Other names: Idi, Hanshee, Oska, Rawondu
The Azawakh is a sighthound that was first bred by the peoples of the savannahs of West Africa. It has only recently gained popularity in the First World. Owners are glowing of the dog’s loving, gentle and sensitive nature. The breed shares its name with the Azawagh Valley which is located near Mali.
Key facts about the Azawakh
Origins and history
Bred by the Tuareg tribes of the Mali savannah the Azawakh was (and still is) used as a guard dog and herd guardian. Ancient peoples that lived beneath the harsh sub-Saharan sun demanded a dog that was rugged and tolerant of heat. Only within the last ten years has the Azawakh ventured from the desert.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 10 - Sighthounds
Section 3 : Short-haired Sighthounds
Physical characteristics of the Azawakh
Female : Between 24 and 28 in
Male : Between 25 and 29 in
Female : Between 33 and 44 lb
Male : Between 44 and 55 lb
Most seen with fawn colour and sometimes brindled with black; white fur occasionally adorns the extremities of the dog.
Type of coat
Single short and fine coat with often no hair on the belly.
Amber, dark amber
The look of the Azawakh is of a cross between canine elegance and muscularity. It is a well-proportioned dog with a narrow head and long and lean muzzle. The long, thin tail is set low but is raised when the dog is engaged.
Good to know
This dog is relatively new to the western world. Before looking after an Azawakh, it is recommended that prospective owners learn as much as they can about the breed: its sensitivity, its special diet, and its likes and dislikes.
The Azawakh is an affectionate dog but it is also prone to intense shyness and sensitivity. These dogs demand every ounce of love and gentleness from their owners.
A dog that likes to play and to interact but also one that startles easily. The Azawakh does not enjoy rough play.
This dog can exhibit some nervousness especially around strangers; it is also one that does not take kindly to changes in routine.
An intelligent dog with a famed long-term memory; these dogs are thinkers. They feel safest when the social hierarchy of the household is set in stone.
The Azawakh is a sighthound and as such is a formidable hunter. These days, the dog is more often tasked with herd protection but it still has a desire to chase small animals.
Fearful / wary of strangers
Azawakhs tend to be wary and shy of new people and take some time to warm to a visitor in their home. Gentle handling and patience are necessary precursors to a calm Azawakh temperament.
Although the Azawakh can function without dependence on its owner, it would rather be dependent and bonded.
Behaviour of the Azawakh
The Azawakh tends to follow its owner from room to room when indoors. It is a dog that hates (and fears) solitude.
Easy to train / obedience
Firmness and confidence are needed for the owner of this dog. The Azawakh’s wildfulness can be a hurdle to its learning. It will also not respond to harsh correction; if subjected to crude training methods the dog is likely to become painfully shy and withdrawn.
This dog rarely barks.