Indigenous to the Arabian peninsula, the desert-bred Saluki has for centuries been revered, and remains as highly valued today for its elegance and intelligence.
Sir Terence’s own life and work have been profoundly influenced by this ancient breed. His commitment to the study, enjoyment and preservation of these ‘Companions of Kings’ has taken him far and wide and introduced him to extraordinary people and places: in Iraq and Oman (where he was British Ambassador), throughout the Middle East and across Syria, into Central Asia, Russia and China.
Beautifully illustrated with personal photographs, artwork and calligraphy, this book interweaves Sir Terence’s fascinating life story with the history of the breed throughout the region.
His passion for Salukis is infectious – whether for hunting, showing, coursing, breeding or simply companionship, the reader cannot help but share the love.
Brian Duggan, Sighthound Review –
The Salukis in My Life is a like pleasureable conversation with Sir Terence Clark, who skillfully weaves hunting stories, diplomatic adventures, history (acient and modern), art and literature, and even saulki club politics into his narrative.
James Langdon, The National –
The story of the saluki, the world’s oldest dog breed ‘The Salukis in My Life’ by former British diplomat Sir Terence Clark tells of a love affair with a dog native to the Middle East.
Jane Waldron Grutz, Aramco World Magazine –
In this book, Clark tells of his diplomatic work, his travels and especially the joy that came into the Clarks’ lives when they adopted the first of their spirited, desert-bred salukis.
Lisa Kaaki –
In “The Salukis in My Life,” described as “part-memoir, part-travelogue,” we are left with enchanting memories of traditional hunting expeditions with Salukis, but we cannot fail to notice how relevant the old Bedouin traditions are to contemporary life. It is satisfying to read about the renaissance of the Saluki breed in the Gulf region, promoted by the younger generation’s enthusiasm and passion.
Pip Buswell –
This book offers us all an expansive and thoroughly rounded viewpoint of the beautiful, hard, wonderfully athletic and intelligent hound which we in the West call Saluki or Gazelle Hound.
Brian Patrick Duggan for the Royal Society of Asian Affairs –
This is a book not only for those interested in the Saluki, probably the oldest breed of hunting hound with a history going back for millennia, but also for the more general reader with an interest in the Middle East and Central Asia, as it is part memoir, part history and part travelogue – amusingly introduced by a fellow aficionado and former Ambassador, Sir Alan Munro. Sir Terence has long been a stalwart and special contributor to the RSAA sharing his expertise and insights. His career began as a Russian interpreter in the Royal Air Force, and progressed to diplomatic service in Lebanon, Bahrain, Jordan, Syria, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and Libya; he served as ambassador to Iraq during the Iran/Iraq War and to Oman during the First Gulf War. Now retired, Sir Terence maintains strong friendships in the Middle East, and pursues scholarly interests. He is fluent in Arabic, studies classical Arabic poetry and calligraphy, and is well published. An immersive traveller, he is a gifted raconteur. Less known perhaps is his interest in this particular breed of dogs. In Baghdad, Salukis intrigued him and Liese, his wife, and he set about learning all he could by talking, dining and hunting with their owners. In this book, Sir Terence skilfully weaves hunting stories, diplomatic adventures, history (ancient and modern), art and literature, and even Saluki club politics into his narrative. The reader gleans insight into Saluki culture not commonly known in the West – the curious practice of cropping Saluki ears in certain areas, the variety of types and colours, surprising diets, why henna is used on their feet, and even how unintended matings are prevented. There are warm, personal insights about Sir Terence’s boyhood pets during World War II, his first Saluki Tayra (given to him during the Iran/Iraq War), coursing in deserts, England, Scotland, Spain and Portugal and the lives of the Salukis they have owned. Travelling extensively in North Africa, Syria, Iraq, the Gulf, Turkey, Central Asia and China (often in the paths of famous Arabists such as Gertrude Bell, T. E. Lawrence, and Wilfred Thesinger – who all had connections with Salukis), Sir Terence carefully documented each region’s Salukis and their near-relations, the Sloughi, Tazi, Tazy, Taigan, Xigou and Galgo. Illustrated with over 120 photographs, mostly taken by the author, the book is a rich document of working sighthounds – and a disappearing way of life in some regions. Traditional village ways (and archeological treasures) in Iraq and Syria, and elsewhere, have sadly been eradicated by the self-appointed Islamic State. From personal experience, Sir Terence comments on these unwelcome changes and their devastating effect on the villagers who hunted with Salukis for food – the ancient breed’s very reason for being.