.
I didn't publicize it, but I tried a repeat of that pairing in the spring of 2022, which likely took and then was resorbed in all the chaos surrounding Anubi's injury. I had originally wanted to pair Gem with an outside stud so that I would have more options regarding genetic diversity, but the deck has just not been stacked in our favor this year and instead, if there's enough interest, I may pursue that pairing next year instead.
The other curveball I was thrown was that Gem didn't come back Normal on her OFA thyroid panel. I tested her two days after she came out of false pregnancy. Now, false pregnancy can influence thyroid levels and can cause the impression of an issue when there's not one. Gem never failed her thyroid panel. Her first test was at the end of February and she came back Equivocal with a high TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). That could have been from false pregnancy, or it could be an indication of thyroid issues down the line.
Notice the high Thyroid Stimulating Hormone - blood drawn two days out of false pregnancy
We retested in the middle of May, well before her next heat cycle and well out of false pregnancy. The results took over a month to come back (I've never had them take longer than a week and I had friends who tested after I did get their results weeks before I did). When I finally got her panel back, I was prepared for the worst. What I saw was better than I anticipated. Very slightly high percentage of Thyroglobulin Autoantibody (actually the same percentage in her original test). What does that mean? It means that she is not symptomatic. I have breeder friends who have said they have had bitches that never became symptomatic their entire life that had a slightly higher than normal TgAa. The other side of the coin? They TgAa level may increase as the dog ages and they eventually develop symptoms of thyroid issues. It's a coin toss, but at almost five years old the level (only 2% off Normal and didn't change from February to May) was close enough that it seemed an acceptable risk (remembering that Tabiri's Autoimmune Thyroiditis is extremely well managed with a very cheap and easy to find medication and his quality of life is not impacted) if I bred Gem to a Normal male.
Notice that Gem's TSH is back to normal and her TgAa stayed the same.
The only problem? Anubi is one of two living, intact Normal testing male in the OFA database and the only one unrelated to Gem. That doesn't mean there aren't normal thyroid testing males out there. There are assuredly are, but OFA doesn't have them in their database, so I'm working with incomplete data. My choice? To breed Gem to Anubi this breeding and if I breed her again, which I'm not sure I will or not, to find a stud willing to run a thyroid panel.
With that matter explained, let's dig into the other reasons why Anubi compliments Gem.
Anu is a refined male with an excellent head, sound movement, strong topline, and is well proven in both the show ring and performance venues. Aside from a catastrophic, full speed coursing accident, Anubi has been incredibly sound despite and extensive performance career.
He is long through the loin and over angulated for the breed. It means he has more power and reach than your typical Azawakh, which gives him speed, but still isn't correct for the breed. He has a bit deeper chest than I would prefer, though is better than many.
In regard to temperament, he has guarding instinct, but is a relatively mellow dog. He doesn't react strongly to stimuli unless there is truly a threat, a trait I value highly in him. He is the most discerning dog I've ever met, truly. He has a high work ethic and he needed to be worked as a young dog or he got anxious and a touch neurotic. As an adult that need has mellowed, but he would still rather be out doing things than staying home all day.
As a teenager, Anu was prone to long and dramatic fear periods. He went from a very friendly puppy to a very sharp teenager to a very mellow adult. I do believe it possible that he will pass on the propensity for the pronounced fear periods, that being said, his only living offspring thus far is proving to be an easy teenager. This is one of the reasons that I am pairing him with bouncy, outgoing bitches, to off set those fear periods a bit hopefully.
Anubi at five years old
Everyone who has ever met Gem has loved her. She sweet and wants pats. From everyone. I can take her anywhere and she just rolls with it. She really enjoys working and cuddling.
Structurally, she's a really lovely dog. I love her open angles, short coupling, good overall proportions, nice topline (would prefer slightly less arch over the loin), and very very typey, uncommon underline. Most of her faults in my eye lie with her head- small, low set ears that tend to rose, she's snipey, and her muzzle is a bit short.
Temperamentally, Gem is more friendly with strangers than I would prefer in my dogs. She will happily solicit pats or make friends with a new dog. In that way she's very easy to take in public, but I also miss the guarding aspect of the breed. We've been in the car after dark and someone appeared next to our car out of no where and she didn't even alert bark. She has plenty of work ethic and good prey drive, but I would like to bring back some of the guarding instinct that is a hallmark of the breed.
Gem OFA (eye and heart certifications never submitted to OFA, but Normal and will be redone and submitted)
Gem at five years old
Anubi x Gem Pairing:
10 (incomplete) generation pedigree COI: 6.29%
COI- Coefficient of Inbreeding
Puppies will be red sable (ayay) with minimal white markings. They may or may not have a black mask.
Honestly, Anubi compliments Gem's faults so very nicely. I anticipate slightly guardier puppies than Gem is herself, but I suspect they will be slower to react than many (or even most). I hope that Gem will temper some of the severe fear periods Anubi went through. And structurally I'd love to improve Gem's head while keeping most of her structure. I would like to retain Gem's angles, proportions, and underline.
My biggest reservation with breeding Gem to Anubi was how refined both dogs are. I think as a breed, we are moving towards an overly refined Azawakh and I have concerns about where that will leave the breed in regard to soundness. Now, aside from the freak accident, Anubi has been very healthy and sound throughout lots of sports. Gem has less performance experience, but I've been pleased in how she's held up, and her full sister, who is smaller than she is, has had an extensive running career and been very sound overall. Thus, I'm taking the risk, because it is a calculated risk.
Ideal home for puppies from this pairing:
While this is, in my opinion, a slightly lower drive litter than my B Litter, that is only slightly. Gem has less of a need to work than her half-sister, but she still thrives on having something to do and I think will be a really nice running dog once she has the chance to do some more of it. Both parents are very nose oriented and I would love to capitalize on that.
This is also a pairing where both parents have done well in the AKC and UKC conformation rings. To my knowledge, this is the first time since recognition to Top 10 Azawakh have been paired together, so I anticipate having some show prospects. In addition, I think that these will likely be easier puppies to show than many Azawakh. My goal is that they will be more on guard than their dam, but both Anubi and Gem (in adulthood) are good show dogs.
I may have slightly more puppies than my list currently accounts for (time will tell) and for the right home, I am considering applications, but largely, my list is full.