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Subject: rec.pets.dogs: Salukis Breed-FAQ
This article was archived around: 21 May 2006 04:22:10 GMT
Posting-frequency: 30 days
Last-modified: 02 Apr 2002
There are many FAQ's available for this group. For a complete
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This article is Copyright 1997 by the Author(s) listed below.
It may be freely distributed on the Internet in its entirety without
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It may NOT reside at another website (use links, please) other
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Ancient Hunting Hound of the Middle East
Authors & Contributors
Jane Taylor, Khamsa Salukis and Arabians, email@example.com
Sharon Walls, Obi-Wan Salukis, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lyndell Ackerman, Camp Carma Salukis
Catherine Meyers, Comelightly Salukis
Copyright 1994, 1995, 1996 by Jane Taylor and Sharon Walls.
Table of Contents
* Frequently Asked Questions
* Description & History
+ Kennel Clubs which Recognize the Saluki
+ Club Contacts
Frequently Asked Questions
How is the Saluki around children? Other pets? As a watchdog?
The Saluki can be quite tolerant of children and can be accused of
"licking the baby" too much. As with any breed the temperament of
the puppy in question can determine how it will interact with
children. Salukis can be territorial while claiming "their"
children and protecting them from a "Saluki-perceived" harm. They
can be protective of other pets in the household as well. In the
Middle-East they have been used as flock guardians. This does not
mean that they can be trained as watch/guard dogs like a Doberman
or Rottweiler. It is from the Saluki's sense of loyalty and
companionship to their owner that this tendency can be attributed.
Salukis can be temperamental and will become quite emotionally
attached to their owners.
Are they noisy? Do they have any bad habits?
Salukis tend to bark only when there is something worthwhile to
bark at (unless one has fallen into bad habits out of boredom).
They are very athletic, easily able to clear high fences unless the
owner has taken proper precautions to see that this does not occur.
They are not usually nuisance diggers, but can create large pits to
escape summer heat if left out of doors. Also, if not exercised
enough, your Saluki may excavate your backyard and garden into
W.W.II sized foxholes.
Is the Saluki a good house-dog?
The Saluki is an extremely clean dog with little to no odor, and
minimal shedding due to the short coat. In general, a Saluki kept
indoors sheds a little all year round. Salukis are not generally
thought of as outside dogs and they tend to not do well in that
kind of situation.
They do not drool, except in anticipation of food. They are
generally easy to house train. They will take over the furniture
unless their owners discourage this habit from puppy hood. A
happily wagging tail will easily clear off low coffee tables.
Many Saluki owners have learned the "seven foot rule"; if you don't
want the hound to get whatever the item is (butter on the counter,
leftovers on the stove, the roast thawing on the counter) put it
out of reach -- at least seven feet from the floor.
Are there any special feeding problems?
Some Salukis can be finicky in their eating habits and periodically
fast. Most Salukis eat less than other breeds of dog and drink less
as well. This is evident in Arabian horses and camels as well. One
of the most often heard questions by a Saluki owner is "Don't you
feed that dog? It's so skinny, I can see its bones." The answer is
--Yes, I do feed it. All that wants. It also runs approximately 35
mph. Salukis and sight hounds in general have the smallest amount
of body fat of all the dog breeds. When spayed or neutered they may
gain weight and the coat may become fuzzy.
Are there any special medical problems?
Due to lack of body fat, Salukis are sensitive to anesthetic
agents. This is true of most, if not all, the sight hounds. They
also can have reactions and intolerances to some worming and flea
products. In particular, the wormer known as TASK is not
recommended for use on Greyhounds. As a general rule if the label
states not recommended for use on Greyhounds don't use it on a
The #1 cause of death in Salukis is Hit By Car.
The #2 cause of death is Old Age (average life span 12-18 yrs).
Thyroid: Some Salukis may be affected by low thyroid function. This
can be detected by blood tests and can be corrected by oral
medication. This condition may be seen in older animals whose
hormone level has decreased, and also in neutered animals.
Cancer: Cancer has been reported at an increasing rate; many of the
animals affected have been at 4 yrs of age.
Heart Conditions: The Saluki is a tremendous athlete; if given the
opportunity to fulfill his hunting instincts, the heart may become
As with any breed, regular annual checkups and proper follow up
with diet and medication (if necessary) are recommended.
How much exercise does a Saluki need?
Salukis love to run. They will run just for the thrill of it. One
to two miles or more at a time. They can make excellent jogging
companions. In the Middle-East Salukis were and are kept by the
Bedouins, a pastoral nomadic people, and thus would travel numerous
miles over the yearly trek.
Are they energetic or hyper? Are they high-strung?
A young Saluki can be a very energetic fellow. In general, they
mature into lovely calm dogs. Salukis have an instinct to chase
moving objects and they can learn what is acceptable to chase and
what is not. As a general rule, at the age of two they begin to
settle down and continue to mellow significantly each following
What were Salukis originally used for?
Salukis were and are bred in Middle-East as a
hunting/companion/guard dog. They primarily hunt by sight, and to a
much lesser degree by smell, and thus are very aware of their
surroundings. Salukis have keen hearing, but when in pursuit of
"game" exhibit "selective deafness" (which is usually infuriating
to the owner who is calling their hound at the top of their lungs
with no noticable result). When the dog has stopped running and is
standing still is the time to attract the dog's attention by both
calling it and making waving motions with your arms. Their native
quarry includes hare, gazelle, and bustard.
This Saluki breed guideline listed below has been accepted and
approved as of May 10, 1994, for use in the evaluation of the
Saluki breed at International Middle Eastern Coursing Hound
Association (IMECHA) conformation shows. Additionally, it is
supplemental information for use in the conformational judging of
Salukis at the International All Breed Kennel of America, Inc.
(IABKCA) and Alle Rasse Gruppe (ARG) shows. This guideline was
developed by the members of the IMECHA. IMECHA is the parent Saluki
breed group to IABKCA in association with the Union Cynologie
International e.V. (UCI) located in Lhne, Germany.
Description & History
The Saluki is one of the most ancient breeds of hunting hounds.
Paintings of and references to Salukis have been found in ancient
Egyptian tombs, Sumerian buildings, and Assyrian temples. This places
the age of the Saluki, as a distinct and domesticated breed, at
approximately 7,000 years and it has remained relatively unchanged to
the present day. From ancient to modern times the Saluki has been used
to hunt gazelle, hare, bustard (a type of bird), jackal, fox, and wild
ass. The hunting style of the Saluki is to sight and run the game
down, catch and retrieve it. It is a multi-game, multi-terrain
coursing hound. In more recent times (the past 2,000-3,000 years) the
Saluki has been kept by the nomadic Bedouin tribes of the Middle East
to hunt game animals to provide meat for the cook-pot. With the advent
of Islam, dogs were, and are, considered unclean beasts. However, in
the case of the Saluki an exception was made. By the Bedouin, Salukis
are considered the Gift of Allah to his children. They are allowed in
the tents and considered special companions. It has been said that the
Bedouin will never sell a Saluki, but will give one as a special and
The questions that might come to mind in regards to the Saluki are:
* What do the Bedouin look for in a Saluki?
* Why do the Bedouin want a particular look or type?
* What do the Bedouin consider good function?
* What types do different Bedouin tribes have and breed for?
* For what purposes are the different types used?
Most of these questions can be answered by studying the terrain,
climate, and game available in the various regions that Salukis are
found. It must also be kept in mind that Salukis do not have a
"Country-of-Origin" per se, but rather a "Region-of-Origin."
Historically Salukis can be found ranging from Iran, Iraq and Turkey
in the North, throughout the Arabian Peninsula in the South and East,
and into Egypt and across North Africa in the West. Interestingly
enough, the overall picture of Saluki structure is consistent
throughout these areas with a wide variety of breed types.
In the following sections are points found to be consistent throughout
the region and can be interpreted as the "Region-of-Origin Saluki
standard," as well as Bedouin lore from the various sources listed in
the references. In considering the qualities listed throughout this
guideline: Imagine yourself at the edge of an Arabian desert where you
will be camped for three weeks. You have all of the general camping
gear you need but you food supply is limited to 55 gallons of water
and 10 pounds of rice. Standing beside the tent are six Salukis, you
have your choice of three, two of one gender and one of the other.
Keep in mind you will use these Salukis to provide meat for your
cook-pot as well as their sustenance. Which ones do you feel can do
the job that they were bred to do; hunt by sight, run the game down,
catch and retrieve it?
In the show ring the overall appearance of the Saluki is one of grace,
symmetry, and a well conditioned athlete. The impression given is one
of the ability to hunt and kill efficiently. While on the coursing
field the impression becomes a reality with the addition of an intense
desire, drive, and focus that is not seen in the show ring. Combined,
these qualities comprise undeniable Saluki breed type and function.
The Smooth Variety exhibits the same qualities with the exception of
feathering. In both varieties males may range from 23 to 28 inches at
the top of the shoulder with bitches measuring somewhat smaller.
Head and Face
The head should be longer than it is wide for breed type. Wedge shaped
when viewed from above with adequate width of backskull for attachment
of the jaw muscles. This is for clamping power when making a kill. In
profile, the head will again be wedge shaped with a slight stop at the
eyes. The top of the skull should not be domed and be almost flat (in
keeping with the "wedge" shape). The eyes are almond shaped in the
Saluki and are set into the skull (not protruding/bulging) at a
slightly oblique angle to the face. The color can range from light
honey to dark brown. The set of the eyes and their lashes protect them
from sand and sun glare. The expression is that of a keen hunter. It
can be said that the Saluki will have a definite Eastern/Oriental
appearance about the eyes. Tribal Lore: The Bedouin prefer a lighter
color to the eye. They say the Saluki can see better and farther.
The bony ridges in the muzzle will provide for an appearance of
refinement and chiseling to the face. The tightness of the lips to the
cheekbones will give the appearance that the Saluki is smiling. The
lips should be close to the cheek and not drooping - a clean, dry
mouth. Tribal lore: At least five hair warts should be on the face --
two on each cheek and one or more on the chin. However, two or three
on the chin is most desirable.
Pigment of the nose is black to liver. In older Salukis a graying in
black noses may be seen. The eye rims in darker pigmented Salukis will
appear as if they have been painted with kohl (a kind of black makeup
made from antimony that Middle Eastern women use to define the shape
of the eye). Tribal lore: a mottled or pink nose is very undesirable
as they cannot stand the sun.
Teeth and Bite
The teeth must be strong and white with a scissors or level bite. Full
dentition is desirable. Tribal lore: The hound should have what the
Bedouin describes as laughing jaws for a powerful bite. When running,
the mouth will be wide open and the lips will be pulled back. It is
this action and the set of the jaws that are referred to as "laughing
The ear leather should be "drop-eared," also known as "floppy-eared."
The leather should be of sufficient length to reach the corner of the
mouth, but no so large as to hinder the hound while coursing and
catching game. The ears should be set high on the head, typically well
above the eye line. The ears are very mobile and will allow the ear
leathers to almost touch each other behind the backskull when pulled
back and up. Depending upon the Saluki's mood, the ears may also be
held in positions known as "airplane ears" (the ears will resemble a
set of bent airplane wings due to a fold in the leather and alert
positioning), "mouse ears" (the ears are pulled up, as if to touch
over the crown, and forward framing the face; a very alert and
inquisitive position), and "rose ears" (the ears are folded, pulled
towards the back, and held next to the head similar to a Greyhound's).
The texture of the feathering must be silky (quantity is not
important). This feathering is absent, of course, in the smooth
variety with the exception of short to moderate length guard hairs
sometimes called "lashes." A few of the Bedouin tribes would crop
ears. This practice is more common in the northern areas, particularly
among the Kurds. Cropping was done for a variety of reasons: to
prevent the ear leather from being torn while hunting predatory game
such as jackal and fox; for beauty; for protection against damage from
thorn bushes; for identification (cutting only one ear or only part of
the leather); for speed; for alertness. Some Salukis imported from the
Middle East have had cropped ears.
The neck should be moderately long, supple, and well muscled. The
throat latch (the area where the head and neck join) should be fine
for mobility of the head in making the catch of game.
The chest at the heart girth should be deep and with sufficient width
(spring-of-rib) for endurance in the chase. When viewed from the front
the chest bone (sternum, a.k.a. keelbone) and points of the shoulders
should be visible, while the area below them (the forechest) will be
somewhat filled in. Tribal lore: Belief is that if the width is too
wide (barrel chested) the Saluki will lack speed. If the width is too
narrow (slab sided) the Saluki will lack endurance.
The forechest should be moderately narrow in proportion with the size
of the Saluki. This is for speed. The width is linked with the
placement of the shoulders on the body, i.e. too far forward can
create a "narrow front," too far back can create a protrusion of the
sternum several inches beyond the points of the shoulder known as
"pigeon breasted." Keep in mind that a balance between "spring-of-rib"
and the placement of the shoulder assembly creates the proper width.
It has also been observed that when while moving on harder terrain a
looseness in the front assembly may appear. However, this looseness
will disappear when the hound is moving on loose sand. Thus, the front
assembly is compensating for the movement of the sand under the
Saluki's feet and there is a purpose to the looseness.
The forelegs should be straight and long from the elbow to the wrist
with a slight slope in the pastern to the foot. The pastern must also
be strong. The slope and strength of the pasterns is for shock
absorption while running as the wrist can be hyperextended at almost a
90 degree angle when the foot is in contact with the ground and the
front assembly is in follow-through from extension to flexion. A
slight toeing-out of the foot is not uncommon. The bone of the limbs
is oval tending towards bladed (not round in appearance as in a
working dog) with fine quality, however it is very dense and strong
for its size. Like the Arabian horse, Salukis possess subtle power and
The foot should be shaped as the foot of the hare (two middle toes
longer than the outside two); this applies to both front and rear. The
rear, however, will be slightly less noticeable. Tribal lore: The
feathering between the toes and pads is for protection against the hot
sand. Some Bedouin will apply a henna pack (a dried and crushed plant
mixed with water) to the Salukis' feet; this is to toughen the pads
against cuts and abrasions during a hunt or trek. The henna pack will
typically extend to slightly above the wrist on the front legs and
almost to the hock on the rear.
Back and Loin
The back should be well muscled with an unmistakable arch over the
loin. A good arch lends itself to muscular conditioning more than
skeletal structure. It should be noted that the length to height ratio
can vary from region to region. In the more northern areas the Saluki
can measure slightly longer than tall. While in the southern regions
this measurement can reverse itself, more tall than long. In addition,
a more square variety can be found throughout. In other words, the
measurement from the top of the scapula (shoulder) to the ground
typically equals the length of the dog as measured from the point of
the shoulder to the point of the rump. Each variation can have its
advantages on the coursing field: more long than tall can be better
over mountainous terrain, more tall than long can have greater sprint
speed, and a more square Saluki can have better endurance and speed on
long courses. All are correct in keeping with breed type. The waist
(tuck up/loin) should be pronounced. Tribal lore: The loin should be
no more than what a man can grasp around with his hands (thumb to
thumb and second finger to second finger). The males will be slightly
bulkier than the female, but over all the fineness applies to both.
This is for greater speed.
Rear Assembly and Angulation
The hip bones should be prominent. When viewed from the rear the croup
should appear to have a trapezoid shape. When the hound is standing
naturally, the rear quarters should be higher than the fore (the arch
in the loin will add to this height) -- this height is due to the rear
length of leg and is for springing ability and length of stride.
Tribal lore: A man should be able to place four fingers between the
hip bones. This will show the agility and speed ability of the hound.
The 1st and 2nd thigh should be moderately long and well muscled with
the hocks moderately low to the ground in relation to the length of
the thighs. The whole showing moderate angulation in balance with the
forequarters. When standing in a show-stack position, the tips of the
toes on the front feet will be in a plumb line with point of the
shoulder and the front edge of the hind toes should be in a plumb line
with the point of the rump (the point of the ishium on the pelvis) and
the hocks should be perpendicular to the ground. This overall
moderation of angulation is for endurance, agility, and speed.
The tail is set low on the croup and carried in a curve. When the
Saluki is in motion the tail may be carried in a low curve, elevated
curve, or up and curved over the back (gay tail), but it should not be
carried without a curve i.e., straight up, straight out from the back,
or hanging limp --straight down. In the feathered variety the hair on
the underside of the tail is silky, not bushy. The smooth variety can
range from a shorter brush like feather (not bushy) to a short smooth
coat. Tribal lore: The tail should be of sufficient length to come
between the rear legs, up around the loin and touch the spine.
The working gait of the Saluki is a double suspension gallop (all four
feet are off the ground in flexion and extension) and they are
considered the endurance runner of the dog world. In peak condition
the Saluki can attain speeds of 35 to 40 miles-per-hour and keep it up
for up to five miles in pursuit of its quarry.
The double-suspension galloping style will give the appearance of the
Salukis' body flying over the terrain with no wasted motion and
appearing almost effortless. In addition, the head will be almost
level with the spine as will the tail. Both will have a small amount
of pumping motion as the Saluki's body is flexed and extended. In the
flexed position the spine will be curved so that the rear legs will be
brought forward to the point of almost being in front of the shoulder
assembly. In extension, the front and rear assemblies are almost level
with the spine. The double-suspension gallop is unique to the Saluki
and other sighthounds and is the only time when reach and drive will
Movement at a trot can give the appearance of floating over the
terrain (another appearance of effortless movement). This can be
almost a prancing type of step with the head up and the tail carried
higher than or at the level of the back. This type of movement is
generally seen in play or courtship and it can also be displayed in
the show ring and it is not a hackney gait. Movement with the head and
tail at an lower level-more in line with the spine-and the legs moving
so that the feet are closer to the ground is used for traveling miles.
In other words, trotting with no wasted effort - a conservation of
effort/energy. It can be seen that when a Saluki moves in such a
manner it will single track - the feet will move closer together
almost as if they are converging along a line one foot in front of the
other. Also, when walking at ease the Saluki will frequently walk a
few steps with a movement resembling the camel's - a pace, the right
fore and hind move together and left fore and hind move together. All
of these types of movement are correct. Soundness in Saluki movement
refers to it being free from injury, disease or lameness. It must be
kept in mind that a Saluki is bred for hunting at a gallop and
movement at a trotting gait will not indicate how it runs. The most
important points to consider in all forms of movement are balance and
moderation. Only when these are present will the desired
Coat Texture and Colors
Coat texture is smooth and silky. Woolly feathering on the shoulders
and thigh may also be present. Puppies have a tendency to have body
wool as well. All colors are acceptable. Tribal lore: Generally the
Bedouins are not concerned about coat or colors as these do not
influence speed, stamina or hunting skill which are the main criteria
for judging a hound's qualities. However, through the years the
following have come to be known among Saluki fanciers as alleged
Bedouin lore special markings and their meanings: A small patch of
white hairs in the middle of the forehead is called "The Kiss of
Allah." This Saluki is blessed and is very special. -- A small patch
of white hairs low on either side of the neck is considered "The Thumb
Print of Allah " and marks the Saluki as especially blessed. (This
mark can also appear as a small indentation in the musculature along
the forward edge of the scapula; this also appears in Arabian horses).
-- A white streak on the neck along the spine, as opposed to a white
collar marking, is called a fast mark and indicates that the Saluki
will be an excellent courser. -- A white tipped tail means that the
Saluki will be an excellent hunter.
Salukis are known for their aloofness with strangers, regal bearing,
and apparent farsightedness. However, with their own family or someone
that they know, they can be outgoing and affectionate companions. The
Saluki has not only been bred by the Bedouin as a hunter for thousands
of years, but as a beautiful, elegant, intelligent, loyal companion,
and protector. Their native intelligence can be quite remarkable and
they can think their way through situations if given the opportunity.
Salukis know their own kind (meaning sighthounds in general and
Salukis in particular) and can have little tolerance for other breeds
of dogs. In addition, they can be protective of their families and
friends (in the Mid-East they are sometimes used to guard the
home/tent). The Saluki temperament does not lend itself well to kennel
situations or heavy handed methods of training. Salukis can be quite
sensitive and become emotionally attached to their owners. In the
obedience ring, they tend to not do as well as other breeds because
they can be easily bored. However, if a strong bond with their owner
is evident they will do what is asked of them to please him or her.
Like the Arabian horse, they can be a friend and companion with
undying loyalty. However, due to their level of intelligence, this
loyalty is not linked with unquestioning obedience.
In the show ring, due to the Saluki's aloofness with strangers and
seeming farsightedness, it is not unusual for them to tend to draw
away from a strange hand reaching for their head or face. This is the
exception rather than the rule and they should not be penalized for
this response. In addition, Salukis should be approached from the
front, with slower movements. However, aggressive or vicious behavior
should not be tolerated.
Other Information and Considerations
It has been noted on the coursing field that when a Saluki has lost
sight of the quarry it will leap or "spy-hop" in an effort to become
sighted again. This is very similar in appearance to a gazelle leaping
while running (jumping or springing with all four feet at once). This
spy-hop, or "sproink" as it is sometimes called, can be as high as
seven feet and is a hunting characteristic of the Saluki.
Comments and References for Guideline Development
The books and publications listed below delineate what some Bedouin
tribes look for not only in Salukis, but their horses and camels as
well. All of these species have been bred to exist under inhospitable
conditions for thousands of years and the Bedouin have developed
specialized breeding formulas for optimum survival. The consistent
points that can be seen in the Bedouin programs for the Saluki,
Arabian Horse, and Dromedary Camel are the elegance, grace, symmetry
and beauty possessed by each; one is just larger or smaller than the
other. In respect of the Bedouin's long history and the original
purpose of the breed, one should not presume to try to improve upon
what they have already perfected; breeding goals should emphasize the
preservation and maintenance of the high standards the Bedouin have
American Kennel Club, The Complete Dog Book , 17th edition., New York,
NY, Howell Book House/Macmillan Publishing Co., Saluki standard
submitted by the Saluki Club of America and approved in 1927, 
Ash, Edward. C., Dogs: Their History and Development , Volumes I and
II, London, England, Ernest Benn Limited, 
Brown, William Robinson, The Horse of the Desert, Nachdr'd. Ausg. New
York , Hildesheim ; New York : Olms, 
Copold, Steve, Hounds, Hares & Other Creatures: The Complete Book of
Coursing, Arvada, CO: Hoflin Publishing, 
Daumas, Melchior Joseph Eug ene, The Ways of the Desert, 9th edition,
revised and augmented with commentaries by the Emir Abd-el-Kader;
translated from the French by Sheila M. Ohlendorf. With a foreword by
Robert A. Fernea, Austin, TX, University of Texas Press 
Dickson, H. R. P., The Arab of the Desert - A Glimpse into Badawin
Life in Kuwait and Sau'di Arabia, London, England, George Allen &
Unwin, Ltd., 
Ferdinand, Klaus, Bedouins of Qatar: a study of the two Bedouin tribes
in Qatar. New York, NY, Thames and Hudson Inc., 
Hutchinson, Walter, Hutchinson's Dog Encyclopaedia, London, England,
Hucthinson & Co., Ltd, 
Miller, Constance O., Gazehounds: The Search for Truth, Wheat Ridge,
CO, Hoflin Publishing, Ltd., 
Raswan, Carl, Black Tents of Arabia (My Life Among the Bedouin):
Folcroft, PA, Folcroft Library Editions, 
Waters, Hope and David--Burydown Salukis--England, The Saluki in
History, Art and Sport , New York, Taplinger Pub. Co. 
Watkins, Vera H.--Windswift Salukis--England, Saluki, Companion of
Kings, New enlarged 3rd edition., Hagerstown, MD : Copper Beech Press,
Kennel Clubs which Recognize the Saluki
American Kennel Club, Canadian Kennel Club, FCI, Kennel Club of Great
Britain, Israeli Kennel Club, UKC, Rare Breed Kennel Club, States
Kennel Club, UCI - International All Breed Kennel Club of America,
For the local Saluki breed club in your area the American Kennel Club
in Raleigh, NC generally has a listing of breed clubs and their rescue
organizations from which you may be able to obtain a Saluki "in need
of a good home."
Saluki Club of America
AKC Parent Breed Club
Diana Farmer, Secretary
American Saluki Association
Susan Demusz, Secretary
40311 Eureka Rd.
Magnolia, TX 77354
STOLA - Saluki Tree of Life Alliance
http://www.stola.org/ If you are unsure about who in your area to
contact, please e-mail Jane Taylor or Sharon Walls (e-mail addresses
at the beginning of the FAQ). This FAQ will be updated periodically
with new publication and club information.
Jane Taylor, email@example.com