Saluki Dog Breed Information Guide

If you’re in the market for a glamorous pet with a rich history, the Saluki may be the breed for you. Not the best choice for a kid’s dog, the Saluki is more aloof than exhuberant, prefering quite time alone to frolicking with the kids in the yard. So if you’re looking for a great kids dog, better to consider a Labrador Retriever or Golden Retriever.

This intelligent and ancient breed makes a quiet, well behaved companion that requires minimal to moderate grooming. Saluki’s need a good bit of exercise, which can be achieved by providing a well secured, large yard where your Saluki can run and chase stuff.

Saluki History

Like so many other breeds, the true origins and history of the Saluki Hound have been erased by the sands of time. What is known of this beautiful breed is that their likeness has been found on ancient Sumerian and Egyptian artifacts, dating them back more than 6,000 years. While no one can say with 100% certainly, it’s generally accepted that the Saluki may actually be the oldest breed of domesticated dog in existence today. Recent studies of Saluki DNA has proven that the Saluki hound is one of the first domesticated descendants of the wolf.

Ancient images of the Saluki have been discovered on various mosaics, seals and even in tomb paintings, where he was treasured as a skillful and swift hunter. This stretched through the centuries, where the Arabs held him in high esteem, calling the Saluki “el hor,” which meant “The Noble.” Bred with the same guarded reverence as the beautiful Arabian horses, the Saluki hound’s great endurance and his incredible speed made him a valued companion to the desert nomads. Eventually, he would also gain the eye of Egyptian nobles and this royal dog of Egypt would even be mummified in the same fashion as the Egyptian Pharaohs.

The Saluki also gained recognition and respect within the Muslim cultures. Where most dogs were referred to as being “kalb,” the Saluki was known as “saluki” for the combination of their noble background, how expensive they were, and this beautiful hound’s overall cleanliness. Bedouins also held the Saluki hound in high esteem, claiming that the white spot upon his chest was a gift from God or, “the Kiss of Allah.” Saluki dogs slept alongside their masters, granted access to the tents so that they could escape the heat of the day and the cold desert nights.

A gifted courser, the Saluki was not just another pretty face, either. In the desert, there was no room for an animal that could not hold his own and provide some use to the tribe. It was his incredible speed and ability to chase down the swift gazelle that raised the Saluki to his prominent position as a hunting and companion animal.

The first Salukis would set foot upon English soil in 1840, where they were known as Persian Greyhounds, and the first Arabian Saluki would be introduced from the kennels of Transjordania’s Prince Abdulla in 1895. The breed was slow to gain popularity, surprisingly, and it would be several more years before he made his way to America. It wasn’t until November of 1927, that the Saluki dog breed would be officially recognized by the AKC.

Saluki Appearance

The Saluki has a very noble and aristocratic bearing, often misleading people to think that this slightly-built sighthound is a fragile breed. To best understand the Saluki’s appearance, however, it’s important to keep in mind that these wonderful dogs were bred to perform a specific task. While they may have also developed into great companion animals, their main purpose was for hunting gazelle, the most swift of all antelope. For this, the Saluki must be incredibly fast, but also nimble-footed, and he must be very athletic, possessing great jumping skills. In addition to these traits, the Saluki must also have great endurance and be of a thrifty constitution, so that he can live under the harshest of conditions – after all, the desert is no place for a pampered lap dog!

Saluki come in two varieties; your standard Saluki and the smooth-coated Saluki. Both possess the lean and athletic shape of a greyhound, but the smooth-coat Saluki does not have the excess hair or feathering, along the legs and tail, that the standard Saluki possesses. Both varieties have a long and narrow head that is elegantly framed by the dog’s long ears. The eyes of the Saluki can range from a dark shade of brown to light hazel, but they should always be large, bright and alert.

A Saluki puppy should show straight, strong legs with sufficient power and muscling to gallop and jump. They can be found in a variety of colors, including black and tan, tricolor, grizzle and tan, cream, fawn, golden, red, and white. As an adult, the Saluki should paint a perfect picture of grace and balance – perhaps why he has been a favorite subject of so many artists!

Saluki Temperament

While there are exceptions to every rule, most Salukis tend to be typical hunting hounds, possessing a very quiet and independent personality, with a strong tendency to remain aloof. While they are not bad with children, they do not seem to seek out the companionship of a child in the same way as other breeds and most adult Salukis need a place where they can retire and have their own “alone time,” should the household get to noisy or busy. More likely than not, the Saluki will let the other dogs handle the rough and tumble play, while he observes from his comfortable spot under the dining room table.

Saluki Exercise Info

Generally, the Saluki is a very quiet dog when he is indoors, but this does not mean one can neglect his daily exercise. In fact, it’s very important that your Saluki have regular exercise, in order to stay fit and healthy. Ideally, this would be a fenced-in enclosure, where he can run and play under supervision. Important to remember is that the fence should be at least five to six feet high, as the athletic Saluki is a very good jumper.

When exercising your Saluki outdoors, it’s imperative that he always be kept on a leash, when not being supervised in an enclosed yard. Salukis have a strong hunting instinct and will give chase to other animals. Additionally, the Salukis love of running is so great that, granted freedom off the leash, many of them seem to actually get drunk on the sheer joy of what they are doing and not want to stop. Be sure to keep your Saluki safe and keep him on a leash.

Saluki Grooming Info

The Saluki requires only a good weekly brushing to help keep his coat in good condition. Using a good bristled brush will help to free up any dander or loose hairs from his coat and a comb can gently be used to remove any tangles or knots from the ears, feathered legs and tail of your Saluki. In addition to this, be sure to do a weekly check of your dog’s ears and be sure to keep his toenails trimmed so that they remain at a comfortable length.

Saluki Training Info

The Saluki is a very intelligent dog that is quick to learn and respond to positive training. Due to their intelligence level, however, these magnificent canines can quickly become bored with having to repeat the same tasks over and over. For best results, training sessions should be kept very short and one should not be afraid to alternate lessons in order to keep things varied and interesting for your Saluki puppies. Doing so will prevent them from getting bored; coupling this method with praise and positive reinforcement will encourage your Saluki to learn even more.

Saluki Health Info

Like any breed of dog, the Saluki is subject to a variety of health concerns. Your best bet is, when deciding to choose a new Saluki puppy, check around with several breeders and ask about the various health issues that can affect these beautiful little dogs. A reputable breeder should be well-versed in the health concerns and should be able to give you more details, as well as showing you the sire and dam of your potential puppy. Some of the health problems that can affect Salukis include:

Sensitivity to anesthesia
Hip dysplasia
Pancreatitis
Bloat
Cardiomyopathy

Saluki Right Breed Info

Perhaps the oldest breed of domesticated dog in the world, the Saluki has long been a trusted companion and friend. While commonly reserved and aloof towards strangers, children, and loud noises, fans of the breed are quick to speak highly of this beautiful sighthound. While a large breed dog, they are quiet and generally gentle-natured and are known for being very quiet. This makes them an ideal pet for the smaller home or apartment style living.

One thing to keep in mind is other animals and your Saluki – raised as hunting dogs, these hounds have a natural instinct to give chase, particularly if they run across something that will suddenly dart off in the opposite direction. Saluki must always be kept on a leash in public, not only for the safety of others and for other animals, but also for the safety of your Saluki. If you ensure that your Saluki puppy is properly socialized and follow these simple rules, Saluki puppies can make wonderful companions.

More Information about the Saluki Dog Breed

Saluki on Wikipedia
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