Saluki may be one of the oldest breeds of dogs still in existence. Excavations of the Sumerian empire, dating back to 7000 B.C., found carvings of dogs looking much like today’s Salukis, with both smooth and feathered coats. Salukis are hunting sighthounds and have bodies built for speed and agility.
Saluki males stand 23 to 28 inches and weigh 40 to 60 pounds. Saluki females are smaller. Salukis have a long narrow head, large eyes, and dropped ears. The tail is long and carried in a curve. The feathered coat has long silky hair on the ears, back of legs, thighs, and tail, while the rest of the body has a smooth, soft coat. The smooth coat dogs have a soft, short coat with no feathering. Colours include white, cream, gold, red, and black and tan. Grooming the Saluki breed requires weekly brushing with a soft bristle brush for the coat and twice weekly combing of the feathers.
Although Salukis are calm in the house, they were bred to run and still enjoy a chance to run at full steam. Watching Salukis run is like watching birds fly; they are graceful, powerful, and awesome! However, all exercise should be within a fenced-in yard or on leash. This breed retains its natural hunting instincts, and if a rabbit or squirrel is spotted, these dogs will be off in a flash. Young Salukis can be destructive if they don’t get enough exercise.
Salukis were not bred to take orders; they have been hunters for thousands of years. Training, therefore, can be a challenge. Training should be upbeat, fun, and varied—not repetitive— and the owner must be patient. The Saluki breed will never be as obedient as most of the herding and working breeds are. Salukis may not be the stars of the obedience world, but they are very loving and affectionate. Many owners consider them addictive! They can be wonderful family dogs but should be supervised with smaller pets. Health concerns include a sensitivity to anaesthesia, thyroid problems, heart problems, and cancer.