Saluki Breed Guide

Salukis are medium-sized dogs with smooth or feathered coats. Both varieties of the breed come in white, fawn, cream, red, golden, tan and grizzle, black and tan, and tricolor. These dogs have broad skulls, narrow heads, long necks, and dark eyes. Their ears are long and feathered. Salukis measure 23 to 28 inches tall at the shoulder, with females being smaller than males. These dogs weigh approximately 35 to 65 pounds.

Around family, the breed is friendly and calm, although these sensitive dogs may not respond well to conflict or tension in the home.

Able to thrive in almost any environment, Salukis make great companion animals for active families living in city apartments or rural homes. They need a lot of daily exercise, and they especially enjoy long walks and runs through open spaces. Friendly and low-maintenance, these dogs usually don't require more than a quick weekly brushing.

The Saluki is the oldest dog breed in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. The breed is thought to date back to 329 BC in Egypt.

Devoted to family and gentle with children, Salukis make great companion animals. However, they are not a very demonstrative breed and are not a good choice for those who desire constant attention and affection from their pets. Salukis are not the sort to shower their family members with kisses and attention, and they won't go crazy with excitement when their loved ones walk through the door.

Some Salukis are shy, and most tend to be reserved and aloof around strangers. Around family, the breed is friendly and calm, although these sensitive dogs may not respond well to conflict or tension in the home. They make excellent jogging partners and love joining their family members on runs and bike rides.

Outside, these dogs are very energetic and will run around at great speeds. They will also chase anything that moves. For this reason, they must be kept in a securely fenced yard or on a leash whenever they are outdoors. Inside, the breed is generally sedate and quiet. While they need daily exercise in the form of long walks, jogs, and free play, Salukis also need time to relax and unwind.

Salukis are a generally healthy breed, although they are known to suffer from a few serious health conditions that may negatively affect quality or length of life. Purchasing or adopting one of these dogs from a reputable source is a good first step in ensuring a healthy dog.

Salukis are more prone than some other dogs to hypothyroidism, von Willebrand's disease, cardiomyopathy, certain cancers, and various eye conditions, including glaucoma, corneal dystrophy, and progressive retinal atrophy. The breed is also at increased risk for calluses and reactions to anesthesia. Additionally, Salukis are naturally picky eaters, and the breed tends to be very thin. This does not necessarily mean there is a health problem. Questions or concerns should be brought up with a qualified veterinarian.

Salukis typically live a full and active life of 12 to 14 years, provided they have access to routine veterinary care, proper nutrition, regular exercise, and canine vaccinations.

Salukis are independent dogs known for doing things their own way. The breed has many positive qualities, but being naturally obedient is not one of them. Fortunately, these dogs don't act out very often and can be taught appropriate behavior, provided training is consistent and begins early in life.

Positive reinforcement techniques, especially food rewards, work well when training Salukis. Harsh corrections and criticism generally backfire, often leading to a worsening of inappropriate behavior. Training should focus on teaching these dogs not to dig or counter surf, and sessions should be kept short and interesting to ensure success.

Early socialization is important for the Saluki to learn the difference between real and imagined threats. Socialization can also help minimize the urge to chase and kill cats and other small animals, although the instinct to do so is very strong in this breed. Puppy kindergarten, time at the dog park, walks around town, and frequent trips to neighbors' homes can help these dogs grow into confident and tolerant adults.

Smooth-coated Salukis require only a quick brushing on occasion to remove dead and loose hair from the coat. Dogs with feathered coats need brushing once or twice weekly to prevent and remove tangles and mats. Both coat types shed little and are generally easy to care for.

Bathing should only be done as needed, which won't be often unless the dog enjoys rolling around in mud or other sticky or stinky substances. Before bathing dogs with feathered coats, it's a good idea to comb the hair on the tail, legs, ears, and feet to remove any tangles. Also, these dogs need their noses examined for sunburn. If there's a problem with the ears getting wet or dirty while drinking and eating, they can be pulled up and held on top of the head.

The nails need clipping every week or so to keep them from snagging, breaking, or clicking on the floor. Daily toothbrushing is important to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Once weekly, the Saluki's ears should be cleaned with an otic cleanser and checked for signs of wax accumulation or ear infection. Any concerning symptoms should be reported to a veterinarian right away.

Salukis are one of the 14 breeds proven to be ancient through DNA analysis. Also, they are likely the oldest domesticated dog breed. Royal dogs of Egypt, Salukis were held in such high regard that their bodies were frequently mummified, just like the bodies of Pharaohs.

Originally, these dogs were used by the Arabs to hunt gazelles, hares, and foxes. They were not allowed to be bred with non-Salukis, which helps explain their continued genetic purity. Breed variations came about because of the breed's scattering over wide areas of the Middle East when traveling with their nomadic owners.

In 1840, the first Salukis were imported to England, where they were used to hunt hare. The first of the breed to arrive in America did so in 1861 via clipper ship. Today, they are mostly kept as exotic companion animals, although some are still used for coursing hare. Salukis are sometimes called Persian Greyhounds.

The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Saluki in 1929.