Other names: Persian Greyhound
The Saluki is such a graceful canine, with strength, endurance and great speed capabilities. Because of these characteristics, it is a great hunter, skilful at chase, hunt and kill any prey over many terrains. Individual features vary in each dog, but all Salukis have a greyhound-like appearance, with a deep chest and narrow body, slender, long legs, a tiny waist and a long tail. The deep eyes of the dog have a faithful, soul-searching look. Overall, the Saluki is a dignified, gentle breed.
Key facts about the Saluki
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Origins and history
Originally called the Gazelle Hound, or the Persian Greyhound, the Saluki is understood to be an ancient breed, possibly dating back to the first dogs known to man. Images of dogs that have the appearance of a Saluki appeared on the tombs in Egypt, dating back some 4000 years to 2100BC.
Egyptian Pharaohs used Salukis for hunting hares and gazelles, often working alongside falcons. Many mummified Salukis have been discovered showing how honoured they were as a breed. The first dogs to have been noted in the UK arrived around 1840, however they weren’t recognised as a breed until after the First World War, when many officers brought them home from the Middle East, as their pets.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 10 - Sighthounds
Section 1 : Long-haired or fringed Sighthounds
Physical characteristics of the Saluki
Female : Between 23 and 28 in
Male : Between 23 and 28 in
Female : Between 33 and 55 lb
Male : Between 33 and 55 lb
White, grizzle, red, golden, fawn, cream, tri-colour, black and tan and all of these with white coat colours too.
Type of coat
The Saluki coat length is short to medium in length, with longer feathering hair.
A Saluki can be either smooth or rough-coated. A dog with a smooth type coat, very glossy and silky, will have a little feathering around their tail and thighs. Similarly, the Saluki with a rough coat has quite dense hair, quite full around the neck area with soft feathering on his tail and thighs.
The eyes of a Saluki are quite large, dark in colour and very expressive.
The Saluki breed have long necks which they arch in a graceful manner, and broad, sloping shoulders. With long, straight front legs, these dogs are built for speed and agility. Deep chested and broad, they have muscular hindquarters to aid their running skills. The slightly feathered ears are of a medium size, which the dog holds close to his cheeks. The dog holds his long tail quite high when moving, yet lowers it when at rest.
Good to know
This is one of the very oldest breeds of dog known, having a very graceful and agile appearance. Noblemen in Egypt gave it the name of the “Royal Dog” as they thought it a great companion and honoured canine breed. Arabian tribesmen paid great attention to their Saluki hunting dogs, prizing not only their endurance but also their speed. It is very difficult for any human to match and keep up to the speed of a Saluki dog.
Short Haired Saluki
Long haired Saluki
The very gentle and calm Saluki will make himself comfortable on your bed or sofa. He does like his home comforts and will snuggle up next to you quite happily. However, unless he is socialised very early as a puppy to meet new people, he will remain quite aloof with others.
Although a Saluki tends to be quite shy, he still has a very playful side. Because of this shyness, he can often appear to be very reserved. A Saluki loves to run hard and fast and if he is allowed to, will spend all of this energy and he will be a happy dog. As a sensitive breed, he doesn’t enjoy rough playtimes. You will discover than he is very happy chasing fast-moving objects, often in a circular movement.
This breed is very bright. Salukis are quite alert but not overly demonstrative.
In years gone by, Salukis were bred to chase, hold and kill gazelles, deer, foxes and rabbits. Although in the UK they tend not to be used for hunting pursuits, in the West and Middle East, Salukis are still bred for desert-hunting.
Fearful / wary of strangers
The Saluki dog has a temperament that is gentle, sensitive and reserved. He will be very curious about things going on around him but will be quite aloof and often shy when strangers are in the home.
Fairly independent although this dog does enjoy the company of his owner. A very clever dog who may be a little bit mischievous at times. He will often bond with one particular family member and not be too bothered about anyone else.
Behaviour of the Saluki
You will discover that this dog breed will form a very strong bond with his owner or family. Because of this, he won’t be happy when left alone for long periods of time. He actually thrives and much prefers to be in someone’s company for most of the day.
Easy to train / obedience
Because of his intelligence and sensitivity, any Saluki training needs to be done in a respectful, gentle and calm manner so as not to make the dog anxious. Lots of patience on your part is needed, together with positive reinforcement towards the dog. However with considered patience and a controlled environment, the majority of this breed can understand and commit to most obedience commands.
As a sight hound who is bred to hunt out his prey quietly, he isn’t thought to be a vocal dog. However, any dog left alone all day can howl and bark incessantly, trying to gain attention.
Tendency to run away
With his inbuilt hunter’s instincts, you are best not letting this dog loose in any unfenced locations, or you take the risk of him running off after wildlife. Likewise, he probably won’t always return to your recall.
As with many young pups, frustration, boredom and lack of human affection can cause problems. If left alone for long periods, a younger dog can certainly be quiet defiant and destructive.
Greedy / Gluttony
Saluki dogs aren’t generally known to be greedy pets, unless of course you leave some food out on the kitchen worktop. In fact, most are fussy eaters and are often picky when it comes to feeding times.
If you are needing a watchdog, then the Saluki will alert you when anyone approaches your home. However, with no aggressive tendencies and being rather shy, he won’t be a good guard dog to protect you.
Salukis need to be trained and handled by experienced people who know best how to cope with these sensitive and quick-witted dogs. They are probably not best suited to first-time dog owners.
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Saluki in a flat
These large dogs are not really suited to apartment living. They ideally need a home with a large, outside, fenced area where they can run and gallop. Make sure that your garden or yard areas are securely fenced with high boundaries, or your pet will attempt to escape.
Need for exercise / Sporty
A natural-born athlete, who enjoys the chase almost as much as the end capture of the wild animal. Capable of reaching a speed up to 40 miles an hour and with a strong drive to chase prey, it’s very important that you keep your pet on a lead. He will often disregard your command to stop running too. He is at his happiest when running at high speeds.
Travelling / easy to transport
Although these large dogs are quite docile, they are very wary of strangers and the unknown, and they are therefore not well suited for public transport. Likewise, when transporting in a vehicle, make sure that he cannot escape and run out onto the road without being restrained.
Saluki and cats
When introduced into the home as a new puppy, there should be no issues socialising with other pets, especially cats. However, older dogs will need more time to adjust to the cat in the family. It is in general not recommended to have both a cat and a Saluki in the same household due to the dog’s high prey drive.
Saluki and dogs
Generally, a Saluki will get along well with other canines in the home but in the main they prefer other dogs of a similar breed and temperament.
Saluki and children
Although this breed is very placid and enjoys living in quiet environments, it is quite happy to be around older children. That is, as long as the games don’t get too boisterous or loud.
Saluki and the elderly
As very docile and placid dogs, they do enjoy one to one companionship with owners. However, because of their high energy levels and the need for high intensity exercise they are probably unsuitable for an elderly owner.
The initial cost to buy a Saluki dog will be around £600 for KC Registered and £300 for Non KC Registered dog.
In addition, if your dog has no prior medical issues, but you take into account routine medical checks, neutering and vaccinations, you will need to budget between £50 to £70 per month. Add in the cost of a high quality dog food at £30 each month, and the average costs for keeping a Saluki are between £80 to £100 per month.
When it comes to grooming the Saluki, they are not too high maintenance. A weekly brushing will not only help to control the shedding and hair flying around the home, but will also keep the dog’s coat and feathering in top condition. If your dog exercises outdoors, chasing over the fields, he will need occasional baths. Carrying out this task when he is a small puppy will accustom him to this routine. Frequent dental care and nail clipping are needed, as with other breeds.
The Saluki sheds during most of the year, but experiences noticeably more hair loss during the springtime.
Nutrition of the Saluki
As a high energy dog, the feeding routine of the Saluki needs to be either free-feeding or at a minimum, twice daily. This breed is quite prone to stomach bloat. A high-quality, dry kibble is advised.
Health of the Saluki
A healthy dog is expected to live between 12 to 14 years.
Strong / robust
Although this dog breed appears to be very sensitive, fragile and graceful, don’t be led astray. The Saluki is very fit and agile, and has the endurance and strength to chase their prey over very long distances.
As a naturally thin dog, this dog loves to recline on a warm bed, in a heated room. In fact, a soft, comfortable dog bed must be provided to protect their bony legs and elbow joints.
The Saluki dog is certainly happy inside a centrally heated home, however if outdoor exercise means he gets to run around and chase through the fields, he doesn’t mind about the chilly weather. On the other hand, he certainly isn’t a dog that is happy to live outdoors at all.
Tendency to put on weight
Because of his high energy levels and need for excessive exercise, this dog doesn’t put weight on easily at all. Add into the mix that he can sometimes be a fussy eater, he isn’t going to be overweight.
- Anaesthesia sensitivity