Dignified, graceful and swift with a strong constitution

The elegantly built Saluki with its long legs and slender frame is one of the larger sighthounds with a rich history going back thousands of years.

Bred to hunt and chase prey by sight, Salukis regularly need to wear themselves out by running or racing. Once they bolt after whatever squirrel, cat, or other small animal has crossed their path, you might as well be shouting the recall command into the void. For that reason, keeping them leashed during walks and only letting them race within secured or fenced-in areas is imperative to their safety.

While they are both robust and enduring in their desire to run, Salukis are not averse to a fair bit of luxury in their homes. Their low body fat makes them fierce appreciators of well-cushioned sofas and comfortable (dog) beds.

Despite them being equipped with a sense of independence, Salukis are still capable of forming strong bonds with their owners. While not that affectionate towards strangers, their loyalty and love for their owners run deep – a fact that every Saluki owner can wholeheartedly confirm.

The Saluki is perhaps the oldest known breed of domesticated dog. Having tremendous speed, the Saluki was used by the Arabs, accompanied by a falcon, to track and bring down Gazelles.
Salukis appeared in Ancient Egypt, where they were held in such great esteem that their bodies were often mummified like the bodies of the Pharaohs themselves.
While most Salukis display a quiet, cat-like personality, they are also hunters and will chase anything that is fuzzy and moves, and sometimes catch and kill it.
To train a Saluki you need patience and positive reinforcement as they will simply "switch off" if treated roughly or trained harshly.
The Saluki's sight is remarkable, as is his strong constitution and ability to withstand very harsh conditions despite an aristocratic appearance. Salukis are clean, do not shed much and come in two varieties: the more common feathered and the smooth variety.

Saluki characteristics

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The Saluki’s rich history reaches back to Ancient Egypt and the Middle East, coining their nickname as The Royal Dog of Egypt. Historians place their existence as far back as 7000 BC, which would make them one of the oldest dog breeds in the world.

Hunting gazelles, foxes and hares under the harshest conditions, Salukis provided food for the nomads and were beloved by the nobility and the pharaohs for their elegance and endurance. Excavations in the Upper Nile regions have even uncovered mummified Salukis, a practice believed to help preserve the body for the afterlife, emphasising the high regard in which they were held during their lifetime.

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The origins of the breed’s name are much debated, with historians suggesting cities like Saluk in Yemen, or Seleucia in Syria, as possible namesakes.

The emergence of Salukis in Europe is closely linked to the efforts of Florence Amherst, who had a pair of Salukis brought to Britain after seeing them on a tour of the Nile in 1895. Although she was successful in establishing a breeding line, it took until the early 20th century for the breed to become popular in Europe. This development was greatly accelerated by British soldiers returning from Syria after World War I, bringing the dogs with them. In 1923, the British Kennel Club officially recognised the breed, followed by the American Kennel Club in 1927.

Breed facts

FCI: Sighthounds - Group 10
AKC/KC: Hound Group
black and tan, cream, fawn, red, grizzle, ...
View colour distribution
Lure coursing, Racing
Salukis excel in racing and lure coursing, occasionally they can be found in other sports such as agility.
Middle East
Coat type
smooth or feathered
smooth, feathered


Salukis are generally a healthy breed. However, it is recommended to check for cardiovascular conditions, like valve disease or arrhythmia. Due to their low body fat, Salukis don’t react well to barbiturate anaesthetics. Veterinarians are usually aware of this, but you can always double-check with them should the need for anaesthesia arise.

Running accidents can also cause injuries, but that risk can be reduced by making sure the environment is appropriate for the Salukis’ speedy endeavours. To avoid gastric torsion (extremely dangerous bloating and twisting of the stomach) Salukis should not run excessively for a few hours after eating.