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When Asked About Salukis, You Can Get Some Surprising Answers

Updated on April 12, 2012

Get The True Scoop On Salukis - An Ancient Breed!

A Young Saluki Dog Shows Expressive Eyes
A Young Saluki Dog Shows Expressive Eyes

Can You Believe It?

Try conducting a kind of “Man On The Street” survey that asks what you know about Salukis, and except in Illinois, you’ll elicit some really surprising answers.

A few samples:

1. Salukis, sure, that’s a tribe in Africa that drinks milk and cattle blood for food, right?

2. Oh, isn’t that a Disney documentary from the 70’s about endangered tree frogs?

3. Yeah, they’re one of those computer viruses that crash your system.

4. Not totally sure, but I think it’s something to do with post menopause in women.

5. Yes, I believe that’s a side effect of shingles that may be incurable if left untreated too long.

Alright, so now you’ve seen a few weird answers, but, hey smarty pants, do you actually know anything about Salukis? Or do you still think Salukis are the Turkish version of a Taco, only filled with lentils?

With the exception of the Illinois University football team, only a tiny percentage of average folks know that a Saluki is none of the above, but, rather, is a breed of centuries old sight hound, used in Arabia in the hunting of Gazelles and other small game. So how come the Illinois football team is in the know about such arcane stuff? Maybe do you think it’s because the Saluki is their official team mascot?

Now that you know we’re talking about a canine, it’s most appropriate for some more straight answers about Salukis. Reputed to be the oldest dog breed in the world, they date back to 329 BC and are named after the ancient city of Saluk. The breed has always been revered by powerful Sheiks (generally the only persons allowed to own Salukis), who referred to the dog as “The Noble One.” Also known as “The Royal Dog of Egypt,” the Saluki was never sold, but sometimes gifted to others. A Saluki always had a permanent place in his owner’s tent, awarding it high preferential status reflecting the great esteem in which it was held. This honor held not only in life, but in death, as well, since the Saluki was often mummified and entombed along with his Pharaoh masters.

Always hunted in pairs, the dogs were easily able to run down a Gazelle and hold it, awaiting the hunter’s arrival for the coup de grace. Speed and extreme maneuverability, plus indefatigable stamina are breed hallmarks, even to this day. The first members of the breed to be imported to England, arrived there in 1840 and were given the moniker “Persian Greyhounds.” In the U.S., the Saluki was accorded American Kennel Club recognition in 1927.

Salukis in North America and Europe today continue their working ways competing in lure chasing competitions. These events serve not only to keep the dogs sharp, but provide the kind of exercise they need and love.

To view a Saluki for the first time is to see what some have described as “sheer streamlined elegance.” Long legs combine with a graceful, lithe body reflecting its design for speed for the hunt. Males measure 23 to 28 inches at the withers and weigh about 50 to 60 lbs; females shave about 3-4 inches in height and roughly 15 lbs in weight off their male counterparts. Two coat varieties exist: one, a feathered type, the other a smooth haired. The former show fringing on ears and long curved tail, while the latter type lack such feathering. Coat colors in both varieties include: white, cream, fawn, gold, red, grizzle, black and tan, black and silver or various combinations of these.

Intensely devoted to it’s family, the Saluki generally exhibits a reserved, even aloof, attitude toward strangers.Training a Saluki, if begun early, as with most breeds, is not difficult. Overly rough or harsh treatment methods though can prove a real turnoff and create behavior problems.

Since the breed is prey driven, care must be taken when keeping it with small dogs, until compatibility is attained. A tall fence in the backyard is a must. No invisible fences need apply.

Although not a breed for everyone, the magnificent Saluki should be considered for those willing to adhere to the needs of the breed. And, even if you’re not contemplating acquiring a Saluki of your own, at least now when asked about Salukis, you won’t have to wear a quizzical face.


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      SALLY TEASDALE 6 years ago

      Ive just bought a saluki puppy shes lovely. She has picked up potty training very quick and will do anything for food so is very easy to train.