This svelte and graceful dog is extremely fast and agile. The Saluki is the Bedouin of southern Arabia, which still uses Salukis and falcons to capture prey such as gazelles and bustards. Instead of hunting by scent, the Saluki hunts by sight. With its blistering turn of speed, it can run down virtually any type of game.
The Saluki’s ancient origins lie in the Middle East. This breed was named after the Arabian city of Saluk, now vanished beneath the sands. Used by various nomadic desert people, Salukis spread from the Caspian Sea to the Sahara Desert. Saluki-like dogs are depicted on Persian pottery as early as 4200 BC.
Pharaohs usually hunted with hawks on their wrists and Salukis on leads. Mummified Saluki remains have been found in Egyptian tombs. Medieval Muslim huntsmen referred to this breed as “the sacred gift of Allah.” This religious connection made it permissible for Muslims to eat the game that these dogs captured, which would otherwise be considered as unclean.
This breed is also known as the Persian Greyhound, Arabian Hound, and Gazelle Hound. As its appearance suggests, it may be quite closely related to another ancient breed, the Afghan Hound.
Such a dog’s temperament is even-tempered, loyal, and sensitive, with an aristocratic air. Though the Saluki is a devoted pet who can become attached to only one person, they can also be emotionally distant, even with family members. This breed is generally gentle and friendly. Most get along well with children, providing they don’t interact in a rough manner. The Saluki breed is mild-mannered and happy.
Obedience training is required to maintain control over its natural-born hunting instincts. Its owner must be calm and gentle, but yet firm and consistent when training it. Because this dog is sensitive, it does not adapt well to harsh discipline. Once the dog recognizes its owner as a pack leader, it will feel secure in its environment. Though it gets along well with people in general and other Salukis, it has the tendency to chase and kill non-canine pets. Once introduced to a family cat, it will not harm this feline. However, it is likely to chase down stray cats. Also, a Saluki makes a great watchdog.
The appearance of the Saluki consists of a body that is finely shaped and muscular with a broad back and deeply recessed chest. There are two varieties of the Saluki, the feathered and the smooth-haired. The feathered Saluki displays light, silky feathering on the backs of its legs and thighs. Both varieties have to feather on the underside and the tail. Colors of its coat vary including white; a tricolor scheme of black, white, and tan; cream; red; golden; fawn; or black and tan.
The tail is set low, long, gently curved, and feathered with long hair set on the underside.
This breed’s head is long and narrow, but fairly wide between the ears with characteristics as: a sharp scissors-like bite with the upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth; eyes that are large, oval-shaped, and fazed to dark brown in color; a nose that is black or liver in color; and ears that are long, covered with well-feathered, silky hair that hangs close down to the face.
Adult Salukis are 23 to 28 inches in height, 29 to 66 pounds in weight, and live for 10 to 12 years. They are not recommended for apartment life and can be extremely active indoors. Such dogs should be free to run in large open yards but should sleep indoors at night. This breed prone to developing genetic eye diseases or even cancer. Keeping them out in the sun too long is hazardous as well since they can get sunburned, especially on the nose.
The coat of a Saluki is free of odor and easy to maintain. This breed sheds as much as an average dog and should be brushed and combed once or twice a week. Its ears should be checked and cleaned regularly.