Saluki dog breed
John Walton
Written by John Walton

Considered as one of the oldest breeds, the Saluki became a witness of major historical events dating back the early centuries. People first believed that they were a gift sent by Allah. Tall, graceful and elegant, the salukis are characterized by their skinny and model-like features. Since their body is fit and slender, they are very easy to groom.

However, owners must not be deceived as the Salukis may look modest on the outside, but they are fast and swift in nature. They are agile jumpers, and they can be resistant to training. Hence, this dog breed should not be kept off-leash unless it is within an enclosed area. Nonetheless, if you are looking for a devoted pet companion, the saluki is perfect for you.

Breed Characteristics

AdaptabilityBelow Average
All Around FriendlinessHigh
Exercise NeedsHigh

Dog Breed Group:Hound Dogs
Height:1 foot, 11 inches to 2 feet, 4 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight: About 35 to 70 pounds
Life Span: 12 to 14 years on an average

The epitome of speed, grace, endurance and agility, the Saluki was also called “the Noble” by its Arab breeders in the earlier years. Its origins were kept in secrecy by Arab shrieks for hundreds of years because of its value as a hunter. Because of its unique qualities, it was known as one of the most expensive dog breeds in the Middle East.

The Saluki is a great pet companion for those who are seeking a loyal friend. It gives its human companions space and silence they need while providing the comfort of companionship. Its reserved personality makes it one of the rarest dog breeds to date.

However, since the Salukis are skilled hunters in nature, any sudden movement from other pets or unknown animals can prompt it to strike and chase at high speeds. With long legs and a slender body, it can speed up to around 35 miles an hour. In the like manner, the Salukis are agile jumpers, so it is important for owners to keep their fences high.

Moreover, since the Salukis gallop at high speeds, one problem with keeping this dog breed off leash in an urban area is its probability of running into a road accident, possibly resulting in death or injuries. In a rural setting, on the other hand, the Salukis are prone to having close encounters with animals in the forests and in the farms since it has the instinct to hunt.

The Salukis, if kept on a leash, are excellent jogging companions because they run at relatively high speeds. However, their human companions must be strong and physically capable of keeping up with their strength and agility.

At home, the Salukis are generally quiet and reserved. They have the tendency to make their selves too comfortable by lying down their human companion’s bed or couch. Therefore, owners must provide them a comfortable bed with cushioning.

Furthermore, while the Salukis are excellent watch dogs, they cannot be considered a guard dog. They may be popular for being a fearless hunter, but the Salukis are not aggressive in other settings.

If you are considering a Saluki, it is important to note that this dog breed necessitates a large space. Keeping a high fenced, 300 lateral feet area can sustain the dog’s need to run and to release its energy. If you do not have a spacious yard, make sure that you can easily access parks and other spots where your dog companion can freely run.

Main Highlights
  • Characterized by their agility, the Salukis need daily exercise, so owners must give them time and space to run freely in safe and secured areas.
  • Since the Saluki’s body is quite bony and slender, it must be provided with a comfortable bed with enough cushioning.
  • The Salukis are loyal and reserved companions, making them perfect for individuals who value their space.
  • The Salukis have a strong drive to chase once they see or feel any sudden movement within the area. To prevent any accident, this dog breed must be kept on a leash in areas that aren’t enclosed or secured.
  • The Salukis may be reserved in nature, but they are highly sensitive. They must be kept indoors as they thrive on human companionship. Keeping them alone for long hours every day may result in sadness and depression.
  • An apartment is not an ideal home for the Salukis as they need space to run and release their energy. Instead, a high-fenced area is a more livable condition for this dog breed.
  • Since the Saluki is a highly sensitive dog breed, harsh and punitive training techniques would not work. Owners need to reinforce positive training methods that are primarily comprised of food rewards and praises. Also, consistency is a key component in training the Saluki.
  • The Salukis are tolerant, making them ideal companions for older children who can properly interact with their pet companions. However, Salukis at a young age can be too active for children aged less than 8.
  • The Salukis greatly value cleanliness, so it is important for owners to practice regular grooming habits.
  • Early and consistent socialization is recommended so the Saluki would become a well-rounded pet companion.
Breed History

Although the exact origin of the name “Saluki” is yet to be known, theories suggest that it was derived from Saluk, a city in Yemen. Meanwhile, other spectators believe that “Saluki” is the direct transliteration of the word “hound” in the Arabic language.

Being one of the most ancient dog breeds, the Saluki was once called the gazelle hound and the Persian Greyhound. Experts believe that this dog breed was a descendant from the first dogs, and that the Salukis were companions of nomads in the earliest periods.

Early scriptures, markings and carvings that date back to the Sumerian empire personify a dog that bears a strong resemblance with the Saluki. In the like manner, tombs in Egypt are also marked by the same carvings. History suggests that the Salukis, together with falcons, are important hunting companions of Pharaohs, making them extremely valuable in Egypt. In fact, most Salukis were granted mummification after their death. Nomadic Muslims, on the other hand, considered the Salukis as a gift from Allah.

A great number of the Salukis originated from the Middle East, and it was said to be introduced in Britain in the year 1840. However, it was only after WWI when the Salukis became a common breed in Great Britain, thanks to British soldiers from the Middle East who brought the breed into their homes.

Today, the Saluki is known as a rare dog breed as it ranks 116 over the 155 breeds that are recognized by the American Kennel Club.


Just like other dog breeds, the male Salukis are generally taller than their female counterparts. A male Saluki can stand up to 28 inches at shoulder level. Meanwhile, the Saluki’s weight can range from 35 to 70 pounds.

Personality and Character

Reserved, sensitive and compassionate, the Saluki’s character makes it ideal for people seeking companionship without having to sacrifice space and silence in the home. Unlike other dog breeds that are playful in nature, the Salukis are quiet and aloof, but this doesn’t mean that they do not thrive for human companionship and affection.

In fact, they are sensitive enough to pick up negative emotions in the home, so any tension in the household can cause stress in the Saluki’s part. Likewise, the Saluki does not enjoy being away from their human companions, so keeping it indoors is ideal.

In terms of physical requirements, the Saluki is characterized by strength and agility, so it necessitates regular exercise. While they can run off-leash within secured areas, it is important for owners to keep them on-leash when they are running in open spaces. This is primarily because the Saluki has the tendency to chase any prey despite being given direct instruction by their human companions. Since they concentrate on their target when out on a chase, they can be unaware of road conditions, making them vulnerable to encountering accidents.

Since the Saluki is a natural-born hunter, keeping it in a home with smaller pets is not ideal. Also, while it can mix well with other dogs, it best socializes with other hound dogs.

If you are considering a Saluki, always remember that early and consistent socialization with humans and other pets is crucial in making sure that your dog will grow up to become a well-versed pet companion.

Health and Potential Problems

Unlike many dog breeds, the Saluki is not vulnerable to many genetic disorders. It is a generally healthy dog. However, owners still need to look after their pet’s holistic health. Aside from regular check-ups, owners must check out for signs of ear infections or any impending disease so the Saluki would be able to live a long and healthy life.

If you are considering this breed, it is crucial to look for health clearances for both of the puppy’s parents. Also, you must watch out for some of the conditions below as they are common to the Saluki:

  • Hemangiosarcoma: Hemangiosarcoma is a type of cancer that primarily affects the spleen and the lining of the blood vessels.
  • Sensitivity to Anesthesia: Since the Saluki’s built is lean and slender, it has the tendency to become vulnerable to anesthesia, along with other medications. Luckily, special drugs have been formulated for Salukis and other sight hounds, so owners who need medical help for their pet companions should look for a vet who is aware of their pet’s special drug needs.
  • Hip Dysplasia: Common in medium to large dog breeds, hip dysplasia is a condition where the bones of the thighs do not snugly fit into the hip socket. It can either be symptomatic or asymptomatic, and the disease usually progresses once the dog ages.
  • Cardiomyopathy: A medical condition mainly affecting large dog breeds, cardiomyopathy can severely affect the heart’s ability to pump blood. It comes in two forms—dilated cardiomyopathy and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. While the first type refers to the enlargement of the heart’s ventricles, the second type is a condition where the muscle mass of the heart abnormally increases.
Care Features

The Saluki is a highly agile dog that can speed up to 35 miles an hour once in pursuit of prey. In the like manner, its long legs and slender body enable it to easily jump off fences. Hence, keeping the dog within an area that is enclosed by at least a 6-feet-tall fence is vital in ensuring that it will not easily escape from the yard.

In addition to that, the Saluki is not suited in an apartment setting since it needs enough space to run freely. Ideally, the yard where it should be kept off-leash should be at about 350 feet in width or length. Walking, running or jogging should also be incorporated in the dog breed’s daily routines.

While sufficient space and high, defensive enclosures are important to keep the Saluki safe, this dog breed should not be kept outdoors all the time as it is a highly sensitive dog that loves being with its human companions. Therefore, owners should keep their dog indoors and prepare a bed with soft cushioning for their four-legged friend since the Saluki’s bony physical structure can make hard flooring a bad place for them to rest. Also, if you are considering this dog breed, prepare your couch as the Saluki loves resting on their human companion’s bed or sofa.

Lastly, training can become extremely challenging since the Salukis are independent in nature. To make sure that the Saluki won’t get bored, owners should devise short and fun training exercises. Also, positive reinforcement is more effective since the Salukis do not respond well to harsh punishments.

Feeding Schedule

Just like other dog breeds, the daily recommended amount of food intake greatly depends on how large the Saluki is. Typically, about 1.75 to 2.75 cups of dry, high quality dog food is divided into two equal servings within the day.

Coat, Color and Grooming

The Saluki is characterized by its short, silky coating. Slight featherings may be present in the thighs, legs and shoulders. Featherings may also be prominent under its tail. Overall, its coating has a smooth finish.

The Saluki comes in a range of colors including black and tan, black and silver, white, cream, fawn, fawn and white, grizzle and tan, chocolate grizzle, fawn grizzle, black fringe red with white, gold, red grizzle and silver grizzle. The dog breed is made highly recognizable by its liver or black pigmentation on the nose.

The Salukis, just like cats, are fastidious in nature. They rarely shed, which means that brushing the coating and the featherings once a week is enough to get rid of its shedding and to make sure that its natural oils are evenly distributed unto its body. Usually, wiping the dog’s coating with a damp cloth is sufficient to ensure that the dog breed is kept clean. However, it is still important to bathe the dog as needed to remove excess dirt.

To keep the dog’s teeth and gums healthy, owners must brush its teeth at least once a week. Nail clipping is necessary when its nails are already screeching as it comes in contact to the flooring.

Owners who are inexperienced in clipping should ask advice from expert groomers to make sure that the grooming experience won’t be traumatic for their pet companion. It is always recommended to start the dog’s grooming habits at an early phase so it will get used to the grooming experience. By doing so, owners will be able to lay a solid foundation of good grooming habits.

Children And Other Pets Compatibility

Households comprised of young children should be careful of taking care of any dog breed. The Salukis have a slender and muscular body, making them vulnerable to injuries when they are carelessly handled by young children. Therefore, it is important for parents to teach their children how to properly interact with their pet companion.

Likewise, taking care of the Saluki may not be ideal if a household is comprised of children aged below 8. Although this dog breed is tolerant of children’s behavior, and are child-friendly in general, they can be too active for younger children. Also, it is important for parents to note that close supervision is always necessary when their children are interacting with their pet companions.

As regards to pet compatibility, the Salukis can socialize well with other dog breeds although they prefer being with hound dogs. They are not vulnerable to chasing smaller dogs and cats. However, since they have a natural instinct to go after prey, they are not suited with smaller animals like birds, hamsters and rabbits.

An ideal companion for people who are reserved in nature, the Saluki offers companionship, minus the chaos. Although they may seem aloof and quiet, they are devoted and loyal companions you can always count on to.

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.