Saluki

November 25, 2020

Still used by Arab Tribesmen, the Saluki is one of the world’s oldest breeds. Read the guide below for further information on this ancient canine.

Portrait of a saluki in a park

Height: 23-28 inches
Weight: 18-30 kilos
Saluki Lifespan: 12-17 years
Pedigree? (registered with the KC?): Yes, this breed is registered with the Kennel Club.

Positives and Negatives

Below are the positive and negative features of the Saluki:

Pros:

  • Low grooming maintenance
  • Adaptable to different living environments, apartment-friendly
  • Ideal family pet
  • Doesn’t drool or shed heavy

Cons:

  • High exercise needs
  • Affected by hotter climates
  • High prey drive
  • Doesn’t like being left alone, can form separation anxiety

Overview

The Saluki is one of the oldest breeds still around today. They are sighthounds, known for their elegance, and are treasured in the Middle East. Some believe this dog was a gift from Allah and were called Saluki El Hor which translates to ‘the Noble One’.

Bred to catch prey, the Saluki can reach speeds up to 30-35 miles per hour, possibly even 50! Their high speeds have made them key candidates in dog sports. Races take place in many countries across the world, with bets being placed on expected winners. Their high speeds made them ideal for hunting and catching speedy animals such as the gazelle!

Two greyhound saluki dog in Royal interior

Generally, this breed should have access to a garden. Yet if you are able to efficiently meet their exercise needs and can give this pooch the time they need, then an apartment could be a possibility. This pooch is mostly quiet and relaxed indoors but their personality really shines once they get outside.

The Saluki is recognized by their feathered ears and slender body. Many feel their athletic physique represents an underweight dog, but this isn’t the case. Saluki’s don’t gain weight quickly and can be fussy eaters. It is important to work with this pooch to find a diet they enjoy.

The Saluki dog price often starts from £400 upwards. A Saluki puppy obtained through a Kennel Club registered breeder may cost considerably more. The Saluki dog breed is popular in the UK and other parts of the world so ensure you are purchasing from a responsible breeder.

If you are looking to rehome a Saluki dog you can find out more at the Saluki Welfare website.

History

Salukis are thought to date back to 7000BC and were a favorite breed to Kings across the Middle East and Asia. Most features of this elegant breed are still the same as their ancestors. They were used for hunting food and sport due to their considerable speed.

In Arab culture, dogs are thought to be unclean, however, the Saluki was a rare exception. They would actually share homes with their owners something that isn’t common in the Middle East. Their exact origin isn’t known but they were thought to be named after the Ancient Greek town Seleucia or Saluk, another Ancient City in Yemen.

During the Ancient Egyptian era, Salukis were known as the ‘Royal Dog of Egypt’. These canines were loved by Pharaohs and have been discovered, mummified, contained in the tombs of the dead thousands of years later. Salukis were mostly found amongst the Nomadic Tribes and are still popular with the Bedouin people to this day.

Although Salukis come in different styles, the dog was not allowed to be crossbred. This is why most of their features have remained unchanged. The Egyptian Sheikh of the Tahawi Tribe gave Florence Amehurst the first two Saluki puppies to arrive on British soil in 1897.

To this day Salukis are still popular hunters in the Middle East. They are also popular sporting dogs across the world, often competing in racing events. Yet their use as a companion is also on the rise due to their child-friendly nature.

Related: Planning to own a Sealyham Terrier? Check out this guide to learn more about this loveable breed.

Personality

Saluki Temperament:

The Saluki breed is calm and relaxed indoors. They can often be found snoozing in their favorite space. Outside the Saluki really comes alive! They love to run, chase prey, and just let loose! The Saluki can reach considerable speeds for a domesticated pet and will need an owner that can meet their high exercise needs.

Salukis are sensitive, loyal companions. Whilst they suit family living, the breed will generally attach themselves to one specific person. They may be gentle, but don’t let them fool you, they are still efficient hunters!

Are Salukis Good With Strangers?

Saluki dogs can be shy and reserved around strangers. As a watchdog, the breed will alert you to others approaching your territory, but won’t serve as a guard dog. Socialize this canine from an early age to ensure a more confident attitude around strangers.

The portrait of Saluki dog in the garden

Are Salukis Good With Children?

Salukis prefer quieter environments but can happily live alongside children. For this reason, they are best kept around older kids. The breed is calm and gentle around children making them ideal family pets for active households.

Are Salukis Ok With Other Dogs?

Yes, the Saluki breed likes other dogs but only ones that aren’t dominant. Although they prefer to live with other Salukis, this pooch can live with different breed types. Avoid smaller pets that could be mistaken for prey. Salukis can live in a home with a cat provided they have been socialized to do so.

Exercise

The Saluki hound will need up to 2 hours of exercise each day. Whilst they remain quiet and placid indoors, outside is another story! This dog could run all day if you let them! Their strong prey drive means they must be leashed unless in an enclosed area. No matter how strong their recall is a Saluki has their own mind when on a chase!

Saluki dog sighthound running on summer grass

Strenuous exercise will be needed to satisfy this canine. A walk around the block just won’t cut it! If their exercise needs are being met, this breed can live in an apartment. Intense exercise should be given at least twice a week. Be careful a Saluki puppy doesn’t overexert themselves. It may cause health issues later down the line.

Gardens should have high fences that a Saluki won’t be able to get out of. Their high prey drive could see them escape.

Recommended: Is the German Wirehaired Pointer breed good with children and other dogs? Find out in our guide.

Health

Below are the breed-related health issues that affect the Saluki:

  • Haemangiosarcoma- This blood vessel cancer will cause a tumor to develop anywhere in the body. They’re most commonly seen in the heart, spleen, and tissue beneath the skin. It is aggressive and can be fatal.
  • Hypothyroidism- The reduction of thyroid hormones will cause symptoms such as weight gain, loose fur, dull coat, and a lack of tolerance for cold weather.
  • Hip Dysplasia- Poor development of the hip joint causes pain, inflammation, swelling, and lameness in the affected area. Eventually leads to arthritis. May affect one or both of the hip joints.

Intelligence & Training

Saluki dogs are highly intelligent and with the right owner, easy to train. This pooch isn’t recommended to first time owners and will require someone with time and experience. Salukis are very obedient but they can be considerably difficult to recall. Reducing their prey drive will also be a difficult task.

This sensitive canine will become upset if met with harsh training methods. Positivity must be kept throughout. The training sessions should also be around 10-15 minutes long. Change locations and keep the sessions interesting so the Saluki doesn’t become bored. A lot of patience will be needed to reach the end goal of an obedient sighthound.

Salukis won’t gain weight easily so food rewards are a great way to keep their concentration. These dogs can be trained to perform in flyball, racing, agility, obedience, lure coursing, and tracking. Some Salukis have also made superb therapy dogs.

With the right owner, the Saluki can easily become the well-behaved, hard-working dog known and loved for thousands of years. It can be a struggle trying to combat their independence but with a gentle and consistent approach, this can be overcome.

Recommended: Discover more about the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever here in our guide.

Grooming

Saluki dogs don’t require excessive grooming maintenance nor are they heavy shedders. Their silky smooth fur will need brushing once or twice a week. Use a bristle and slicker brush for their coat. Pay special attention to their ears and tail where the fur feathers. Increase brushing in Spring and Autumn during the shedding seasons.

Saluki dog standing on grass

Salukis can become sunburnt so be aware of their skin during the hotter months. Whilst the Saluki dog is generally easy to groom, some owners find they benefit from professional help a couple of times a year. Baths should only be given when dirty, with the recommended time frame being every 3 months.

Ears will need to be checked and cleaned weekly. If debris isn’t removed this could cause an infection. Brush their teeth multiple times a week or daily as recommended by vets. Nails should be trimmed every 3-4 weeks but Salukis may file these themselves when running, so aim to do this every 8 weeks.

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