Temperament: Gentle, sensitive, aloof
Lifespan: 10-12 years
Recommended for: Active people
Maintenance: low to medium depending on length of coat
The Saluki is a medium-sized sight hound standing around 60-70 cm (23-27") and weighing 22-27kg (50-60lb). Sight hounds were bred to hunt primarily by sight – to detect movement, then to chase, capture and kill prey. Like most sight hounds, Salukis are extremely slim, long legged dogs.
There are two types of Saluki – one smooth coated like a greyhound (sometimes called a Shami) and the other smooth with feathering on the ears, tail, legs and feet.
Colours include white, cream, fawn, gold, red, grizzle and tan, tricolour (white, black and tan) and black and tan, or variations of these colours.
In England, the breed was originally called a Gazelle Hound and was recognised by the British Kennel Club in 1922. The ancient name of Saluki was eventually accepted although the origin of the name is unclear.
Descriptions of temperaments vary from independent, aloof and standoffish with strangers, to docile, affectionate and faithful. Salukis are not a breed which is demanding of attention and physical contact with humans. They will be happy in the company of another Saluki. They make good watchdogs.
Health and lifespan
Salukis are a very sound breed as are most of the greyhound group. They sometimes injure themselves while running (e.g. collisions, sprung toes) and the hair between the toes should be kept clean and neat to avoid irritation. The ears should be checked regularly to make sure they are clean. They have a lifespan of 10 to 12 years.
An adult Saluki costs around $15-$20 per week to feed.
Breeding and cost
Salukis tend to have large litters consisting of around 8-10 puppies per litter. Whelping is usually trouble free. They cost from around $350 for pets and $500 to $1000 for show quality.
Salukis are relatively inactive indoors. Some owners describe the Saluki as being like a cat indoors, that is they are clean, quiet and enjoy attention when they feel like it. Salukis should ideally sleep indoors or at least with shelter and find warm temperatures most comfortable.
Space and exercise
While content to laze around the house looking elegant, Salukis require as much exercise as possible (around 3km or an hours walk every day) and will do best on acreage. Free running exercise is best but only in areas where dogs are permitted off the leash, away from livestock, traffic or other pets. Salukis have exceptional endurance and are not the best jogging companion because they run faster than humans.
The Saluki is recommended for active people who are prepared to be firm (but not harsh) in their discipline of the dog. They are suitable for families with older children who will not roughhouse with the dog. The natural hunting instinct of the Saluki means they are not recommended for people who keep other pets such as rabbits, birds and guinea pigs.
Breeders say the coat of the Saluki is odour free and easy to groom. Smooth coated Salukis require minimal maintenance while the feathered variety should have the long hair brushed daily. Special attention needs to be paid to keeping the hair between the toes neat. Salukis shed an average amount of hair.
Salukis were used as hunting dogs but are now primarily owned as pets. Lure coursing is becoming a popular sport among owners of Salukis and many clubs run lure coursing days. This involves dogs chasing a lure around a set course.
According to ANKC registration figures, there has been a gradual decline in the popularity of the Saluki over the last 10 years.
Salukis will never be perfectly obedient and are easily distracted so are best kept on lead. Many have been lost or killed when allowed to run free. They will not pay attention to a handlers call if they are chasing something.
To find up-to-date contacts for breeders, contact the following organisations.
Phone: 1300 728 022 (NSW only) or (02) 9834 3022
Fax: (02) 9834 3872
Phone: (03) 9788 2500
Fax: (03) 9788 2599
Phone: (02) 6241 4404 – Fax: (02) 6241 1129.
Phone: (08) 9455 1188
Fax: (08) 9455 1190
Phone: (08) 8349 4797
Canine Control Council of Queensland
Phone: (07) 3252 2661
Fax: (07) 3252 3864
Tasmanian Canine Association
Phone: (03) 6272 9443
Fax: (03) 6273 0844
Phone: (08) 8984 3570
Fax: (08) 8984 3409