The Sloughi: Do speed & elegance make for a good pet?

Last Updated on April 13, 2023

The Sloughi is a sleek sighthound that goes by many names. They’re also known as Arabian Greyhounds, Arabischer Windhunds, Sloughi Moghrebi, Arabian Sighthounds, and Levrier Marocain.

This purebred dog can also resemble other breeds like the Afghan Hound or Saluki, but it’s a unique animal all its own. So what are the distinctive features that set this breed apart?

Adorable Sloughi dog posing outdoor

What is a Sloughi dog?

The Sloughi’s origins go so far back that its actual start remains unknown. Evidence of this ancient breed goes back as far as the 13th century.

The breed originated in North African regions that are now modern-day Morocco, Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia. They were also prominent in Europe around the Mediterranean.

These dogs were bred for their hunting skills. They stalked the arid landscapes of North Africa in search of gazelle, rabbits, jackals, and wild pigs.

Their start is linked to the nomadic Berber tribes from the region. Sloughi’s were regarded as prestigious animals and kept predominantly by tribal chieftains and nobles.

The Berber tribes are also responsible for introducing the Sloughi’s closest relative, the Azawakh.

Sloughi is an Arabic term that can translate to mean “sighthound” or “grazehound.” A simple name for a dog that would chase its prey at the mere sight of it.

The first Sloughi dog in the United States was in 1973. That small introduction saw the breed gain enough popularity that the Sloughi Fanciers Association of America (SFAA) came into being in 1988.

The American Sloughi Association (ASLA) sprang up the next year. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes the ASLA as the National Parent Club for the Sloughi.

The AKC first recognized the Sloughi in 1997 as a Foundation Stock Service dog. With this recognition, these dogs were allowed to participate in obedience, tracking, and agility competitions.

In 2004, they were allowed to compete in lure coursing events demonstrated in this video. Finally, in 2016, they were officially recognized by the AKC in the hound group.

What does a Sloughi look like?

These are sleek, athletic dogs. Sloughi’s have log legs supporting their lean, muscular shape. They can also have the distinct quality of being taller than they are long.

Sloughi dog standing and looking up

Sloughi’s have medium to long muzzles that streamline to a point at their noses. Their heads are accentuated by ears that flop forward and dark eyes.

They have a straight topline that leads to their bony hind ends and long tails. They have a large sternum that quickly tapers toward their hindquarters, much like a Greyhound.

Size: How big does a Sloughi dog get?

Sloughis are a large breed. These elegant dogs can enjoy lying around the house, but they are active dogs that thrive with room to run.

They can do fine in apartments, but they’ll need proper exercise. You also may need to crate them if not trained or appropriately stimulated.

So how big do these dogs get?

Sloughi: Male Female
Height: 26-29 inches 24-27 inches
Weight: 45-70 pounds

The Sloughi’s coat & colors

The Sloughi breed has a short coat with dense, fine hair that adds to its smooth, aerodynamic appearance. Their diverse coats are easily maintained.

Their coats can come in a variety of colors. Cream, mahogany, light sand, red, and fawn are all possibilities. Brindle coats and other markings can occur as well.

Aside from brindling, the Sloughi’s coat can feature a black mantle, black ears, black mask, or a darkly colored overlay.

This dog breed’s most common combination is a sandy-colored coat with a black mask.

Temperament: Are Sloughis good family dogs?

Sloughi’s can be independent dogs with a stubborn streak. They can also be territorial, which could lead to some aggressiveness.

Close-up Sloughi dog face

It’s important to note that they are not an overly aggressive breed, merely protective.

These pups are devoted to their favorite human, but their free-spirited nature can make them tough to train. They’ll respond well to positive reinforcement and a steady regimen to boost their trainability.

Sloughi’s will need regular physical and mental stimulation to keep them happy. They can also suffer from separation anxiety, so you won’t want them left alone for too long.

When you are home, they’ll likely love to cuddle up on a soft blanket or a nice cushiony bed.

Sloughi’s have a high prey drive, so they may not do well with small animals. They could see small dogs or cats as prey.

Training and socialization can help subdue their prey drive while also making them better with young children and strangers. These dogs can act standoffish around new people, but they are gentle at heart.

They do great with other dogs, primarily when raised together, but again, training is helpful.

Sloughi’s are also intelligent dogs with a curious disposition. They aren’t big barkers, but that curious streak can lead to a few.

Caring for Your Sloughi

Sloughi’s needs can have varying levels of complexity. Grooming can be easy, while exercising them can take time. It’s important to understand these needs before deciding to make them a pet.

The Berber tribes initially bred them in warmer climates, which they handle far better than the cold. However, these pups will thrive best in moderate environments.

Exercising a Speedster

Active Sloughi dog running in desert

Sloughi’s are fast, and they can cover long distances quickly! Speeds up to 40 miles per hour have been reported.

They are an active breed that requires plenty of daily exercising. Long walks and runs are excellent ways to exercise them.

While they can do fine in an apartment, it’ll be easier on you if you have a big yard for them to run around.

When it comes to a big back yard, you’ll want high fences or to keep them leashed. With a running jump, these dogs can clear a tall fence.

Sporting activities like lure coursing are stellar ideas too. It can function as both physical and mental exercise.

Grooming: Do Sloughi Dogs shed?

Grooming your Sloughi is an easy job. They are not hypoallergenic as they are medium shedders, but an excellent weekly brushing is sufficient.

An occasional bath is necessary, and you’ll want to check under those ears to ensure they’re free of contaminants.

When it comes to dental hygiene, you’ll want to give these pups a daily brushing.

Keep an eye on their nails too. You may have to clip their nails every few months, but their high activity levels will help keep them short.

Feeding Your Friend: The Sloughi Diet

The dietary requirements of your Sloughi will hinge on their size and energy output. When they are fully grown, they could consume up to three cups of food a day.

High-quality dry food is a decent base, but these dogs will need more. You should add rice, vegetables, and lean meats to their diet regularly.

Sloughi’s will need plenty of extra protein to support their health and energy levels.

Sloughi’s can be boney looking dogs, which some assume is malnourishment, but this is part of their distinct look. If you feel as though your dog is underweight, consult a veterinarian.

Don’t forget plenty of clean water as well because they will need plenty to drink.

A Healthy Sloughi Is a Happy Sloughi

Active Sloughi dog standing in a park

Sloughi’s have an average life expectancy of 12-14 years, but their life span can be longer, with some living to be as old as 16. They are healthy dogs in general, with a disposition for specific health problems.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) can be common. It’s a degenerative disorder that affects the retina and can lead to blindness.

A quality breeder will test for this to ensure their pups don’t carry the gene.

Bloat is a condition that causes the stomach to fill with food, gas, or fluid. The belly then expands, which puts pressure on surrounding organs.

This pressure can lead to a myriad of dangerous complications. Making sure you feed them 2 to 3 times a day can help to prevent this condition.

They can also be prone to physical injury as a result of running at their speed. Training can help in preventing such injuries.

Other Possible Health Concerns:

  • Sensitivity to anesthesia
  • Ear Infections
  • A tendency for atypical blood test results
  • Deficient immune systems
  • Balance problems
  • Hemophilia
  • Addison’s Disease

There are some tests that you can have done to help keep your dog in good health.

Things like a PRA Optigen DNA Test, Ophthalmologist evaluations, and regular checkups for ear infections and parasites are recommended.

How much does a Sloughi puppy cost?

Sloughi dog puppy relaxing on the grass

Sloughi puppies aren’t cheap. Getting a new pup from a reputable breeder can cost you as much as $1500-$2000.

Initial costs like neutering, spaying, microchipping, and even a leash can add a few hundred dollars.

Annual expenses, especially for bigger dogs, can be quite costly for veterinarian visits and dental cleanings.

Don’t forget the food costs either. These dogs require a decent amount of food each day with supplemental meats and veggies.

Avoiding puppy farms and pet store breeders is optimal as they work for profit rather than animal well-being. Luckily, the ASLA has a Code of Ethics that Sloughi breeders can sign and follow.

Sloughi Breeders

Reputable breeders are out there, but they can be tough to find. However, the ASLA has a list of breeders that have signed their Code of Ethics. There is no better place to start your search than that.

ASLA Referred Breeders:

  • Ocerico Sloughis
  • Sloughis du Soleil

Rescuing a Sloughi

I always advocate for adoption as there are a lot of dogs in need of a forever home. The ASLA has rescue resources that could be beneficial to your search.

The SFAA also has resources available. They will list Sloughis that are up for adoption on their site.

Sloughi Rescue is also an excellent site to check out. They help to find Sloughi’s homes all over the world.

Is the Sloughi for you?

Black Sloughi dog on top of a sand dune

These stately dogs have easy to care for coats. They have plenty of energy but love to relax at home. You will feel the love from them, and they are excellent guard dogs.

Sloughi’s can be more territorial than some breeds. Their prey drive is high, which will require training.

They can also be tough to train. Sloughi’s thrive with space to run, and they will need to be socialized.

The Sloughi may not be the best dog for first-time owners because of their unique needs, but they can be affectionate pets.

Further Reading: Similar Breeds


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