Time really flies! At the twilight of 2016 we can definitely say that this year was challenging but gratifying. To run a global federation like the Fédération Cynologique Internationale is not an easy task. Cultural, political and vision differences bring conflicts that must be promptly resolved, taking into consideration how the results will affect the cynological community. Thanks to a great team work and efforts we managed to solve the issues we were faced with during this past year.

After months of speculations regarding the ability of the RKF to organise the World Dog Show 2016, the most important dog show in the World was a world-class event with marvelous dogs, incredible hospitality and excellent press. On the other hand we were sad to hear that Ecuador resigned from the organisation of the FCI General Assembly and the World Dog Show 2017. Making history, the VDH, in an unprecedented situation, took a step forward to organise both events in Leipzig, Germany, next November. We are grateful and proud that the VDH took this huge responsibility.

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Rafael de Santiago
FCI President
A Christmas tale
The greyhounds of the Magi
Fragmento de 'La Adoración de los Reyes Magos', retablo pintado al temple sobre madera, realizado por el pintor Gentile da Fabriano, para la Capella Strozzi en la Iglesia de Santa Trinità (Florencia). Desde el 1919 se encuentra en la Galeria de los Uffizi, mide 303 cm de largo por 282 de alto, (incluido el marco). Es de estilo Gótico Internacional tardío y se realiza por encargo de Palla Strozzi, banquero enemigo de los Medicis. Responde a los usos y gustos de la escuela florentina del siglo XV y como particularidad viste a los personajes en las diferentes escenas al modo lujoso y caballeresco europeo representando perros de caza y halcones como símbolo de poder.

Long, long ago, in the days when Jesus – the only Son of God – was born, the greatest of the Magi were educated in the port of Alexandria in mysterious Egypt. All knowledge was gathered there, from its great library which was famous all over the known world, to the Magi themselves.
Egyptian Magi did not follow a vocation; they were senior civil servants most of whom were well-paid and fond of luxury. They were chosen because of the families they came from or because a priest spotted a child who was intelligent and could be moulded by the “House of Life” linked to the Temple of the god Heka. Magi left their families as children and lived locked away from the world, isolated from almost any contact with everyday life. Their wisdom covered all the knowledge of the period, ranging from magical texts to everyday matters such as interpreting the stars, hunting various species, cultivating the land, breeding animals or overcoming demons.
Initiates could not reveal any of their knowledge or secrets; they took a vow of silence and if they broke it they would be painfully tortured to death, with their souls condemned to know no peace for all eternity. At the head of all of the initiates stood a character who was known as Hery-Shesetaen-Per-Ankh – or, in other words, the “Lord of the Secrets of the House of Life” – to whom all of the secrets were known, although, as their guardian, he did not reveal them all.

Not all of the initiates ever became genuine worshipful Magi - only those chosen by Lord Hery, to whom the gods revealed which chosen humans might enjoy these divine gifts.
There were also Magi from all over the world studying in Alexandria. They came from aristocratic families from the three known continents, provided that they were admitted by the “Lord of the Secrets”, and the students included the three main characters in this story. Melchior, who had white hair, blue eyes, milky skin and smooth moustaches, was king of faraway Tartessos (in the Roman province of Hispania), he represents old age and wisdom. Caspar, who had black hair, a well-trimmed beard and a complexion the colour of wheat, was a middle-aged man with piercing eyes, he was the king of a country in Persia, in Asia Minor, and represents middle age, with its strength, daring and virility. Finally Balthazar the African, was young and beardless, a powerfully-built ebony black man, and he represents impetuosity and bravery. His kingdom was in faraway Somalia.
Due to their noble blood and clear-sighted intelligence, the three of them were the favourite pupils of the “Lord of the Secrets”. Hery was extremely thin with skin the colour of parchment and a shaven head. He had small, bright eyes, an aquiline nose and a bony face and hands… He looked like the living dead, emaciated and covering his modesty in nothing but a piece of fine white linen. Nobody could guess his age, but they used to say he was more than 300 years old. He spent the mornings teaching at the Temple school and the afternoons studying, writing or out with his hunting dogs. His dogs were famous all over Egypt; they were descendents of the sighthounds of the Pharaoh Ramses II and the Vertragus of Scipio the African, and the secret interbreeding of these illustrious ancestors had produced these slim dogs which were famous in Egypt for their hunting skills.
One cold morning in December, the three Magi arrived at their old school with their small entourages, and each of them asked to see their master separately. Hery asked them all to come together into his rooms which were simple and laid out around a pool full of beautifully-coloured fish and asked them to sit around him. After they had kissed his hand as a mark of respect, Hery began to speak and told them:
“My sons, your master is very happy to see you again – I was expecting you.
You are right to be concerned. You must follow the shooting Star of light, as it will take you to look upon the Son of God, who is at one and the same time the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. He is the only true God and will be born so that the sins of mankind can be redeemed before the Father. My search is over; I feel great peace and tranquillity.”
As the oldest of the group, Melchior spoke to Hery saying: “will you not come with us, master?”
Hery replied “No, my dear Melchior, my search is over, on the day that, through your eyes, I see the King of the Kings, my soul will leave my body. I have but one concern and it is them” pointing to three beautiful greyhounds, one wire-haired, another long-haired and the third fine-haired, “what will become of them, my sons of the wind, whose blood holds the secret of a swiftness which mankind has ever seen in a dog”.
“Do not be concerned, master” said Caspar, “each of us will take care of one of them”.
So, after respectfully taking their leave of Hery, the three Magi set off for Jerusalem so that from there they could follow a star which would take them to Jesus, and the three dogs went with them.
It took them twelve hard days to travel the almost 500 miles from Alexandria to Jerusalem, through mountains and valleys, suffering the cold and bitter winds that swept across the desolate landscape. The Three Kings, with the help of their pages, carried their baggage on dromedaries. They themselves rode a horse (Melchior), a camel (Caspar) and a dromedary (Balthazar) and they became great friends along the way as they were united by the wisdom they had learned from their school, the love of Hery and the revelation of God and the long-tailed star.
When they entered Jerusalem in order to ask the Roman authorities for authorisation to travel through these lands, their small but exotic entourage caught the attention of spies working for the cruel Herod the Great, (also known as Hordos the Basileus; he had been made king by the Roman Senate and was much-hated. He was half Edomite and half Nabatean, and had his opponents killed, ending the Antigonid dynasty) who, upon learning that they were his equals in rank, invited the Kings to dine with him and stay in his castle.
There he lavished attentions upon his guests and, when asked what business brought them to Jerusalem, young Balthazar told him the story you have just heard, stressing the fact that the King of Kings was about to be born. Herod was a killer by nature and already an old man. He was interested not in matters of divinity but in the fact that a child was going to depose him, so he asked the Magi to let him know as soon as they had found out exactly where the soon-to-be-born prince might be, so that he could go and pay his respects to him in person.
As he spoke his grim face became sallow… He carried on talking and drinking and, when Melchior felt that it was time for them all to withdraw to their rooms, he offered Herod some beautiful gold bracelets as a gift, Caspar did likewise, presenting their host with a breastplate made of fine silver inlaid with gems, then Balthazar gave him a sack of precious pearls… Herod showed no interest in these; he would have liked to have kept the dogs but the Magi told him they could not be given away because they were a keepsake from their master. The tyrant pressed the matter, but when he tried to touch one of the animals, it responded by trying to bite him, and the others began howling.
Herod was outraged and withdrew muttering under his breath. The Magi also left in order to continue on their way to Bethlehem.
The cold wind blew even more bitterly, bringing with it sharp little flakes of snow… The shooting star stopped above a humble stable carved out of a rock and there, under this light, worshipped by shepherds and warmed by the breath of a mule and an ox, was the Son of God, together with his beautiful, though haggard Mother, our own Mother and Lady and our Father the chaste Joseph. They worshipped Him beneath that Divine light and the three Kings - representing the known world, from the three continents (Europe, Asia and Africa) and the three stages of mankind (age, maturity and youth) - saw the soul of Hery ascending to Heaven as they looked upon Him…
They gave Him Gold, due to the riches of His rank as a King, Frankincense because of His Divinity, and Myrrh to remind Him that He was mortal.
They spoke respectfully to Joseph, asking what they needed and the saint of the flowering rod asked them for something substantial to eat for his wife, a direct descendent of King David, as she was weak. The shepherds brought milk, cheese and a little bread.
Caspar went out hunting with the dogs and they brought back a gazelle which was duly roasted by the pages and shared with the Holy Family.
That night they camped near the stable and awoke with a start. The three Magi all had the same dream… an angel asked them not to reveal where the Messiah had been born.
They told Joseph, warning him of the danger. He was grateful and told them that they should wait until God told them when to leave, blessing them and wishing long lives and long lineages for both themselves and their faithful greyhounds.
So the next morning the Magi told their entourage to sell their mounts and belongings and to buy ordinary clothes and some donkeys. In this way they disguised themselves before saying goodbye. Each of them left Bethlehem for his own homeland with a heart full of joy, hope and faith, along with a few provisions and a greyhound to help him hunt for meat along the way.
Melchior headed West with his hairy wire-haired greyhound and all of the wire-haired and short-haired sighthounds of Europe are descended from him, the Galgo Español, the Whippet, the Irish Wolfhounds, Scottish and various other breeds of greyhound, etc. Caspar headed East with his long-haired greyhound and all the long-haired greyhounds such as Caravan Hounds, Salukis, Afghans and Borzois etc. are descended from him. Balthazar set off for the Deep South and his dog sired all of the fine-haired greyhounds, Azawaks, Sloughis etc. etc.
This is why there are no greyhounds on the other continents, although there are many different breeds in Europe, Asia and Africa - those first three sons of the wind saw the Son of God with their own eyes and were blessed by Joseph himself.

Rafael Fernández de Zafra