Our involvement with the breed started thirty four years ago, which now seems so far back that it really was THE PAST. However, due to our current successes with long-term frozen semen, our past is actually our PRESENT and therefore our FUTURE, which will make this article unique!!
In the meantime, 175 conformation championship titles have been granted to Afghan Hounds carrying our Calahorra Prefix, plus 2 CD and a FCh, of which we are equally proud. In that time we have had the great good fortune to be the ONLY breeders in any breed ever to have the distinction of producing THREE individual BIS winners at the world famous Sydney Royal (CHs CALAHORRA TURBAN, BENEDICTUS and BOCCACCIO) and TWO at Brisbane Royal (CHs CALAHORRA REQUIEM (sister of Benedictus) and BOCCACCIO, making him extremely special, plus an Opposite in Show (Ch CALAHORRA MOSQUE) there as well. Add to this, three more famous individuals, the only Afghan EVER to win Best Puppy in Show at the famous Sydney Royal (Ch) CALAHORRA ISHMAEL, the only Afghan EVER to win Opposite Puppy in Show at Sydney Royal (Ch) CALAHORRA CATACLYSM, and the only Afghan EVER to win Puppy in Show at Brisbane Royal (Ch) CALAHORRA THE HAWK.
We are delighted to have exported to 24 countries so far and our hounds have titled in many of these places. Perhaps even more importantly, Calahorras are found in the pedigrees of many of the top winners throughout the world. We have always maintained a large kennel, believing as we do that there are many wonderful and varied facets to the Afghan Hound, and that no “one type” is absolutely correct, although, of course, we have our preferences for certain features (and Stuart and I often argue over which Afghan Hound to retain or to promote, believe me!).
We both contend that a selection of bloodlines is necessary to do justice to these variations in order to maintain the individualism for which our breed is famous. We do not subscribe to the theory that every Afghan Hound in a kennel should look as if it has been cut out with a cookie cutter and that “cloning” is the proof of a successful breeding programme. Our breed, as we know it in the Western world, started with two distinct types, the Ghaznis and the Bell Murrays, each having a great deal to offer. After more than thirty years of consciously interbreeding the two “types”, with the deliberate intention to trying to amalgamate the “best” qualities of one with the best of the other, we are convinced that it would have been a mistake to have separated them into two “breeds” in the early days, which is often now advocated as the procedure which should have been followed.
However, in order to recognise the integral variations of our breed, it is necessary to maintain a large gene pool. As a result, and for all of our thirty four years in the breed so far, we have normally around thirty Afghan Hounds in residence, an average of twelve in coat, the others oldies who are clipped off but spend the rest of their lives with us, the remainder being puppies and “aspiring” teenagers. We do not cull litters, as we believe that if we cause a puppy to be brought into this world, we are responsible for ensuring that he obtains a happy and suitable home for the rest of his life. For this we are often criticised by those modern breeders who, by our standards, seem to take Afghan Hound lives very lightly. To maintain a kennel of our size in this day and age creates an enormous work load, both physically and mentally, with the maintenance, care, socialising and presentation of the dogs on the one hand, and the vast amount of time and attention needed to plan matings, and keep up with the records and all the ensuing paperwork on the other.
It was easier in the days when we had permanent help, much harder now when we do not, and as we ourselves head towards becoming “the past”!
I first saw Afghan Hounds in 1961 when I was in England training with BOAC to be a flight attendant and was instantly determined to have one. Stuart and I were married in 1962 and he gave me FURBARI BAKHASAR for Christmas, the pedigree tracing quickly to the English bloodlines represented in Australia at that time. We had needed to search to find one as they were still very rare.
With encouragement from his breeder, we showed him to some good wins and were literally hooked on this historic breed with its primitive and absolutely unique anatomical construction, its character which was so “different” from any other dog we had known (and we both came from families filled with pure bred dogs of several different breeds) and its exotic, romantic “uncivilised” heritage. We then began to seriously research what we wanted in our Afghan Hounds, and chose a few breed “icons” which seemed to us to embody everything we thought an Afghan Hound should be. They were also outwardly somewhat dissimilar in many respects on initial appraisal, but on serious examination of the photos (all we had to go on in those days!) remarkably alike in the composition of the breed hallmarks they exhibited – like square, athletic, hard, angular outlines, long legs both on the fore and hind limbs, hard toplines and sharply defined croups with prominent hipbones, tails with excellent rings, magnificent length and strength of head, and above all an indescribable air of majesty, superiority and commanding presence (what we believe the standard means by “aloofness”) which came through clearly without even seeing the live dog, although of course we will always wish we could have been so lucky. They were DUTCH GER/BELG/AM CH OPHAAL (of Crown Crest) (Imp Holland), AM/CAN/VEN CH SHIRKHAN OF GRANDEUR, and AM/CAN CH CROWN CREST MR UNIVERSE. When ENG (AUST) Ch MAZARI OF CARLOWAY (imp UK) arrived in Australia, we at last saw for ourselves the indefinable essence of what an Afghan should BE, and then when ENG (AUST) Ch WALIWOG OF CARLOWAY (imp UK) followed shortly afterwards, he was immediately added to our wish list. We have spent the rest of our lives working to incorporate the “type” these Afghan Hounds represented and endeavouring to preserve the bloodlines we have so deliberately sourced which trace to them.
Next to arrive at Calahorra was our true beginning, with the arrival of (later Ch) EMIR AWAZIR DEERA, our black masked gold foundation bitch, who was by Ch Tarababa of Carloway (imp UK) ex Ch Frankkenn el Ardashira (who had a Carloway, Bletchingley and Khorrassan background). The litter was line bred on ENG CH BLETCHINGLEY ZARA, but it was not until recent times that we began to – comprehend the influence a prepotent ancestor can exert up to seven times and even further removed in the pedigree, despite the commonly accepted “lf it’s off the piece of paper, it doesn’t really count” (i.e. three or at most five generations) mentality to which many subscribe.
Tarry was imported by the late Joyce Davey, a lady of enormous vision to whom the breed owes a great debt. Her stock is behind most of the Afghans produced under both the Calahorra and the Dzum prefixes and have therefore been influential not only in Australia but also throughout the world and continue to be so.
Tarry carried the English lines that we most admired and we also wanted to have his daughter because he was by ENG CH WAZIR OF DESERTAIRE (imp USA) and this would give us our first link to the great Crown Crest Kennels of Kay Finch and their inestimable contribution to the Afghan Hound as we know it today.
Obtaining her championship easily and winning many in group and in show awards in the days when Afghans seldom did, Wazir went on to produce ten significant winning and producing champions.
Next on the scene were the black and tan litter mates (later Ch) EL TAZZI JABBABIRAH and sister JAUZAR; offspring of the recently imported (Ch) Ajman Shiramin (imp UK), daughter of Ajman Branwen Kandahar (imp USA), and also carrying valuable old English lines including those which Barbara Skilton had so carefully imported. These Afghan Hounds provided us with our first link to Shirkhan and to Grandeur.
Jabba was a major winner, including BIS at a Hound Club Speciality, Jauzar was never shown but earned a place in breed history as the dam of the b/m gold Calahorra B and E litters, the B’s being especially important as they included the All Breeds BIS winner Ch CALAHORRA BARCAROLLE (later dam of fourteen champions including the great Ch C. TURBAN, Ch C. MOSQUE, and Ch C. INCA, three of the biggest winning bitches in the history of Aghans), and of Ch CALAHORRA MUSTAPHA (litter brother to Mosque), who won BIS and Dog Challenge at the AHC of NSW Specialty judged by Sheila Devitt Gilleney of the famed Carloway prefix, another great lady whose bloodlines have had enormous influence on us at Calahorra.
BAGATELLE produced AUST AND NZ Ch CALAHORRA FIESTA BRAVA, who won BIS at the first three Dominion Afghan Hound Club Specialties (NZ) and was Dog of the Year in New Zealand, and also Ch CALAHORRA CAMPARI, Bitch Challenge and Opposite Sex in Show under Sheila to her “blood” brother, as they had the same sire, and their dams were litter sisters. From a record entry, we were thrilled indeed when they finished up as Sheila’s top winners.
Ch CALAHORRA BALALAYKA was the dam of a “blood” brother of FIESTA BRAVA as they were both by Emir of Gray Dawn, Ch Calahorra Ishmael who sired Ch Furbari Therese, the foundation bitch for Quom Kennels.
The Calahorra B’s were sired by our Ch EMIR BARWALA, BIS winning son of Mazari and Awazir Deera. Wali was from a litter of five champions, four of them BIS winners and with multi Royal Show challenges. Mazari, of course, was out of Crown Crest Zardeeka (imp USA) who was a granddaughter of both Am/Mex/Ch Taejon of Crown Crest and the famous European import to America, Dutch/Ger/Belg/Am Ch Ophaal (of Crown Crest).
Wazir’s second litter was to Jabba, and produced CH CALAHORRA APHRODITE who, when mated to CHANDHARA’S EMIR OF GRAY DAWN (imp UK), produced Ch EMIR DZUM DHAMMA PADA, foundation bitch for Dzum kennels and dam of their record breaking litters to Ch COASTWIND HOLYMAN (imp UK), including David Roche’s famous multi Royal BIS wmner Ch DZUM POLLYANNA.
CHANDHARA’S EMIR OF GRAY DAWN (imp UK) – Kamal – was another tribute to Joyce Davey’s astute feeling for how the breed would develop. We imported him in co-ownership with her after she heard from Stephanie Hunt-Crowley about his sire being resident in England for a short time from the USA (Later Am Ch) SCARAMOUCHE OF GRAY DAWN (imp and exp. USA) was a son of Shirkhan and his son, Kamal, brought us our real introduction to the values of what Sunny Shay did for the breed with her marvellous Grandeur lines. He also carried some precious Majara bloodlines from Arnerica. As a bonus, Scaramouche had been mated to SAMANTHA OF CHAMAN, whose lines incorporated many of the famous hounds represented by Molly Sharpe’s well known prefix and she was also a WAZIR OF DESERTAIRE daughter. It is impossible to describe how different Kamal was from everything in Australia at that time. He came out on a P & O passenger boat looked after by a close friend of ours, Peter Warby, and when we saw him we were stunned. He looked like a big spider, all legs, long tail, long neck, huge body and what seemed then a small head. He was supposed to be black but was really a dark bronzed/burnished black, a colour not helped, we must add, by having to be bathed in sea water during his seven weeks on the ship.
He was incredibly dominant for his own fabulous qualities, the ability to look so refined and elegant but to weigh a ton, really houndy, with long legs of really dense but not heavy bone, huge feet and a deep (but never gundog-type in breadth) chest, with fabulous spring of rib carried right back to a strong, short but very flexible loin. Very prominent hipbones and long tightly ringed tail. Marvellous chiselling on foreface and the blackest triangular eyes.
Kamal went on to produce at least 21 champions during his lifetime and we hope there may be more to come from frozen semen as we have a small amount left in storage. They included Turban, Ishmael and Pada mentioned above, and also two of the first really important blue Afghans in Australia, CH CALAHORRA QUETZLCOATL and CH QUO VADIS (ex Rypunzel of Isfahan (imp UK) ). When mated to our AM CH CADBURYHILL FLASH N FILIGREE (imp USA), Kamal produced CALAHORRA MAGNOLIA, from whom the well known Rahzmundah line has descended. Kamal’s daughter CALAHORRA FROZEN ASSETS (AI) born in 1995 from nineteen year old frozen semen and his grandchildren CH CALAHORRA ON ICE (AI) and her littermates sired by his son CH CALAHORRA QUETZLCOATL in 1993 from seventeen year old semen, all exhibit these characteristics to a marked degree. Ch Calahorra Quetzlcoatl, produced at least 15 champions during his lifetime, and the most famous being our great black CH CALAHORRA INCA, and so far one more from frozen semen has since finished and three littermates are on the way. We also have enough semen stored from Quetzl to try for at least one more litter. Of course both these inseminations were to selfmasked cream CALAHORRA BORN TO PERFORM, who carries nine lines to Kamal, so the fact that his many wonderful characteristics continue to be reproduced is hardly surprising..
Meanwhile we had commenced our own search for bloodlines to incorporate in our long term plans, and had contacted Frank and Robbin Vasquez who had recently imported INT/DUTCH/GER/BELG/FR/LUX CH BARDI vdOM (imp Holland) into America, her brother INT/ DUTCH/GER/LUX (and later Aust) CH BADIN being already in Australia with Barbara Skilton and we had purchased a daughter from her to mate to Wali. Bardi was by INT/DUTCH CH NABOD vdOM from an Ophaal daughter, INT/DUTCH CH INEKE vdOM and was to be bred to MR UNIVERSE, but unfortunately he died before that could take place and we more or less forgot about any plans to incorporate Bardi via America.
Then, on Kay’s advice, Bardi was mated to AM/MEX CH CHARIKAR WAZIR, a most interesting combination of old Scandinavian, vdOM and Crown Crest lines – and guess what? Just one week after EMIR OF GRAY DAWN entered Australian quarantine, we received a letter from the Vasquezes (no email or faxes in those days, and intercontinental phone calls were almost unheard of) to say they had reserved a dog puppy for us from the litter and would we please advise urgently if we were still interested, as they were by then about three weeks old!!
It is hard now to recall the ensuing panic, the phone calls that HAD to be made, and the “leap into the deep end” with committing an American import to the totally unknown area of English quarantine prior to bringing him to Australia for further quarantine here.
At this stage we had been in the breed only five years, there were no videos or even lightweight movie cameras, and hardly any dog magazines, much less breed-orientated specialised publications. There were not even any express film developing outlets!! Australia was very isolated, transport of livestock allowed only by sea, and the overall costs, including all the freight and the English quarantine, enormous.
Dogs were purchased sight unseen and basically because of their pedigrees rather than anything else. Very few people could afford to buy adults and very few breeders were prepared to allow an adult to come to the colonies anyway. So it was a matter very much of “gut instinct” first and lots of finger crossing afterwards. A dog of true show quality was an unexpected bonus.
And so the b/m gold FLYING DUTCHMAN OF ISFAHAN (imp USA) arrived in Australia on January 19th, 1969. It was his birthday, our wedding anniversary and also the day our son Lachlan was supposed to be born! Lachlan obligingly waited until January 29th, so I got to see Dutchy on the cargo ship the day he arrived. He had travelled out in the cabin of one of the officers and had showered with him daily ! He had then dripped dry . . . the state of his coat had to be seen to be believed and his ears were so matted that he looked like a koala bear. He had also systematically chewed every bit of leather that he could find in the cabin, photo frame, shoes, binocular and slide rule cases, buttons on jackets etc., but the officer was simply entranced with his intelligence, his confidence and all round fantastic personality, his commanding and regal presence that in a split second turned into an absolute clown, and so he let Dutchy do as he pleased – and even enjoyed the resultant havoc. Dutchy became the sire of at least 39 champions during his lifetime and now of one more so far from frozen semen. Another insemination with Dutchy semen is planned shortly.
His amazing temperament was to be passed on for generations, right up to the present day in fact and is clearly demonstrated by his b/m silver son Ch CALAHORRA BELOW ZERO (Al) who was born in 1992 from semen frozen for sixteen years, and who has passed this same amazing joie de vivre coupled with tremendous, natural pride of race on to Dutchy’s new crop of grandchildren who now grace the ring. “Bjorn” already has three champions to his credit, one is a Championship show RUBIS winner, another a multi BIG winner, and the third finished his title just out of the puppy class. Bjon is also the sire of CALAHORRA SAHARA, Champion Puppy in Show at the Queensland AHC Specialty this year. Dutchy excelled in absolute balance, rock hard topline with beautiful croup and tail, superb silky coat texture, arrogance, fabulous eyes and expression, springy movement and lightness of foot, all of which Bjorn has inherited and reproduces. Bjorn is out of b/m silver Ch CALAHORRA FLEDGLING (Ch American Eagle at Calahorra (imp USA) ex Ch Calahorra Rowena) and she traced twice to Dutchy in five generations. Further details about Fledgling will be found under her dam Ch Calahorra Rowena.
During this period we also mated AWAZIR DEERA to the beautiful ENG/AUST CH WALIWOG OF CARLOWAY (imp UK), and their son, AM CH CALAHORRA HIGH NOON, became the first champion Afghan Hound in Hawaii, his last points – to our great delight – being awarded by Kay Finch. Our bitch from that litter (the only one!) b/m gold CALAHORRA HOSANNAH was never shown due to a broken leg in the whelping box, but became another extremely important producer for us, with five champions and is an integral part of the Calahorra dynasty.
Dutchy mated to the Kamal/Ch Calahorra Aphrodite daughter, EMIR DZUM CALAHORRA (litter sister of Dhamma Pada) produced Ch CALAHORRA RENOIR (litter brother to Calahorra Rabelais, BIS at the AHC of NSW Specialty under Joan Wonnacott (and when in turn Renoir was mated to Hosannah, the result was our heavenly b/m gold twins, Sydney Royal BIS winner CH CALAHORRA BENEDICTUS and Brisbane Royal BIS winner, CH CALAHORRA REQUIEM, the only brother and sister of any breed to achieve these awards.
Ricky became the dam of seven champions, four from her litter to another Sydney Royal BIS winner Ch FERMOY MAHNFRED (Flying Dutchman ex Khinjan Atara (imp UK)) who was also owned by the Frosts and features in many of their early litters. Ricky’s notable offspring included BIS winner Ch CALAHORRA BATTLE ROYAL, from whom we hope to breed a frozen semen litter before too long, and his three champion litter mates, including RUBIS winner Ch CALAHORRA ROYAL FAMILY, the two champions from her litter to Ch CALAHORRA VOORTREKKER (Int/Holl/Aust Ch Koem vdOM (Imp Holl) ex Ch Calahorra Barcarolle) and one more from her litter by CALAHORRA ANGLO SAXON (black & tan), he having been produced from the historic world’s first frozen semen mating of Dutchy’s granddaughter, CALAHORRA PARADYS LOST to ENG/IR CH SARINGA’S ABRA CADABRA in 1976.
This was Ch CALAHORRA ROWENA, a b/m gold, who produced seven champions and from whom many of our present day winning stock descend, especially Ch CALAHORRA FLEDGLING, already mentioned above as dam of Ch CALAHORRA BELOW ZERO (Al). “Flyt” was also the dam of two of our most significant current producing bitches CALAHORRA BORN TO PERFORM (by Ch Calahorra Wherlwind) whom we have already mentioned and of CALAHORRA FLIGHT ONE (by Eng/Aust Ch Sharazah Night Gambler (imp UK)).
Rowena also produced BIS winning AM/AUST. Ch CALAHORRA POUND STERLING, (imp Aust to USA) by ENG/AUST CH SHARAZAH NIGHT GAMBLER (imp UK), as well as our second set of famous winnlng and producing twins, the CHAMPIONS CALAHORRA SWANSONG and BIS winning GRAND FINALE (by Ch Calahorra In Suede).
Hosannah’s other mating of great significance was to self masked gold Ch CALAHORRA ROBERT E LEE, BIS at the AHC of NSW Specialty under Molly Sharpe, who was by the Kamal son Ch CALAHORRA QUETZLCOATL from the Dutchy (ex Awazir Deera) daughter Ch CALAHORRA JAPONICA. This produced Ch CALAHORRA RENAISSANCE, dam of the very famous winner and sire Ch CALAHORRA BOCCACCIO, BIS at both Sydney and Brisbane Royals.
Ch CALAHORRA BOCCACCIO, born 20.10.78, BlS Sydney Royal (Reg Gadsden, UK), BlS Brisbane Royal (Uwe Fischer Germany), multi all Breeds BIS Winner, Contest of Champions winner, sire of many significant champions for numerous kennels, including CHs CALAHORRA TORTOISEHELL, IN SUEDE and IN VELVET
Photo: Michael Trafford
Zar in fact was line-bred many times to both Kamal and Dutchy on both sides of his pedigree and also incorporated CH CALAHORRA BOER WAR who was from the superb litter of five champions we had by Ch INT. HOLL AUST. CH KOEM vdOM (Imp Holland) from CH CALAHORRA BARCAROLLE. We plan a frozen litter from BOER WAR’S brother, CH CALAHORRA VOORTREKKER in the not too distant future.
CALAHORRA BLUE CHIP, born l 7.10. 76 and his dam AM CC CADBURYHILL FlASH’N’FlLlGREE (imp U S.A.), born 5.8.71, dam of three champions. Chippy was by Ch Calahorra Quetzlcoatl and was exported to the USA, his daughter (Aust Ch) CADBURYHILL MISS CALAHORRA (Imp USA) then came back to us. Photo: Michael Trafford
Our “past” would not be complete without mention of our blue bitches (Ch) CADBURYHILL AFTER IMAGE (imp USA), AM CH CADBURYHILL FLASH ‘N’FILIGREE (imp USA) (Ch) AMERICAN EAGLE AT CALAHORRA (imp USA), a charcoal masked silver brindle, (Ch) CADBURYHILL MISS CALAHORRA (imp USA), best described as a blue/charcoal brindle, BOXADAN CONQUEROR (imp Dmk), a b/m shaded and sabled red, ENG (& Aust) Ch CHARAZAH NIGHT GAMBLER (imp UK), a black masked shaded/ sabled gold and KASKARAK BEST O BRITISH (imp UK) a self masked golden red. We also owned and bred successfully from another b/m gold, TAKABBOR BABUL (imp UK) and two whites, CHANDHARA SABRE DANCE (iid) and CHANDHARA SUGAR PLUM FAIRY (imp UK).
“Eagle” produced at least eleven champions and is behind several of Australia s top winning kennels today. Unfortunately he was largely ignored as a stud dog until he was ageing, and by then he was infertile. However, he has left us some wonderfully strong-producing progeny, especially his son Ch CALAHORRA STEEL WINGS (ex Ch Calahorra Tapestry, who was by Ch Calahorra Boccaccio ex Am.Ch Cadburyhill Flash n Filigree (imp USA)). Steeler is the sire of two of the top winning bitches currently in Australia, Ch AVIVA VENEZIA and Ch TRANSWIND DIVINE MADNESS, with other daughters Ch CALAHORRA FLEDGLING, Ch CALAHORRA KESTREL, Ch CALAHORRA GYRFALCON, and Ch CALAHORRA KITTYHAWK all producing extremely valuable progeny.
Ch CALAHORRA SWANSONG born 71.88, shown winning BOB ar Sydney Royal under Rainer Vuonnen, Finland, where her sister BIS CH CALAHORRA GRAND FINALE took Reserve to her Photo: Michael Trafford
“William” – the Conqueror – was fortunately supported by some astute breeders in this country, and produced at least 17 champions, although sadly not a great deal is being made of his valuable genes, as they have proved to be a little more difficult to “blend” with the Australian lines.
The last male we imported was GAMBLER, sire of a number of significant champions in England before he left for Australia, at least eight for us, one of whom later dual titled in Hawaii, one in South Africa, one in Holland, and one who titled in both Singapore and Thailand, three here for other breeders and several in New Zealand.
And so Calahorra was established. For many years now we have worked with these lines which complemented each other so well and laid down an incredibly strong platform upon which we have built. Our subsequent importations of compatible and valuable bloodlines have strengthened our qualities and widened our scope, but belief in our original ‘icons” has not changed and we continue trying to blend what we believe to be the world’s best bloodlines as we have always done, our objective being to breed Afghans which are a fitting tribute to their past and to the talented breeders who first created the lines we cherish.