Breed At A Glance


Sensitive, gentle and elegant, difficult to train

Life Expectancy
12-13 years

Average Height
23-28 inches

Average Weight
29-66 lbs

Coat Color
White, cream, fawn, golden, red, grizzle and tan, black and tan, and tricolor (white, black and tan)

Coat Length/Texture
Short, smooth and silky, with longer feathering on the ears, legs and tail

Shedding Propensity
Little, yet consistent year round

Also known as Gazelle Hound, Arabian Hound, Persian Greyhound, Tanji, Tazi, Persian Sighthound

General Temperament

Salukis are gentle, sensitive and calm creatures. They are intelligent and inventive, and love to run and explore their natural hunting instincts. They often become particularly attached to one person, and can be prone to separation anxiety if left alone for long periods. Salukis are largely pack dogs and can be aloof towards people, even members of their own family, although they are never aggressive toward people. Salukis are too sensitive and slim for roughhousing, and can be fairly skittish, and thus do best with older well-behaved children.

Training a Saluki takes a gentle hand and loving consistency, bearing in mind that they are of independent mind and will likely never be perfectly well-behaved. They can be tough to housebreak, although they are usually submissive to a dominant owner or dog. The Saluki’s natural instinct is to hunt and kill non-canine animals, and therefore are not suited for households with other types of pets (such as cats or rabbits). The best non-human companion for a Saluki is another Saluki.

The Saluki is a highly energetic breed with a deeply ingrained hunting instinct. They will function best in a home with a large securely fenced yard. This breed can reach speeds upwards of 50 mph and are not likely to respond to commands when they are on the chase. A Saluki should always remain on a leash during walks.

Breed History

The Saluki is perhaps the oldest of all domesticated dog breeds, with it’s history going back 7,000 years to the Sumarian empire (present-day Iraq). Recent DNA analyses show that this was one of the first breeds to diverge from wolves. Images of Salukis were recently found on ancient seals located there, and similar images were found in Eygptian tombs dating back to 2100 B.C. This breed was highly regarded by Royalty and Pharoahs, so much so that they were often mummified and entombed along with their masters. Salukis are treasured favorites of the nomadic Bedouin tribes of that region. Bred for speed and endurance, Salukis were often used as coursers (hounds who hunt by sight rather than scent) to hunt gazelle as well as other smaller game.

The Saluki was first brought to England in the mid-19th century, and didn’t gain particular favor in that country until the 1890’s. They were accepted into the American Kennel Club in 1927.

Body Structure and Composition

The Saluki is a tall and noble breed. The skull gradually tapers down into the muzzle, which ends in large nostrils to help the dog pull in plenty of air during long runs. The ears are especially long with feathered fur. The fur on the rest of the body is much shorter, with the exception of the tail, which is also feathered. They have long, strong legs and a deep chest, giving them incredible endurance: specimens that are especially fit can run at speeds of 35 mph or more for several miles. Much like their Greyhound cousins, they have a unique gait during which all four feet come off the ground at top speed.

Medical Information

Although the original Salukis introduced into the United States came from the whole of the Middle East, a vast geographical area which provided plenty of genetic variety, the current population of Salukis in the U.S. are all descended from this limited breeding stock. Therefore special care must be taken to avoid inbreeding and subsequent health problems. Luckily, responsible breeding has lead to very few inheritable diseases within this breed.

The biggest danger to this breed is being hit by a car, as they are likely to blindly give chase to anything that they perceive as prey. The Saluki has almost no body fat, and therefore are sensitive to various chemicals, pesticides and anesthesia. They are also very emotionally sensitive and require a consistent routine and temperate home environment.

Salukis are remarkably clean and odor free, and their coat is easy to care for, although they do shed very lightly throughout the year. Be sure to check the pendulous ears regularly to prevent infection.

Anecdotal Information

Salukis were often used along with falcons to hunt prey in their native Arab world. As possibly the most treasured companion animal, they were often given as gifts as opposed to being purchased. They were allow free reign in the home, tent, etc., and slept on cushions or sometimes even with their owner.

Southern Illinois University and Southwest Tennesee Community College have both adopted the Saluki as their respective mascots.

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