One of the most ancient dog breeds in the world, the Saluki is a noble dog known for its athleticism and grace. Also called the “Persian Greyhound,” though not actually a greyhound, this elegant sighthound was bred to chase fast prey, following by sight.
This sets the sighthounds apart from scenthounds — such as Bloodhounds, which are bred for their noses. They are sweet but independent dogs, and have a truly gentle demeanor. They make beautiful companions, and are well-suited to quieter homes. Read on to learn more about the Saluki.
Description of the Saluki
This slim breed is the epitome of beauty and grace. With their long legs, lean and symmetrical bodies, and slender faces, the Saluki deserves its status as one of the most sophisticated and lovely breeds.
Their hound blood means they are strong and athletic. Very fast sprinters, the Salukis are a powerhouse of a breed. Unlike lots of other hound breeds that use their noses or ears to track, the Saluki is a sighthound, and uses its eyes to root out and hunt down its prey.
The Saluki has been thought to date back as far as 7,000 B.C. This ancient breed was a favorite among kings and royalty throughout history. Not much has changed in the physical appearance of the Saluki from back then, so you can still enjoy the same sleek beauty of the dog that once roamed through palaces, and chased down jackals and gazelles. One of their most distinguishing features are their long ears, covered with silky strands of hair that hang down close to their faces.
This breed has soft, silky fur that can be feathered slightly on the legs and back of the thighs. Short and close to the body, this fur highlights their sleek bodies, and gives emphasis to their flowing ears and long slim faces. The Saluki comes in a variety of colors that match its regal appearance. Everything from white, cream, fawn, golden, red, grizzle and tan, tricolor of white black and tan, and black and tan. Many different combinations of these colors can exist, so Salukis are often very uniquely and beautifully colored.
Life Expectancy and Size
There is a reason Salukis have been around for so long, and continue to thrive today. With an average life expectancy of 10 – 17 years, and the fact that they aren’t very susceptible to serious genetic diseases, the Saluki is a rugged breed that has lasted through the ages and will no doubt continue to thrive. Working with a reputable breeder is especially important for this breed as improper breeding may lead to the introduction of abnormal genetic diseases.
There are health problems, as with any breed, that can afflict the Saluki so be sure to bring your dog in for frequent check-ups to try and catch any issues early.
These dogs needed to be able to see far away and run fast. They stand tall as they observe the world through those big, beautiful eyes. The males are 23 – 28 inches tall, and weigh about 40 – 65 pounds, though it is not unusual for the females to be considerably smaller than this.
As sighthounds, these dogs are always on the lookout, whether it is for a squirrel, the neighborhood cat, or a stranger. They make good watchdogs, but their calm nature and general shyness towards strangers does not make them good guard dog material, unless you need guarding from local neighborhood pests! In that case they will be happy chasing down small furry intruders all day. Otherwise, expect a mild-mannered but vigilant and loyal companion in your Saluki.
The Saluki is a very intelligent and able learn quickly, though they learn best if training is started as soon as they are brought home. These dogs may become bored easily, so keep your training sessions short and interactive to keep their attention, and make the process more efficient.
Many dogs of this breed love food, making is one of the best ways to train them. Positive reinforcement is a must, and if used consistently your Saluki will be eager and quick to learn. Just be sure that you keep all of the human food pushed far back on the counter. Their natural love of food, combined with their tall stature, means counter edges are a danger zone for your unsuspecting sandwich. You may turn your back for a moment and find it gone the next!
As hunters, the biggest problem you may encounter with your Saluki is chasing. They have been bred over thousands of years to chase after prey, and these instincts are still strong in them today. Starting training early can help teach them the difference between prey and your cat. Keeping the Saluki on leash during walks, or taking him to a fenced in location without lots of wildlife, can help keep your pup safe.
The Saluki is a natural sprinter that loves to run. That said, they are also quite calm dogs and, as long as they are given lots of mental stimulation and moderate exercise, they will be happy and fit. Try going to a lure coursing event to see your Saluki really shine!
Having a well-fenced yard is key. Don’t be surprised if you Saluki can jump your six-foot fence, so plan accordingly. Providing these dogs with lots of soft toys and chewing bones is also crucial to keeping them happy. The Saluki can easily become bored, and this can result to destructive behaviors like chewing and trying to escape.
What Living with a Saluki is Like
The Saluki is affectionate without being possessive or overly attached. They do well in quieter environments where they can pick and choose when and what they want to play. While they are kind and gentle with kids, they may not be the best choice for families with children, as they tend to not enjoy the rough and tumble games kids may want to play with them. They are adaptable, though, and as long as they are getting daily walks will do well anywhere from an apartment to a sprawling suburban home.
This breed descends from royalty and knows how they want to be treated. If you are looking for a dog that doesn’t join you on your furniture, the Saluki may not be right to you. But given the fact that they shed very little, don’t smell, keep themselves very clean, and look beautiful lounging on your sofa, you may not mind them being up there at all. Being independent, this is not a breed that will follow you around all day, but they will still show affection in their own reserved way.
Care of the Saluki
The Saluki is a mild breed, but they know what they want. A quiet home environment, access to plenty of toys, and soft places to rest are a must for this breed. They also enjoy your company, even if they don’t show it through fawning or adoration.
With their incredibly slim bodies and short, fine fur, the Saluki is not well designed for winter climates. A favorite among the Egyptian Pharaohs of long ago, this breed is more tolerant of the heat than the cold, but a mild climate is still the best option for these dogs. Limit time outside in extreme cold or heat, and consider getting a jacket for your dog in winter climates to help protect their thin skin when they need to go out.
These dogs are naturally athletic and agile. Daily walks are a must to keep them fit, but they are also quite adaptable, and can be content to play with their toys or just lazing on the sofa. This makes them okay for small homes and apartments, so long as they are getting outside everyday.
If you have a fenced-in yard, make sure your fence is tall enough, as these escape artists can easily find a way out if the fence is too short. By providing lots of opportunities for mental stimulation, your Saluki will be happy and calm.
These dogs are natural chasers, so never walk your Saluki off-leash without preparation and intensive training, as their natural instincts may overtake them if they see some unsuspecting prey.
Shedding and Grooming
These beautiful dogs come in two varieties: feathered and smooth. The feathered have the slight feathering on their legs and thighs, but this doesn’t make too big a difference in their grooming needs. Weekly brushing is enough, with some extra attention to the ears and tail if they have lots of feathering there. This breed sheds little.
The Saluki is a very clean dog, and will do most of his bathing himself. Baths are only necessary if they get into a mess.
Ideal Home Environment
The Saluki is a regal and calm dog that does best in quieter homes with access to lots of toys and mental stimulation. They can do well with other pets if introduced early. As a more reserved dog, this breed tends to shy away from strangers, and may take some time to warm up to them, but their sweet temperament means they can make friends with most anybody, just have some patience.
Be prepared to turn over your furniture to your Saluki, or provide lots of soft cushions for him to lie on. These dogs like the creature comforts that life has to offer. While generally quite healthy, it is important to consider that his breed can have some health problems that may be costly to deal with.
The most common health concerns in this breed are heart disease and cancer. Frequent screening can help catch and treat, or prevent, these diseases, but be prepared for potentially costly and life-shortening health problems.
Other issues include eye problems like progressive retinal atrophy, blood conditions, and potentially life-threatening gastric torsion. But most Salukis still go on to live long and healthy lives, even with some health problems.
This breed does not do well if left alone, and may resort to destructive behaviors out of boredom. Be sure to provide ample mental stimulation, and adequate social interaction.
The other big problem for these dogs is chasing. They are natural hunters and will seek out prey in almost anything that moves. Provide exercise, start training early, and never let your dog off-leash during walks to help keep them safe.