Breed Type: Hound
Country of Origin: Middle East
Popular Names: Persian Greyhound Royal Dog of Egypt, Gazelle Hound
Height: (At the withers) Males 58 – 71 cm, Females 56 – 66 cm
Weight: Males 20.5 – 29.5 kg, Females 16 – 25 kg
Best suited as: Pet or show dog, may be used for hunting
Lifespan: 12-14 years
The Saluki is one of the oldest dog breeds still in existence. These distinctive looking dogs are still held in high regard in the Middle East.
These lean dogs look similar to the greyhound with their long, narrow heads and long ears. They have large brown eyes. They come in tri colour, black and tan, white, fawn, cream, grizzle and tan, and red. The fur on their body is short and silky while their ears, legs, back of their thighs, and shoulders have longer hair. There are two types of Salukis; those that have long feathery hair, and those that have smooth hair. Both types have soft, silky coats.
Salukis are sighthounds and are built accordingly – they have deep chests, and are long through the body with muscular shoulders and long legs. This helps them chase and take down their quarry.
The tail is long and curved and set low on the body. There is thick hair between the toes to help protect the dog’s feet from rough terrain.
They are one of the oldest breeds in existence, and were held in high regard in Egypt, China, Afghanistan, Sudan, India, and many other Eastern countries. They were used to hunt hares, gazelles, jackals, and foxes in ancient Arabia and the surrounding countries. Mummified remains have been recovered from royal tombs in Egypt. Sumerian carvings from 7000-6000 BCE show images similar to what we know as the Saluki today. They were kept both as hunting dogs and as companion dogs.
The breed first came to the West in the 1100s when Crusades troops returned to Europe with them from the Middle East. The dogs made their way to England in the mid-1800s but the breed did not become popular until the early 1920s.
Breeding slowed during World War II and only a small number of them survived. Their numbers have gradually increased since then but they are not a popular choice for pet owners.
They may seem aloof to strangers, but are affectionate, even-tempered, and gentle with their families. They are extremely loyal and tend to attach to one person. They are intelligent, independent, high strung, and difficult to train. They tend to get bored very easily, and can become destructive if left alone for too long.
Training should never be harsh or heavy-handed because the Saluki is sensitive to criticism and mistreatment. They need plenty of early and frequent socialization to avoid shyness. Make sure you never allow your dog off-leash unless in a fenced-in area, because your sighthound’s instincts will cause it to chase any moving object.
They are a very fast dog – the Guinness Book of Records states that a Saluki was measured running at 68.8 km per hour. They have great stamina and can run at high speeds for great distances.
These dogs do not make great apartment dogs because they need room to move around inside, but it can be done as long as they get plenty of exercise outside, and have lots of soft surfaces upon which to lounge when inside. They do make great watchdogs because of their high state of alertness, and will let their owners know when a stranger is at the door.
Care and Grooming
Salukis do not shed very much and need a minimal amount of grooming – a thorough brushing twice a week is usually enough. Comb their long hair once a week to keep it free from tangles. They are very low-odour and naturally clean.
Their ears are prone to infection, so do check weekly for signs of irritation, wax build up, and infection. You may gently clean its ears with a cotton ball and a vet-approved ear cleanser.
If the dog does not wear down its toenails naturally, it will need its nails trimmed once a month.
They need an hour or two of daily exercise, including some running. Always make sure your dog is in a secure fenced-in area when you let it off leash, because if it takes off after a small animal, it won’t return until it has caught and killed its quarry. These dogs enjoy agility trials, lure courses, conformation shows, obedience trials, flyball, and scent hurdles. If you do not have a large fenced-in yard where the dog can run, make sure you take it to an off-leash dog park several times a week.
They are good jumpers, and are capable of clearing fences in order to take off after small animals.
Salukis are a very healthy breed overall, and do not suffer from many health conditions compared to other dogs, Really, the only health problems they experience are cardiac disease and cancer. Common cancers for this breed are liver cancer and lymphoma, and account for approximately 35% of all deaths. Cardiac problems include heart defects and heart failure. The third most common cause of death for this breed is old age. They live to be between 12 and 14 years old.
Suitability As A Pet
Because of the breed’s high-strung personality, families with very small children might not be the best match for a Saluki. They tend to prefer a quiet home environment and so a home with older children or just adults is best. They do well with other dogs if they are raised with them, but cats and other non-canine pets are at risk around this sighthound.
People who want a dog they can exercise with will enjoy the companionship of this breed. They love to jog and run alongside cyclists when full grown. Owners of a Saluki should be patient, gentle, and physically active. These dogs would also do well with someone interested in using the dog for hunting.
Saluki Organisations in Australia
No club information listed
Saluki Organisations in the UK
Saluki Dogs for Adoption and Rescue
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