When you pack together top notch instincts with speed inside a medium size hound, you get the mystical Saluki. A breed that Kings held in the highest regards among their royal courts. Oh, and not to mention, one of the oldest breeds today.

In fact, if you had seen the Saluki thousands of years ago, you would likely recognize them today. This breed is one of the few that hasn’t seen many changes in appearance over the years.

So where does the breed come from and will the breed be the right fit for your home?

Here is what you need to know about the lightening fast Saluki.

History

One of the most contentious elements in dealings with a breed’s background is how old the breed is. Certain countries quarrel with one another to stake their claim on the true origins of certain breeds. With the Saluki, there is a  bit of contention regarding the original date of existence. However, there is no debate in saying that the breed is one of the oldest alive today.

According to the American Kennel Club, the breed dates back as far as 7,000 B.C. Excavations found and it is belief that the breed belongs to the Sumerian Empire around 6,000 to 7,000 B.C. Historians say that the Saluki was a favorite among the Kings. What’s more, according to the site, Classic Saluki, there is evidence that the breed was around in Belgium during the Middle Ages as well. By these accounts, this would make the Saluki a distinct breed for quite some time.

Aside from their role as as sighthound, which would involve killing and tracking down Gazelles — the ruling class would only part ways with the breed as a sacred gift to another noble as a sign of respect, thus rendering the Saluki a sacred gift.

But perhaps the greatest era for the Saluki was the 19th century. Already popular with the Arabians, the breed began to appear as diplomats and army officers brought them back to England. The Sheikhs back in the Middle East would send them as gifts to show their respect and gratitude.

Meanwhile, whisperings say the breed’s first appearance in the United States came via a Clipper Ship out of Thebes. However, most regard the Saluki’s best progression in the U.S. during the 20th century.

Indeed, 1927 was the formation of the Saluki Club of America just as the American Kennel Club gave the breed official recognition. Conversely, a breed standard and the formation of the Saluki and Gazelle Club of U.K. came in the early 1920’s. Certainly after World War 1, the breed’s popularity began to renew thanks to servicemen bringing the dog back to the West. 

By the 1950’s, the breed began to appear in dog show rings and do well. The breed also saw recognition with the United Kennel Club in 1956, promoting them even more.

While their popularity was bigger back in the 20th century, today in the West, the breed is considerably rare. The American Kennel Club lists them as the 125th most popular breed in America.

Size

The American Kennel Club lists the breed as medium. The club also states females should reach a height considerably smaller than a male. A male should stand 23 to 28 inches.

With regards to weight, both male and female Saluki’s can weigh between 40 to 65 pounds.

Personality and Temperament

It shouldn’t surprise you to know that the Saluki is the kind of breed to carry themselves proudly. Their heads held above with dignity and their temperament is typically calm. Moreover, the breed prefers a calm and relaxing household over one that has too much stress. Stress from a dog can invite neurotic behavior and destructive actions.

As a family member, they are good with smaller children and good with dogs. Likewise, children and other dogs enjoy the breed due to their playful nature. This is a breed that just loves to run around. And why not? When you have the kind of speed that the Saluki has. They certainly need to exercise as a highly energetic breed that thrives in agility, obedience and fetch.

Some say that the breed is near cat like. They can very gentle, but should never be shy nor aggressive, especially with their ownerships. Strangers may experience a bit of an aloof dog. They tend to build relationships with one person over a whole group, which typically means the man of the house. Not always, but typically. That said, this breed enjoys close contact with their family and a close bond as well.

The Saluki, like other dogs, is eager to please but certainly flaunts an independent side to them. That just means you’ll have to work a little bit harder during training. The good thing is; Saluki’s are adaptable  to new settings and surroundings, and enjoy new places. Just as long as you are around, the breed will be happy.

All in all, the Saluki is a great fit for you small family or single person. If you have a dog, they’ll get along, and kids will love chasing the fast Gazelle hunter around the backyard. Take them to parks, walks, or the backyard for fetch, just as long as the breed is obtaining their energy requirements. They may exude a protective side but barely ever showcase aggression. They do like to run, which means certain elements of danger in neighborhoods. Patient, loving and affectionate.

Health

When responsible breeding goes hand in hand with responsible dog ownership, the Saluki is a breed that can live for quite some time. While the U.K. club lists their expectancy between 12 to 14 years, the American Kennel Club states 10 to 17 years.

When you buy a Saluki, always make a purchase from a reputable breeder. This breeder should be able to provide you with the proper documentation and health clearance you’ll need to make a good buying decision. In addition, you should schedule regular visits with the veterinarian to ensure your dog’s well being.

The Saluki and Gazelle Hound Club claims that the breed has a history of sudden death for unknown reasons. However, tests claim that the breed suffers from immune disorders which may explain the deaths. The top killer for the breed, according to the survey from the club, 36.6% of the breed die from cancer. 

The breed does have issues with their hearts as well such as Mitral Valve and irregular heart beat. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals lists them as the 42nd worst among the cardiac stat bracket. This puts them among the Beauceron and Pomeranian.

Haemangiosarcoma is a malignant tumor affecting the lining of the blood cells. It appears mostly in dogs than any other living thing on Earth. Once a tumor ruptures (that is full of blood) the chance of internal or external bleeding increases strongly. This can be fatal and something worth keeping an eye out for.

Some breeds just have no luck when it comes to the hips like the Bulldog and Pug. The Saluki isn’t one of those breeds, although Hip Dysplasia is still a low possibility. In fact, the OFA lists them as 182nd out of 187 breeds on the list to suffer from the malformation of the hip joint. Hip Dysplasia causes rubbing  from loose joints and results in agitation, lameness and pain. The OFA claims the breed has a 1.8 percent dysplastic rate out of 279 evaluations next to the German Pinscher.

A lack of hormonal production from the thyroid gland can cause a bunch of issues including lethargy, weight gaining, and hair loss. This is what specialists call Hypothyroidism and according to the OFA, the Saluki has the 32nd worst rating only sporting a 80.6 normal rating. This puts the breed in the company of the Leonberger, AmStaff Terrier, Akita and Golden Retriever.

Care

Muscular and rather lithe, the Saluki doesn’t have a ton of body meat to flash for comfort. All this means is that the breed may be a little uncomfortable laying on hard surfaces. A simple soft surface can fix this by laying something down with padding for comfort.

While the breed likes to adapt to new surrounding and places, the Saluki isn’t the best apartment dog. Understandably so, the breed is active and needs to get out and run. This is a breed that should get an hour per day. Whether that is in the backyard or via a walk. 

Because they are runners, you will want to keep them on a leash and prevent them from the road. Giving them plenty of mental and physical stimulation, as well as playing fetch, allowing to run around the yard and introducing them to canine sports such as agility will do a world of good for the Saluki.

This breed will do better with someone who has experience handling an active breed. Someone who is patient, will teach with positive reinforcement and be consistent. The Saluki will react to stress so it is best to give them a home that doesn’t burden them with stress.

And while kids do love this breed, they do require a little supervision due to the breed’s size and style of play. You should probably avoid owning birds, mice or other smaller animals as the breed does have a proclivity for prey drive.

In summary, plenty of exercise and stimulation for this breed. Watch them around smaller children and smaller animals. Keep this breed away from the road because they will run off. If you have plenty of space, patience and will show them loyalty and love, the Saluki will fit into your home just fine.

Feeding

How much your Saluki eats will depend on a variety of factors such as: energy rate, age and metabolism. That said, your dog should be fed a high quality diet with meat as the first ingredient. Always consult your Vet about what the best options are for your Saluki.

Most owners seem content feeding the Saluki between 1 1/2 cups to 3 cups per day. In addition, you can break those up into two or three smaller meals. This helps reduce the chances of inheriting Gastric Torsion or Bloat. Bloat is when the stomach twists or distends due to an excess of air. This can be fatal and is certainly painful.

Because the breed is an active breed, they will burn a ton of calories. If they burn them, then it is your job to return them. For a dog between 40 to 65 pounds with a typical activity rate: 1109 to 1587 calories will suffice. For a dog between 40 to 65 pounds with moderate working duties: 1849 to 2661 calories per day will do the trick.

As always, you should provide your Saluki with fresh drinking water.

Coat

This is a breed that does shed but does so infrequently. You will need to occasionally groom them, but they are rather simple to care for. The coat for the Saluki is smooth and short. There are some feathering on their legs, back of thighs and shoulders.

According to the American Kennel Club, there are 12 color coat options: Black, black and silver, black and tan, black, tan and white, chocolate, chocolate and tan, cream, fawn, golden, red, silver and white.

The AKC also allows for 8 markings on this breed, including: Grizzle, Irish marked, Irish marked grizzle, Irish marked sable, parti-color, sable, parti-color grizzle and sable partii- color.

A light brushing once a week should get the job done as far as grooming concerns.

Fun Saluki Facts

  • In 1996, allegedly the Saluki ran 35 to 45 miles per hour. It is said that the breed can run up to 42 miles per hour.
  • There are two types for coat: Smooth and feathered. Smooth has short canvassing the entire body, while feathered has long hair.
  • A breed with many names, including: The Persian Greyhound, Gazelle Greyhound, Royal Dog of Egypt and the El Hor, which means the “noble one,” according to Royal Saluki.
  • The Intelligence of Dog’s study by Stanley Coren lists the breed as the 70th most intelligent breed. This means they will obey the first command 50 percent of the time.
  • The breed is the official mascot for Southern Illinois University.

Closing Words

The Gazelle hunter isn’t the perfect breed for everyone. The right home for this amazing breed will be someone living an active lifestyle, with plenty of space and has the experience in handling a dog of this nature.

Don’t let that scare you away, however, the Saluki is dependable, loving and loyal just as any other breed. As one of the oldest breeds around, owning a Saluki is like owning a little bit of history.