Meet the Newest AKC Dog Breed — the Azawakh!

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AKC official azawakh

The American Kennel Club (AKC) has officially announced that the Azawakh breed is now fully recognized by the AKC.

Of course, you may have already heard of the Azawakh (pronounced OZ-a-wok), and you might even own one! The Azawakh isn’t a new breed per se — but up until January 2019, they weren’t recognized by the AKC as an official breed. What this means is that the Azawakh breed wasn’t allowed to compete in certain dog show competitions. Before this year, the Azawakh was allowed to compete in some competitions but was not eligible for every single one of the 22,000+ events that the AKC sponsors every year. Here’s a timeline of how the Azawakh rose to its official status:

  • January 1, 2008: The Azawakh is able to compete in Companion Events
  • January 1, 2008: The Azawakh is able to compete in AKC Lure Coursing Events for Suffix Titles
  • June 30, 2011: The Azawakh is eligible to compete in the AKC Miscellaneous Class
  • January 1, 2019: The Azawakh is accepted into the AKC Stud Book
  • January 1, 2019: The Azawakh is assigned the Hound Group designation

The Azawakh is the 193rd breed accepted onto the AKC roster, and they’ll be eligible to compete in the Westminster Kennel Show in 2020.

So, why wasn’t the Azawakh recognized before? There are more than 400 dog breeds in the world, but not all of them are recognized by the AKC. If there are too few of the breed in the United States, or the owners don’t have a significant interest in having the breed receive official registered status, they typically won’t be recognized officially. However, they can end up on other club registrations depending on the restrictions that exist within each organization.

What is the Azawakh Temperament?

If you’re not familiar with the Azawakh, these dogs are lean, tall, and elegant. Often confused for a Greyhound or Whippet, Azawakhs tend to be loyal dogs. They’re independent and deeply affectionate and would make a great companion or guardian for your family.

Where Did the Azawakh Come From?

Azawakhs are sighthounds originating from West Africa. Their long and lean bodies come from their ancestors’ ability to hunt prey swiftly through the desert. These hounds have a thousand-year history, and although they look gentle, these are durable dogs whose ancestors had keen sight and speed to hunt prey in the Sahara.

What Do Azawakhs Look Like?

Azawakhs can have a variety of colors and markings including red, clear sand to fawn, brindled, parti-color, blue, black, and brown. They may also have black or white markings on their legs. Azawakhs are also tall and have long legs that give them the ability to run far and fast. Because these dogs are so lean, it’s not uncommon to be able to see their bone structure and musculature through their skin. To the untrained eye, these dogs might look underfed or malnourished, but this is actually how they should look! The average Azawakh weighs 35-55 pounds, which also aids in their ability to run fast. Similar to Greyhounds and Whippets, they’ll need a warm coat if you’re heading out for a walk in colder weather.

You can learn more about the Azawakh breed by checking out our profile on them here.

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