Saluki, the Persian gem


Graceful, slender and fast. Saluki is a fascinating sighthound breed.

The Saluki dog was favorite with the pharaohs and so popular in the recent Muslim world that in some communities it’s the only dog breed allowed to be bred (as dogs are considered unclean).

History and Interesting Facts about Saluki

salukiThe Salukis were favorite among kings and pharaohs of the Ancient Egypt. The first mentions of Saluki forefathers predate the modern standardized breeds, imaged of running dogs with long and narrow bodies adorn pottery from 6000 BC. The walls of the crypt of Pharaoh Thutmose III are decorated with dogs that might just be them. Another Saluki enthusiast was probably the nomarch Intef I who had not only been painted with these dogs but also left behind a papyrus with a text about his liking of the Salukis. Although the breed comes from the Fertile Crescent, with the standardization of the breed Iran was established as its country of origin.

And – last but not least, the Egyptian god Anubis has a hound head that resembles the sleek head of a Saluki. The breed has been widely used by the Bedouins as well as the Jaff tribe (Iraq, Iran). In the ancient times this dog had a far higher value than a camel.

The first Saluki was brought to Europe in 1840 when Hamilton Smith brought it to England but didn’t really lay foundations to breeding. In 1895 Florence Amherst brought a pair of Salukis from Al Salihah and at about the same time the first Salukis were also brought to Germany by the duke von der Schulenberg.

In 1923 the British Kennel Club granted official recognition to the breed and the dogs started being exported from Britain in other countries. By the end of the 1930s the breed was very popular also in the USA but with the outbreak of WW II the interest plummeted and the breed was saved by the few surviving kennels.

Appearance, Temperament and Health

Appearance of Icelandic Sheepdog

Height: 58–71 cm/23–28 in

Weight: 18–27 kg/40–60 lb

The body of a Saluki dog is long and narrow as is the head. The face with large eyes is framed by drop ears. The tail is long and curved, the legs long and the chest is deep-set.

The gene pool includes two coat varieties – smooth and feathered. And as for the color, although some are far more common than others, the varieties are cream, fawn, white, black and tan, red, grizzle and tan and tricolor.



Like all hounds Saluki is very independent, proud and aristocratic. When properly socialized, the Salukis are calm, reserved to strangers but not aggressive and they tend to ignore other people. They are not very willing to undergo obedience training and generally, they don’t like obeying orders. Therefore, it’s not recommendable to release a Saluki from the leash in an open area without a fence because it will run and probably not come back when you call it.

Salukis are dominant but also tolerant to children who do them do harm. They should be always supervised with small children who could accidentally harm the dog – in this case a Saluki will defend itself.


Salukis live on average 12 to 14 years. Some dogs might suffer cancer and cardiac diseases, however, these are not extremely common and chances are good that your Saluki will die of old age.

How to take care of Saluki

There are several things to consider when purchasing a Saluki. This breed is a hound and as such it needs lots and lots of movement every day. You need to have large areas secured with a fence and give your dog the opportunity to run and channel its energy. Also, they need quality food suitable for dogs with high energy demands.

Long-haired Salukis need an occasional brushing and also a bath – the hounds generally don’t like water so this might be difficult.

If you liked this article, browse more of the Asian dog breeds we wrote about.