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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > Saluki


Origin: Ancient Egypt

AKC Group: Hound

Height: Males: 23 - 28 inches; Females: 20 - 25 inches (Male)

Weight: 40 - 60 pounds (Male)

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Two varieties of Saluki are available: Feathered Saluki and Smooth Saluki.
Salukis are quiet, gentle and calm. They're agile jumpers that need lots of running exercise. Salukis are timid with strangers. They get along well with other dogs, but they're sometimes aggressive with cats and rabbits. Salukis are sometimes hard to housebreak. Professional obedience training is highly recommended.

Salukis are hound dogs. Because they're great at exploring, hounds were originally used to trail rabbits, foxes and other small mammals. In general, most hounds are good-natured dogs that make loving companions if trained properly. Hounds are sometimes stubborn, though, so training may take a while.

Most hounds need rigorous physical exercise, so daily walks and runs are a must. Never let a hound off a leash unless it is in an enclosed area, because it will take off if it picks up a scent. Hounds are barkers and howlers, and they're sometimes hard to housebreak.

Ancient Egypt
Male height: 
Males: 23 - 28 inches; Females: 20 - 25 inches
Male weight: 
40 - 60 pounds
Short and soft. Feathered Saluki has longer hair on the legs, ears and tail.
White, cream, fawn, red, black and tan. Other colors also available. Eyes are dark or hazel; nose is black or brown.
Special considerations: 
Salukis are sensitive to medication, including flea powders.

The graceful, elegant Saluki dates back to ancient Egypt, one of the earliest human civilizations, and represents what is possibly the oldest type of domestic dog. Pictures of Salukis have been found in ancient tombs in the upper Nile region, as have the carefully wrapped and preserved mummified bodies of the dogs themselves. His keen eyesight and amazing speed (capable of bursts of up to 40 mph [55 kph]) make the Saluki a brilliant sighthound.

Ancient desert tribesmen used the breed to hunt deer, foxes, hares, and even the swift gazelle. The nomadic tribes ranged over a wide region, stretching from Egypt to Mesopotamia, Syria, Arabia, Palestine and Persia. Traditionally, each tribe bred its own Salukis to suit the local terrain and the game that was found there; thus, historically, there has been much variation in type and color. Greatly esteemed by the desert sheiks and called el hor, "the noble one," the Saluki was so valued that he was never sold. He was considered to be a sacred gift and could only be given as a gift of honor or homage.

The Saluki is dignified, intelligent and independent. He is also quiet, gentle and even-tempered. Although he has a deep affection for his humans, he is not demonstrative about it. Generally aloof toward strangers, he may be somewhat shy and needs plenty of socialization to be comfortable around different people and situations.
At home: 
Salukis can live comfortably in just about any living situation provided their particular needs can be met. First, they have very little body fat and are sensitive to cold temperatures, so they should be provided with a soft bed away from drafts inside the home. Second, they need a safe place to run off leash - even a securely fenced (at least 6 feet (2 m) tall), small backyard will not suffice for this breed's need for speed. In addition, when his sighthound instinct takes over, he will take off at a run and ignore any and all calls and commands, so he can't be allowed to run loose in an unfenced area. If you don't have enough acreage at home, you'll have to find a place to exercise your Saluki safely.
The Saluki should have the opportunity for a fast walk or jog every day - or even better, a daily run in a safe, enclosed area.
The Saluki can be a picky eater, and he must be fed a high-quality food twice a day. Don't feed him junk, and don't let your Saluki get fat - he is supposed to look thin, and overfeeding stresses his systems.
The Saluki was bred to hunt small animals, and this inborn characteristic is hard for him to resist, so it is especially important that he learn basic obedience commands early on. The Saluki's sensitive nature does not take well to harsh discipline, so training must be reward based and gentle. He is independent, but with patience and consistency he can learn what you want him to. Still, he is not likely to ever have a totally reliable recall and should only be left off leash in secure areas. Socialization from an early age is essential.
Because he is quite sensitive, younger children will probably be too rambunctious for the Saluki, but he does well with older children and adults. He has a very strong instinct to chase small prey, so he should not be in the company of smaller pets such as cats, rabbits or guinea pigs, for their own well-being.
The average life span of the Saluki is 12 to 14 years. Breed health concerns may include cancer; eye problems; heart problems; and thyroid problems.
Fun fact: 

The name "Saluki" is that of a long-gone Arab city in the Middle East, and the breed is closely associated with the Middle East and the Arab world.

Grooming blurb: 
The smooth-coated Saluki just needs occasional brushing with a bristle brush. The feathered-type coat requires a bit more attention paid to the feathering - he should be gently groomed once or twice a week with a bristle brush. Both types don't shed much and have very little doggy odor. The Saluki's ears should be checked now and again to make sure that they are clean.
Copyright by T.F.H. Publications, Inc. This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.