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The Saluki

Also known as the Persian Greyhound or Gazelle Hound

The Saluki is one of the oldest bred domesticated dogs. This Arabian hunting hound has been kept by the Bedouins, a pastoral nomadic people of the desert, for thousands of years. According to Islam, dogs are unclean beasts, with the sole exception of the Saluki, as a gift from Allah to his children. The Saluki is called, "El Hor" or the noble one. They are so highly regarded, that they are kept separate from ordinary "unclean" dogs (kelbs) and allowed to share their master's tent. The Bedouin value the Saluki so much, that one is never sold, though sometimes one is presented as a special gift to a friend or guest as a mark of friendship or respect. The Saluki's speed, endurance and beauty are legendary.

This desert hound, well known for their speed and endurance, were kept primarily for hunting hare and gazelle. By careful breeding, they are an independent and intelligent hound, often hunting out of sight and supervision of their master. They have "hare feet" with strong webbing between the toes, for running swiftly in sand. They achieve their speed through what is known as a double suspension gallop. All four feet are off of the ground during the flexed and extension phase. They are also an endurance runner, being able to run for miles without tiring, unlike the English Greyhound, which is a sprinter and would tire much sooner. At a trot they have a prancing type of step, similar to what is found in Arabian horses. If they lose sight of their quarry, they leap or spy-hop to become sighted again, sometimes as high as seven feet! Salukis have a single layer coat, with no oily, downy undercoat, for surviving the heat of the desert. This is the reason that they have no "doggy" smell. They come in both smooth and feathered varieties, with the feathered having a silky feathering on the ears, tails, and legs.

Temperament. Saluki temperament is a bit different from most other dogs. They were bred by the Bedouins to be aloof, or wary of strangers, to prevent theft by rival tribes, but at the same time they are at ease and affectionate with people they know. They could not be aggressive to other animals as they had to live with other Salukis, horses, camels, etc,;they had to be well socialized. They are smart, inventive, curious, playful creatures. They have very long memories, and are sensitive, with feelings easily hurt by harsh words. Physical discipline is a mistake; it may make the tougher dog more stubborn, and the gentle dog withdrawn into itself. They seem to know their own kind; sighthounds in general, and Salukis in particular. However, they have to been known to have little tolerance for breeds outside this circle. There is a bit of difference between the males and females, with the males being more easy going and affectionate. Too many times aggressive behavior is dismissed as aloofness. This is NOT the case, and should be avoided by proper training. and socialization at an early age. The Bedouin would, and will not today, tolerate an aggressive Saluki in their tent and you should not either. This is a breed of dog that is not for everybody, but perhaps that is what makes them all the more special.

Saluki Links

Saluki Club of America

Saluki Health

Saluki Education

Saluki Rescue

Desert Bred Education

Patty Woodbury's Home Page

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