The Saluki (Saluki Dog, Saluki Hound, Saluki Greyhound) or Persian Greyhound (Arabian Hound, Gazelle Hound, Tanji) is an ancient Sighthound that originated in the Fertile Crescent, a crescent-shaped region containing the fertile, Arabian parts of the West Asia, the Nile Delta and Nile Valley. This hound breed is, according to some historical evidence, more than 7.000 years old and is definitely one of the most ancient breeds of dog. In fact, it is included in the group of 14 ancient dogs, together with the Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky, Shar-Pei, Pekingese, Chow Chow, Afghan Hound, etc. These breeds are considered the oldest and purest of all domesticated dogs. The first evidence of the existence of these Sighthounds can be found on the approximately 6.000 years old pottery from Susa, ancient Mesopotamia (now Shush, Iran). However, some experts believe that these are actually depictions of ancestors of the Saluki. This might be up for debate, but there’s no doubt that the Persian Greyhounds were actually depicted on the Egyptian tombs of the Upper Nile region, dating back more than 4.000 years ago. Besides, archeologists found the mummified remains of Salukis next to mummified Pharaohs in these tombs. This just proves how Pharaohs held the Salukis with the highest esteem. They were truly the royal dogs of ancient Egypt.
Unlike many other dogs in Arabia, which are considered unclean and evil, the Saluki was actually prized as a gift from Allah by Muslim nomads, who often called it El Hor, meaning The Noble. That’s why these dogs were allowed to stay in their tents and eat together with their masters. They were even carried on camels to keep their feet off the hot sand. However, they were not allowed to breed with other dogs, which greatly helped in keeping the gene pool of the breed almost unspoiled through all these centuries. Bedouines prized Salukis for their speed and tenacity and used them together with falcons to hunt gazelles, antelopes, hares and jackals. They never sold their dogs. Instead, they only gifted them as a sort of special gratitude. This is the main reason it took so long until the breed reached the West. It was documented that the first Tanjis had arrived in Britain in 1840, but the breed was not established until the end of the WWI, when many British officers brought these dogs from the Middle East. Shortly after, the breed reached the USA and the Saluki Club of America was founded in 1927. The breed was recognized by the FCI in 1966, but not in the Spitz and Primitive Types class. It is actually included in the Long Haired or Fringed Sighthounds group in the Sighthounds class.
Saluki Temperament And Personality
The Saluki, probably named after the ancient town in Yemen, Saluq, is a calm, aloof, graceful and elegant dog that is best known after its aristocratic look, incredible speed and hunting prowess. He is quite gentle, sleek, thoughtful, cautious, sensitive, stubborn, independent, but nonetheless loyal and eager to please its master. Even though the Gazelle Hound has been primarily used as a hunting dog for centuries, there is no doubt that this dog makes an outstanding family companion. In fact, even the great Pharaohs kept these dogs as their companions, which tells you how noble and respected they always were. Indeed, the Tanji is loyal, kind and affectionate to all family members, a type of dog that will literally thrive on human companionship. This, of course, means that you will have to dedicate as much time as possible to your dog, or else he will quickly become bored and depressed. So, make sure to secure a nice and cozy place for him indoors. When in the company of family members, the Saluki will usually be very calm, quiet and cuddly, almost like a cat. However, it has to be noted that this definitely is a one person dog that naturally tends to be fully devoted and submissive only to a person that spends the most time with him. Also, keep in mind that this dog is very sensitive emotionally, which means that he can stay happy only with the harmonious family.
The Saluki is usually a very nice, dear and gentle companion with the children, especially the older ones (8+ years), but is not an ideal playmate. Indeed, this is, for the most part, a calm dog that will rather lounge relaxed on the bed than run and jump around with kids like crazy. However, this doesn’t mean he will completely ignore children, but would rather spend time walking or lying with them than playing around. This is the reason younger kids probably won’t have a lot of fun with this dog, even though he is quite tolerant and has no strong sense of hierarchy. There is literally no way an Arabian Hound would hurt the child intentionally, doesn’t matter how annoying it is. Of course, this doesn’t mean such big dog like the Tanji can’t hurt a very young child or a toddler unintentionally, but considering how calm he is that is highly unlikely. However, things can be quite opposite in this case. You see, this is a very slim and fragile dog, especially in the puppyhood, which means that he is quite prone to injuries. Now, if you put into perspective how reckless, rough and careless small children can sometimes be, it is perfectly clear that they are a bigger threat to him than he is to them. That’s why it is absolutely necessary that you teach your kids to treat a dog nicely and carefully.
The Saluki is definitely not an ideal choice when it comes to guarding, but can prove as a pretty good watchdog. You see, this dog is naturally aloof, cautious and reserved with strangers, but hardly ever aggressive, nervous or hostile. However, he is quite alert and territorial – always aware of anything that’s going on in and around the owner’s property. In the most cases, the Persian Greyhound will just announce the stranger with loud bark and that’s it. He definitely won’t confront or bite anybody, but will hardly ever become trustful to a person outside his family. Anyway, you will at least know that there is something happening around your property, which is enough I guess. The good thing is that the Saluki is rather a quiet dog, which is, if treated properly, not prone to excessive barking. All in all, you won’t have to worry much that your dog will hurt or annoy anybody. However, this doesn’t mean you won’t have to socialize your dog with different people. No! In fact, it is highly recommended to socialize your Saluki at an early age, or else there is a possibility he will become overly shy, timid and sometimes even aggressive. Such dogs are not allowed in conformation show, so it would be wise that you respect the rules and prevent these unwanted behavioral traits.
Being the hunter by nature, the Saluki is definitely not the best companion for non-canine pets. Indeed, this is a type of dog with quite strong hunting instincts, that will chase anything that moves around him at sight. A cat, squirrel, rabbit, hamster, or even a toy, they will all be marked for death as soon as they move. Not even goats or snakes can be safe with this dog around. What’s even worse, there is literally no way that anything will escape the Tanji considering how incredibly fast this dog is. The only way to deal with this issue is that you raise your Saluki with other pets, but even that can prove unreliable since this is a very stubborn dog that will hardly accept any rules. So, there’s a huge possibility these smaller pets, especially rabbits, hamsters, birds, or guinea pigs, will never be safe in the company of this dog. And even if a Saluki befriends with your cat, all other cats from the neighborhood will still be too tempting for him. Fortunately, the situation is a lot better in the case of other dogs. The Gazelle Hound will hardly ever be aggressive with any one of them, not even those of the same sex. However, you will have to socialize him with other dogs just in case. Also, it’s interesting to know that the Saluki will usually feel the best not in the company of any other dog, but of another Saluki particularly!
Persian Greyhound Training
The Saluki is for sure one of those dogs that will literally make you miserable when it comes to training. Of course, that will be the case only if you have no or little experience in working with dogs, which is why this breed is not recommended for the first time dog owners. One of the main reasons the Persian Greyhound is so challenging to train is that he is an independent thinker, who will rather do whatever he thinks is right than obey your commands. Also, this dog can be incredibly stubborn, aloof and disobedient to the point he will literally ignore you, even if he knows that will probably make you angry. This can sometimes happen even after the completion of the training process, which just proves how unpredictable and selfpossessed this dog really is. So, in order to successfully train a Saluki, you will, first of all, have to forget about harsh and rude corrections. Such handling is the recipe for disaster. You will always have to be calm, patient and relaxed, but firm and dominant – a true leader with a gentle hand. The training sessions should be short, interesting and spontaneous, but never repetitive. Positive reinforcement techniques are more than recommended. Always reward your dog with praise and tasty treats for being nice and smart. With such approach, the Saluki will easily learn every command and prove how truly intelligent he is.
Other Characteristics And Traits
Main Saluki Dog characteristics are high-speed, agility, athleticism, endurance, strength, intelligence, loyalty, stubbornness, independence, persistence, dignity, elegance, slenderness, calmness, curiosity, and emotional sensitivity. Looking at these characteristics, it’s easy to see this is quite an agile and swift dog with high stamina, which is kind of expected from a hunting hound. However, that is not to say that the Tanji is over-the-top active and restless. No! In fact, this dog is almost like a cat in the sense that he will equally enjoy lying on the sofa and chasing the prey. Nonetheless, he will require a good amount of daily exercise, which should consist of various mental and physical challenges. Of course, being such a swift dog, the Saluki will naturally, more than anything else, enjoy running in the open. Daily long walks, jogs or hikes are absolutely mandatory. However, it would be wise to keep your dog on-the-leash when in walks, especially if you live in an urban area. This way you will prevent him chasing something with the risk of being run over by a car. That’s why a safely enclosed, large space is the best thing for a Saluki, where he will be able to run in circles freely. Also, you should play some challenging games with your dog, but forget about the fetch game (not interesting enough).
The ideal living conditions for your Persian Greyhound should include the best of both worlds – indoors/outdoors. The general rule is that he must be, for the most time, in the company of family members. This is particularly important for your dog’s mental health for this breed is very sensitive emotionally. So, in order to keep a Saluki healthy and happy, you will have to provide him with an adequate living space. This dog is first and foremost recommended for owners who live in the house with a huge (1+ hectare), securely fenced yard, doesn’t matter if it’s urban or suburban setting. Such large yard with a lot of green will allow your dog to run around as much as he wants, which will definitely serve as a good replacement for daily exercise. During the night, it would be necessary that you keep your Tanji indoors, especially if you live in the colder climate. So, you should provide him with some soft, comfortable place in your home, where he will rest and sleep. This low-shedding dog naturally takes care of himself and has no doggy odour, but can prove challenging to housebreak. It will require a lot of intensive crate training to put this buddy in the right place. Even though a well-trained Saluki is usually calm and sleepy indoors, this dog is definitely not recommended for owners that live in an apartment.
Of course, it would be possible to keep the Arabian Hound in an apartment, but only with a big amount of daily exercise. This could prove not only time-consuming, but quite demanding, which I’m sure will be too much for some people. That’s why the house with a large yard is most certainly the only adequate living space for this dog. However, even if you live in such house, there are still some things you should know in order to keep your dog safe. The Saluki is a curious dog that is more than eager to check what’s going on in your neighborhood. On top of that, he is a natural born hunter who is always on the prowl, ready to pursue every cat or small animal that he spots, especially those fleeing ones. So, even though this dog officially is not an escape artist, he will most likely follow his natural instincts and do everything he can to explore the surroundings and hunt something down. You should prevent this any way possible since it can definitely end up badly for your dog or your neighbors. The most important thing you’ll need is at least 6 feet high fencing around your yard. The Persian Greyhound is an outstanding jumper, who can easily jump over small to medium fence. Also, you should make sure that there are no wide openings in the fencing through which he can squeeze his narrow body. It wouldn’t be bad that the fence is put deeper into the ground. Although this dog is usually not an obsessive digger, he is more than capable to dig deep if need be.
Arabian Hound Health
The usual life expectancy of a Saluki is around 12-14 years. In general, this is a healthy and hardy breed, but there are some health problems that are seen in Salukis, some of them even being inherited diseases. The evidenced health issues in this dog are hypothyroidism, von Willebrand disease, certain skin conditions (alopecia and dermatitis), hearth murmur, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, dilated cardiomyopathy and other cardiac problems, and some eye issues (corneal dystrophy and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)). Besides, Gazelle Hounds can suffer from various forms of cancer, such as hemangiosarcoma, lymposarcoma and liver cancer. In fact, cancer is the most common cause of death in this breed, while cardiac problems are on the second place. Apart from that, these dogs can also suffer from sensitivity to anesthesia and other drugs because of low body fat. Some of these health issues can’t be detected in the puppyhood, which is why it is absolutely mandatory to buy a puppy only from a well-known, proven breeder, who can provide you with valid certifications that its parents are completely healthy and disease free. Also, the breeder should provide you with the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certification and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) clearance that a puppy is clear from any form of eye, thyroid and cardiac issues.
Gazelle Hound Physical Characteristics And Appearance
The Saluki is a large but skinny dog of square shape – the length of the body and the height at the withers are approximately of the same measures. This dog is a true embodiment of speed, agility, symmetry, and elegance. Its body is slim, elongated and graceful, covered with the short coat of a smooth and silky texture. There are actually two varieties of Salukis based on their coat – feathered and smooth. Feathered variety is more common and is easily recognizable with the light feathering on the back of legs and thighs and rarely on the shoulders. Both varieties have long, soft hair on ears, tail and between the toes. The coat has no undercoat, which is why this dog is more suited to warmer climates. If you live in colder climates, it would be wise to keep your dog indoors during the winter as much as possible. The Persian Greyhound is a dog with low grooming requirements. Like I already wrote, this is a low-shedding breed that will usually require only weekly brushing. The feathered variety will obviously require a bit more brushing, a few times a week. It is very important that you introduce your dog to grooming in puppyhood since these hounds can be a bit agitated about that. Main Saluki colors are white, golden, fawn, cream, red, black and tan, grey and tan, and tri-color (any combination of these colors). Keep in mind that brindles are not accepted.
The Saluki has a narrow and elongated head with the moderately wide skull and tapering, slender muzzle with strong jaws. Teeth meet in an ideal scissors bite. The nose can be black or reddish brown, depending on the coat color. The oval-shaped, large eyes can vary in color from dark brown to fawn and hazel. They have a gentle expression and are not prominent. The pendant ears with nice, long hair are quite large, mobile and set on high. You should inspect and clear your dog’s ears and eyes at least once a month. The supple neck is well muscled and long. Like in other Sighthounds, the chest is very deep, moderately narrow and relatively long, built for stamina. The stomach is well tucked up and the loins are muscular and slightly arched. The back is fairly broad and slightly arched. The long and nicely curved tail is feathered with silky, long hair and is usually carried low. The forelegs are very long, lean and straight. The hind legs are muscular, strong and well developed, showing incredible jumping and running power. When at full speed, this dog has an unusual gait with all four legs in the air at the same time (like the cheetah), which gives the impression that a Saluki is actually flying. Truly graceful and powerful. The medium-length feet have long, arched toes that are protected from injuries with soft feathering between them.
Saluki Dog Size And Weight
– Height between 24 and 28 inches (61-71 cm)
– Weight between 44 and 60 pounds (20-27 kg)
– Height between 23 and 27 inches (58-68 cm)
– Weight between 40 and 55 pounds (18-25 kg)
Extremely Fast Hunter
For thousands of years, the Saluki was above anything else bred and used as a hunting dog. The old poets wrote that these dogs often hunted together with falcons, which were used to gouge out the eyes of the quarry. This way it would be easier for a Saluki to bring the poor animal down. Grouse, but effective. And even though today this breed is mostly known as a lovely companion, it still retains its hunting prowess. This is an extremely quick, agile and deadly hound that has an incredibly strong prey drive. Like every other Sighthound, the Arabian Hound usually hunts by sight, but he also possesses an excellent sense of smell. He can successfully work alone or in small packs, depending on the game. The Persian Greyhound is the master-chaser with a sharp mind and high stamina. There is literally no way any game could escape a pack of these dogs. The Guinness Book of Records confirms that this is the fastest dog on the planet. So, the obvious question is – how fast can Saluki run? Believe it or not, he can reach a jaw dropping speed of 68,8 km/h! Incredible! No wonder this hound is used to hunt gazelle, the fastest of all antelopes. Apart from gazelles and antelopes, in the Middle East the Persian Greyhounds have been mostly used in the hunt on jackals and hares. In Europe (the UK, particularly), they have been sometimes used for hunting rabbits and foxes.
More Than Just Another Companion Dog
There is so many things to love about the Saluki. This is an aloof and peaceful dog that will be, if treated properly, unquestionably devoted to his master, but will look at him/her as an equal. He will gladly follow you wherever you may go, but will probably demand the same from you in return. He will usually think of you as his best friend, and will always strive to be in your company. A true, loyal companion, there’s no doubt about that. Ok, the Tanji may be very stubborn and independent at times, but I’m sure you will find your mutual language in the end. This dog will not only be your shadow at every step, but a watchful sentinel who will alarm you if there’s anything strange going on in or around your property. On top of that, you won’t have to worry he will mutilate someone because he’s not at all aggressive towards people. With good training, you will also be able to make your dog an excellent competitor in various dog sports, such as agility, obedience, tracking, and especially lure coursing. Gracious, elegant and noble, the Gazelle Hound will definitely draw the attention of many people in the street – a true star of the show. What’s best, you will literally have a living fossil walking by your side. How cool is that? Yeah, the Saluki is indeed a precious dog that will make you proud for many reasons. Unfortunately, the breed is quite rare and hard to come by, but imagine your quest a treasure hunt. I’m sure it will pay off in the end.