Saluki Dog Breed Info: Meet The Royal Dog of Egypt

An ancient breed that’s slim but rugged, the Saluki is a hunting hound known for its incredible speed, strength, endurance, and grace.

They’re also known as the Arabian Hound, Persian Greyhound, or Gazelle Hound.

Two Saluki dogs in a royal living room

It’s a good-looking canine, but they’re not for everyone. Keep reading and find out if the Royal Dog of Egypt is a fitting companion for you.

What is a Saluki dog?

Some historians say that the Saluki is probably the oldest known breed of domesticated dogs. They were thought to go back as far as 7000 BC but were identified as a distinct breed and type by 329 BC.

It’s likely that Saluki dogs were founded and well-known long before the pyramids were built.

Purebred Saluki dog portrait
Close-up portrait of purebred Saluki dog – Image source

Many kings and queens owned these sighthounds, including Alexander the Great. Salukis were also particularly beloved by the ancient Egyptian Pharaohs.

They had such high esteem for Salukis that their bodies were often mummified like those of the pharaohs. That is why they were also found in Egyptian tombs. 

The Saluki dog breed was considered one of the few clean dogs in Arab areas, where they can share Bedouin tents.

Because they’re known to be swift and agile sprinters, Arabs used Salukis to track and bring down gazelles and antelopes.

Do you want to see how fast they can run after a gazelle? Check out this video:

Salukis may have spread throughout the Middle East, Egypt, and Asia when Alexander the Great encountered these canines. It’s also believed that they’re related to the Afghan Hound and similar dogs.

Although they are a well-known breed, they are also ancient, so there was an argument about including them in the American Kennel Club (AKC).

It was in 1927 when the AKC recognized Saluki and released its detailed breed standard.

What does a Saluki look like?

Saluki dog walking in the snow
A long-legged Saluki dog walking in the snowfield – Image source

Breeding with non-Salukis was strictly forbidden, making it possible for the Salukis to remain virtually unchanged for thousands of years. To this day, the Saluki comes in various styles, but all of them are equally correct.

Lean and graceful, the Saluki is often described as regal in appearance with its long, narrow face. Its large, oval-shaped eyes are dark to hazel in color with a far-seeing gaze that expresses warmth and intelligence.

Their distinctive ears are feathered with fur that sometimes grows quite long. Salukis’ neck is long and supple that meets their deep, narrow chest.

Salukis’ hip bones typically show as well as a couple of vertebrae and their last three ribs. They have straight and long forelegs that enable them to gallop and jump with power.

Salukis and Greyhounds are often compared with each other when it comes to appearance, but they have notable differences. For one, Salukis are thinner, slighter, and somewhat more angular than Greyhounds.

Greyhounds have double coat furs, while Salukis have long hair on their ears, tail, toes, throat, and sometimes on the back of their limbs.

They both have short coats, but Salukis’ are silky while Greyhounds’ are straight. Greyhounds also have more coat colors than Salukis.

Size: How big does a Saluki get?

The Saluki is a medium- to giant-sized dog that stands between 23 and 28 inches (58 and 71 cm) in height and weighs 40 to 65 pounds (18 to 29 kg). Females are considerably smaller than males.

Salukis are NOT good apartment dogs. You will need a large fenced yard where they can run safely.

If you don’t have a spacious outdoor area, you should at least have easy access to a fenced park, an enclosed sports field, or a beach with no nearby road to keep this fido happy as a pet.

Coat: What type of coat hair do Salukis have?

Beautiful Saluki dog close-up portrait
Gorgeous Saluki dog in long-hairy ears portrait – Image source

As mentioned above, Salukis have long and silky hairs on different parts of their body. Although many consider their distinctive feathering pattern the Saluki hallmark, this breed also comes in a smooth variety.

They also come in various coat colors like the following:

  • White
  • Cream
  • Fawn
  • Silver
  • Golden
  • Red
  • Black
  • Chocolate
  • Black & Tan
  • Chocolate & Tan
  • Black & Silver
  • Tricolor – Black Tan & White

Their few various coat markings are:

  • Grizzle Markings
  • Parti-Color
  • Irish Marked
  • Sable
  • Irish Marked Grizzle
  • Parti-Color Grizzle
  • Irish Marked Sable
  • Sable Parti-Color

Temperament: Do Saluki dogs make good family pets?

Portrait of a Saluki dog hugging her pet owner
Lovely Saluki dog hugging her pet owner – Image source

The Salukis are family dogs that are better to be the only canine in the household. They tend to be aloof and shy with strangers but are devoted to their families.

They’re not the type of pup that will run up to greet every new person they see.

Salukis are excellent companions for older kids, but they’re NOT recommended for homes with small children. They’re tolerant dogs, but young Salukis can be too exuberant for children 8 years and younger.

If these little ones aren’t careful, they can injure themselves or the Salukis because they have thin skin and knobby bones.

They’re also good with other dogs, but they prefer to be with other Salukis.

And though they’re not aggressive with people, Salukis should not reside in homes with small animals. A Saluki will instinctively chase and hunt them down with the slightest movement of a cat, squirrel, or radio-controlled car.

While Salukis aren’t showy with their affection, they get firmly attached to their people and dislike being left alone for long periods.

They are very quiet dogs at home. They don’t bark much at all and tend to be adequate watchdogs for this reason.

Is the Saluki the fastest dog?

Saluki dog running in the snow
An active Saluki dog running fast in the snow – Image source

Sadly, no. The Greyhound is still the fastest dog in the world, with a top speed of 45 mph. Saluki comes second, clocked at nearly 43 mph by the Guinness Book of Records in 1996.

With this speed comes some downside. Because of Saluki’s instinct to run after wildlife, combined with their stubbornness and their firm belief that cars will stop for them, you CAN’T let your Saluki let loose in an unfenced area.

If you dare do this, be sure that you’re strong enough to pull his leash when he attempts to run.

When it comes to trainability, it can be a challenge at first. There will be times that no matter how much you call them, they’ll gladly ignore you if they find something more interesting.

So, how will you train him? There are two types of training you can do.

First, you can start Crate Training in his puppy days to learn how to be safely confined at home or while traveling.

Second, you can do the Basic Obedience Training to help your Saluki learn manners at home and in the community.

How to take care of your Saluki dog

Generally speaking, these dogs are NOT considered high maintenance.

When it comes to weather conditions, Salukis do fine in hotter climates since they were bred to hunt in Egypt.

They’re not very good with the cold, though, because of their thin skin. They also don’t have fats to protect them during the rain and winter.

Do Salukis need a lot of daily exercise?

Saluki dog chasing the purple wheel toy
A white Saluki dog enjoys chasing the purple wheel toy in the field

Salukis have high energy levels, so they need at least 40 minutes of moderate to intense activities to burn all of their energy.

These dogs do pretty well in many canine sports, especially those that involve chasing something. Why not try lure coursing, flyball, and agility?

These are all fun options that you and your pet will surely enjoy. Doing this will help your canine stay physically and mentally satisfied, too.

Who do you think will win in a lure coursing between a Saluki and Whippet? Watch this video until the end:

Grooming: Do Salukis shed?

Salukis are moderate shedders and not hypoallergenic, so plan a weekly brushing routine to avoid mats using a bristle brush to remove the extra hair on their smooth coat.

Salukis need frequent bathing using high-quality shampoo because they’re prone to dandruff and they have sensitive skin.

You’ll also need to keep their nails short and neat. If you can hear their nails clicking on the floor, that means they need trimming. You can do this once to twice a month, or as needed. 

Their floppy, long ears also need to be cleaned regularly as it tends to lead dirt and debris to get stuck in their ear canal, which can cause infections.

Brushing your Saluki’s teeth at least two or three times a week will prevent tartar buildup and the accompanying bacteria. But if you can, doing this daily is better.

Feeding: How much should a Saluki eat in a day?

It’s recommended to give them 1.75 to 2.75 cups of high-quality dog food a day, divided into two meals.

This is one of the large dog breeds that are also picky eaters. They prefer to eat fresh foods, but you can look for wet dog food or dry kibbles to see what works for your fido.

Make sure to give them food that is high in protein and fat to fuel their active muscles. Choose foods with meat as their first ingredient.

Also, avoid foods with high amounts of soy and corn fillers. These are not digestible nor nutritious.

According to the Saluki Club of America, you have to feed them meaty bones to keep their teeth clean and supply some nutrients that they may miss otherwise.

Plus, these bones are an excellent way to keep your doggy distracted and entertained.

Lifespan: How long do Saluki dogs live?

Charming Saluki dog posing on the field
A sleek Saluki dog posing in the park

Saluki dogs typically have a lifespan of 10 to 17 years. It’s a lengthy life expectancy for their size. A reason for this may be because they’re bred for function over bred standardization.

Dogs that are overly bred for conformity tend to be unhealthy as breeders tend to choose unnatural physical features over health. That is not a problem with this breed.

The Saluki breed is generally healthy, but they can still experience some health problems, just like any other dog.

Hip dysplasia is a common disease that affects large dog breeds like the Saluki. However, this breed ranks very low in hip dysplasia surveys.

The British Veterinary Association found that the average Saluki has a hip score of five, with the highest score of 106. The lower the score, the better the dog’s hips are.

Old age is one of the main reasons for Saluki’s death. This breed is also a bit more prone to particular kinds of cancer, even at a younger age.

An example is the Hemangiosarcoma that can be found in the lining of blood vessels and the spleen.

While many cancers can be cured by surgically removing them, vets can treat other types with chemotherapy. That is why early detection is critical.

It seems like heart problems are common throughout the whole breed. Cardiomyopathy, heart murmurs, and other issues affect the Salukis.

Dermatitis, alopecia, and similar skin conditions were also reported to affect this canine.

Below is a complete list of the health problems this breed is prone to get:

  1. Detached retina
  2. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  3. Cardiomyopathy
  4. Valve disease or Arrhythmias
  5. Enlarged heart
  6. Hemangiosarcoma
  7. Osteosarcoma
  8. Lymphoma
  9. Mammary Cancer
  10. Autoimmune conditions
  11. Bloat or Gastric Torsion
  12. Anesthesia sensitivity
  13. Hypothyroidism
  14. Sunburn

Typically, these dogs are not put through many health tests before breeding. Instead, some breeders follow guidelines set by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).

Cardiac exams and thyroid evaluations are sometimes done, as well.

How much do Saluki puppies cost?

Saluki dog lying on the floor
Saluki dog lying flat on a wooden floor – Image source

Saluki puppies are pretty rare. While they’re an older breed, they have never been prevalent in Western countries.

For that reason, each Saluki puppy is likely to cost between $1,700 and $2,700, with the average price being $2,400. That is expensive, even for a purebred dog.

We do NOT recommend purchasing these canines from a pet store or puppy farm.

Often, puppy farms are more concerned with their profit rather than the dog’s health. What they do is not only unethical but also leads to the production of unhealthy puppies.

Saluki Breeders

Finding a reputable breeder in the United States can be quite difficult. To be sure that you’re getting your canine companion in the right places, visit the Saluki Club of America to choose the breeder near you.

Another place to find Saluki dogs is on AKC Marketplace.

Saluki Rescues

There are a few Saluki rescues, as well. They mostly have adults and older dogs.

The majority of these Saluki dogs are anywhere from one to two years old, as this is usually when their owners realize just how much work they are. Plus, most dogs go through a teenager phase.

If you plan to provide a home to these Salukis, you can visit Saluki Club of America’s rescue groups and the Saluki Tree of Life Alliance, Inc.

Curious about a Saluki mix?

If you feel like it’s too much to own a purebred Saluki, but you want a dog that’s similar, check out these crossbreeds.

Saluki Greyhound mix

Saluki Greyhound mix dog lying with the toys
Meet the Saluki Greyhound mix dog being lazy on the couch – Image source

These dogs aren’t much different from a Saluki or a Greyhound. They’re very similar to each other, so their offspring will likely pass for one dog or the other.

They’re rarer, mostly because Salukis are quite rare themselves.

These dogs are likely to be 30-mph couch potatoes. They’re fast but don’t have much endurance.

Saluki Lab mix

Saluki Lab mix dog wearing coat on a hike
A Saluki Lab mix dog wearing his new coat in a morning walk – Image source

Labrador Retrievers are some of the most popular dogs. Therefore, the Saluki Lab mix is probably going to be the most common option.

This mixed-breed dog is friendlier than a purebred Saluki. They also get more excited when seeing new people, so that is something to keep in mind when getting one.

Who should get a Saluki?

Perfect portrait of Saluki dog posing in the nature
A perfect portrait of Saluki dog posing in the nature

Because of Saluki’s particular needs, they may not be a good fit for first-time owners. These dogs are best for active families. They don’t require much grooming, but you need to have enough time to exercise them every day. 

They are not as friendly as other dogs, aggressive or territorial. Instead, they are shy. They tend to hang out in their space when visitors come over.

However, they are gentle with children and are excellent in families for this reason.

What do you think of the Saluki? Planning to get one? Share with us your story about Salukis in the comment box below.

Further Reading: Similar Breeds to the Saluki

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