Considered one of the oldest breeds of domesticated dogs, the Saluki was the royal canine of Egypt. This breed was held in such high esteem that the dogs were often mummified with the Pharaohs of ancient lands. Salukis were also used by Arabs to track and hunt gazelle due to the dogs’ fleetness of foot, strength and endurance.
The profile and appearance of these dogs is graceful, like the gazelle they hunted. Their stamina is also like the gazelle; Salukis could chase prey long distances and over difficult landscapes. These sighthounds were imported to England in 1840 where they were used to hunt hare. Salukis are seen today in lure coursing events and in the show ring.
These dogs can be long-coated, with feathering on the legs, or smooth-coated. Coat color of both varieties includes cream, fawn, gold, red, tricolor and black and tan. The Saluki is a clean breed. The coat sheds minimally, but the dogs should still be brushed regularly and bathed occasionally. The ears should be cleaned often as well.
Considered independent and cat-like, training a Saluki often requires patience as well as reliability. This extremely devoted, gentle dog can easily become attached to one person, so be sure to socialize and train early. The Saluki is a sensitive breed and somewhat submissive by nature; therefore, this dog needs to be trained with calm, gentle, yet firm consistency. Salukis usually do well with other dogs, especially other Salukis. Because of their sighthound heritage, these dogs instinctively chase anything resembling prey such as cats, and they need to be kept on a leash or in a secured area when exercised.
This naturally athletic breed is not recommended for apartment living; they do best with acreage. They require, at a minimum, a daily brisk, long walk. They excel with owners who take them running or jogging. Remember to have a Saluki leashed while outdoors on such excursions to keep the dog (and any potential prey) safe.
Stealth and elegant, the Saluki stands 23 to 28 inches (58 to 71 cm) tall at the shoulder and weighs 29 to 66 pounds (13 to 30 kg); the males are larger than the females. This is a deep-chested breed featuring a long neck and a long, low-set tail that carries naturally in a curve. The tail, like the dog’s legs, is usually well-feathered with long, silky hair. The dog’s ears are also long and covered with fine hair. These dogs possess an unusual gait when they are at top speed: all four legs are in the air at the same time. Salukis can run at 40 mph (55 km/hour)!
The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the Saluki in 1929 as part of the organization’s Hound Group. It is considered friendly and even-tempered and makes an excellent companion, both indoors and outdoors.
This breed generally lives 10 to 12 years. It is prone to some genetic eye diseases as well as to cancer. A Saluki can also sunburn easily, especially on the nose.
A Sighthound native to Turkey and eastern Turkestan, the Saluki is believed to be closely related to the Afghan Hound. It is also called the Gazelle Hound, the Arabian Hound and the Persian Greyhound. The breed was named for the Arabian city of “Saluki” in the Middle East; the city no longer exists. Salukis were so revered that they were never sold, but instead were given as gifts of friendship and honor. Mummified remains of these dogs in Egyptian tombs date back to 2100 BC. In addition to hunting gazelles, the Saluki was used to hunt fox and jackal. Its skills are now seen in various dog events, and the Saluki remains a treasured canine companion.