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The story of our Kjara

When you buy a saluki, you should expect that soon you would understand that your life would be empty without another one.
Салюки Кьяра и Дарий
Kjara (6 month.) и Darius, photo by Marija Kaminka
Of course, we went through this ourselves: Darius was under a year old when we started to search him a girlfriend. For the time being, we had to wait at least until 2001 before we could bring another saluki home, as we were expecting the arrival of two Irish setter pups from Great Britain. Also, we wanted to check out salukis in as many countries as possible.
After Darius joined our family and we seriously got “hooked” on the breed, we also formed some pretty clear ideas what our new saluki should be like and even were able to explain why we thought so. The only problem was that we did not know where to find a dog that matched our expectations. We wanted to have a typical British dog, so we started our search on the Island. Then we realized that we were not finding anything that we would have liked... Among a few dogs that looked very nice was a Finnish import, so off we were to Finland. The search in Finland also did not get us anywhere...
Anyway, after a year of searching and checking out over a thousand dogs and countless web-sites all over the world except for Antarctica (I am still not sure whether they breed salukis over there), we still had no clue where we will find “our” bitch. There were many puppies, but they simply were not “ours”.

This search ended suddenly and, as always, not without Internet – one day we saw a photograph of amazingly beautiful Belgian salukis. Not only they had perfect lines, but they also looked like elegant and stylish porcelain figurines. This was the first time we saw smooth salukis. Only now, after a year of having Kjara with us, we are slowly getting used to her looks.

Arab Bahari's Omar Pascha & Tadj Mahal Vin-Dhya, photo © Karl Donvil

Tadj Mahal Vasu-Dheva, photo © Tadj Mahal

Tadj Mahal Vasu-Dheva, photo © Tadj Mahal
Of course, we knew that there is another type of salukis somewhere, but had never seen a smooth dog. It is not unusual, because smoothes are still very rare. Saluki is one of the few breeds in which the coat quality, its color and length are not judged in the ring (of course, by those judges that had actually read the breed standard, but we won’t get to this here)
We immediately launched a lengthy correspondence with the owner of the kennel. We asked many questions and spoke of various salukis’ qualities, but our minds were already set on the mother of our future bitch after we saw her single photograph. We had to wait for a right mating two years and became friends with Kjara’s breeders. We even visited them in Germany and learned all names of best Belgian salukis. This is a brief story of our quest to find Kjara, our second saluki and Darius’ favorite friend.
Dear Sylvie, thank you for trusting us such a wonderful girl!!!

ight now, Kjara is the only smooth saluki in Russia and, unlike the serious and calm Darius, Kjara is a playful and extroverted. Opposites attract, so they simply adore each other.

We did not risk shipping her by plane and decided to take her home by bus, so we picked her up at the World Dog Show in Holland on the summer of 2002.

It is rather difficult to describe our first impression of a smooth saluki. The word “surprise” does not really cover all our emotions. These dogs are not anything that we have expected them to be. Our small and silk-soft puppy also was very astonished when she first set her eyes on us. When she realized that the exotic-sounding folk came into her life at least for a while, she became withdrawn and observed.

Darius was the only member of our team who from the day one made Kjara jump around her eyes shining and tail furiously wagging. .

Kjara 2.5 month.
About humans Kjara was less passionate, at least at the beginning, but she kept herself occupied by figuring out what she can and cannot do around the house. Step by step she cautiously sorted out what she could and could not chew on and allowed herself only one disrespectful gesture by unauthorized occupation of our bed. But, on the other hand, this is what all smooth salukis do.
She learned to show her character and get us to do exactly what she wanted as she grew up. Of course, she is not as stubborn as her “spouse”, but she often manages to outsmart us. For example, we cannot lock her up in a room – she knows how to open all doors except for the front door. When we tried to crate train her, she showed us that the crate can be opened easily from the inside. Three setters did not even try to get out, but saluki did not waste her time.

Thankfully, Kjara does not overdo it. She learns quickly and very well knows where to set the limits. She takes bribes easily and we learned to read her mind simply by looking at her ears. She can tell us many things, like “I am happy”, “it is interesting”, “I am guilty” and so on. Of course this comes very handy when we are looking for an answer to an eternal question: “who chewed my shoe??”

little Kjara and her mom

Kjara 6 month, photo by Marija Kaminka
Kjara is more compliant to obedience training than Darius. Of course, she can run away pretty far, but she always comes back when called, especially when she knows that she should expect an incentive. We attached a small bell to her collar and now we know in which direction to shout.

She also shows more enthusiasm at shows. Her favorite treat is dried liver, a traditional award for her work in the ring, so we have some high hopes for her show-career.

Another special feature of smooth salukis is their constant need for warmth, so they prefer to sleep under covers from September to May. This is understandable, but Kjara has her own “know-how” - she “borrows” the heat from our setters and it looks something like this:

Kjara and irish setter Dunkan

Kjara and Irish setter Linda
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