The Azawakh is a long-legged breed with a deep chest. The back is somewhat short with the hipbones being pronounced. The muscles and bones are prominently seen through the thin skin that has a very short coat. The abdomen is nearly hairless. The gait is graceful and nearly feline. They exhibit an upright double suspension gallop while running. The muzzle is about as long as the skull and tapers slightly to the nose. The eyes are almond shaped and dark. The small ears are triangular and folded down, carried close to the head. There are no excluded coat colors. A black mask may or may not be present. White socks are a feature.
The Azawakh originated in the Sahel region of Africa. They have been bred by the numerous nomadic tribes of the Southern Sahara as hunting and guard dogs, as well as companions. These continue to be their function in modern times. These dogs often can be seen sleeping on the low straw roofs of the village homes of their Mali owners. As a hyena or other night predators approach, one Azawakh will alert the others and they function as a pack to chase away or kill the intruder. They are relatively uncommon in North American and Europe, but there is a growing band of devotees.
The Azawakh have a wide range of personalities from being a lap dog to being a fierce protector. Socialization is important throughout the life of this dog. When well socialized, they can be good with other dogs, cats, kids and strangers. They form very strong bonds with their owner and can be reticent around strangers. These dogs can be independent thinkers and do best with positive reinforcement. Harsh treatment will break the Azawakh's spirit.
Breed Club Links: American Azawakh Association
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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.