by Caitlin Ultimo
A sighthound dog breed from Africa, Azawakh dogs are known to be loyal and deeply affectionate companions. While independent, they still love socializing with their loved ones and tend to feel a strong need to protect them.
The Azawakh is a tall and elegant breed with weights ranging between 33 and 55 pounds; females on the lighter end of that spectrum and males on the heavier side. They have a light and elastic gait, making them graceful, agile runners.
“These are physically fit, lean dogs with light bone and fine skin,” says AKC Vice President Gina DiNardo. “Their legs are longer than their bodies and their hips are higher than their shoulders, giving them a distinct and unique appearance.”
An Azawakh can have a clear sand, fawn, black, brown, blue, gray, brindle, grizzle or multi-color coat.
Personality and Temperament
“A well-socialized Azawakh is affectionate, gentle, playful, and extremely loyal to its owner,” says DiNardo. They sometimes bond strongly with one particular person in the family and can become protective of their “packs” and leery of strangers. The breed is known to be very intelligent and independent, making them a great companion to those who lead active lives.
“They are relatively calm indoors, but have tremendous energy and endurance, so they must have daily long walks,” DiNardo says. When considering adding an Azawakh to your family, remember that they are active dogs with strong hunting and guarding instincts. They require daily exercise and may look at other small household pets, like cats, as prey rather than friends .
Azawakhs are very smart and can possess great independence, which makes positive, reward-based training and socialization a must, starting early in the Azawakh’s life. This breed will respond and more easily adapt to disciplines such as obedience, freestyle, and agility training rather than to harsh interactions like punishment-based training, which can damage this breed’s spirit and cause mistrust, fear, or aggression.
The Azawakh’s coat doesn’t require too much maintenance beyond a weekly brushing and occasional bath. “Its short coat needs minimal grooming with a glove or soft bristle brush,” shares DiNardo.
You may want to dress your Azawakh in a sweater or coat while outdoors in cold weather, as their short coats won’t offer their lean bodies much warmth.
The Azawakh is generally a healthy breed with a life expectancy of 12-15 years. You’ll want to keep his ears clean to avoid infection and brush his teeth to help prevent dental disease, but these are general guidelines for all dog breeds.
The primary requirements for good health for Azawakh dogs are to make sure your dog receives all vet-recommended vaccines and parasite protection, along with other preventive care, the details of which depend on the dog’s health and lifestyle.
History and Background
The Azawakh is a West African sighthound. “The breed has been the companion to nomads of the South-Sahara for hundreds of years,” says DiNardo.
Because Azawakh are sighthounds, they can have a strong drive to chase, reaching remarkable speeds of about 32-40 MPH.
This article was verified and edited for accuracy by Dr. Jennifer Coates, DVM