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Saluki: Like the Wind in the Desert Sand

The Saluki enchants from first sight with its elegance and beauty. In fact, Salukis, also known as “Persian greyhounds”, are among the oldest domesticated dog breeds – and among the fastest: In 1996, a Saluki set a record with a speed of 68.8 kilometers per hour. However, the tall, slender greyhound has some requirements for its humans. As the owner of a Saluki, you should also be able to empathize with the subtle nuances in the behavior of the sensitive four-legged friend.

Origin of the Saluki

The Saluki is an ancient breed that originated in the desert areas of the Middle East. There he was bred by Bedouins as a hunting dog. Compared to other dog breeds, the Saluki was and is highly regarded in the Orient: As a companion when hunting gazelles or rabbits, it contributed to the survival of the desert people and was therefore described as a “gift from Allah”. Systematic breeding in Europe began in 1895 when the Brit Florence Amherst brought a pair back from a trip to Egypt. Thirty years later, officers stationed in the Middle East brought their pets home with them, and the popularity of the elegant hunting dog grew. In 1923 the first European breeding standard was defined.

Nature of the Saluki

Salukis are considered alert and sensitive at the same time. They are smart and learn quickly, but are easily bored and always need new ideas. In the family pack, the Saluki bonds strongly to a self-chosen alpha human. He is reserved towards strangers, but rarely aggressive. With sufficient address and activity, the Saluki is a balanced and friendly housemate who gets along with dogs he knows. He seems dignified and sovereign in his way and shows no “will to please”.

Training of the Saluki

Salukis are greyhounds – which means they need a lot of exercises to keep them busy. Apart from their body size, they are only suitable to a limited extent for keeping in a flat. A kennel is out of the question. Sufficient exercise is elementary, whereby the Saluki should be given the opportunity to run longer distances. The breed is also suitable for dog sports such as agility and as a sports companion for joggers, skaters, or riders. The typical hunting instinct makes it difficult to keep them together with smaller domestic animals. Male dogs are also prone to fights with competitors.

Consistency and patience are important when training a dog. The Saluki has to learn its limits in order not to chase after a small game without a leash or to harass other dogs. To prevent this from happening, you should attend a puppy group with your fur nose and then attend dog school. The hours together also strengthen the human-dog relationship. Well socialized and lovingly trained, the Saluki is a friendly and loyal four-legged friend.

Care of the Saluki

In keeping with its origins in hot desert regions, the Saluki coat is relatively thin with little undercoat. In wet, cold weather or snow, you should put a dog coat on your nose. In summer, light-colored animals, in particular, can tend to sunburn and must therefore always be able to find a place in the shade. The care of the Saluki is uncomplicated – especially in comparison to long-haired greyhound breeds. Occasional brushing with a soft hair comb – and checking for parasites when you do so – is sufficient.

Peculiarities of the Saluki

Like most sighthounds, the Saluki has little body fat. This makes dosing spoons or flea remedies difficult. If in doubt, consult your veterinarian on the correct use. Also, make sure that the dog has an extra soft dog bed or cushion. Otherwise, he is prone to calluses on the elbows and chest. The Saluki has a remarkably long tail, which is usually held downward between the hind legs when at rest and level with the back when in motion.

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