Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Anyway, because of all the talk about Egypt, I started thinking about dogs that might have been around back in the days of the Ancient Egyptians. Basenjis might have been there, and I thought maybe Pharaoh Hounds were, too, because they have a very Egyptian-sounding name. But when I started doing research on the breed, I was shocked to find out it actually came from Malta, and not from Egypt at all.
Some people believe that the Pharaoh Hound really did start out in Ancient Egypt, between 4000 and 3000 B.C. At least we've all seen those carvings of dogs that have pricked ears and curled tails, and maybe these dogs were the ancestors of a lot of dogs that started out in Egypt and then went to other parts of the Middle East or Africa. Anyway, Phoenician traders might have brought Pharaoh Hounds from Egypt to Malta, and then the breed got preserved by the Maltese people.
The first two kelb tal-fenek dogs were brought to Britain from Malta in the 1920s, but they were not bred. In the 1960s, more dogs were imported, and the first litter was born in 1963. The British continued to develop the breed, and it was recognized by The Kennel Club in 1974.
There are several other breeds in the Mediterranean area that are similar to the Pharaoh Hound, and these include the Ibizan Hound, the Cirneco Dell'Etna, the Podenco Canario, and the Podengo Portugues. Is it just by chance that there are so many dogs in this part of the world who look like those dogs in the Egyptian carvings? I don't think so, but that is just my personal opinion. Maybe the scientists who do all the DNA testing stuff can sort it out.