The Saluki is an ancient Persian breed regarded and revered as a regal, divine hound in the Arab world. Considering the fact how pure Arabs despise ordinary dogs, this is quite an honor. Given its ancient origins, it is no surprise that the Saluki has been depicted in art work and sculptures aging back thousands of years. In fact; the Egyptian God of Death is often represented as a Saluki-like dog with erect ears.
Let us study some more interesting facts, characteristics, temperament and other important features about the Saluki dog breed.
- Saluki is also known as the Persian Greyhound. In Egypt, it is described as the Gift from Allah.
- So ancient are the breed’s origins that it is little wonder they are shrouded in mystery; it is believed that an ancient dog from 6th century BCE may have been the ancestor of this beautiful breed.
- The word Saluki is often pronounced as ‘Slu-Ghi’. Note that the Saluki and Sloughi are two different breeds, genetically different and having different origins. Sloughi is a sighthound of the Berber people while the Saluki is the sighthound of the Bedouin people.
- In the Middle East, the Saluki is known as the Al-Hurr or the ‘noble one’. These majestic hounds were allowed inside bedouin tents-a privilege not allowed to other Kelb (dogs) that were considered unclean, unhygienic and ordinary. But not the Saluki. After all, these hunting dogs helped capture hares and other game meat so they were regarded as the ‘provider ‘of fresh meat for the pots.
- Height at withers for males – 23-28”, for females 22-26”. Weight is between 40-55lb for males and 31-40lb for females.
- Saluki is a medium to large dog, slender and muscular just like the Greyhound. They are built on lines that govern speed and endurance.
- Their bodies are actually short and straight but with long and rangy legs characterized by fine quality of bone.
- These racehorse-like dogs have a deep chest with plenty of heart room that gives them their wonderful staying power.
- Salukis are best described as graceful, dignified and refined.
- They are bred with large variety of coat colors including color variations in white. This is another difference with Sloughi breed; sloughis are only allowed to exist in shades of sand, fawn and without black markings or black mask. Also, the two most common coat colors of Sloughi (brindle and sand with black mask) are either uncommon or not cited for the Saluki.
Where to find a Saluki
Choosing a reputed breeder is of great importance when it comes to dog ownership. Fortunately, you can find a list of ethical Saluki breeders on the official Saluki Club of USA website. The registered breeders are all committed to the well being of this breed. They will encourage you to attend dog shows and meet handlers and owners of Salukis so you can assess for yourself how these dogs look and behave and what it means to raise one.
Once you have shortlisted a breeder or two, it is time to meet the litters. As a new owner, be prepared to wait for at least a year to bring your puppy home. This is because good breeders have long waitlists and they only have 1-2 litters per year. The price of a Saluki will vary from place to place and breeder to breeder. Be prepared to pay anywhere between $1000 and $2500 for a healthy puppy with proven bloodlines. Your seller will also provide you with all documents the AKC requires such as the breed, sex, color markings, date of birth, litter number, registration details of parents, breeder’s date and so on.
One of the common problems and perhaps the only real drawback to this breed and its relatives is possible temperament problems. If these dogs are not socialized from an early age, they can be very fearful and as a result, snap and bite at other dogs and people alike. This fear-biting is often the cause of abandonment of these dogs. Other behavioral problems seen in untrained Salukis are phobias, irritable snapping and growling, roaming and house-soiling. Make sure you secure your house with a large fence. Inspect the fence from time to time; any small gap and your determined Saluki is sure to find it. Note that these fastidiously clean dogs need a soft bed inside the home. They aren’t defense dogs but will alarm bark when needed.
Training your Saluki should be a breeze given the fact that they are highly intelligent dogs. However, training should be started early and socialization needs to be emphasized upon. Introduce your saluki puppy to household cats, other pet dogs and people. As a pet parent, you should ensure correcting nervousness, shyness, and high strung tendencies from the very beginning. Salukis thrive on close human companionship. They are sensitive dogs that do well with obedience training. They love to chase though they may not love to fetch things. It is a good idea to keep small animals out of their way. These independent minded dogs get bored easily and boredom can soon translate into destructive behavior. So make sure you include plenty of fun activities along with the training sessions.
Because of the harsh climate they were originally bred in, these dogs are very hardy and they can tolerate extreme conditions. They are also capable of running and hunting all day without getting tired. These athletic dogs are very sure footed too and they will enjoy climbing and hiking with you. Keep your Saluki healthy and fit with twice-a-day walks or runs. If you go for free exercises, make sure you conduct them within a secure enclosure.
Regular grooming sessions are a fun way of bonding with your Saluki puppy. The feathered Saluki does not need too much grooming as the silkiness of their hair deters matting. Brush your Saluki once every 2-3 days. Do not ignore your Saluki’s rear end during grooming sessions. Use a soft cloth to press gently on both sides of the anus to relieve pressure. Your dog will scoot, rub its behind on walls or furniture or try licking its anal area when he wants to relieve pressure. If needed, take him to a vet to have his anal lands expressed.
Sighthounds are relatively healthy breeds and they live a long healthy and disease free life. That said; the health of any dog depends on its genetic predisposition, lifestyle and also on its breeding programs. With proper diet, exercise and grooming, your dog can easily live up to 10-15 years. This is a rough estimate. Salukis and other sighthounds often suffer from skin issues like demodex mange. Note that this breed is extremely sensitive to certain drugs, antibiotics and anesthesia. So always choose an experienced veterinary doctor for treating your Saluki.