Named for the ancient Arabian city of Saluk, the Saluki is known as one of the fastest dogs on Earth, able to reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. This Royal Dog of Egypt was often called upon to hunt gazelle. This dog was so beloved by the ancient Egyptians that pharaohs often hunted with a hawk on their wrist and a Saluki by their side.
History and Origin
The Saluki has the honor of being one of the oldest known breeds of domesticated dog. There are theories that this breed has been around, relatively unchanged, for at least 8,000 years. The Moslems declared the Saluki a sacred breed and many people feel that when the word "dog" is used in the Bible, it is referring to the Saluki.
The Saluki was so admired and adored that this breed was the only dog allowed to sleep on the carpet of a sheikh's tent. Their bodies were often mummified.
The homeland of the Saluki is quite broad and includes Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran. In each area, a slightly different dog was developed. Despite having a long and rich history in the Middle East, it was not until 1840 that the breed was first exported to England. Originally, the Saluki was known as the Persian greyhound since the original exports came from Persia, later known as Iran.
Despite being imported in 1840, the real interest in the breed didn't surge until 1895, when Salukis from Arabia were imported. By 1927, the Saluki was recognized by the American Kennel Club.
The Saluki has a tall slender body shape similar to a greyhound. There are two varieties of Saluki, feathered and smooth. The smooth Saluki has short silky hair covering the body. The feathered version also has short silky hair but feathered on the ears, tail and legs. Regardless of the variety, the Saluki is graceful and dignified with an air of aristocracy.
The Saluki has a slender well-muscled neck, shoulders and thighs. The loins are arched and the tail is naturally carried in a curve. The head is long and the eyes are set deep, not prominent, giving the appearance that the dog is perpetually gazing off into the distance. The long ears hang on either side of the head.
The Saluki is available in a variety of solid and multi-colors. Red, golden, cream, black and tan, black and silver, white grizzle, parti-color and other colors are acceptable.
The adult Saluki stands 23 to 28 inches at the shoulder and weighs 35 to 70 pounds.
The Saluki tends to be aloof and doesn't readily take to strangers. In order to develop a bond with humans, puppies need lots of socialization. Once bonded, they dogs are loving and loyal family members. The Saluki's ancestors were the favorite of pharaohs and sheikhs so they expect to be pampered. Soft beds positioned away from drafts are a necessity. This breed is quite independent and is nearly as fastidious about personal hygiene and cleanliness as a cat.
Home and Family Relations
The Saluki is tolerant of children but not overly affectionate. Once the dog develops a bond, he is loyal for life. Since the Saluki does not trust easily, he is a good watchdog. This breed enjoys and expects to live indoors with the family. They are typically quiet dogs and keep themselves very clean.
The Saluki doesn't need much training to be able to chase and hunt prey. They do require obedience training and learn well. The Saluki has been trained and used to hunt foxes, hares, jackals and even wild boars. With their tremendous speed and remarkable sight, the Saluki is a formidable foe in lure coursing competitions.
The Saluki is a sighthound and loves nothing better than to chase something. They will not pay attention to cars or other potential dangers while they are in the middle of a chase. Salukis should not be allowed to walk without a leash and should be kept in fenced in yards.
Though the Saluki is not an overly demonstrative dog, once he bonds with his owner, separation can be devastating and result in depression.
Some Salukis may be finicky eaters and may even skip a meal or two. If a loss of appetite continues for over 48 hours, veterinary assistance is recommended.
Common Diseases and Disorders
The primary health concern of the Saluki, as with other sighthounds, is their sensitivity to certain anesthetic agents. Some anesthetic agents rely on body fat to dissipate the drug. In dog breeds with little fat stores, these types of anesthetic agents tend to take longer to dissipate, resulting in difficulty for the Saluki to wake up.