Saluki Breed History
Dogs are thought to be unclean in the Muslim religion, but the Saluki was an exception. It was considered a sacred gift of Allah and was called “el hor” or “the noble one.” It was so prized, that it was never sold. Instead, it was given as special gifts of friendship or honor. The Saluki was used to hunt gazelle, which has incredible speed, as well as fox, jackal, and hare. The breed has remained pure, because its honored position prohibited it from breeding with the other dog breeds. The Saluki is native to the Middle East and traveled the region with its nomadic owners. This widespread population of the breed produced distinct local variations, some of which can still be seen today. In 1928, the AKC recognized the Saluki. With new hunting methods available in its native land, its role as sight hunting dog has all but ceased. Today it functions mainly as a companion pet or show dog, although it has also been used as a race dog.
Saluki Breed Appearance
Reminiscent of the greyhound, the Saluki exhibits grace, agility, speed and stamina. It has long, hanging ears and an expression that gives away its sweet and gentle nature. The breed has two varieties: the smooth and the feathered. The latter is the more common of the two with feathering hair on its ears and tail. Both varieties have long hair between its toes to help cushion its feet on rough terrain. Its coat is smooth and silky and colored in assortment of hues including white, cream, fawn, golden, red, grizzle, silver grizzle, deer grizzle, or tri-color of white, black and tan.
Saluki Breed Temperament
This quiet, reserved dog keeps to itself even though it is extremely devoted to its family. It tends to attach itself to just one person above other family members. It will do well with older children, but it does not play enough for the preference of young kids and is too slim for rough play. It may be skittish and submissive with loud and dominant people and dogs. It will chase and kill any other small animals. Hunting is a deep instinct that should not be punished. Training may help to lessen this response; however this breed is difficult to train and will never fully lose its chase and kill nature. Small pets, such as rabbits and guinea pigs, are not recommended in homes with a Saluki. The breed makes a good watchdog and is very reserved around strangers. When indoors, it is calm and quiet, preferring to find a warm, soft spot to sleep.
Saluki Breed Maintenance
The Saluki’s odor-free coat needs minimal grooming, especially since it is a light shedder. The smooth coat variety requires occasional brushing to remove any loose or dead hair. The feathered-coat Saluki needs brushing twice a week with a bristle brush to prevent matting. Too much brushing will damage or break healthy hairs. Shampoo only as needed, and check its ears regularly to ensure cleanliness. Naturally athletic, the Saluki requires daily exercise such as a long walk or jog or the opportunity to run free in a safe area. It doesn’t do well as a running partner, since it runs faster than most humans; however it would make a great partner during bike rides. Keep it on a leash, since it will give chase to any animal and usually does not heed commands during the hunt. It likes to explore and does best with access to a yard with a tall fence, since it is an exceptional jumper. It should not be an outside pet, because it is sensitive to the cold. Guard against sunburn, especially on its nose. It should be given soft bedding to prevent calluses and should sleep out of the way of any drafts. This breed is naturally thin; however they can also be picky eaters, making them even more prone looking undernourished. Training should begin early, because the Saluki can be shy or withdrawn.