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Kelb tal-Fenek

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The FCI Pharaoh Hound Breed Standard - a Proposed Amendment

The present version of the FCI breed standard No 248 has been adopted by the Federation Cynologique Internationale, 13, Place Albert I - B-6530 Thuin (Belgium) on September 15, 1997. It is based on the original breed standard which became effective on June 24, 1987 by a decision of the FCI Annual General Meeting in Jerusalem.

It is important to know that the contents of the current breed standard still correspond with the text which has been adopted in the early 1970'ties by the British Kennel Club. Therefore it is a breed standard which has been written by foreign authors, who only had a very small and non-representative number of specimens available to take pattern from.

The following amendments are our own personal suggestions, with which many enthusiasts might or might not agree. They are not exhaustive by any means, and further additions / amendments might well be possible. We would like to see them as a contribution to a necessary discussion about the future of the breed.


FCI-Standard No 248 / 15.09.1997 / GB
A change of the name to ‘KELB TAL-FENEK’ is desirable. This is the original name used in Malta and expresses the origin as well as the purpose of the breed. A connection of the breed with the dogs of ancient Egypt has never been proved.

Correct as it is

PATRONAGE: Great Britain
Responsibility should be given to the country of origin, Malta. This to be in line with the FCI rules and regulations.

UTILIZATION: An alert keen hunter, hunting by scent and sight, using his ears to a marked degree when working close.
Include ‘Highly active and tireless. An alert...’
The Kelb tal-Fenek is the epitome of endurance and stamina. This fact is completely ignored from the standard.

CLASSIFICATION F.C.I.: Group 5, Spitz and primitive types, Section 6, Primitive type. Without working trial.
It should be possible to test the working abilities of the breed e.g. by lure coursing trials.

GENERAL APPEARANCE: Medium sized, of noble bearing with clean-cut lines. Graceful yet powerful. Very fast with free easy movement and alert expression.
Eliminate the word ‘very’ - one would associate the term ‘very fast’ with a Greyhound or Whippet. I do not consider the Kelb tal-Fenek to be very fast, rather being fast and agile. Last sentence to read ‘Fast and agile with free easy movement and alert expression’.

BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT: Alert, intelligent, friendly, affectionate and playful.
Amended to read ‘Alert and intelligent. Somewhat aloof of strangers but otherwise friendly, affectionate and playful.’ The aloofness of strangers is very much a requisite when hunting in Malta. The dog is otherwise very friendly with people he has become acquainted to.

HEAD: Foreface slightly longer than skull. Top of skull parallel with foreface, whole head representing a blunt wedge when viewed in profile and from above.

Skull: Long, lean and well-chiselled.
Stop: only slight.
Eliminate the following:-
‘Top of skull parallel with foreface.’ This is actually an inaccuracy. Top of skull is set at a slight angle to foreface, never parallel. In other words the imaginary line between the two would in fact meet at a point aft of the occiput.

Insert the following:- ‘fine wrinkles appear on top of skull and on stop when dog is alert, indicating an intelligent expression’. This is a fine point which is completely omitted in the standard. It is not as pronounced as the Basenji, but an important fact notwithstanding. It is mentioned in the Basenji standard, so why not in the Kelb tal-Fenek’s?

Nose: Flesh coloured only, blending with coat.
Mouth: Powerful jaws with strong teeth. Scissor bite, i.e. the upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
Correct as is. However, it has recently come to our notice that a few dogs abroad have missing teeth. This is highly undesirable for a hunting dog. Should be amended to read "Powerful jaws with strong, full set of teeth".

Eyes: Amber coloured, blending with coat; oval, moderately deep-set, with keen, intelligent expression.
Correct as is.

Ears: Medium high set; carried erect when alert, but very mobile; broad at base, fine and large.
Should include the following:- ‘tips are slightly curved backwards when viewed from side’. An important fact which should be included in the standard.

NECK: Long, lean, muscular and slightly arched. Clean throat line.
Long is relative. How long is 'long'? Insert ‘long enough to allow hunting with nose to ground whilst travelling across terrain at speed, without impeding movement.’

BODY: Lithe with almost straight topline. Length of body from breast to haunch bone slightly longer than height at withers.
Croup: Slight slope down from croup to root of tail.
Brisket: Deep, extending down to point of elbow. Ribs well sprung.
Belly: Moderate cut up.
Include ‘deep brisket extending down ALMOST to point of elbow’, never TO point of elbow.

TAIL: Medium set- fairly thick at base and tapering (whip-like), reaching just below point of hock in repose. Carried high and curved when dog is in action. Tail should be not tucked between legs. A screw tail undesirable.
‘Curved tail’ can be misinterpreted. One should restrict this by inserting the word ‘’slightly’ curved (sickle shaped)...’.

Eliminate ‘tail should not be tucked between legs.’ This posture indicates the dog’s aloofness with strangers. Quite natural for this dog’s occasional reserved nature.

Delete ‘A screw tail is undesirable’ and insert ‘A curled tail is undesirable whilst a screw tail is a definite fault.’

FOREQUARTERS: Forelegs straight and parallel.
Shoulders: Strong, long and well laid back.
Elbows: Well tucked in.
Pasterns: Strong.
Include ‘Pasterns strong and almost straight.’ In Malta most pasterns are in fact almost straight. This is probably due to the local terrain. Heavily angulated pasterns are frequently being seen abroad and should heavily penalised.

HINDQUARTERS: Strong and muscular. Limbs parallel when viewed from behind.
Stifle: Moderate bend of stifle.
Second thigh: Well developed.
Limbs are never parallel when viewed from behind. Delete and insert the following:- ‘when viewed from behind, dog should stand at 5 min to 1 covering good ground.’ This is an important feature indicating that the dog is constantly ready for the sprint.

FEET: Strong, well knuckled and firm, turning neither in nor out. Paws well padded. Dewclaws may be removed.

GAIT/MOVEMENT: free and flowing; head held fairly high and dog should cover ground well without any apparent effort. Legs and feet should move in line with body; any tendency to throw feet sideways, or high stepping 'hackney' action highly undesirable.
Delete ‘head held fairly high’. This is never done when the dog is hunting, the opposite is in fact true. The dog’s nose is 90 percent of the time glued to the ground. If this is a judge’s requisite so be it but it should not be a requirement of the breed standard.

HAIR: Short and glossy, ranging from fine and close to slightly harsh; no feathering.

COLOUR: Tan or rich tan with white markings allowed as follows:
White tip on tail strongly desired. White on chest (called „the star").
White on toes. Slim white blaze on centre line of face permissible.
Flecking or white other than above undesirable.
Include the following:- ‘lighter coloured blaze on shoulder blades. Darker coloured strip running from occiput through neck, back, and up to base of tail.’

Dogs: ideally 56 cm (22-25 ins = 56-63,5 cm),
Bitches: ideally 53 cm (21-24 ins = 53-61 cm).
This description is totally incorrect giving a height of 22 - 25 ins for dogs but ideally 56 cms, and 21 - 24 ins for bitches but ideally 53 cms. One can only ask - which is the ideal size? The standard for the Podenco Ibicenco states that ‘in the countries of origin „size" varies between"... etc’. Why can this not also be correct for the Kelb tal-Fenek? Replace with ‘In country of origin size varies between 53 cms to 70 cms (21 ins - 27 ins). However overall balance is the overriding factor’. The actual size of the Kelb tal-Fenek in its country of origin does in fact vary within these figures shown. I find no logical reason why dogs in this size range should be penalised especially when they are well balanced overall.

FAULTS: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.
No correction needed.

N.B.: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
No correction needed.