Gentle, dignified, and independent-minded, the slim but rugged Saluki is one of the world’s oldest dog breeds.
Just about every breed of dog has a documented man-made origin. The Saluki does not. Almost every breed of dog can be traced to an irrefutable source, the Saluki cannot. The Saluki’s origins, geographic location, time, predecessors are all shrouded in mystery and myth.
What is accepted as fact is that the Saluki has been associated with the Middle East since antiquity, and that in pre- and recorded history it has been used for hunting.
A rich visual record of the breed goes back at least 5,000 years. At archaeological sites in many areas of the Middle East, ancient images of Salukis have been found on seals, in tomb paintings, mosaics sculptures, and on household objects. The breed was held in great esteem, called “el hor” (The Noble) by the Arabs and was bred as carefully as the famous Arabian horses, with speed and endurance in mind.
Valued and honored companion to Egyptian nobility, the Saluki could well be called “the royal dog of Egypt”, and was known to be mummified like the Egyptian Pharaohs. The Saluki occupies a unique position in the lives of its Eastern, often Muslim, owners. Ordinary dogs are considered “unclean” and may not be touched, but the Saluki is permitted into the tents of nomads and the courtyards of settled breeders.
Salukis are exotic, beautiful, and spirited. They are clean, do not shed much, and draw lots of attention when taken for a walk in the neighborhood.
But they are also hunters with thousands of years of purposeful breeding behind them. They will run after anything that is fuzzy and moves, and will sometimes catch and kill their targets.
Salukis are not to be trusted off leash in an unsafe area. Also, Salukis are much too fast and clever to catch if they accidentally sneak out the door.
Salukis tend to sleep on beds, sofas, and chairs rather than on floors. However, Salukis are the most independently loving creatures on God’s earth. They get under your skin to become an important part of your life. If you acquire a Saluki, you must prepare to be consumed.
- An educated owner who is well-read on the needs of Sighthounds;
- A home with a large, fully fenced yard;
- A clean home with lots of soft places to sleep;
- A mature home with appropriate finances for quality food & veterinary care;
- A quiet home without young children or people coming and going;
- A family that is home often: Salukis do not like to be alone.
- Busy families that cannot include their dog in activities;
- People on a tight budget;
- A cold or loud home;
- People who need to leave their dog alone all day;
- People who are “heavy handed” or use harsh training methods;
- A home with a lot of small animals;
- A home without a fenced yard.
- Calm, quiet, cat-like in demeanor
- Exotic and Beautiful
- Easy to groom, minimal shedding
- Loyal to their family
- Aloof with strangers
- Sleeps on furniture
- Cannot be let off leash if not in a securely fenced area
- Difficult to train, stubborn
Females: Average 20-26 inches at the shoulder, and roughly 35-60 pounds.
Males: Average 23 to 28 inches at the shoulder, and roughly 40-65 pounds.
This breed comes in a wide variety of colors and markings. White, cream, fawn, golden, red, grizzle and tan, tricolor and black and tan are all seen in the breed.
This breed can be very low energy when in the home but has an intense energy when outside or in the field. They can be quite playful and busy as youngsters. This breed must be given the chance to run each day, in order to maintain their easy nature. A small backyard will not suffice.
Salukis will tolerate well behaved and quiet children. This breed, while gentle & kind, is quite aloof and not quick to trust. Young children should be taught to give space to their Saluki – especially when the dog is at rest or eating. Children should be gentle with Saluki and should always be supervised.
The Saluki does well in a pack and enjoys the company of other similarly sized or larger dogs. As the breed was developed for its hunting and speed, some small animals may be considered prey and would not be safe around some Saluki. With these hunting instincts, outside animals may also be at risk.
Salukis excel at lure coursing and racing; they make beautiful show dogs as well. Flyball and agility might be a good fit for some Saluki. While they are very intelligent, this is not an ideal obedience dog.
Salukis have two types of coats—feathered and smooth—and both are easily groomed with weekly brushing although if they have long ear or tail feathering, that may take a bit more attention. Many Saluki owners use a snood to keep ear feathering out of the food bowl (smooth Salukis do not have that problem). Salukis are very clean dogs and known for not having a “doggy” odor. Bathing need only be done if they get dirty or before a dog show.
While the breed is very hardy, incidences of cancers like hemangiosarcoma, can be seen in the breed. As with all large Sighthounds, cardiac issues, bloat and torsion are all possible. In general, sighthounds have a very low percentage of body fat compared to other dogs, so they respond differently to certain drugs, especially the fat or lipid soluble drugs, such as thiopental, pentobarbital, and halothane. You should be sure when choosing a veterinarian, that they are aware of how to treat a sighthound, when it comes to anesthesia.