Three years ago I wrote to Nina Adam (kennel de Hamadan)
in France to inquire about her Bahraini import Nuha. Nuha had been a
gift from Shaikha Danah Al Khalifa and I was interested in a pup out
of her. Nina promised me a puppy and so the long wait began. Nuha's
intended mate was La'hin de Hamadan, son of the famous half Iraqi Esmahan
de Hamadan and another successful racer of Turkish decent, Kerim el
The next three years were filled with hope and despair - once the mating
did not take, once the male could not come in time and finally there
was a single stillborn pup. We were beginning to worry that Nuha's precious
bloodline would be lost to us as she was nearing her 8th birthday. In
the meantime Nina and I became fast friends, corresponding almost weekly.
Finally I received a particularly exciting letter : Nina had decided
to use another male, one who also represented desert lines but already
had offspring and so was well versed in the art of wooing bitches. This
was the Bahraini import Dhah'ban, also he a gift from Shaikha Danah
to Nina, but now living with a friend in Belgium. This proved an excellent
decision and promptly resulted in a litter of 8 - 6 males and 2 females.
We were of course delighted and I immediately began planning my trip
to Nina and her family.
My cousin Monica had already been there some weeks
as she is Nina's "kennel girl" for the year and she had told me wonderful
things of the village Lorgues and the beauty of Nina's home and hounds.
She had not exaggerated. Nina and Phillipe Adam's home is picture perfect,
a lovely stone building on several acres of gorgeous land and all of
it accessible to their beloved Salukis. A lovely stone terass overlooked
an exotic garden and clear blue pool and beyond those large meadows
with olive and fig trees. In a remote corner of the property was a stone
pool that caught crystal clear spring water which flowed through the
property in sunken ceramic aqueducts of sorts so the Salukis had fresh
water within reach at all times! Beyond the fields half a dozen horses
grazed peacefully to the backdrop of green hills - a Saluki paradise!
Nina's Salukis are truly blessed living in such a place and though they
compete successfully at both shows and races they are first and foremost
well -loved pets that recline in soft chairs and enjoy their 5 o'clock
tea. At the moment Nina has 7 adult Salukis, all bitches. Besides Nuha
desert heritage is represented by La'hin's lovely sisters Lina and Leyla.
English and German lines are behind old Daphne, her successful daughter
Iris and her granddaughters Rania and Rowena. Nina and Phillipe are
also keeping both of Nuha's daughters, the red Saman and the tiny cream
The pups had their own room in the house and a large enclosure outside
where they spent most of the day. This was also where I frequently could
be found, watching the pups for hours every day trying to decide which
of the males to choose. It wasn't an easy decision as it was a very
even litter both in conformation and temperament, all being lovely,
affectionate creatures. Nina had suggested that I take the smallest
of the males, the grizzle Sami and he did frequently catch my eye, but
even so I at first fell in love with his cream brother Shaheen simply
because he was such a cuddly, happy little boy.
At 7,5 weeks though he was still monorchid and as I was looking for
a future stud for my bitches I decided not to take the risk that he
might remain that way. So fate (and Nina!) knew best and I decided on
Sami who was the calmest of the pups but also the one who played the
most hunting games. He crept up on his siblings, then made a mad dash
at the "prey" of his choice and flipped him or her over with a quick
pull at the hock. Once I'd chosen my puppy I promptly nicknamed him
Muhafhaf ("slender" in Arabic) and began spending some one on one quality
time with him, much to the chagrin of Nuha the Wonder Mom who did not
like him leaving his siblings and kept trying to drag him back to their
enclosure. Nuha was a very attentive mother, always watching over her
pups. Occasionally she tried to nurse her little piranhas in the enclosure
but understandably came to the conclusion that they were better watched
through the fence
Nuha and Dhah'ban are cousins and both gifts to Nina from Shaikha Danah
Al Khalifa who bred and registered them in Bahrain. Dhah'ban's sire
Leo represents Shaikha Danah's own breeding while his dam Ramla is a
tribal Saluki from Saudi Arabia, as is her halfbrother Kasab, sire of
Nuha. Both of these hounds belonged to Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to
Bahrain, but when he transferred to the UK in -92 he did not want to
put them through 6 months quarantine and so gave them to Shaikha Danah.
Nuha's dam Reisha was concieved on a hunting trip to the Empty Quarter
by tribal hounds. Muhafhaf's lines then go back to Bahrain, Qatar, Rub
Al Khali and the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia, Dammam.
In Gail Goodman's book "The Saluqi - Coursing Hound of the East" Shaikha
Danah writes that tiny Reisha had a habit of bringing her little gifts
in the mornings such as mice, birds and lizzards. When she had pups
and not enough milk she would feed her pups with birds and dates. When
Reisha was given to Shaikha Danah by her friend Ahed he said: "This
is Reisha, the firstborn and therefore the best. Always give your best!"
When I left France only the white male Saeed was without a home but
now he too has found an owner. Shaheen was going to a woman who had
recently lost her Irish Wolfhound and I think such a cuddly boy must
be a great solace. Shim el Howa was very exotically marked, snowy white
with black lines in a grizzle pattern. He found his home with Robert
Belgrave who also has an Iraqi bitch. His sister Mary took the substantial
fawn Sayyad, my cousin's favourite and nicknamed "The Monster". The
golden male Sirius is going to England to Andrew Oldfield who also has
a male from Sir Terence Clark's breeding. So, very much an international
litter in every sense!
The flight from Nice to Helsinki via Bruxelles went surprisingly well.
Muhafhaf travelled in a water tight bag in my lap and saved his loud
wails for the airports. Happily no one wanted to see his papers as I
had conveniently forgotten them in my suitcase which in turn had missed
the plane in Bruxelles...
Muhafhaf has fit in beautifully with my other dogs though admittedly
they weren't thrilled to see their numbers increased at first.
It took about a week but then my desert Saluki Farha began playing
with him and now they are all friends. He is now exploring the Finnish
winter. I'm so happy I ended up with this particular boy, a
sweetheart in every way and handsome at that. At 6 months he still
thinks he's ever so small and carefully folds himself up in
my lap. I'm so proud of my little boy!