Tala's immediate ancestors are street dogs of Khartoum, but being an aboriginal dog she must have had ancestors in the area long before that city was built...
I was of course absolutely smitten with this beautiful dog and started nagging Jura to send more pictures and her story for this blog. Here they are:
Tala is a Sudanese dog of rather dubious origins. Her grandmother has only one eye and still lives on the streets avoiding being stoned and still pumping out puppies at a phenomenal rate. Her mother was rescued by a Dutch couple and rather irresponsibly Tala's mother insisted on becoming pregnant before her first birthday...The Dutch couple then proceeded to host frequent dinner parties in the hopes that people would adopt the cute little puppies...Tala was one of the luckier ones and the first to be adopted (by us) as soon as she turned 8 weeks old.
Tala at just over 2 months
As Tala grew up she became more than just your average Sudanese street dog (although my husband may beg to differ). Her striking resemblance to Pharaonic dogs of ancient Nubia became clear as her ears went up and a lithe long-legged frame developed. Her appearance is similar to that of Basenjis (from Southern Sudan), Pharoah Hounds (Malta with Egyptian origins), and Cirneco dell'Etnas (Sicily with Egyptian origins). These breeds have changed little since early domestication and are known as 'primitive' dogs. After a visit to the Ancient Nubia room at the British Museum, I found a small gold statuette of a dog just like her from about 2,000 years ago. It became clear that Tala was a Nubian hound! Calling her a 'pariah' or 'street dog' simply wouldn't do such a regal dog justice...Now after doing more research it is amazing to see how all primitive dogs around the world share such similar features.
Joking aside about her origins, Tala has grown up to be a fantastic companion. She had a great puppyhood in Sudan and enjoyed frolicking in the dunes on desert trips out of Khartoum.
Above, below: Tala at 4 months on the dunes by the White Nile
Above: At the Nubian Pyramids of Meroe
Above: In the Sudanese savannah desert
From a very young age, she also got used to patiently watching us play polo, knowing that afterwards she would get to have a canter with the horses. Amazingly at only 6 months she could almost keep up with their gallop.
Above: Playing with another 'Nubian' puppy in the Blue Nile
We have now moved to Hanoi, Vietname where of course we brought her, despite many people suggesting we shouldn't due to the nature of the hectic city and the unavoidable fact that many Vietnamese eat dogs...
Despite all this she has settled in incredibly well. We enjoy long walks both in the parks and even through the ever-present sea of motorcycles, which don't faze her at all. The Vietnamese are always very curious about her and the growing middle classes are all very in to having various pure breeds, particularly Siberian Huskies which must be tough for them in summer.
Above: At a restaurant with French colonial tiles, Hanoi
Tala, while impeccably behaved when out and about in cafes, is at heart a very mischievous, playful dog who spends most of her time at home trying to steal socks and shred plastic bags. She also has quite a few of the primitive dog traits such as cleaning herself, standing on her hind legs to get a better view, and giving a lovely little yodel of happiness when we get home.
Above: Climbing up to see the view at the Citadel, Hanoi
Above: Digging a hole on a beach, Vietnam
Above: Tala with her friend, a Phu Quoc Ridgeback, an ancient Vietnamese breed
More from Hanoi and Sudan at http://juraphotos.wordpress.com
Text and photos: Jura Cullen