ALL DOG BREED PROFILES

Azawakh

Azawakh
John Walton
Written by John Walton

The Azawakh dog breed comes from Africa and originated from dogs from outside of the Sahara region which are also known as Bush Dogs and the Tuareg Sloughi. They are a sight hound with a strong need to guard those they love, love to dig, and are bred by various nomadic tribes in the Sahara and sub-Saharan regions such as the Fula and Tuareg. These types of dogs are tall, large, and have lots of energy.

Breed Characteristics

AdaptabilityAbove Average
TrainabilityAbove Average
Health and GroomingAbove Average
All Around FriendlinessAbove Average
Exercise NeedsAbove Average

Dog Breed Group: Hound Dogs
Height: 2 feet, 11 inches to 2 feet, 5 inches tall
Weight: 33 to 55 pounds
Life Span: 12 to 15 years

The Azawakh dog breed originated in Mali, Egypt but has a French patronage. This sighthound dog breed is tall, with long legs and has almond-shaped eyes and a very thin appearance. There are several colors in which this breed comes in and the AKC and UKC approve all of them, which include red, grizzle, blue and black and blue fawn.

Overall healthy, this breed does not have any known dysplasia issues in the hip or otherwise, and the one thing that should be of concern is epilepsy when they become adults, as well as Wobbler Disease, which is an irregularity with the vertebrae in the cervix. The females generally have one period per year and when impregnated can have a litter size of usually four to six pups, but will vary between 1 pup and 10 pups!

This breed does need a lot of exercise and needs a large area to run around because of their speed and amount of energy. They prefer to be around their loved ones and other dogs of their breed, and their owner needs to be firm but fair with them. The bond between this dog and its owner is important to them, but they do like their independence occasionally.

If raised correctly, they will be loving and gentle with everyone, and reserved around those they do not know well. They tend to not be aggressive or mean at all and unless they are threatened, and they get along well with animals and humans.

One thing that sets this breed aside from others is that it prefers hot weather, due to its breed originating in Africa. They can play or hunt without issue in weather over 100 degrees, which most breeds cannot do and because of their preference for hot, dry weather, they absolutely detest being in cold weather or rainy weather. Another thing that sets them aside is that they have a memory like an elephant; they never forget anything and can recognize people or other dogs that they have been apart from for long periods.

Overall, the Azawakh are a loving, loyal, and independent breed that would be most happy in warmer climates with lots of space in which to exercise and play with children or other dogs, especially those of their breed. These African pups do not have a tendency to bark too much or wander away from their families, as they prefer to be in a pack.

Main Highlights
  • The Azawakh came from Africa and come in many colors and have various markings. Some of the colors in which they come in are red, blue and black, blue fawn, and grizzle.
  • Since they are from a hot climate in Africa, they are used to extreme temperatures and can play outdoors in 100+ degree weather without issue, but they do hate cold weather and rain.
  • This breed prefers a pack and needs a firm but fair owner to lead him. They are very loving with their family and a little shy around strangers. If children are a part of their home, they are loving, but can be wary of others.
  • They are very easy to groom as they do not shed much and they also don’t really drool. They need a quick brushing once a week. Overall, they are healthy and have a low level for weight gain.
  • In Africa, they are bred by nomadic tribes in the Saharan region such as the Fula, Tuareg and other tribes from Mali, Algeria, Burkina Faso and other areas. They are used as guard dogs there and can hunt animals at speeds of 40 mph.
  • This breed is known to have a good guarding instinct as well as pack behavior and like to dig,, which are likenesses that are known to pariah dogs.
  • They have some genetic properties like glucose isomerase that is shared with jackals, wolves and foxes. This means that they could have been cross bred with these animals.
Breed History

The Azawakh comes from Africa, more specifically, the Saharan region, and are also called Bush Dogs or Sloughi Dogs. To this day, they are used in those regions as guard dogs and hounds to hunt animals like the gazelle, or even rabbits and can run upwards of 40 miles per hour.

They are used to the hot weather and prefer it over the wet or cold weather, and can easily hunt or play in 100+ degree weather. As a pack animal, which means when one senses danger, they alert the others and a whole pack of them will follow their leader, the alpha dog, who then takes them to attack. The Sloughi version of this dog is more independent and likes to be alone when hunting.

The pariah dogs that they originate from are other hounds in the region, and recent DNA evidence, show that they may have been crossbred with animals like the jackal, foxes and wolves. An interesting point to make is that there are Petroglyph rocks that show depictions of this breed with hunters that date back to about 10,000 years ago, in the Saharan region. Dog bones have been found here dating far back as well and scientists believe this breed has been separated and isolated from other dog breeds for thousands of years.

In current times, the breed is still somewhat isolated to the northern region because of the Sahara Desert but they do have links to the dogs in the southern region and they share many of the same traits as pariah dogs in that area like being a great guard dog, hunting in a pack, urge to dig, and some have extra teeth.

Size

This breed seems to be all legs and mostly lanky so you can see the rib cage in most cases. The males usually get anywhere from 2.1 feet to 2.5 feet tall at the shoulder area and will weigh upwards of 55 pounds fully grown and healthy. The females are a little shorter overall, coming in at 23.5 to 27.5 inches tall and weigh upwards of 44 pounds when healthy.

Personality and Character

The thing about this breed is that it needs to be socialized heavily in order to behave properly, as they are used to their pack and family, and not used to strangers, sounds, different signs and other animals. They can be shy around people they do not know, including animals, and generally are not aggressive unless they are threatened. They do feel protective of those that they love and do make great guard dogs for the home.

Overall, they have a lot of energy and should have training for behavior as they can be independent at times. They do make great running companions and can train for trials, too. They love to run, so they belong in a home with a lot of acreage. Another thing is that they have great memories and can long remember people and other animals that they have not seen in years.

Alberto Rossi said that they are not a normal dog because they are wild and “native”, but they do have an aura of “calmness, gentleness, and trust”. This shows how they can be independent but still adore their family and leaders.

Health and Potential Problems

Overall healthy, this breed is only prone to average dog health issues and diseases except for adult epilepsy and Wobbler Disease, which is known to happen in this breed. Otherwise, they are in great shape if given exercise often and proper nutrition.

  • Wobbler Disease is when a cervical vertebrae is malformed and leaves weakness in dogs and makes them wobbly. This can occur in horses too and is thought to be a genetic disease and is caused by the vertebrae canal narrowing because of erosion of joints. The spinal cord can also be compressed.
  • Adult Onset Epilepsy can occur in older dogs and can result in shaking from seizures that happen when neurological processes take place in the brain. The cause of this is unknown but can be linked to injury in the brain, brain tumors, stroke, birth defects or simply genetics.
  • Parvo Virus is a viral and very contagious disease that is either defined as the intestinal form, which is most common, or the cardiac form. The intestinal form has symptoms of weight loss, vomiting and diarrhea. The cardiac form will affect the muscles in the heart. Parvo can lead to death and the dog should have shots to prevent this from happening.
  • Ear infections are common in all dogs and can be prevented by proper and regular checking of the ears. Using cotton swabs and ear cleaner can be beneficial. The most common ear issues are from allergies, mites, yeast and deep hair growth. If the dog keeps messing with their ears and you see redness, smell an odor, and see swelling, then your dog may have an infection.
  • Hip Dysplasia is a condition in which the bone in the thigh does not fit correctly into the hip joint. One way to tell if this is hurting your dog is to check for pain and lack of use of that area. While this condition is hereditary, it can be attained from other factors like diet, falling, or any injury. A veterinarian can help to provide comfort for a dog with hip dysplasia.
  • Cataracts, which occurs in the lens of the eye, causes cloudiness and therefore will give your dog blurry vision. When they become thicker, the dog can go blind if surgery is not an option. Most times, genetics are the cause of this but injury, age, and other diseases can inhibit this type of degeneration.
  • Food allergies can be avoided if they are eating a proper dog food. Contact allergies could be from shampoos, powders and other chemicals in the house. Also, inhalant allergies can affect your dog because of pollen outside or dust and mildew.
  • Diabetes is a condition in which the body is unable to process sugars correctly. Check for the symptoms which include increased appetite, being really thirsty, and going to the bathroom a lot. A dog will live with diabetes for the rest of its life so it is important to get them on insulin shots and control what they eat.
Care Features

If they have a proper leader, this breed will be stable, as they can be emotional sometimes, but having a good leader will make them more social and thrive emotionally. They need a lot of exercise and love to run around in a large area that is fenced in. They can run pretty fast so having a lot of space is most desirable in order for them to be properly exercised.

The females tend to only have one menstrual cycle per year and they usually have a handful of puppies, but you could be surprised with 1 or 10! As a pack animal, they love to be around those they know and love, and require daily interaction.

Feeding Schedule

The Azawakh need a diet that is of the highest quality because they can be sensitive dogs, so having a food that has real meat like beef or chicken is best for them. They also should have natural grains and taurine in their diet to make sure their heart is taken care of. DHA is another important ingredient for their brain. They should be eating twice per day; once in the morning and again at night time, but the puppies should be fed three or four times each day, and you can use the dosage on the dog package.

Coat, Color and Grooming

This breed has a very short coat, so short that their bellies have almost no hair at all. They are very skinny and due to the structure of their bones, the skeleton can be seen from the skin. They have characteristics of the Whippet, Saluki and Greyhound as far as stature.

This breed comes in various colors like blue fawn, blue and black, grizzle, and red, and they can have several markings on their body and are known for what is known as the Irish Mark, which is a white collar. Because they have so many colors, the AKC and UKC allow all color combinations as the standard that is in Africa.

Some Azawakh’s have mostly white legs, which is not always preferred for some owners. Their ability to run fast makes them stand out and they have what is known as a double suspension gallop, which is the only gait where a dog has fully extended his body.

As far as grooming, they are very easy to take care of because they only require baths as needed and they need to be brushed once a week. Of course you should maintain their toenails, teeth and ears weekly as well as check for sores, rashes, or anything unusual.

Children And Other Pets Compatibility

If this breed is raised around children, they are calm, gentle, and loving. However, they need to be socialized with other children. Though not aggressive, the breed may not be comfortable around strangers, and can act shy or on guard for danger.

They do get along great with other pets in their home. If raised with animals, they will be fine but must also be socialized around other dog breeds and animals like cats, etc. Socialization is key because if they are adapted to certain things, they will not get anxious about new people, animals or experiences.

Overall, the Azawakh is a great dog that can guard the family and be happy in a pack. They are wary of those they do not know, but with extra socialization, they will be fine. They are a great dog that does not require a lot of upkeep in relation to grooming and bathing, and require much room to exercise and run. This breed is a great running companion and is very loyal and loving to those around him. If you have space and lots of energy, this dog can be perfect for you!

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

  • Janis Schley

    Azawakh is the breed that really likes to be the dominant dog, so if you’re bringing this dog into a multi-dog home, or if you have a cat, maybe you should think twice… Also, this cutie doesn’t like to change owners, and that makes them so hard to re-home.

    • John Walton

      It is a slender, graceful, and very elegant dog. Rehoming is one of the recurring issues raised by previous and new owners because they tend to be one-person or one-family dog. They get attached pretty easily and it sticks that way.

0
0
Total
0
Shares