PetMD Editorial
By PetMD Editorial
Published: October 6, 2009

The Saluki is a graceful dog, with great speed, endurance, and strength -- all of which enable it to hunt and kill gazelle or other quarry over deep sand or rocky mountains.

Physical Characteristics

The Saluki can attack gazelle and other quarry over rocky mountains and deep sand due to its light strides and greyhound-like build, which combines the qualities of symmetry, swiftness, endurance, and grace.

In general, it has a glossy and silky coat that is either white, cream, fawn, red, or tan in color. It may be one of two types: smooth coated or feathered. The feathered type has long hair on its tail, ears, between the toes, and occasionally behind its legs. The smooth variety, meanwhile, does not possess any long feathering; its coat is short and silky.

As the Saluki has developed over a wide area, the breed possesses a variety of acceptable types. The faithful, far-seeing, and deep eyes lend the dog a dignified and gentle expression.

Personality and Temperament

Being extremely sensitive, the Saluki does not like rough play. It is gentle towards children but not very playful, which may not satisfy many kids. And though dedicated to its own family, it is not very demonstrative in its actions, and is often unresponsive to calls.

Indoors, the Saluki remains quiet and calm, while outdoors it seeks a soft and warm area. It loves to run swiftly in circular movements and it chases any fast-moving object or small running animal. The Saluki also has a tendency to remain reserved and aloof with strangers.


Though naturally slim, the dog is also a picky eater. Those unaware of this fact may even consider the dog to be improperly fed. The smooth coated Saluki requires the occasional brushing to discard dead hair, while Salukis with long, feathered hair require weekly combing to prevent matting.

The Saluki is most often thought of as an inside dog, sleeping indoors in all climates except summer. Despite this fact, the dog does not enjoy spending long hours out in the cold — though it does like playing in the snow on occasion.

Daily exercise in the form of free running in an enclosed and safe area, jogging, and long on-leash walks is a must for the dog. Additionally, the Saluki should be given a soft bed to prevent the development of calluses, specifically at the elbows and knees.


The Saluki, which has an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years, occasionally suffers from hypothyroidism and is prone to cardiomyopathy, a minor condition. The breed is also susceptible to hemangiosarcoma, a serious health condition, and reacts adversely to barbiturate anesthesia. To identify some of these conditions early, a veterinarian may recommend cardiac and thyroid exams for this breed of dog.

History and Background

As evidence of the earliest Saluki can be traced to Egyptian times, several thousands of years ago, it is regarded among the ancient domestic dog breeds. Originally used by Arab nomads to run down foxes, hares, and gazelles in the desert (mostly with the help of falcons), the Saluki probably received its name during the Selucian period. (The dog is also referred to as the Tazi, Persian Greyhound, or Gazelle Hound.)

Because the Saluki was the Bedouins' most important asset in hunting, it was well taken care of and often slept in tents with them. In fact, despite the fact that the dog was regarded as unclean according to the Islam religion, the Saluki was referred to as the noble one, or "hor."

The Saluki remained pure for hundred of years because it was not allowed to breed with non-Salukis. However, this also resulted in local variations of the breed, which can be seen even today.

It wasn't until the early 20th century that the Saluki was introduced to the West, eventually being recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1927.

Today the main function of the exotic Saluki is as a show dog and companion, but many are also used for hare hunting. Be that as it may, the number of Salukis have greatly diminished in some of the areas where they originally flourished due to the growing trend of gun use — rather than dog use — for hunting.

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