"The Greyhound's Pretty Cousin"
Used by the Bedouins on hunting expeditions, these fleet dogs rarely came home without game. If they didn't hunt, they didn't survive. Salukis were swift enough to catch a gazelle and occasionally worked in conjunction with a hawk. They earned their keep in the sparse desert, making them family treasures. Although most dogs were considered “unclean,” Salukis were allowed into the nomadic tents as well as the household of the sheiks. It is believed that any dogs mentioned in the Bible were probably Salukis. Around the campfire their history was passed orally from generation to generation, with pride in these ancient pedigrees. Legend has it that these dogs were not sold, given only as gifts of honor. It wasn't until the twentieth century that the breed became well-known in other areas of the world.
Aloof with strangers, Salukis are unlikely to be lap dogs even with family. Although Salukis are accepting of other dogs, they see small animals as an invitation to chase. Clean and catlike, the breed fastidiously licks his paws – a habit that endears him to people who keep a spotless home – and is known for his independence.
Almost any color found in dogs occurs in this breed, from the lightest cream and fawn to dark black. The body coat is smooth and silky, with ears, legs and tail lightly fringed. Their feet have long toes, the better to grip the sand. The breed has changed little in appearance from earliest times, as depicted in early drawings. A smooth variety exists, called the Sloughi.
The Saluki's true awe-inspiring talent is in lure coursing. Obedience is rather ho-hum to them, when compared to flying swiftly over fields, or chasing a plastic bag which simulates prey. The enthusiasm of these dogs at the starting line is contagious to handlers and spectators. Nothing is quite as goosebumpy as watching this dog do what he was bred to do. Seeing a Saluki sprint across a field at 30 miles per hour and catch the elusive bag is breathtaking; their eagerness in flight belies the quiet contentment of the breed indoors. After running, the Saluki's favorite sport is nesting – and he prefers the best seat in the house! Because of their powerful hunting instinct, they should never be walked off the leash; even the most obedient Saluki won't hesitate to take off after a squirrel, oblivious to oncoming traffic.
Grooming & Care
Use a hound glove; touch up ears and tail with a brush. Shedding is not heavy, particularly if the coat is regularly groomed. Clean teeth and ears, and trim nails. A snood (partial bonnet) can keep ears neat by preventing them from drooping into water and food bowls. They crave soft beds and other creature comforts!
As with other sighthounds, caution must be taken with anesthetics. Ask about whether lines are OFA and CERF certified and whether any heart defects have appeared in the immediate family.
A living, breathing work of art, the Saluki appears in important works of art by Tintoretto, Veronese, Cellini, and Giacometti.
|Challenges||Exercise demands, prey instinct.|
|Height||23 to 28 inches|
|Weight||40 to 70 pounds|
|Life||12 to 14 years|
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