The svelte and graceful Saluki is one of the fastest sight hound dog breeds. Salukis have an unusual gait when they are running at full speed because all four legs are off the ground at the same time. Salukis have a slim and streamlined greyhound-type body with an elegant neck.
The Saluki has a long, narrow, V-shaped head with feathered silky pendant-type ears that hang close to its face. There are two coat types: a short coat with silky long feathering on the ears, tail and legs and a less common short coat variety with no feathering.
Coat colors are many and varied and include: white, cream, fawn, golden red, gray and tan, tricolor (white, black and tan), and various combinations of the aforementioned colors. Male Salukis stand 23 to 28 inches tall and females 21 to 24 inches tall at shoulder height. Females can weigh from 31 to 45 pounds and males from 40 to 60 pounds.
Salukis are members of the American Kennel Club (AKC) Hound Group.
Salukis are an ancient breed which originated in the Middle East. The breed was named after the Arabian city of Saluk which has disappeared in the sands of time. The Saluki is also known as the Gazelle Hound, Arabian Hound or Persian Greyhound.
Salukis were developed by nomadic desert tribes and spread from the Caspian Sea to the Sahara desert. Breeds were often developed in isolation which may help explain the wide variety of coat colors and two coat types. Saluki-type dogs were depicted on Persian pottery dating as far back as 4000 BC.
The Pharaohs hunted gazelles and other game with Salukis and their bodies were often found mummified along with the Pharaohs in ancient Egyptian tombs that date back to 2000 BC. In the middle ages, Salukis were treated as sacred dogs and therefore Muslims were allowed to eat any game such as gazelles, antelope, foxes and hares brought down by these dogs.
By 1923, breed standards were developed and the breed was registered in the United Kingdom. The breed was registered by the AKC in 1927. While occasionally used for racing, the breed is primarily a companion and show dog in Europe and the US. Salukis were ranked 119th out of 154 dog breeds registered by the AKC in 2005.
Salukis are calm, alert, intelligent and sensitive with an aristocratic and strong-willed manner. They are a very quiet dog breed. This breed is loyal and friendly to its owner but doesn’t do particularly well with young children as it doesn’t like to be pestered or even touched. Small pets can be at risk around Salukis although most cats seem to be able to co-exist.
The Saluki has a quiet dignity and independence and is difficult to train and especially difficult to discourage from chasing small animals. After all these centuries of breeding, the hunting instinct is still strong in this breed and it must be thoroughly socialized and obedience trained while a puppy and this must be continued through into adulthood.
Salukis are incredibly fast and they must be exercised on leash or given a secure area in which to run. After they are fully grown, Salukis enjoy sleeping inside on a very soft bed. Salukis are usually aloof and not very friendly towards strangers. This strong-willed breed needs an experienced owner who is prepared to provide lots of time, patience and praise to enjoy this very special dog.
Salukis need lots of exercise every day to keep healthy and avoid putting on weight. These are not apartment dogs although after they are fully grown they enjoy sleeping inside on a very soft bed. Salukis run too fast to go jogging with but make an exceptional on-leash biking companion. Salukis are incredibly fast and great jumpers so they must always be kept on leash unless they are being allowed to run in a secure area with at least 6 foot high fences.
Salukis are easy to care for and both varieties of coat will require only a weekly brushing with a bristle brush. The Salukis is an average shedding breed but it has an odor-free coat if groomed and bathed regularly. The feathered Salukis will require weekly attention with a slicker brush to remove mats and tangles. Remember to use a snood to keep the Salukis long feathered ears out of its food.
Salukis should live for 10 to 12 years and are generally healthy with few common health problems. Some bloodlines are prone to eye disorders, heart disease and low thyroid.