This sleek sighthound is an ancient breed who once hunted alongside Bedouins in the deserts of Persia. Genetic testing has proven the breed is among one of the oldest in the world, and dogs resembling the Saluki appear on Sumerian tombs dating as far back as 7000 B.C. Salukis are swift dogs with keen eyesight—traits that make them masterful hunters. With long feathering on their ears and tails, Salukis resemble Afghan Hounds whose glamorous hair was cut too close. But they are beautiful in their own right, with their lean, runner’s frame and graceful profile.
Salukis are loving and devoted to their family members, though they are reserved rather than demonstrative in their affections. With strangers, they are usually aloof and possibly even shy, though they are not aggressive. Salukis don’t have an excess of energy and, indeed, most like to spend their free time lounging on the couch. They should always be walked on a leash and kept in a well-secured yard, because no amount of training will prevent them from giving chase.
Salukis are also called Persian Greyhounds and Tazis.
Salukis have a short, smooth coat that is soft and silky to the touch. Their pendant ears are covered in long, satiny hair, as is their long, low-set tail. They have moderate feathering on their legs. The coat colors are white, cream, red, grizzle and tan, black and tan, fawn, golden, and tricolor (white, black and tan).
Average Height: 23-28 inches
Average Weight: 40-65 pounds
Breed Standard & History
Salukis are a striking, statuesque dog. They have a graceful physique, from their long, narrow head to their long, feathered tail. But they are also well muscled, with the long legs and lean body of runners. In motion, Salukis are agile, swift, and elegant. They have a gentle and calm demeanor, with a noble, attentive expression in their large, oval eyes. They are attached to their families, but reserved—sometimes even shy—with strangers.
One of the oldest domesticated dog breeds, Salukis kept Egyptian pharaohs and Sumerian royals company thousands of years ago. In Persia, the breed helped their masters hunt hare and gazelles across the desert. These dignified dogs held a special place since their earliest days, living in the homes of their owners and being buried with their noble companions. Salukis were introduced to the West in the late 1800s, and quickly became prized as show dogs for their breathtaking beauty and sleek forms. The breed grew in popularity in the UK and the US in the 1920s, and the American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1927.
AKC Breed Category
Salukis are a self-composed and calm dog. They adore their owners, but aren’t particularly demonstrative in their affections. If you want a highly playful, silly dog, or one who adores snuggles—this isn’t the breed for you. Salukis show their love with their quiet, consistent companionship. They are sensitive dogs who require gentle treatment, both in play and training methods.
Are Salukis Good with Kids? Salukis are tolerant of the children in their families, but they aren't interested in being playmates. Kids may be disappointed that their Saluki doesn't pay attention to them. They are best suited to families with older children who know better than to roughhouse with their Saluki, tug on their long ears, or try to climb on them.
(Note: Every dog has a unique personality and distinct life experiences that affect his disposition. As a rule, adults should always supervise playdates between kids and their four-legged friends.)
Are Salukis Good with Other Pets? Salukis can live peacefully with dogs they were raised with since puppyhood, though they aren't especially chummy with other canines. They shouldn't live with cats and other small animals because of their powerful prey drive.
Salukis take a laissez-faire approach to life and don't tend towards the protective.
Are Salukis Good Guard Dogs? Salukis are too mellow and sensitive to make strong guard dogs. They are not particularly watchful or aggressive.
Despite being built for speed, the Saluki is a low-key dog. They thrive with daily exercise and enjoy the opportunity to run full throttle most days, but Salukis probably love relaxing on the couch more than any other activity.
- Need space to run
- A dog bed or a spot on the sofa is a must. The Saluki’s low body fat can cause discomfort and calluses when they rest on hard floors.
- Require socialization so they don't become nervous when faced with new situations
- Loving, but not overtly affectionate
- Reserved or nervous around strangers
- Will dash after small animals
- Should always be on leash or in a secure yard because of their strong prey drive
- Adverse reactions to anesthesia
Salukis require the same creature comforts their families enjoy indoors and will lay claim to the coziest spot in the house. This breed benefits from a soft dog bed, because their elbows and knees are prone to developing calluses from hard floors. With their long legs and need to run, Salukis are not well suited to apartment living. They shed minimally, which keeps fur cleanup to a minimum.
Salukis benefit from having a medium or large enclosed yard they can run around in. They enjoy getting their exercise outdoors year round, but in winter they may need a dog coat for warmth because of their short, smooth coat and low body fat.
A healthy Saluki requires about an hour of daily exercise in the form of long walks, runs, and dog sports.
Salukis have the energy to run around the yard for 30 minutes or so, after which they'll want to curl up and take a nap.
Activity distance rating
- Running Miles: Salukis are sprinters rather than long-distance runners, but they can run with you for two to three miles if they are healthy and fully grown.
- Hiking Miles: Salukis make peaceful hiking buddies and will happily trek with you for four to six miles. Always hike with your Saluki on leash so he can’t race after any wildlife you encounter.
Generally, this breed requires about 1¾ to 2¾ cups of good quality dry dog food each day, given in two feedings. This will vary, however, based upon your Saluki’s activity level and age. Talk to your veterinarian about the optimal diet and quantity of food for your Saluki.
Salukis are independent enough to spend a few hours alone, but they become lonely and anxious if their alone time stretches on too long.
Health and Grooming
Brush your Saluki’s smooth coat twice weekly, paying extra attention to areas of feathering to prevent matting. A bath once a month, or whenever they get dirty, will keep their coat clean and healthy. Wash your Saluki’s ears weekly with a gentle, dog-friendly cleanser to prevent dirt buildup that can cause infections. Brush your Saluki’s teeth several days a week, and trim their nails every month or so to prevent painful cracking.
Common Health Issues
Some breed-specific medical concerns and sensitivities may affect the Saluki, including:
- Heart conditions, including valve disease, arrhythmia, and enlarged hearts
- Hemangiosarcoma, a form of canine cancer
- Adverse reactions to anesthesia
You can minimize serious health concerns in a Saluki by purchasing from a reputable breeder who engages in responsible breeding practices, and through screening for common diseases and conditions.
Salukis are easy to train, but highly sensitive to harsh treatment. This intelligent breed will learn basic obedience commands quickly, as long as you take a calm, patient, and gentle approach to training.
It's helpful to get your Saluki off the couch with advanced obedience and agility training, and dog sports. They are particularly skilled at lure coursing, a sport in which they race at top speeds after a lure.
Sporting Dog Training
Salukis are natural sighthounds, but not natural gun dogs.
No. Salukis shed year round and, as a result, leave pet dander in your home. Pet dander is the primary cause of pet related allergies.
While Greyhounds are deemed the fastest sprinters, Salukis are considered faster runners over longer distances. Salukis have been clocked at just over 40 mph.
Salukis can learn to swim, but they are not known as a breed that is drawn to the water. They are more likely to enjoy wading in the shallows to cool down on a hot day. Salukis have such low body fat that they lose body heat quickly, so swimming sessions should be kept short. Always watch your dog closely when he is swimming or near water.