Among the world’s oldest breeds, the slim but rugged Saluki was the hunting hound of kings for thousands of years. Salukis are swift and agile sprinters who love a good chase. They make gentle, dignified, and independent but loyal pets.
- AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 125 of 192
- Height: 23-28 inches (male), considerably smaller (female)
- Weight: 40-65 pounds
- Life Expectancy: 10-17 years
- Group: Hound Group
About the Saluki
The beauty of Salukis has been a thing of wonder for thousands of years. They’re slim and leggy, but very strong and perfectly balanced, like a great athlete or dancer. Males can stand between 23 and 28 inches at the shoulder; females can be much shorter. They come in a many colors and patterns. Their large, oval-shaped eyes are warm and intelligent.
Salukis are highly adaptable, able to live and work in any climate. They’re magnificent animals, but owning them comes with many special challenges.
The Saluki is among the oldest dog breeds. Experts tell us Salukis might go as far back as 7000 b.c. Like other sighthounds, Salukis were special favorites of kings: Egyptian pharaohs, Alexander the Great, and on through history. The breed today is remarkably similar in shape and personality to its ancient ancestors. We can still marvel at the same sleek lines and natural dignity that thrilled royal families of the Middle East, Egypt, and Asia since before the Pyramids were built.
The Saluki’s breeder and veterinarian can suggest a health care program that includes diet recommendations. Many owners feed a mix of high-quality dry and canned food. A kibble based on lamb and rice (rather than corn or wheat) can help avoid potential food allergies. A dollop of cottage cheese (for calcium) and yogurt (for digestive-tract health) on their food are healthy supplement options that the hound will enjoy. Saluki appetites can range from the skimpy to the gluttonous. Dogs with the latter will often eat other dogs’ food as well as their own, so they may have to be separated at mealtimes to prevent becoming overweight.
Salukis have two types of coats—feathered and smooth—and both are easily groomed with weekly brushing, although if they have long ear or tail feathering, that may take a bit more attention. Many Saluki owners will use a snood to keep their ear feathering out of the food bowl (smooth Salukis do not have that problem). They are very clean dogs and known for not having a “doggy” odor. Bathing need only be done if they get dirty or before a dog show.
Salukis need regular exercise to keep fit, and daily walks (always on a leash) will help both hound and owner stay in shape, both physically and mentally. They love to run and should have a well-fenced yard to keep them safely away from traffic. Public dog parks may be a good option as long as they are all getting along. Like other dogs, Salukis can be escape artists or destructive chewers when bored or unhappy at home, so good fencing and safe toys and chew-bones are a must.
The Saluki will benefit from three types of training: (1) Crate training is recommended for those times when the dog needs to be safely confined in the home or while traveling. (2) Basic obedience training will help the dog learn manners in the home and community. Well-behaved dogs are welcome almost everywhere. (3) For mental stimulation and exercise, canine sports such as lure coursing, flyball, and agility are all fun options. Lastly, if you start when they are young, it is possible to train them to hold still for nail trimmingand daily teeth brushing.
As a breed, Salukis are free from serious genetic diseases. Some may develop heart conditions such as valve disease or arrhythmia, and enlarged hearts are not unknown. Certain cancers such as hemangiosarcoma or bone, lymph, or mammary cancers (the latter is prevented by early neutering) can occur, and some autoimmune and blood conditions have been reported. Vigorous running and playing after eating can cause bloat, or gastric torsion (which is a life-threatening emergency and needs immediate intervention). Generally, however, Salukis enjoy a healthy, active life from birth to old age.