Average Height: 23-28 in
Average Weight: 35-70 lbs
Average Life Span: 12-14 yrs
Coloring: Single, bi- or tri- colored; white, cream, fawn, gold, red, tan and grizzle, tan, black, and white tri-color, black and tan
Area of Origin: Iran
Similar Breeds: Afghan Hound, Greyhound, Whippet, Borzoi, Pharaoh Hound
History and Origin:
The Saluki is one of the oldest domesticated breeds of dog. Iranian petroglyphs and art from between 8,000 to 10,000 BC show Saluki-type dogs running and hunting with humans. Regarded as sacred by many ancient cultures across North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, mummified remains appear in Egyptian Pharaohs tombs as early as 2,200 BC. Introduced to Europe in the twelfth century during the Crusades, physical evidence of the Salukis presence in the area includes an appearance in a portrait of Henry IV, Duke of Saxony, Germany. It wasn’t until the mid-nineteenth century that the breed was found in England, however, and a formal breeding program did not emerge until the end of the century, after a barons daughter noticed the nobility of the Saluki on a river tour down the Nile in Egypt. She achieved little success in maintaining pure bloodlines until the 1920s, when soldiers who had fought in the Middle East during WWI and the Arab Revolt brought back the dogs they had adopted. Further interest in the breed was solidified when Howard Carter, the archeologist who discovered King Tutankhamens tomb in Egypt, noticed mummified remains and wall paintings of the Saluki around the Pharaohs mummy. The Saluki was recognized by the United Kennel Club immediately in 1923, and was admitted into the American Kennel Club in 1927.
Personality and Temperament:
The Saluki is an independent breed, still possessing many of the personality traits that made it an exceptional hunter for thousands of years. It is a sight-hound, and will readily ignore the commands of its owner if it spots a prey animal, such as a rabbit or squirrel. It can be loving and gentle under firm and confident leadership, however it has a tendency to be uninterested and potentially hostile toward strangers. Generally, it is devoted to its family, and can also become extremely attached to one person. It is extremely sensitive and intuitive, and will change its behavior as a result of the emotions of the people around it. As such, care must be given in socializing and handling this breed; overly harsh treatment will cause it to become defensive and develop behavior problems. It is a fine companion for children who are not rough with it. However, its fragile personality prevents it from being a suitable dog for the nervous or inexperienced owner.
Exercise & Training:
The Saluki was born to run, and needs extensive exercise to keep it happy and healthy. Ideally, it should be given ample opportunity to run in a safe, enclosed space; its independent nature and hunting instincts make it unpredictable off-leash. A large, fenced yard is best for a Saluki; apartment living may make it bored, leading to behavior problems. The Saluki tends to be extremely submissive to people, and as such can be easy to train, if its owner remains firm and confident. It has a tendency to get bored easily, so a varied training regime will help keep its attention.
The Saluki is typically a very clean dog, and needs weekly brushing to keep its coat clean and tangle-free. Bathe only when necessary; however, regularly check the long hair on its ears, as debris can build up in that area.
The Saluki is related to many other sight hounds, such as the Afghan Hound, Greyhound, Whippet, Borzoi, and Pharaoh Hound. The Saluki is particularly closely related to the Afghan Hound, as the two breeds were held in high regard across the Middle East and Asia. Physically, the Saluki resembles a shorter-haired Afghan Hound, and it is likely that the two breeds were developed closely together.
7 Interesting Facts about the Saluki:
1. Popular across ancient Asia, there are references to Salukis in the Bible, the Quran, the Avesta of Zoroastrianism, and also in Imperial Chinese writings.
2. The Saluki is also known as the Gazelle Hound, Arabian Hound, and Persian Greyhound.
3. The Bedouin treasure Salukis with white patches on their heads, believing them to be kissed by Allah.
4. The Bedouin of the Arabian Desert developed numerous hunting methods using the Saluki, including flinging the dog toward its prey on camelback to give it a running start.
5. The Saluki is the mascot of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.
6. The Saluki held the 1996 world record for the fastest dog, reaching a staggering speed of 42.8 mph.
7. In ancient Iran, the Saluki was held in such high regard that it could not be sold; deserving recipients could only acquire it as a gift.