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The history of bakhmulls in Russia by Natalia Gherasiova.

First bakhmulls were brought to the Soviet Union by military men from Afghanistan in the 80s, particularly by major Evdokimov who exported his famous bakhmull King by name from the royal kennel Karizamir.


Rad-o-Bark father of bakhmulls in Russia kennel club: The Blue Dale el Bark BDB owned by Natalia Gherasiova

Since major Evdokimov had a keen eye for sighthounds, being a hunter, he chose the best puppy and changed his encrusted hunting expensive rifle for a true male bakhmull puppy.


He kept on working in Afghanistan for seven more years and then brought his dog to Moscow. Two bitches and another male dog Pak by name were also imported to the former Soviet Union from Afghanistan along with King. Pak (owned by general Magomedov) had many exterior drawbacks and later gave bad litter and could not be used for breeding any more. But the bitches were used. King was coupled with Afsana 1 (owned by Magomedov). The best kid of the litter was obtained by Natalia Gherasiova. He was called Rad-o-Bark which if translated from Pushtu meant Thunder and Lightning. And his name justified his character. It was a true bakhmull by appearance and temper. At that time Natalia was first linked with Arta dog club then Dynamo club. She learnt a lot of material about oriental sighthounds including those in the former USSR such as Kazakh taza and Kirgiz taigan, four English books on Afghan hounds, she interviewed Afghan people and Russians who worked in Afghanistan during the war period. Scientists supported her idea to restore the ancient type of an afghan hound and extract the most beloved white-fawn long haired type out of an afghan hound. Thus Natalia established her own kennel The Blue Dale el Bark and later The National club Bakhmull attached to RFOS (Russian Federation for Hunting Dogs) and RKF. Her knowledge of oriental sighthounds and her work concerning developing the new outstanding mountain oriental sighthound bakhmull was noticed and appreciated by the main Russian borzoi judge and expert Galina Zotova and the management of RFOS and she was given the 2nd category of an expert for oriental hounds. Natalia was the author of two dog standards for an Aboriginal afghan hound and later Bakhmull (afghan hound) particularly. Natalia participated at an e-mail international forum on oriental hounds Tazy where cynologists from Europe and the USA called her Teacher. Natalia successfully breed, developed and selected bakhmulls. No coupling was done without her permission and only in her presence. Very strict selection followed. She watched every puppy until it reached the age of 3. The grown ups were shown at dog exhibitions and field tests on wild hare. A maledog could be coupled if he awarded the title Champion of Russia under, or at least he got three marks excellent under three different judges and won a diploma on wild hare in the field. These strict, severe requirements were signed for male dogs, future sires. For bitches the demands were milder because a bitch did not play an important role. A bitch was just the vessel for future litter and giving birth to the kids. She just consolidated the qualities of the breed. Under such requirements every newlyborn litter was better than the previous ones.



David el Bark Champion of breed

In the field Natalias bakhmulls worked even better than Russian borzois. Bakhmulls were very speedy and catching (gripping), they could jump higher, overcome obstacles, work better both in the field and forest and in the hills, manoevre better. The only faster hound was greyhound. But greyhound was not manoevring so well. According to Margaret Niblock there are five types of an afghan hound in Afghanistan. Contemporary scientists consider there are three types besides bakhmull .These are Luchak ( short haired) and Kalagh (moderate long haired).



Christofer - Champion of Russia. Ideal.

There were attempts to develop kalaghs in Russian which failed, because those people did not have a foundation breed stock which Natalia had and they started to develop mongrels. Such clubs as MOOiR (Moscow hunting club for hunting dogs) and Elite dog club issued pedigrees for mongrels and called them bakhmulls. They faked people, who wanted to have real bakhmulls. There is a proverb in Russian: Even one human being can be a resultative warrior in the battle field. Self-criticism and self-discipline are the features of Natalia Ghersiova. She had always been acting as an opponent to herself and to her each following step during the selection.


She knew beforehand what is right and what is wrong. She was the only breeder of bakhmulls in Russia and in the world since she extracted the bakhmull tazi out of the other types of the aboriginal Afghan hound and anchored the working and the exterior characteristics. She chose the proper couples for coupling, she found the proper match very strictly. Her motto was: No human being can interfere into the evolution of nature. A human being must renew (revive) an ancient obsolescent aboriginal breed as it looked like centuries ago without innovations and changes. The ancient testimony was actually a brief standard for the breed. It was hard and tiresome but rewarding work for Natalia to select the true type and consolidate the true type of bakhmulls but she managed. She managed to choose the best sire for the best bitch and she each time got a better litter. The golden rule for a breeder: indreeding is a must in order to anchor the best breed characteristics. The main sire dog must be an ideal representative of the breed concerning his exterior and working qualities, temper and psyche (state of mind). The sires blood should be very strong and he must be predominent. A female should be also an ideal of the breed, but her role in breeding is not as important as that of a male. A bitch is like a vessel for being pregnant and giving birth to kids. After the appearance of a litter the breeder must choose among the grown up kids the best representative of the breed, a daughter and again couple her with her ideal father. The best must be coupled with the best. The same rule takes place in wolves packs instinctively, thats why wolves never die out though people kill and destroy them, they revive. A natural question arises: How did Natalia know what is right and what is wrong? She had known it beforehand. Besides English and Russian books about oriental sighthounds which she read, she got grains of knowledge from Afghan people who settled down in the former Soviet Union after the 1978 coup deetat. One afghan man, whom she made friends with, had an uncle in Afghanistan, who bred in his kennel only bakhmulls. He said that Gherasiovas bakhmulls were very typical but more beautiful and better groomed than those in Afghanistan, they were great. He told her several interesting stories about bakhmulls hunting and guard qualities.



Zardin the ideal

One day a historian told Natalia that the word bakhmull (makhmal, lit.) if translated from Sanskrit meant velvet. Imagine how ancient this bread is! One day a man came up to her and her three bakhmulls on the train from Moscow to the country, being very surprised and asked: Excuse me, madam, how did you manage to export bakhmulls from Afghanistan? Then he and added: I had been working in Afghanistan for 8 long years as a manager of construction, flew over the HinduKush, Parapamiz and other regions where the Pushtu people live and breed bakhmuls because I wanted to get a bakhmull but I did not come across any . In her selection work Natalia Gherasiova combined her vision of the right thing, her very strong intuition of a scholar and her guesses which included her knowledge of bakhmulls exterior along with bakhmulls functions: behavior, manoevring, obstacle racing , galloping and guarding. One more thing: she has always had a nonstandard thinking due to which she could go against the wind in accordance with her intuition, being guided by the Providence. That was her mission on the Earth. Certainly she was absolutely confident that she was on the right track because felt very clearly that she was guided by divine protection and that she is under the safeguard and support. Such features as selfcrisism and selfdicipline are a rigid must for every scholar.






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