An eye-catching dog of amazing elegance, the saluki boasts many fans. But this dog can be challenging to train and requires plenty of intense exercise. You have to love those feathered ears and refined looks but although incredibly loyal, this dog can be noticeably reserved. Potentially an excellent pet that won’t bark and which requires minimal grooming, the saluki is not the best choice for inexperienced owners and its strong prey drive can lead to disaster.
Which breed group is the Saluki in?
Breed group: Hound
Saluki breed history
Prized by sheikhs in the Middle East, Salukis have been bred for centuries. This ancient breed is one of the oldest to have been domesticated and is renowned for its outstanding hunting abilities. It is named for the city of Seleukia which has long since disappeared. This dog’s ancestry can be traced back to ancient Egypt, Greece and Persia. They were originally desert dogs which accompanied nomadic tribes. They were considered to be very clean dogs and so were permitted to live in their masters’ tents.
It is believed that Salukis were introduced to Europe as early as the 12th century. They arrived in the UK in 1840 when they were imported by Florence Amherst who saw the dogs when travelling in Egypt. Salukis became popular in the UK during the 1920s when officers returning from war brought salukis home with them. Brigadier General Lance and his wife helped establish the breed club and were instrumental in getting the Saluki recognised by the Kennel Club.
Saluki breed characteristics
Elegant and graceful, salukis immediately command your attention. They boast distinctive feathers on their tails and ears. These dogs are also distinguished by long heads and prominent brows. Their ears are medium in size and lie close to their cheeks while their tails are carried low when the dogs are at rest and higher when the dogs are in motion.
Salukis possess long, arched and muscular necks, sloping shoulders and deep chests. Their coats may be rough or smooth and can be a variety of colours including black, cream, fawn, red and chocolate. Loyal and intelligent, these dogs nonetheless can be highly strung. They often prove to be challenging to train and can become destructive in the home if bored. They thrive on human company but may appear to be aloof and reserved.
- Lifespan: 12-14 years
- Height: up to 71cm
- Weight: up to 27kg
- Feathered tails and ears
- Deep chests
- Rough or smooth coat
- Variety of colours
- Highly strung
- Need socialisation
Health issues with the Saluki
Salukis are known to be prone to the following conditions:
- Congenital deafness
- Heart issues
- Persistent pupillary membrane (PPM)
- Hip Dysplasia
What is the Saluki bred for?
Salukis were originally bred as desert hunting dogs possessing great speed, strength and endurance. However, their cleanliness and loyal natures saw them become prized companions for nomadic people.
What sort of owners does the Saluki suit?
Incredibly loyal and devoted to their owners, salukis can be excellent pets of impressive intelligence. They are good with children but don’t enjoy boisterous youngsters and so are best suited to homes where there are no toddlers. They are active dogs which require plenty of vigorous exercise and they don’t cope well with being left alone. Salukis boast a high prey drive. They have been known to chase down and kill livestock in the countryside. They are prone to being run over in the urban environment when chasing potential prey.
Salukis are best suited to active owners with homes featuring large, fenced gardens. They need company all day and can be difficult to train and so are not good choices for first-time owners. They can be fussy eaters and they may only properly bond with one person in the family. They do love a good pampering session, though, and they relish their home comforts.