The Saluki is a graceful, athletic sleek dog that is shaped like a typical sighthound (similar to a Greyhound.) The wide-set ears are long and feathered. The head is noble appearing with a moderately long muzzle that tapers slightly to the dark nose. The large oval eyes are brown or hazel. The neck is long. The chest is deep but narrow. The waist is tucked up and narrow. The legs are long and built for racing. The paws are well feathered to protect them from rough terrain. The long, curved tail is carried low and is feathered. The silky, low-shedding coat is short except for the feathering apparent on the ears, tail and legs. There is a rare smooth-coated variety within the breed that has no feathering. Coat colors include white, cream, gold, fawn, red, black and tan tricolor, black and tan, and grizzle and tan.
The Saluki is possibly the oldest known domesticated dog. It has several names including the Gazelle Hound, the Persian Greyhound, the Arabian Hound, and the Royal Dog of Egypt. The breed has such a historically documented spread along the Silk road (throughout the Middle East, Persia, India, China and as far south as Somalia in Africa) that the exact origin of the Saluki isn't known. The Saluki was named after an Arabian town in the Middle East that no longer exists. The widespread evidence of the Saluki is due to the fact that the dog traveled with nomadic tribes and traders, assisting with hunting. They were found mummified alongside the bodies of Pharaohs in the ancient pyramids. Muslims never traded the dog as it was considered a sacred gift from Allah. It was only offered as a gift to honored guests. It is considered clean and allowed in the women's quarters, unlike other dogs. There is evidence of Saluki-type dogs pictured in petroglyphs in Iran estimated at 6,000-10,000 B.C. They are considered to be closely related to the Afghan Hound. It was used to hunt gazelles, hares, foxes, jackels, and Ibex.
The Saluki is gentle, even tempered, and devoted to his family, though he can be somewhat aloof (or noble, depending on one's view.) They are sensitive and do not respond well to harsh training methods. Trainers must be patient and consistent with this breed that has an independent streak. This independence is noted especially when this sight hound spots prey. Saluki can be killed by cars or lost when let off lead and in hunt mode. Therefore be very cautious when letting them run, if at all, as they are nearly impossible to catch being very fast, and very high endurance. An alternative would be letting a Saluki run alongside while biking, using our bike leash for safety. They can run at speeds over 40 MPH with their feet hardly touching the ground.
Breed Club Links: Saluki Club of America.
BaxterBoo.com Perfect Pairings: WalkyDog Stainless Steel Bike Leash
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Featured photo courtesy of Matej Pangerc.
Tricolored Saluki photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.