When I am planning out studs for my bitches, one thing I am looking for is breeding to two different styles of stud, so I can maximize both genetic diversity as well as fully explore what a line is able to produce. My general rule of thumb is to pair dogs with recent country of origin blood (F0, F1, F2) with dogs who have well known and understood pedigrees regarding health and structure, since you don't always have a detailed history on the recent import side.
With Amidi her first litter with Anubi was a relative outcross, no shared relatives in their immediate pedigrees, though a number of shared ancestors further back. That litter also was a pairing whose offspring could show in AKC (three generation recorded pedigree). I knew for her second litter, I wanted a stud that was closer to his COO origin and ideally I wanted a bit more of a line breeding.
I had a couple prospects, which all fell through. I specifically added Tabiri to my home with the intent of using him for this upcoming litter. It is a line breeding. Tabiri's maternal grandparents (Ishnawan al-Ifriqiya x ak Domiko Shedoon) are Amidi's paternal great-grandparents. This is a line breeding on dogs that have produced well with largely good longevity (full disclosure- Ami's father had to be put to sleep after a severe spinal injury when he was attacked by one of the other dogs on the property). Both dogs have lovely proportions, correct angulation, and really nice underlines. All three of those traits are somewhat lacking in the breed, in my opinion, at this point in time and by doubling up on them, I hope to get puppies with those traits.
Left- Ishnawan kel-Ifriqiya, Right - ak Domiko Shedoon
I do think these puppies will have a lot of bone and substance. I suspect at least some will have a wider backskull, which doesn't particularly bother me, but it is a fault under the AKC and UKC standards. This is substance is quite typical of many dogs with recent import blood and Tabiri's father Ishagahan was imported from Burkina Faso.
Tabiri and Amidi have both done well in the show ring, Tabiri has gone Best in Show at the UKC Western Classic last year, and have quite a lot of drive. Ami in particular has been a fantastic sport dog for me. She's been #1 Azawakh in both ASFA and AKC lure coursing in years past. She is consistently a top ranked dog in LGRA. She is running mid-4s in flyball, was the first Azawakh to title in the sport, and is still super green so she'll only improve from here. Ami will swim to retrieve a bumper, but I haven't had time to get her off the dock. She has produced a very drivey daughter who is running successfully in lure coursing and racing, has good agility foundations, will swimm to retrieve a toy, and is looking fantastic in flyball foundations at a year and a half old.
Tabiri came to performance late and has only exceled from where he started. He's keen and loves straight and oval racing. The agility foundations I've done with him have been fun and he's been very focused. He has been high scoring Singles in ASFA lure coursing in the past. I do not run him with other dogs because, due to no fault of his own (equipment failure) he collided with my other dog, who was the bye dog during Tabiri's certification run, injuring him seriously. So I cannot bring myself to run him with other dogs while lure coursing, but he has always been a very clean racer in straight and oval and I have used him to certify some of my green dogs before. He was #1 NOTRA Azawakh in 2022.
Temperament wise, Tabiri is an incredibly stable dog. He is very much a single bonder but will put up with basically anything I ask him to. When he was an adolescent male living with his first owner he came back from the yard essentially skinned alive. His owner found a surgeon who would operate who stitched him back together. He is scarred extensively on his right side due to this accident and also has a scar that is over a foot long over his spine. Tabiri went back to his breeder to recover and never went back to his first owner. After he was recovered, he eventually came to live with me.
While I'm certain some mental trauma exists over that incident, I don't see if on a day to day basis. He absolutely loves going with me anywhere, is perfectly neutral in public, and loves to travel. He did come to me with some separation anxiety, almost certainly a product of his life with his first owner. While I won't claim that is perfectly resolved, I can crate him when I leave without him panicking and he crates perfectly in the car and at events. He is largely a stoic dog but his goofy side that he shows to his favorite people are so endearing. He is a bit awkward with other dogs, but honestly good in a pack and pretty savvy. He is a bit mistrustful and grumbly of intact males in his space, but he's never once started anything with them.
Amidi is a very happy, outgoing dog. Much like many of her litter and her half-siblings from her mother's first litter, she is bouncy, sometimes pushy, not afraid to try new things and be wrong. She loves shaping and figuring out the game. She is super drivey without being obsessive. She is dog selective, by which I mean that she is absolutely perfect with her pack. She has a pretty wide array of client and friend dogs she treats like family as well. She is not reactive on leash and only reactive in her crate if a strange dog comes right up against her crate. She has run flyball with three dogs she didn't know and taken tight passes without flinching. She doesn't start anything, but she absolutely will finish it if offered a fight and her judgement sometimes includes rudeness as offering a fight.
Ami and Tabiri both have Normal - eyes, heart (basic), elbows, and Excellent Hips. Amidi is thyroid Normal and was retested as recently as January. Tabiri is positive auto-immune thyroiditis and did have a couple seizures before I ran his thyroid panel with OFA. All symptoms, seizures included have completely resolved on levothyroxine, which is both inexpensive and effective. Tabiri lives a completely normal life with zero differences in quality of life compared to my dogs with thyroid function. Considering temperament is the number one health concern in the breed, by far behavioral euthanasia (and death related to temperament issues like slipping collars/jumping fences and getting hit by cars) is the leading cause of death in young Azawakh, stable temperament is my number one priority. I would argue almost no other individuals in this breed have been tested in such a harrowing manner as Tabiri and we need more of that in the breed. Thus I have made the decision to breed him to a bitch with a known family history (Ami's mother, father, and sister have all tested normal for thyroid, it is unusual to have this data in this breed). I do recommend owners of puppies down from Tabiri run a thyroid panel periodically once their puppies reach adulthood.
Tabiri x Amidi puppies will be eligible for AKC performance events (they will be registered with AKC, just not eligible for AKC conformation because of not having a fully recorded three-generation pedigree). They can be shown in IABCA and UKC. They are eligible for all performance events in all venues, including ASFA, NOTRA, and LGRA. They can produce sand, red, and particolor.
Now, why did I decide on a dual sired litter? Originally, my plan had been to breed Yahya to Gem in the fall of 2023. However, a number of factors changed and I instead decided I wanted to lease an African import bitch to breed in the fall. She has not been bred yet, has rare genetics in a small gene pool, and to me that was more important than Gem having a second litter. However, I still wanted to utilize Yahya, who had not yet been bred. A friend suggested doing a dual sired litter with Ami and the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea.
First with the breed, expeditions to the Sahel are few and far between, so you get an influx of imports all around the same age that need to be bred in roughly the same time frame. That can be challenging in a breed where the offspring of imports are harder to place. And there's only so many homes for Azawakh in general so it's really only feasible to have so many litters a year total for the breed. There's already been a litter out of a Niger male earlier this year and the bitch I'm leasing should be bred in the next year or two (before fertility decreases) so this seemed the best way to make sure Yahya gets used without increasing the number of litters.
Secondly, I'd originally planned to breed the Mali stud to Gem but I decided I would rather send her home to her breeder rather than breed her a second time. So it made sense to add a stud to the pairing I was already planning for her sister rather then scrapping using him entirely.
Thirdly, Ami is my primary performance dog. Heat cycles and litters play merry hell with trialing so I'd like to spay her sooner rather than later.
Lastly, Ami has a history of litters not taking so I wanted to give myself more options in getting puppies this cycle.
Thus, all these reasons led me to the decision of a dual sired litter.
Yahya came to stay with me back near the end of March. A good friend transported him here, for which I am very grateful. I had met Yahya three times previously when visiting his owner, Alison Tyler at Xanadu Farms (she is also Tabiri's breeder). Alison imported Yahya from Mali when he was a puppy. I met him first when he was a bit over two years old, then at three, then again about a month before he came to spend time here.
Azawakh are not easy to place in a new environment and he really adjusted very quickly. I cannot stand with how big a deal that is with this breed. He's been loose with all my other dogs from basically day one. He doesn't grumble over resources, the girls absolutely adore him, and the boys treat him like their wingman. He's been good with every client dog, including small dogs. He's been easy though reserved in public and he recovers quickly. He'll boop you on the hand and move on in typical Azawakh fashion
Pretty much my only complaint temperament wise is he has some car anxiety, which has substantially improved since he's been here. That being said he loves new places and he's been to so many events and new places with me.
He has prey drive (feather and fur) outside, more than most of my dogs and loved chasing seagulls and crows with Ami and Ash and Azhidar on the beach. Though he'd never met a cat before coming to me, he's been a perfect gentleman and in the last month he's started playing with mine. He's done some practice runs at racing and he is keen. His recall has been super solid basically from day one, even when he didn't know me that well.
He's ridiculous smart and charming and can be naughty in the most hilarious ways. He seems to know exactly where the line is and dances around it but rarely over (he really hates being in trouble). He'll open the gate to the kitchen, go stand inside until we notice and then hop out of the kitchen gleefully as though he'd one the game. He didn't actually make mischief, he'd just outsmarted the humans.
Or his favorite game, he'll open the gate to upstairs. It doesn't matter if we have a barrier in front or a bungee or both. He'll figure it out. But he won't go browse the litter boxes or actually get into trouble. He will go to the spare bedroom where I keep all my puppy toys. Select one, and bring it back downstairs to the living room, where he'll lay down and squeak it as loudly as possible. Alison told me he thinks he's funny and she's absolutely right and he is absolutely hilarious because his naughtiness is always in good fun.
Yahya has Normal thyroid and will have his eyes and heart tested this coming weekend. Since Ami has normal eyes and heart (and those areas are not typically a health concern in the breed), I felt comfortable breeding Yahya before getting that health testing done. It was not ideal, but Yahya hasn't been here very long and heart and eye clinics can be hard to come by.
Structurally, his movement is to die for. His movement is one of the biggest reasons I wanted to use him because it is without a doubt quintessential breed type and we need that. Like all the imports these days, when looking at him from a breeding perspective you have to remember that the COO are generationally stunted from malnutrition, which generally means they're small and lower on leg than their base genetic code dictates. F1 dogs are generally noticeably larger than their parents, though often still smaller than the more western bred dogs. He has a solid amount of bone and if you discount his ears (which don't lay correctly much of the time, which also seems to be linked to malnutrition) his head is really handsome. He's a bit throaty, which I'm doubling up on with Ami but there are worse sins and she's a really moderate dog so there's a lot of other positive traits I'm doubling up on that will serve the puppies well - underline, angulation, side gait, underline.
Yahya x Amidi puppies will be registered with FCI and UKC. That makes them eligible for IABCA and UKC conformation. They're eligible for UKC, ASFA, LGRA, NOTRA, and essentially all other performance venues. They are not eligible for AKC performance unless altered and issued a Purebred Alternative Listing. I do encourage all owners interested in an offspring of COO dogs, particularly the owners of male dogs, to keep their dogs intact because this is a narrow gene pool. The puppies will be sand or red.