Meet the Breed: The Azawakh



  • Height: 23"- 29”
  • Weight: 37-55 pounds
  • Historical function: Protecting flocks of nomadic herds, hunting
  • Modern function: Flock guard, companion
  • AKC classification: Miscellaneous Class

Physical Characteristics:

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. 

History of the Breed:

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.  

  • Best suited for: Active families, particularly runners. Hot climates. Nearly impervious to heat. Needs clothing in cold climates. 
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog is relatively inactive indoors and can do okay in an apartment. Needs safe space to run freely. 

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Easy-care short coat.
  • Exercise needs: Daily long, brisk walks. Preferably a run.
  • Life expectancy: 12
  • Health concerns: Due to high level of natural and tribal selection in a harsh environment, there are few health issues associated with this breed. 

Breed Club Links: American Azawakh Association Perfect Pairings: Clothes in cold climates.

Have any stories about an Azawakh? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

This entry was posted by Mary.
yfantasywedding on October 14 at 4:17 AM said:

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