1. Key Breed Facts
2. Breed Characteristics
3. Looking for a Saluki ?
8. Intelligence / Trainability
9. Children and Other Pets
11. Caring for a Saluki
15. Average Cost to keep/care for a Saluki
The Saluki is an elegant, graceful and rather dignified looking hound that for centuries has been highly prized in the Middle East not only for their charming looks, but for their hunting prowess too. The Saluki is one of the oldest hound breeds on the planet, but they were only introduced to the UK in 1840 and were only recognised by The Kennel Club in 1923. Over time the Saluki has been a popular choice with people who are familiar with the needs of the breed or this type of highly strung, sensitive and extremely affectionate dog. They are not the best choice for novice owners because Salukis are known to be notoriously difficult to train.
Records of the Saluki have been carefully kept by Arab sheikhs for hundreds of years because these elegant hounds were and still are highly prized for their hunting abilities in the Middle East. The breed was named after the town of Seleukia, an ancient city that no longer exists.
Salukis are one of the oldest hound breeds in the world and their roots can be traced back to ancient Egypt, Greece, Persia and the Middle East. They were bred as desert dogs and they lived alongside nomadic tribes. These elegant hounds were highly prized for their hunting abilities in hot and arid desert landscapes and they were so highly regarded by the Egyptians that they were known as the 'Royal Dog of Egypt' with mummified remains having been found in the tombs of Pharaohs. Today, they are still prized by the Bedouin people who consider them clean animals which makes these hounds one of the few animals that are allowed to share their tents and homes.
It is thought the breed was introduced into Europe around the 12th century and in 1840, these striking hounds finally made their way to England's shores. Florence Amherst saw some Salukis when she was travelling along the Nile and 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. Today, these beautiful dogs are a popular choice with people familiar with their needs and are always a big hit in the show ring thanks to their unique, elegant and graceful looks.
Height at the withers: Males 58 - 71 cm, Females 58 - 71 cm
Average weight: Males 18 - 27 kg, Females 18 - 27 kg
Salukis are very graceful, elegant and athletic looking hounds with their glossy coats and fine, silky feathers on their ears and tails. Their heads are large, long and narrow which adds to their lithe appearance. They have well defined stops and broad skulls which are slightly domed with dogs having quite a prominent brow. Noses are black in colour and large. Their eyes are moderately large and set nicely into a dog's head being dark in colour with Salukis having a keen, alert expression in them. Their ears are medium in size and lie close to a dog's cheeks being slightly feathered.
The Saluki has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. Their necks are long, gracefully arched and muscular with dogs have well developed dewlaps. They have sloping shoulders which are broad and nicely up at the withers. Front legs are straight and long, showing a nice amount of bone.
They have broad backs with nice level, well rounded ribs and well-muscled, wide loins. Croups are broad and they slope gently to where a dog's tail is set. Chests are deep and wide. Their hindquarters are broad, well-muscled and powerful with dogs having a nice amount of bone in their back legs and well-developed first and second thighs. Feet are compact and large with well knuckled toes. A Saluki's tail is set high and is long which dogs carry low when at rest, but higher when moving or alert.
When it comes to their coat, the Saluki can either have a rough or a smooth coat. Rough coated dogs have a dense coat that lies close which is fuller around their necks, on their thighs and their tails are nicely feathered. Smooth coated dogs have much closer coats which is a lot more hound-like and they only have a slight amount of feathering on their thighs and tails. The accepted breed colours are as follows:
The Saluki is a friendly, sensitive and intelligent hound, but they are not the best choice for many people. The reason being they are highly strung by nature and like many other hound breeds, they are extremely sensitive which means they need to be handled and trained by someone who is familiar with their particular needs. In the right environment and with the correct amount of socialisation and training, a Saluki is a pleasure to have around.
However, in the wrong environment and without the much need early socialisation and training, these elegant hounds can become a bit of a handful which sees them being destructive around the home when they are left to their own devices for too long. As such, they are not the best choice for first time owners, but they make great family pets for people who have enough time to dedicate to a demanding canine companion.
Salukis form very strong bonds with their families and owners which means they like to be around them rather than to be left on their own. In short, a Saluki thrives in a home environment where at least one person stays at home when everyone else is out of the house so they are never left to their own devices for very long.
It cannot be stressed enough the importance of socialising a Saluki from a young age which has to involve introducing puppies and young dogs to as many new situations, noises, people, other animals and dogs once they have been fully vaccinated so they grow up to be confident, more outgoing mature dogs. Without the right amount of early socialisation, a Saluki may well mature into a shy and timid dog.
They are naturally wary and quite aloof when strangers are about, but rarely would a Saluki show any sort of aggressive behaviour towards people they don't already know, preferring to keep their distance. Salukis form a very strong bond with one person in a household which is typically the person who takes care of them, although they are always affectionate and friendly towards everyone in the home.
Salukis are intelligent dogs, but training one of these elegant hounds can prove challenging for a novice owner which is one of the reasons they are not a good choice for first time dog owners. However, in the right hands and with people who know how to keep a Saluki focussed during a training session, these elegant hounds become obedient dogs although they never really lose their their high prey drive which is deeply embedded in their psyche.
The key to successfully training a Saluki is to make their initial training sessions short and fun so that puppies do not get bored. It's important for puppies to be taught the "basics" and for their training to begin in earnest when they are a little older. It takes a lot of time, patience and understanding on the part of an owner to train a Saluki.
Because they are so sensitive by nature, these hounds do not answer well to any sort of harsh correction or heavier handed training methods. They do, however, respond well to positive reinforcement. Owners need to remain gentle, yet firm and always fair when training a young Saluki if they want to achieve the best results all the while remembering that these hounds are highly intelligent and quite independent thinking dogs by nature which can make them quite a challenge to train.
Salukis are known to be quite placid and enjoy being in quieter environments, but they do like being around children as long as things don't get too loud or too boisterous. As such they are not a good choice for families with very young children, but make ideal pets in households where the kids are older and therefore appreciate how to behave around dogs with sensitive natures.
They generally get on well with other dogs, more especially if they have been well socialised from a young enough age. However, care has to be taken when a Saluki is around any smaller pets or animals which includes cats because of their high prey drive.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Saluki is between 12 and 14 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
The Saluki is known to be a healthy breed thanks to careful and selective breeding over the years. However, they are known to suffer from specific health issues which are worth knowing about when planning to share a home with one of these elegant and graceful dogs. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:
As with any other breed, Salukis need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
The Salukis has a silky, short coat with nice feathering on their ears and their tails. Because they are so prone to sunburn and more especially on their noses, care has to be taken during the hotter summer months. However, a Saluki's grooming needs are low, a daily brush paying more attention to around a dog's ears and their tail is all it takes to keep things tidy and to prevent any knots or tangles from forming.
Salukis shed throughout the year, but like other breeds this tends to be more during the Spring and then again in the Autumn when more frequent brushing is usually necessary to remove any dead and loose hair from a dog's coat. It's also a good idea to have a Saluki professionally groomed a few times a year which makes it that much easier to keep their coats looking good in between visits to a grooming parlour.
It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.
The Saluki is an athletic, high-energy dog and one that has a tremendous amount of stamina for such a slight, elegant hound. As such they need to be given at least 2 hour's exercise every day with as much off the lead time as possible. However, a Saluki, no matter how obedient, should only be let off their leads in secure areas because of their high prey drive. If these dogs are not given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation they need, they can quickly develop some unwanted and destructive behavioural issues that make them harder to live with and control which includes separation anxiety.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden as often as possible so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to be extremely secure to keep these high-energy dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape out and get into all sorts of trouble and Salukis are known to be very good escape artists.
With this said, Saluki puppies should never be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing. This includes not letting a dog jump up and down from furniture or going up or down the stairs. Too much pressure placed on their joints and spines at an early age could result in a dog developing problems later in their lives.
If you get a Saluki puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs can be fussy eaters and will usually only eat what they need to often leaving food in their bowls when they have had enough. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. These hounds prefer to have their food bowls placed off the ground which is a funny quirk of many Salukis.
Because Salukis have been known to suffer from bloat, it is really important that they be fed twice a day instead of giving them just one larger meal a day. It's also a good idea to invest in a stand to place their feed bowl which makes it easier for these large dogs to eat comfortably without having to stretch their necks down low to reach their food. You should never exercise a Saluki just before or just after they have eaten either because this puts them more at risk of suffering from gastric torsion.
If you are looking to buy a Saluki, you would need to pay upwards of £400 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Saluki in northern England would be £19.20 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £43.27 a month (quote as of June 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed among other things.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £40 - £50 a month. On top of all of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Saluki and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £1000 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Saluki would be between £70 to £100 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree or other puppy.
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