Interview with Mohammed El Azhary, President of the Egyptian Kennel Federation, by Karl Donvil

What is your experience in applying with FCI when you wanted to become a member ?

I had an inspiring situation which made me insist to have such a federation in Egypt. I bought a dog from a country that I will not name here. They refused to send me the dog as we were not an FCI country and it would come and live here in a bad situation. And I felt really ashamed. It was the first moment for me to come into contact with the FCI’s world. So I contacted Mr.Yves De Clercq in 2010 and asked him what to do to become an FCI country. He advised me to start a non-profit organization, etc and since that time I worked to have a federation which is one of a kind. Even the authorities were amazed about our activities like how to organize a dog show and what it means to issue a pedigree for a dog. We explained what we were going to do, which was a bit weird for them. In 2012 we had our license and organized our first CAC dog show with permission of the FCI. And since that time we are bit by bit following all the updates to the FCI. Mr. De Clercq helped us a lot till we finished all the administration to become an FCI contract partner. We got our approval in April 2014 in Mexico and signed our contract with the FCI in June 2014.

Egypt is one of the youngest countries to join the FCI. You have some experience in dog shows, but how far are the shows in Egypt from the other FCI shows ?

There is no distance between our shows and other FCI shows because we are applying the FCI rules for dog shows since 2012 when we first organized a show in Egypt and even before joining the FCI. So all the FCI rules for shows are applied in Egyptian Dog Shows. Before FCI membership, we organized CAC's, after FCI we are organizing national shows with CAC and CACIB.

How many shows do you have every year, CAC's and IB's?

We have 3 shows per year till now. Two are very important to us, the Pharaonic Land Show and the Red Sea winner, both international shows, plus a national show with breed specialties.

How many entries do you have on such shows?

The maximum that we had was 385 dogs.

And how many breeds?

We have almost nine groups.

I presume that there is still a lot to do to completely fit in with FCI shows. What are the first and principal points that come into your mind ?

What we really miss is the utility and working dog events. We don't care about the beauty in Egypt, but we want to explain to the Egyptians that the Beauty shows are producing the best quality for breeding. Beauty Shows are not just for the show, but for the standard of the breed and quality.

You look more for beauty and performance?

Yes, nowadays we start to work on the working and utility dogs. We want the Egyptians to feel the existence of dogs in their lives like the guiding dogs for blinds, assistance dogs, tracking dogs and rescue dogs.

How do you see the Egyptian Kennel Federation find its way in new Egypt and its democracy and religion?

We are not a dog country. The problem is that we have a wrong concept of understanding concerning having this beautiful animal with us which is really affecting this culture in Egypt. We do a great effort to change the vision and culture of Egyptians. First of all there is no problem at all regarding the existence of dogs in our lives, it is not forbidden, even not by our religion. It's just wrong understanding. The second thing is that people don't see the importance and benefit of dogs in our lives. We just want to show that dogs are doing a great job for humans. That is what the Egyptians need to feel.

What did you like most of this show ?

First of all the nice atmosphere and how well the dog show is organized. I like everything that is going on. We have participated in this dog show with a stand for the Egyptian Kennel Federation, to meet you people and introducing our Kennel Club Federation to all participants.

What would you advise if visitors want to participate in Egyptian Shows?

We don't have any different rules to enter a dog Show, it is just like in any other country. But we give an advantage to dogs that are already Champion in their country of residence. With only one CAC in Egypt they get the title of Egyptian Champion. About the veterinary system to enter your dog in our country via the airport there are no special demands and we prepare the papers for the airport to go back.

How many foreign dogs do you have regularly on your shows?

The last show we had 18 foreign dogs coming from Sweden, Belgium, France, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, the US, Italy...

So we should all try and come over?

Sure, you're all welcome.