Let's talk Salukis

Like supermodels floating effortlessly down the runway, Salukis glide around the dog park or anywhere else they have the chance to zip around, light on their feet. Yes, watching the Saluki run is to see grace in motion. The very definition of elegance with their long narrow muzzles and wispy, silky long ears, the Saluki is one of the most ancient hound breeds, nicknamed the “Greyhound of the Desert” – there is a resemblance, though the Saluki is taller and stronger. While wary of new people, once trained, they are wonderful, tolerant and affectionate family dogs, though they’ll prefer to sit at your side, not in your lap.

Official name: Saluki

Other names:  Persian Greyhounds, Gazelle Hound, Arabian Hound

Origins: Middle East

Close-up of Saluki looking at camera in black and white

 

 Drooling tendencies  Very low  Warm weather? High
 Shedding level    Suited to apartment living ?
 Energy level*  High  Family pet?* Very high
 Compatibility with other pets  Medium   Can stay alone?* Very low

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behavior. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs).

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.

All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company. However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

 

Inline Image 15
Illustration of beige Saluki
Male
59 - 71 cm Height
18 - 29 kg Weight
Female
18 - 23 cm Height
18 - 29 kg Weight

 Baby age  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2 to 12 months
 Adult age 1 to 7 years
 Mature age  7 to 10 years
 Senior age  From 10 years

Saluki standing on rocky hill looking past camera

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Get to know the Saluki

All you need to know about the breed

Elegant, graceful, noble, resplendent…the Saluki elicits a scramble for adjectives that can do justice to the breed’s particularly dignified brand of beauty. Fine features, wispy hair, you would be forgiven for assuming the breed frail with their lean bodies and delicate appearance. They are anything but.

One of the world’s most ancient breeds, Salukis are sighthounds, bred for centuries to track their quarry by sight rather than scent, a task at which they excelled. Though they make affectionate, loyal family pets once trained, Salukis still retain their incredible speed and stamina – they are thought to be the fastest breed on land over distance – ultra-attuned vision, and a high prey drive. Rabbit and hamster-owning families need not apply. And while we are at it, this isn’t the breed for anyone with a lazy lifestyle – while content to cocoon when home, Salukis need lots of daily exercise to be truly content and healthy.

The Saluki is a highly intelligent breed. That means they eventually take to training well. Highly strung and sensitive, they march to their own canine beat. As such, they are not ideal dogs for first time or inexperienced owners. However, Salukis are extremely patient and wonderful with children and, while not overly demonstrative, completely attached to their humans.

Saluki standing on fall leaves

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2 facts about Salukis

1. Walk like an Egyptian

With heritage tied to various lands in the Middle East, Salukis are sometimes called the royal dog of Egypt. Saluki remains have even been discovered in the upper Nile in tombs. Highly esteemed by Egyptian nobility who valued Salukis as true companions, the dogs were mummified when they died, honoured in the same manner as Pharaohs.

2. I see you 

Salukis are sighthounds and as such, have quite simply extraordinary eyesight. Bred to hunt by sight and speed, they rely on their eyes rather than their noses to find their prey. That narrow face? Gives them a wild field of vision. And historically, because they run so fast, no humans could ever keep up so they worked alone a lot of the time while waiting – hence, their independent nature.

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History of the breed

One of the oldest breeds in the world, archaeologists have identified Middle Eastern artifacts, pottery and Sumerian tomb illustrations depicting Saluki-like dogs dating back 5000 years or more. Originating in the Fertile Crescent – a region that spans modern-day Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, the south-eastern part of Turkey and western fringes of Iran - the Saluki served as a desert hunter for nomadic tribes, agile and swift but also loyal and mild-mannered. The Bedouins still rely on the breed, respecting the breed’s clean habits to such an extent that the dogs are allowed inside their tents.

While the Saluki’s journey to Europe is harder to pin down, it is thought they were brought to the continent in the 12th century. They came to England around 1840, but it took the Hon. Florence Amherst importing a pair of Arabian Salukis from a royal kennel in Transjordania, in present-day Jordan, to her home in Norfolk in 1895 for the breed to take off. Their ranks grew after WW1 when British officers came back from the Middle East with Salukis in tow.

The AKC formally recognised the breed in 1927. Interestingly, the breed standard was established that year, taken from the 1923 British standard, and has stayed the same, the oldest unchanged sighthound standard in the American Kennel Club.

Saluki lying down towards camera in black and white

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Salukis

1. Coat

Coat can come in a variety of colours including white, cream, fawn, red, grizzle/tan, black/tan, and tri-colour (white, black and tan).

2. Face

Long narrow head with large oval eyes and silky drop ears.

3. Body

Symmetrical, deep chested yet narrow body.

4. Feet

Heavily padded feet cushion impact when running.

5. Tail

Long, naturally curved tail, well-feathered.

Close-up of Saluki looking at camera

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Saluki
Two Saluki dogs running across dried grass

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Caring for your Saluki

Grooming, training and exercise tips

Grooming the Saluki is quite straightforward. Their coats shed very little so a weekly brushing will suffice, with an extra brush through each week for the feathered parts. Walks around the neighbourhood won’t satisfy this highly athletic breed: Salukis don’t just require twice daily exercise, they need to run a few times per week as well to truly thrive. Access to a large park or a really big fenced-in yard where they can let off steam is an ideal situation – however, the fence must be at least five feet high, six even. And no, those numbers are not a typo. Salukis are incredible jumpers and will easily scale anything lower. Bred to chase quarry, they still have a high prey drive and will chase most smaller animals so they must be kept on-lead when not in an enclosed area. Training Salukis takes patience; this is not a breed for the inexperienced. Highly independent after centuries of working alone, such fast runners that humans can’t keep up, they will listen, just on their own timeline. One of the Saluki’s traits is to be highly sensitive, so kindness alongside that firm hand is key. Early socialisation will instil confidence around others.

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All about Salukis

While your Saluki will be completely devoted to their human family, they tend to be a rather reserved breed by nature and keep their distance around strangers. Confrontation is not in their nature. So it might be you defending them. 

As a sighthound, Salukis were bred to stalk in silence, a trait that means this is not an overly barky dog. In addition, reserved and wary around strangers, Salukis will tend to shy away from confrontation rather than bark to scare someone off. The neighbours will thank you.

Other breeds that might interest you.

Sources

1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/