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Azawakh

Other names: Idi, Hanshee, Oska, Rawondu

Azawakh
Azawakh
Puppy

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.

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Key facts about the Azawakh

  • Life expectancy : Between 10 and 12 years
  • Temperament : Intelligent, Hunter
  • Size : Medium
  • Type of coat : Very short

FCI Group

FCI Group

Group 10 - Sighthounds

Section

Section 3 : Short-haired Sighthounds

Physical characteristics of the Azawakh

Adult size

Female dog Between 24 and 28 in
Male dog Between 25 and 29 in

Weight

Female dog Between 33 and 44 lb
Male dog Between 44 and 55 lb

Coat colour

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.

Eye colour

Amber, dark amber

Description

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.

Temperament

Affectionate

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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.

Playful

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A dog that likes to play and to interact but also one that startles easily. The Azawakh does not enjoy rough play.

Calm

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This dog can exhibit some nervousness especially around strangers; it is also one that does not take kindly to changes in routine.

Intelligent

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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.

Hunter

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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

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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.

Independent

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Although the Azawakh can function without dependence on its owner, it would rather be dependent and bonded.

Behaviour of the Azawakh

Tolerates solitude

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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

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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.

Barking

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This dog rarely barks.

Tendency to run away

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Some well-trained dogs of this breed will respond to a recall.

Destructive

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If it is not properly looked after the Azawakh can cause extensive damage inside the house.

Greedy / Gluttony

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The Azawakh is not known to be a glutton. Its stomach is sensitive to changes in diet and it will not enjoy impromptu dinners at different times each day.

Guard dog

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Very vivavious and attentive, the Azawakh can be aggressive towards strangers, which allows him to be a good guardian. However, important socialisation work is necessary to avoid your dog to be too aggressive.

First dog

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The Azawakh is not to be considered as a first dog. Its stubbornness and aloofness can make challenging the owner’s teaching of even the basics (such as house training).

Lifestyle

Azawakh in a flat

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Even a well-fenced garden is an insufficient provision for this dog. Azawakhs are known for their magnificent leaping abilities. A flat is too small and confined to keep such a highly-strung animal.

Need for exercise / Sporty

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The Azawakh needs a great deal of exercise including long walks and interaction which exercises the body and mind.

Travelling / easy to transport

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An Azawakh will not enjoy travelling. Anything that disrupts its routine and carefully planned day will cause the dog to be nervous and silly. This dog is not suited to a crate.

Compatibility

Azawakh and cats

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This dog is not suited to a household where a non-canine pet already resides.

Azawakh and dogs

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Generally speaking, the Azawakh is amicable and sociable with other dogs.

Azawakh and children

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On the whole this breed is good with older children, but its dislike of boisterous play and teasing makes it an unsuitable playmate of young children.

Azawakh and the elderly

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Because it is a dog that requires a lot of exercise the Azawakh is not a good choice for people of senior years.

Price

We do not have enough data to set an average price for an Azawakh. You’re also looking at between £120 to £150 per month to care for this dog.

Grooming

The Azawakh will enjoy weekly brushing. Bath this dog only when necessary and use a mild shampoo.

Hair loss

This dog doesn't shed a lot.

Nutrition of the Azawakh

Because it has only recently departed the African savannah, the Azawakh’s diet should be similar to what its body has become accustomed to. It is advisable to feed the Azawakh food with a low to moderate protein content (22%) and a low fat content (9%).

Health of the Azawakh

Life expectancy

10 to 12 years 

Strong / robust

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This dog is incredibly robust and heals very quickly from injury.

Withstand heat

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The Azawakh is tolerant of the heat. However, you must still make sure there is plenty of fresh water on hand for this dog. Do not leave ANY dog in a car in the summer, even if you have parked in the shade.

Withstand cold

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The Azawakh does not tolerate cold and wet weather.

Tendency to put on weight

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If an Azawakh is not exercised as regularly as it should be and is fed too much human or substandard food it will become obese.

Common illnesses

  • Bloat
  • Eosinophilic myositis
  • Heart problems
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Seizures
  • Skin allergies

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.

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.

Names

Good names for an Azawakh: Bindi, Fennix, Kenna, Quake

Find out more dog name ideas here