The Elegant Saluki is Truly a Work of Art


Known as the “Gazelle Dog,” the Elegant Saluki is Truly a Work of Art.

The Saluki is the Royal Dog of Egypt and is perhaps the oldest of domesticated dog breeds. Known as the "gazelle dog" for its magnificent grace and athletic stamina, it is used as a “sight” hound, which is a hunting dog who pursues prey by keeping it in sight and chasing it down. Unlike scent hounds, who hunt and track prey by smell, the Saluki pursues its prey with speed and agility. Slender with a delicate appearance, the Saluki is actually very athletic and sturdy, possessing the endurance and strength to chase animals through very difficult terrain over long distances. Today, the Saluki is also an excellent family pet, with an independent, catlike nature. Loyal and loving, Salukis, like cats, can nonetheless be somewhat aloof even with owners.


There is perhaps no more regal a dog than the Saluki. It's no mistake that its title as the Royal Dog of Egypt has lasted for centuries – and as possibly the oldest breed of domesticated dog, the Saluki deserves a place of honor in history. Some historians have noted that the Saluki has been around as a distinct breed all its own perhaps since 329 BC, around the time of Alexander the Great's invasion of India. Early carvings show Saluki-like dogs, with bodies like Greyhounds and feathers on the legs, tail and ears. Egyptian tombs from around 2100 BC and Sumerian Empire excavations placed at around 7000 to 6000 BC have similar representations of the Saluki. In fact, these dogs were even mummified after death as pharaohs were, and many have been found in ancient tombs of the upper Nile.

In these early times, Salukis' owners were nomads, living in the vast region between the Caspian Sea and the Sahara Desert. Although Salukis varied somewhat in appearance (coat texture and size) simply because of the differing climates they had to live in, they retained their exquisite, streamlined proportions and aesthetic grace.

In 1840, Salukis were introduced to England, and were called "Persian Greyhounds," although interest in the breed remained low there until 1895, when Florence Amherst imported one of Transjordania Prince Abdullah's Arabian Salukis. Arabs used the dog to capture the gazelle. In England, its duties changed and it was largely used to pursue the hare. Established in England for years, the Saluki did not become well-established in the United States until November 1927, when the American Kennel Club recognized it as a breed.


Fragile-looking, delicate, elegant, slim and agile, the Saluki looks much like a Greyhound, with a long, narrow head that tapers toward the nose, a long, slim neck and a deep, narrow chest. Long, straight front legs and graceful back legs built for speed are complemented with a long, elegant tail carried low and curved. Its long ears, tail, legs, and underbelly usually have feathering, which distinguishes Salukis from Greyhounds. The fur is soft and silky, usually, although some Salukis have coarser fur with no feathering. Coat colors can be tan, grizzle, black and tan tricolor with white, or fawn, gold, red, white or cream.

Although it appears vulnerably delicate, the Saluki is anything but. This dog’s sturdy ancestors lived in very harsh conditions indeed, since their earliest masters were nomads. Because of the varied climates and conditions in which its ancestors lived, the Saluki varies in size. It can stand from 23 to 28 inches at the shoulder and weigh from 29 to 66 pounds. Whatever its size, though, what matters about the Saluki is its exquisite physique. With its lean, fine-boned, yet very strong build, your pet is truly a work of art.


A gentle and alert dog, this breed has an almost ethereal quality. Large expressive eyes are usually fixed on you since this dog becomes very devoted and attached to its owner. Catlike both in anatomy and in demeanor, your pet can be somewhat aloof even to those it knows and loves, but its friendly, calm, and wise disposition means that this dog will fit in well with a devoted single owner or a large family equally well.

Naturally somewhat submissive by nature, this breed does not respond well to harsh discipline. The Saluki will be very obedient as long as you remain a firm “pack leader” to give it clear guidelines. These somewhat timid creatures aren't even particularly comfortable with good-natured roughhousing, so gentle play is always advised. The Saluki loves to run, and will make a good watchdog. While it will get along well with other dogs, remember it is a prey hunter by instinct, and these instincts cannot be completely expunged through training. Therefore, although the family cat can get along well with your Saluki provided the cat is allowed to be the dominant animal in the pair, you should not keep small "prey" animals like rabbits, hamsters, birds, gerbils, guinea pigs, etc., where the Saluki can find them.

Proper Environment

The Saluki was bred to be an active, outdoor animal. Your pet MUST have a lot of exercise, especially focused on running. Not an appropriate choice to live in an apartment, given the level of activity needed, this dog must have regular access to a place where it can be set free to simply run, run, run, run, run. Both physical and mental challenges are beneficial for this breed, who serve as great jogging and biking companions. They also love games of fetch or Frisbee. Should you pursue the show circuit with your Saluki, its high level of energy and keen ability to focus will give it the competitive edge in such activities as exhibition jumping, flyball, tracking, lure coursing, obedience, agility, and open field coursing.

You should never leave your lovely pet alone except for very short periods of time – and then only if the dog is extremely tired after a long day of plenty of activity. Because your pet is so intelligent, it can become bored and lonely very quickly, and when that happens, watch out. Left alone, an unhappy Saluki can be very destructive, with an inclination to chew on anything and everything. Although providing proper chew toys can satisfy this need to some extent, it's not foolproof and your Saluki can be destructive simply because it is momentarily distraught. You should also NEVER trust your Saluki off leash in any unsafe areas, especially in traffic. Again, because Salukis are hunting dogs by nature, their natural tendency is to take off after whatever prey they see.


Despite their very delicate appearance, Salukis are sturdy, hardy dogs that live 10 to 12 years on average with few health problems. Some predispositions to cancer and eye disease has been noted, as have some cardiac conditions such as cardiomyopathy or congestive heart failure, but overall, this is a very healthy breed. Regular veterinary care, including dental care, is of course necessary.


Your pet is very easy to groom, with only light shedding (a bit heavier in the spring). Salukis like to be brushed, and doing so weekly will also prevent shedding. Your pet has no doggie odor to speak of, and shouldn't need to be bathed unless it gets into something malodorous outside.


AKC Meet the Breeds®: Get to know the Saluki.

Retrieved February 3, 2013.


Retrieved February 3, 2013.

Saluki (Gazelle Hound) (Arabian Hound) (Persian Greyhound) (Tanji) (Persian Sighthound).

Retrieved February 3, 2013.


Retrieved February 3, 2013.

PetWave: Saluki Dog Breed.

Retrieved February 3, 2013.

Saluki Dog: Information, pictures, grooming, temperament, health, & environment on the Saluki.

Saluki puppies for sale.

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