The first Year Book was published in 1977 by Peter Harcourt-Brown and his family, since then it has grown into the essential guide to everything happening on the Afghan Hound scene in the UK. Peter retired as editor after 24 years of producing the Year Book – a living history of the breed.

The first copy was, in the editor’s words, experimental. The editorial team aimed to grow the book year on year, they succeeded and thus the Year Book evolved into what we have today. The first AHYB copies had the current year’s news and events featured,club by club, show by show, plus the familiar pages of Champions, Junior Warrants etc. and the layout has been successful to the present day. The AHYB of 1978 saw the introduction of what was to become an explosion of colour adverts. The first issue featured the brilliantly conceived ‘Glimpse’

The 2000 AHYB issue was the last Harcourt-Brown publication. They had more than exceeded their modest expectations and the AHYB had become firmly established and had a loyal group of readers and contributors. Peter wrote that it was with mixed feelings that the family had decided to cease Year Book publication after 24 years.

Jan and Tim Fielder bravely stepped into the breach. Both with backgrounds in Graphic Design, Jan and Tim were ideal candidates, thus the Afghan Hound Year Book 2001 was their eagerly anticipated ‘baby’. The Fielder’s attention to detail and background experience soon became evident, added to which Tim was a master of ‘dotting i’s’ and ‘crossing t’s’, correcting questionable grammar and poor punctuation, whilst Jan used her creative skills to transform advertiser’s ideas into beautiful professional designs. Exhibitors and breeders alike appreciated their innovation and drive, wholeheartedly supporting their efforts and appreciating the benefits of the new look coloured covers with photographs front and back.

Now for some number crunching . . . over the past 40 years, a staggering 3,664 pages of adverts have been placed in the Year Book which says a lot about the publication - no one, but no one, parts with their hard-earned cash to advertise in an inferior publication. In those 40 years, the details and pedigrees of all 758 UK Afghan Hound Champions have been featured, including photographs of all but 7 – with an annual request going out for the missing ones. There have been 40 years of Junior Warrant winners totalling 740 in number, all afforded the same level of detail and, since 2003, the 67 Show Certificate of Merit winners have also been included. Multiply by the magic figure 40 the following - the annual 12 UK Breed Club reports, the show results, the directory, the Year Book Trophy winners, overseas reports, advertiser’s details, Crufts coverage, the following year’s calendar of show dates and judges, then add the Racing and Lure Coursing pages, records of Top Winning Afghans, historical data going back to the very early days, Rescue Officers’ details, Breed Council reports, news and chatter on individuals and hounds, photo sections etc etc. This is a massive collection of information by any standards and I am bound to have missed out something! Over these 40 years, the AHYB has named many of our dear UK friends and UK Champions who have unfortunately been lost to the breed, they are rightly honoured. Prior to 2001 many were named in the ‘Highlights’ section, however these figures are a little vague, after 2001 the ‘Review’ listed them more accurately. Sad to say it is on record that we loved and lost at least 259 of our cherished Champions, the crème de la crème of our breed, and also bade farewell to at least 130 of our human Afghan family and then there are the ‘Glimpses’ . . . articles featuring 39 UK Kennels of which less than a handful were ghost written - an honour for the Editors and readers alike. They feature many previously unseen photographs and in-depth knowledge.

The 2016 edition of the AHYB was, sadly to be, Jan and Tim’s last. For 2017 we welcome new custodians, Mike and Avril Lancashire and their Editorial Team, Richard Hurl and Claire O’Donnell who are committed to maintaining the Year Book's reputation as a valuable work of reference for all Afghan Hound lovers.

(Written by Heather Bunney )

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