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The Saluki is also known as the Persian Greyhound and it is not difficult to see why. The Saluki shares the same graceful and athletic body shape as the Greyhound, but unlike the Greyhound it has a distinctive longer, fine, feathered and soft coat.
Salukis are one of the oldest breeds of dog, having their roots traced back as far as ancient Egypt, Greece, Persia and the Middle East. They were bred as desert dogs who lived with nomadic tribes people who used them as a sighthound for hunting under these hot and dry conditions. They were so highly thought of in Egypt they were referred to as the 'Royal Dog of Egypt' and mummified remains have been found in tombs. Even today, they are still esteemed by the Bedouin Peoples of Arabic nations who consider them clean animals and are one of the few animals allowed to enter their homes, usually tents.
It is thought that the breed was introduced into Europe around the 12th century and in 1840 finally made it to England's shores. The first successful modern breeding line of Salukis in the UK began in 1895 with one Florence Amherst, having seen Salukis on a Nile tour in that year, imported a breeding pair from the Al Salihah area of Lower Egypt. However, the popularity of the Saluki did not take hold until the early 1920s, when officers returning from the war in the Middle East and the Arab Revolt brought their pet Salukis home with them.
Average height to withers: Males and females are between 23-28 inches.
Average weight: Females and males are between 18-28kg.
Striking, lithe, graceful and delicate, the appearance of a Saluki belays its independent and tough temperament and breeding for the job for which it was meant. The Saluki had a long, narrow head with dark eyes and dropped ears which are usually quite feathered. The feathering continues down the legs and follows onto the long, curled tail which it carries low to its hocks. Like its Greyhound cousin, it has a deep ribcage to accommodate the lungs and ribs with long, slender legs. This is a well proportioned and muscled dog which displays poise and grace. While the Saluki may not be as fast as a Greyhound over a sprinting distance, it does appear to have more stamina and can hold its own over many dog breeds covering extended distances, with uncommon endurance ability.
True to its hunting roots and traditional nomadic lifestyle, this dog can seem aloof to those who are not familiar with them as a breed. The reality is that the Saluki is a friendly, gentle, sensitive and intelligent. The owner of one of these dogs needs to have patience with them especially during training as, even though they are clever, they can become easily bored and distracted. As such, the Saluki needs firm, gentle and patient handling - the owner will get nowhere with a loud voice and threatening behaviours. It is also investing the time in early socialisation of this dog to prevent shyness later in life and also to acclimatise them to other animals such as cats if they are to live with them. However, the owner needs to remember that the majority will have retained their strong prey drive and they may give chase to smaller animals.
The Saluki is a hardy and healthy breed of dog which can live up to the age of up to 14 years. There are few hereditary diseases which affect this dog. The most common cause of death in the Saluki before old age is certain Cancers, Liver Cancer and Lymphoma being the most commonly found
Like its Greyhound counterparts, the Saluki will require a structured routine of exercise but is also happy with a warm basket and a family who loves it. It should be provided with a padded bed or crate to prevent sores on the bony and prominent areas of its body. The fine silky hair will require regular grooming preferably at least once a week.