Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Sloughi
Average Cost to keep/care for a Sloughi
The Sloughi is an elegant, graceful hound that's often called an Arabian Greyhound. They are native to North Africa where they are as highly prized today and they were in days long past. They are a rare breed and were originally bred as sight, scent and sound hunting dogs. They are true hounds of the desert but are just at home in a family environment and as such make wonderful pets, although they are not the best choice for first time owners. These elegant hounds do that much better with people who are familiar with the Sloughi breed or similar type of high energy hound.
The Sloughi is one of the most ancient sight hounds on the planet with similar dogs having been found in the Sahara regions of North Africa during the Middle Ages. They are thought to have originated in Saudi Arabia, but there is much debate as to the true origins of the Sloughi. Throughout the ages, these elegant sight hounds have been highly prized not only for their good looks, but for their fast turn of speed and hunting skills. In their native lands, the Sloughi is considered to be as valuable as an Arabian Stallion and they are treated with the same respect as their masters.
The actual origins of this ancient breed remain unknown, however, with modern technology and the sophisticated DNA tests now available, it has been established that Sloughis are more like the Afghan Hound than they are a Saluki and that their ancestors were around thousands of years ago. Artefacts found on digs in Mesopotamia also revealed very similar looking hounds depicted on an ancient coin made around four to five thousand years ago. Similar looking dogs were also found on wall paintings in the ancient tombs of Egyptians pharaohs where they were depicted sitting under their master’s thrones. Even today, when a Sloughi dies they're passing is mourned by their Bedouin owners.
Sloughis were introduced to European dog shows a number of years ago, but it was only in the latter part of the 20th century that these elegant dogs became known here in the UK. Although the Sloughi is known to be an affectionate and extremely loyal family pet and companion dog, they have not enjoyed the same popularity as the Afghan. As such anyone wanting to share a home with one of these elegant sight hounds would need to go on a waiting list because so few pedigree puppies are bred and registered with The Kennel Club every year.
Height at the withers: Males 66 - 72 cm, Females 61 - 68 cm
Average weight: Males 22 - 28 kg, Females 18 - 23 kg
The Sloughi is an elegant, graceful sight hound with males being slighter larger and taller than their female counterparts. They have extremely refined, long wedge-shaped heads the tops of which are quite broad and flat with the back of a dog’s head being nicely rounded. They have a slightly pronounced occiput and slight stop with their noses and lips being black in colour although lighter coated dogs can have lighter noses and lips.
Their eyes are large and a nice oval shape being a dark amber in colour and set a little obliquely on a dog's face. Sloughis always have a rather wistful yet gentle expression about their eyes. Their ears are triangular in shape and flat, being rounded at the tips. Dogs carry their ears close to their heads and they typically fold downwards. The Sloughi has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones.
Their necks are very elegant and nicely proportioned in relation to their body being moderately long and gracefully arched. Their shoulders are long, well-muscled and set obliquely on a dog's body. Chests are quite narrow without being excessively so and dogs have slightly sprung ribs which gives them quite a flat appearance. A Sloughi's belly in very tucked up which adds to their elegance and athletic appearance. Their loins are broad, muscular and short being gently arched and their toplines are virtually level. They have quite a short croup and their hip bones are very prominent.
A Sloughi’s hindquarters are well-muscled with dogs having long, well developed second thighs. Their feet are lean and long very reminiscent of a hare's foot with dog's having well arched toes. Their tails are thin being set well with dogs having a striking curve in their tails when they are excited or alert.
When it comes to their coat, the Sloughi has a short, fine coat with no feathering anywhere on their bodies or limbs. They can grow an undercoat when the weather is colder. The accepted breed colours are as follows:
Sloughis can have a small white mark on their chests which is allowed under their breed standard, althought it's not that desirable.
The Sloughi is a sensitive and aloof hound by nature, but they form extremely strong bonds with their owners and families. They are quite wary of people they do not know, although they would never show any sort of aggression towards a stranger, preferring to keep their distance until they get to know someone. They form the strongest bond with one person which is typically the person who takes care and feeds them.
They are highly intelligent hounds, but they need to be handled gently and ideally by someone familiar with the breed or this type of high-energy, sensitive hound. Puppies need to be well socialised from a young enough age for them to mature into more confident, well-rounded dogs. This has to involve introducing them to as many new situations, people, noises, other animals and dogs once they have been fully vaccinated as possible.
Although highly intelligent, Sloughis are known to have a bit of a stubborn streak in them. As such they are not the best choice for first time owners because as previously mentioned, they need to be handled firmly, yet extremely gently to bring the best out of them and to hone their natural abilities.
In a home environment, a Sloughi retains an extremely high prey drive and even when extremely well trained, if they spot anything in the distance, they are likely to take off after it. As such care has to be taken where and when one of these high energy hounds is allowed to run off their leads. They boast having a tremendous amount of stamina which is another thing that owners have to bear in mind when exercising a Sloughi.
The Sloughi is a highly intelligent dog, but they can be stubborn which is why they are best handled and trained by people who understand the particular needs of such a high energy sight hound. In the right hands and with the right amount of socialisation, Sloughis are ready and willing to learn as long as their training remains consistent and always fair so that dogs understand what is expected of them.
Their training has to start as early as possible and because these hounds are so sensitive to voice, care has to be taken as to how their handled and trained. They do not respond well to any sort of harsh correction which could end up making a dog a lot more reserved and timid. However, they do respond well to positive reinforcement training. It’s important to bear in mind that because they boast such high prey drives, even the best trained Sloughi might choose to ignore a "recall" command if they spot something more interesting in the distance.
Sloughis have a real affinity with children and thrive on being around them. However, care should always be taken when the kids play with a dog. As such any interaction between them should always be supervised by an adult just in case play time gets too boisterous. With this said, they are best suited to families where the children in a household are slightly older and who therefore know how to behave around dogs, bearing in mind that Sloughis like living in a quieter environment and get nervous when things get too noisy.
They are generally good around other dogs, especially if they have been well socialised from a young enough age. Care has to be taken when they are around any smaller pets and animals which includes cats because a Sloughi could see them as prey with disastrous results.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Sloughi is between 12 and 15 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
The Sloughi is known to be a healthy dog, but there are a few of health issues that seem to affect the breed which are as follows:
As with any other breed, Sloughis 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 Sloughi has a short, tight coat and they only grow an undercoat if the weather turns cold. As such they are low maintenance on the grooming front. A weekly brush and a wipe over with a chamois leather will help keep their coats shiny and looking good. With this said, Sloughis only shed a little although more so during the Spring and then again in the Autumn when they tend to shed a little more than at other times of the year. One lovely trait about the Sloughi is that they like to keep themselves extremely clean and are very cat-like in their grooming habits.
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 Sloughi is an intelligent, high energy hound and as such they need to be given the right amount of daily stimulation and exercise to be truly happy, well-rounded dogs that are a pleasure to have around. Ideally, a Sloughi needs at least 2 hour's exercise every day and as much off the lead time as possible, but always in a safe and secure area because if a Sloughi picks up an interesting scent, they will be more than tempted to go off in search of what's at the end of it.
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.
With this said, Sloughi puppies should not 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 serious problems later in their lives.
If you get a Sloughi 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. One thing worth noting is that Sloughis prefer to eat their food off the ground much like other desert bred hounds.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. 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. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
If you are looking to buy a Sloughi, you would need to register your interest with breeders and agree to being put on a waiting list because so few puppies are bred and registered with The Kennel Club every year. You would need to pay anything upwards of £600 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Sloughi in northern England would be £26.65 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £51.88 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 making sure it suits the different stages of a dog’s life. This would set you back between £40 - £50 a month. On top of all of this, you need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Sloughi 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 Sloughi would be between £60 to £110 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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