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Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Saluki
Average Cost to keep/care for a Saluki
Breed Specific Buying Advice
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. They are known to be extremely capable sporting dogs that even today, command great respect in many middle eastern countries as well as having become 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 and one that is especially tolerant of children.
Salukis are not the best choice for novice owners because Salukis are known to be notoriously difficult to train which takes time, understanding and patience. It is also worth noting that Salukis have an extremely high prey drive which is a trait that is deeply embedded in their psyche. As such, care should be taken as to where and when they can run free off the lead.
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. With this said, their actual origins remain a little mysterious more especially as Salukis are thought to be one of the most ancient breed to have been domesticated by man. 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 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.
The Saluki has always been known as the "Greyhound of the desert" and boasts being one of the oldest breeds to have been domesticated by man. Many Arabian owners consider that Salukis are sacred dogs that were offered to them from Allah as such they were known as Saluki El Hor which translated means "the Noble One".
For centuries, the Saluki has been a highly prized hunting dog that was never kept alongside other ordinary dogs which were thought of as being "unclean" which is why as previously mentioned, Salukis lived in their master’s tents. The first Salukis to arrive on British shores was around 1897 when the Egyptian Sheikh of the Tahawi Tribe allowed the Hon. Florence Amherst to have 2 Saluki puppies. She later managed to get other Salukis one of which was called Amherstia Sabirah, a dog bred by an Emir. Florence Amherst was to become the first President of the Saluki/Gazelle Hound Club which was founded in 1923.
Other people responsible for promoting the breed outside of their native land and this included Brigadier General and Mrs. Lance who helped establish the breed club as well as being instrumental in getting the Saluki recognised by the Kennel Club. During the twenties, the Saluki was to become one of the most fashionable dog to own and they were depicted in many works of art during that period too.
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 and remain a favourite companion and family pet the world over.
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 for Kennel Club registration are as follows:
It is worth noting that white coated Salukis are more at risk of being born with congenital deafness and dogs should be BAER tested before being used for breeding purposes.
When a Saluki moves, they do so with tremendous grace and elegance covering a tremendous amount of ground when they do. They have an incredible turn of speed and are capable of changing direction in the blink of an eye which is what makes them such highly skilled hunters.
The Kennel Club frowns on any exaggerations or departures from the breed standard and would judge the faults on how much they affect a dog's overall health and wellbeing as well as their ability to perform.
Males should have both testicles fully descended into their scrotums and it is worth noting that a dog can be a little lighter or heavier as well as slightly taller or shorter than set out in the Kennel Club breed standard which is given as a guideline only.
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 the breed’s 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 not the best choice for first time dog owners because they need to be handled and trained by people who are familiar with the needs of an extremely quick-witted and sensitive hound. They also hate being on their own for any length of time which can really stress these sensitive dogs out to such an extent they can suffer from depression.
Salukis have an extremely high prey drive and should never be trusted around smaller animals and pets. Care should always be taken as to where and when a Saluki can run free off the lead because if a dog spots something in the distance, they could well take off after whatever it is they've spotted.
Salukis have a very playful side to their natures although they tend to be shier and more reserved by nature than many other breeds. However, they thoroughly enjoy certain activities with lure coursing being a particular favourite pass time. It allows a Saluki to show off their special skills and traits that are deeply embedded in their psyche namely to run extremely fast, turn on a sixpence and basically expend all that pent-up energy doing what a Saluki enjoys the most.
Salukis are better suited to people who have large, secure back gardens with extra high fencing where dogs can roam as they please whenever possible so they can really let off steam. As such, they are not the best choice for people who live in apartments.
Salukis form strong ties with their families and dogs are never very happy when they find themselves left on their own for longer periods of time. They form an extremely strong bond with one person and remain totally devoted to them throughout their lives. They are better suited to people who either work from home or in households where one person stays at home when everyone else is out so they are never alone for any length of time which could see a dog suffering from separation anxiety and this can lead to behavioural issues developing which as previously mentioned can include depression.
Salukis are not known to be barkers because like all sight hounds, they hunt their prey quietly with stealth being one of their greatest assets.
Most Salukis like to swim and in the Middle East, their training often involves swimming in pools to build up their muscle tone and keep dogs fit. However, if anyone who owns a dog that does not like water, should never force them to go in because it would just end up scaring them. With this said, care should always be taken when walking a Saluki off the lead anywhere near more dangerous watercourses just in case a dog decides to leap in and then needs rescuing because they cannot get out of the water on their own.
Salukis are not natural watchdogs and tend to keep their distance when strangers are about because they can be a little shy and timid by nature other than with their families that is.
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 focused during a training session, these elegant hounds become obedient dogs although they never really lose 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 don’t get bored. It's important for puppies to be taught the "basics" right from the word go 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 which is why they are not the best choice for anyone who is not familiar with the needs of these elegant sighthounds.
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. With this said, Salukis when well trained and handled can be seen taking part in many high level canine sporting activities which includes lure coursing, fly ball, agility, obedience and tracking. They are also renowned for being excellent therapy dogs.
It is all too easy to spoil a Saluki puppy because they are incredibly cute. However, new owners need to start out as they mean to carry on which means setting out ground rules and boundaries so that a puppy understands what is expected of them. It also helps puppies and young dogs understand what is acceptable behaviour and what is not. The first commands a puppy needs to be taught are as follows:
Salukis are known to be quite placid and enjoy being in quieter environments, but they do like being around children providing 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 should 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:
In the past, the Saluki has been reported as suffering from "Early or Sudden Death" which is when a dog dies suddenly for no evident reason before they are around the age of five. A post mortem typically shows evidence of a Saluki showing signs of suffering from some sort of immune/autoimmune problem or they can also have a higher than normal level of clostridium in their systems.
Responsible breeders now ensure the continued health of Salukis by taking part in a Complete Blood Count or CBC which is a laboratory test and diagnostic tool that measures white and red blood cells as well as the liquid components of a dog's blood. It is similar to the test carried out on Greyhounds, but different that the one carried out on other breeds.
There is a Saluki database that is maintained by the Animal Health Trust (AHT). It was established as a way of keeping a close eye on any future health issues that may affect the breed. It also helps establish a dog’s relationship to other Salukis as well as the co-efficient of breeding stock.
Saluki puppies would have been given their initial vaccinations before being sold, but it is up to their new owners to make sure they have their follow-up shots in a timely manner with the vaccination schedule for puppies being as follows:
There has been a lot of discussion about the need for dogs to have boosters. As such, it's best to talk to a vet before making a final decision on whether a dog should continue to have annual vaccinations which are known as boosters.
A lot of vets these days recommend waiting until dogs are slightly older before spaying and neutering them which means they are more mature before undergoing the procedures. As such they advise neutering males and spaying females when they are between the ages of 6 to 9 months old and sometimes even when a dog is 12 months old.
Other vets recommend spaying and neutering dogs when they are 6 months old, but never any earlier unless for medical reasons. With this said, many breeds are different and it is always advisable to discuss things with a vet and then follow their advice on when a dog should be spayed or neutered.
Some Salukis gain weight after they have been spayed or neutered and it's important to keep an eye on a dog's waistline just in case they do. If a dog starts to put on weight it's important to adjust their daily calorie intake and to up the amount of exercise they are given. Older dogs too are more prone to gaining weight and again it's essential they be fed and exercised accordingly because obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years. The reason being that it puts a lot of extra strain on a dog's internal organs including the heart which can prove fatal.
Some Salukis are prone to suffering from allergies and it's important for a dog to see a vet sooner rather than later if one flares up. They are also susceptible to sunburn which means care should be taken during the hotter summer months and dogs should not spend too much time outside in direct sunlight. Allergies can be notoriously hard to clear up and finding the triggers can be challenging. With this said, a vet would be able to make a dog with an allergy more comfortable while they try to find out the triggers which could include the following:
All responsible Saluki breeders would ensure that their stud dogs are tested for known hereditary and congenital health issues known to affect the breed by using the following schemes:
As well as the standard breeding restrictions as set out for all recognised Kennel Club breeds, with Salukis it is worth noting that there are 2 types of coat which are the smooth and the feathered. As such, breeders can register a smooth coated Saluki with the Kennel Club, it this is not done, smooth coated Salukis will be registered as being of the "feathered" type.
Currently, there are no KC Assured Breeder requirements, DNA tests or veterinary screening schemes available for Salukis under the KC Assured Breeder Scheme. With this said, prospective owners should always ask breeders about health issues known to affect the breed.
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, bearing in mind that Salukis do suffer from sunburn and as such care should always be taken during the hotter summer months. 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.
Saluki puppies are full of life and playful which means it's essential for homes and gardens to be puppy-proofed well in advance of their arrival. A responsible breeder would have well socialised their puppies which always leads to more outgoing, confident and friendly dogs right from the word go. With this said, any puppy is going to feel vulnerable when they leave their mother and littermates which must be taken into account. The longer a puppy can remain with their mother, the better although it should never be for too long either.
It's best to pick a puppy up when people are going to be around for the first week or so which is the time needed for a puppy to settle in. Puppy-proofing the home and garden means putting away any tools and other implements that a boisterous puppy might injure themselves on. Electric wires and cables must be put out of their reach because puppies love chewing on things. Toxic plants should be removed from flowerbeds and the home too.
Puppies need to sleep a lot to grow and develop as they should which means setting up a quiet area that's not too out of the way means they can retreat to it when they want to nap and it's important not to disturb them when they are sleeping. It's also a good idea to keep "playtime" nice and calm inside the house and to have a more active "playtime" outside in the garden which means puppies quickly learn to be less boisterous when they are inside.
The documentation a breeder provides for a puppy must have all the details of their worming date and the product used as well as the information relating to their microchip. It is essential for puppies to be wormed again keeping to a schedule which is as follows:
There are certain items that new owners need to already have in the home prior to bringing a new puppy home. It's often a good idea to restrict how much space a puppy plays in more especially when you can't keep an eye on what they get up to bearing in mind that puppies are often quite boisterous which means investing in puppy gates or a large enough playpen that allows a Saluki puppy the room to express themselves while keeping them safe too. The items needed are therefore, as follows:
All puppies are sensitive to noise including Saluki puppies. It's important to keep the noise levels down when a new puppy arrives in the home. TVs and music should not be played too loud which could end up stressing a small puppy out.
As previously mentioned, Saluki puppies would have been given their first vaccinations by the breeders, but they must have their follow up shots which is up to their new owners to organise. The vaccination schedule for puppies is as follows:
When it comes to boosters, it's best to discuss these with a vet because there is a lot of debate about whether a dog really needs them after a certain time. However, if a dog ever needed to go into kennels, their vaccinations would need to be
Older Salukis need lots of special care because as they reach their golden years, they are more at risk of developing certain health concerns. Physically, a dog's muzzle may start to go grey, but there will be other noticeable changes too which includes the following:
Older dogs change mentally too which means their response time tends to be slower as such they develop the following:
Living with a Saluki in their golden years means taking on a few more responsibilities, but these are easily managed and should include taking a look at their diet, the amount of exercise they are given, how often their dog beds need changing and keeping an eye on the condition of their teeth.
Older Salukis need to be fed a good quality diet that meets their needs at this stage of their lives all the while keeping a close eye on a dog's weight. A rough feeding guide for older dogs is as follows bearing in mind they should be fed highly digestible food that does not contain any additives:
Older Salukis don't need to be given the same amount of daily exercise as a younger dog, but they still need the right amount of physical activity to maintain muscle tone and to prevent a dog from putting on too much weight. All dogs need access to fresh clean water and this is especially true of older dogs when they reach their golden years because they are more at risk of developing kidney disorders.
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 must 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 having their food bowls placed off the ground which is a funny quirk of many Salukis.
Because Salukis have been known to suffer from bloat, as previously mentioned, it is very 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, a condition that must be taken very seriously and veterinary attention must be sought as quickly as possible if a dog shows any signs of there being anything wrong with them.
Puppies need to be fed a highly nutritious, good quality diet for them to develop and grow as they should. As a rough guide, a Saluki puppy can be fed the following amounts every day making sure their meals are evenly spread out throughout the day and it's best to feed them 3 or 4 times a day:
Once a puppy is 13 months old they can be fed adult dog food.
Once fully mature, an adult Saluki must be fed a good quality diet to ensure their continued good health. As a rough guide, an adult Saluki can be fed the following amounts every day:
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 £22.14 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £45.32 a month (quote as of December 2107). 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 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 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 responsibly bred, healthy, Kennel Club registered pedigree Saluki puppy.