My journey with Salukis started when I was 11 and saw the Guinness Book of World Records. At that time the Saluki was pictured as the world’s fastest dog. I was fascinated and started to find all I could on this intriguing breed. In 1973 I obtained my first Saluki from Karen Usry, about 15 miles from where I live now. I have not been without a Saluki since. In my AKC life I bred 11 AKC Champions based on my crossing of Melik’s Dancing Alika F.Ch. to Sedeki Mazuri Vaz.
The SCOA National Specialty in 1984 proved to be the turning point in the Melik Kennels breeding program. This was the first time the fancy saw *Tek Kulak Tazi Var trailing along behind Janet Jones, I was captivated and my life changed. Janet returned to Turkey the following year and returned with the character *Tek Kulak Acik Gos. In 1988 they produced Var’s only litter of eleven pups and my first COO Saluki entered my life as a result of that breeding. One of those girls was Tek Kulak’s Pafta of Melik who is the foundation for Melik Kennel’s COO breeding program.
Initially, the Salukis were registered through FCI in Puerto Rico and we found ourselves somewhat isolated in our desire to maintain the Kurdish Saluki. The advent of the internet allowed us to make contact with Germany on a regular basis and our world started to open up. The easing of restrictions on the Kurds in Turkey allowed me to go to Var’s home village of Biriman with Janet Jones in 2005 and that trip provided a solidification of what we believed in, the beauty of the Kurdish Saluki and his value in his home land as well as in the Western world.
The Kurdish Saluki has been thriving in Germany through the efforts of Cyrus Sattarzadeh, Monika Dahncke, Iraj Sattarzadeh, Edgar Berghaus and Christa Kahler. I would recommend a visit to any or all of them to anyone visiting Germany. It is through their efforts that the western world has this wonderful resource available today and without them Melik would not have been able to enjoy the success we have achieved to date.
Iraj Sattarzadeh sent *Sarban to us in the summer of 2003 and that fall we had the opportunity to get *Sheyda of Iran from Cyrus Sattarzadeh. In 2006 *Nazee landed with a splash and in 2008 *Ghobad arrived, all imports from the Bokan area of Iran through Cyrus.
2010 brought Arman Torkzaban and our partnership with Boorchin Kennels into being. Three puppies made their way from Iran to the US with one remaining with us, one going on to Lorraine Trenholm at Rataki, and one going to Michigan with Jim and Sheryl Black. 2013 brought the arrival of *Qushabee of Boorchin and 2016 saw *Ashoor of Boorchin arrive.
The years have seen my breeding philosophy evolve away from the AKC showring. While I do believe the showring can be a good place to showcase potential breeding stock, I, as many before me, have come to the realization that the showring is more about politics and extremes than about preserving our breed. I hope the following philosophical beliefs of ours will provide thought for those who read them.
We believe in pedigrees, and we believe in pedigree honesty as there is no replacement for this tool in dealing with health issues which can devastate both hound and owner.
We believe in the value of the Country of Origin Saluki but they are not the genetic savior some would hope for. Rather, they are an opportunity to be used judiciously and with caution as they come with no genetic history.
Their gift is their genetic potential.
We believe form follows function and these hounds are superbly adapted to open plains and mountain sight hunting where ever that open plain or mountain may be. Whether hunting in Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Egypt or New Mexico, they excel and that is why the phenotype is so widely dispersed..it WORKS.
We believe anyone who thinks they can preserve the phenotype we know as the Saluki by consistently inbreeding, line breeding and shutting out 95% of the rest of the population is doomed to DCM, PRA, hip dysplasia, cancers and the eventual die out of that population, not to mention a very quick loss of hunting ability.
ANY Breed standard or person that eliminates a dog based on color is just plain wrong. The only exception to that would be a color pattern that is linked genetically to a fatal or debilitating disease…In the Saluki, color is truly immaterial. This has always been the case. Politics has no place in the whelping box.
And finally, we are completely opposed to any further splitting off of strains from the basic Saluki phenotype as separate breeds. We think it is important to preserve the various strains as strains are generally supremely suited to perform in their particular geography, but to isolate them as a “breed” is the sure path to extinction.
A Saluki’s function is to be an effective hunter.
A Saluki is beautiful because of his function.
To deny this truth is to deny the Saluki.