The Saluki, Arabic: سلوقی‎ / ALA-LC: salūqī / Persian:سلوکی,سگ تازی
also known as the Royal Dog of Egypt or Persian Greyhound is one
of the oldest known breeds of domesticated
dog. There are petroglyphs and
rock arts in Golpaygan and Khomein in central Iran that shows saluki-like
hounds and falcons accompanying hunters chasing preys (ca. 8000–10,000 BCE).
 Also on the potteries found in
Susa, Iran (ca. 4200 BCE) are images of
saluki-like hounds chasing ibex or lying next to pools. And from the
period of the
Middle Kingdom onwards, Saluki-like animals appear on the
Egyptian tombs of 2134 BCE. They have connections to the
Avesta, Bible, Koran and Imperial China. Modern breeding in the west began in
1895 when Florence Amherst imported a breeding pair of Salukis from
Lower Egypt and began working to popularize the breed. The first registered
Salukis in the western studbook were Cyrus and Slongha Peri imported
from Iran and registered with the DWZRV. DWZRV also records the first
litter in 1922. Salukis were recognized by
The Kennel Club in 1923,
and by the
American Kennel Club in 1929. The breed is also the mascot
Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The Saluki is a sighthound and historically traveled throughout Iran and
through Silk road with caravans and nomadic tribes over an area
stretching from the
Sahara to the Caspian Sea and China. They have been
used to hunt quarry such as
gazelles, hares and ibex (mostly in North Iran).
Shaped like a typical
sighthound, they come in two varieties, smooth
and feathered. Though they are an independent breed that needs patient
training, they are gentle and affectionate with their owners. Health issues
 in salukis include cancer and cardiac problems but it is less common
 in countries of origin.

Salukis are considered to be one of the oldest dog breeds in existence.
The name Saluqi has no clear origin and many theories. Linguistics agree
the word Saluqi in Arabic is an adjective referring to where an individual
was from. Sir Terence Clark reports on four possible locations for
the place Saluq including today's Yemen, Iraq and Turkey. In
Persian the
dog is referred to as Tazi, which means to run and in Kurdish areas Tazi
is also used. Also there are two more places with similar names in
Northwest Iran near to the other four locations mentioned in Clark's report.

Modern science tells us the origins of all dogs are to the east in China,
 but we do not know where the origin of the Saluki is located. All
along the Silk Road his presence was known for almost as long as the
dog has been domesticated, a testimony to his function as a hunter and
his beauty as a companion. His image is found in many cultures. There
are petroglyphs and rock arts in Golpaygan and Khomein in central Iran that
shows saluki-like hounds and falcons accompanying hunters chasing preys
(ca. 8000-10,000 BC)., recent excavations of the Sumerian empire,
estimated at 7000-6000 BC have saluki like finds. Saluki-like images adorn
 pottery found in
Susa. And are found appearing on the Egyptian tombs
of 2100 B.C. The nomadic tribes spread the breed across the
Middle East
Persia and Egypt, to as far east as Afghanistan and India,
and as far south as

They were considered to be the "Royal Dog of Egypt". Salukis appear
on Egyptian tombs increasingly commonly from
The Middle Kingdom
(2134 BC – 1785 BC) onward, and have often been found mummified
alongside the bodies of the Pharaohs in the Pyramids. It was during
Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt that Salukis rose to their place of prominence,
 replacing the
Tesem (thought to be similar to modern Pariah dogs,
 or a generic term for a dog).

The breed is thought to be the type of dog mentioned in The Bible.
 Salukis have appeared in
medieval paintings regarding the birth of Christ,
Paolo Veronese's 1573 work The Adoration of the Magi
(also known as the Adoration of the Kings), currently located at the
National Gallery, London. Veronese also painted the breed into
some of his other religious work, including
The Marriage at Cana and
The Finding of Moses.

In China examples of the breed were painted by the fifth Ming Emperor Zhū
Zhānjī, known more commonly as the
Xuande Emperor during the
Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). The inscription on the painting reads
"playfully painted [by the] imperial brush" in 1427. Additional red seals
were added in later years by owners of the painting, which also reveals
that the painting was in the Imperial Chinese collection in the 18th century.

Iran has a long and rich visual history with the Saluki, from early
representations on pottery found in Susa, miniatures painted by Master
Kamal Uddin Behzad, book illustrations By Abd al-Wahhab ibn
'Abd al-Fattah ibn 'Ali (1516). It is an illustration from manuscript of Khamsa
(Quintet) of Nizami, metalsmithing from the reign of the
Injuid prince,
Jamal al Dine Abu Is'haq, created between 1342 and 1353. One of the
more amazing pieces of art in Iran is the
Savashi Canyon Relief, carved
around 1800, commissioned by Fath Ali Shah Qajar to
commemorate his hunting exploits.

Today, the breed is still held in high regard throughout the Middle East,
and have been hunting dogs for nobles and rulers around the region.
They are considered clean by the
Bedouins, and are allowed to be in
women's quarters, while other dogs must be kept outside.
Sheik Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain during the 1930s, was known
for a pack of Salukis that accompanied him throughout the Arab world on
hunting trips. Following his death, his son
Salman ibn Hamad Al Khalifa
attempted to keep the lines pure-bred but they became interbred with
other breeds. However, the pure-bred lines of the royal kennel were saved
by the efforts of
Dana Al Khalifa who was given two pure-bred puppies
by the King, and about a decade later had around pure-bred Salukis
registered with the Kennel Club of Bahrain.

Introduction into the West

The breed was first brought to Europe in the 12th century, with troops
returning from the Crusades in the Middle East, as living proof of the
pilgrimage. A dog noted as being a Gazelle Hound is featured in
a painting of Henry IV, Duke of Saxony, painted in 1514, by Lucas
Cranach the Elder. The dog wears a collar decorated with a scallop
shell, which was the badge of the pilgrim.

It was not until 1840, that the Salukis were first brought to England.
Referred to as Slughis, they and the modern Sloughi were treated as
the same breed, however in recent years genetic tests have shown
that the two breeds are not interbred. The first successful modern
breeding line of Salukis began in 1895, with Florence Amherst
(daughter of the 1st Baron Amherst of Hackney). Having seen Salukis on
a Nile tour in that year, she imported a breeding pair from the
Al Salihah area of Lower Egypt. A champion of breed purity,
she struggled alone for nearly three decades, and real Saluki
popularity did not take hold until the early 1920s, when officers
returning from the war in the Middle East and the
Arab Revolt brought their pet Salukis home with them.

One of these was Brigadier General Frederick Lance of the 19th Lancers,
and his wife, Gladys, returned to Britain with two Salukis from Sarona,
where he was stationed during the post-war occupation. The Lances were
both keen hunters, and rode with their pack of dogs, including both
Salukis and terriers, to course jackal and Dorcas gazelle whilst
stationed in the desert. They imported a male, called Sarona Kelb,
who became an influence on the breed in the West.

Together, the Lances and Florence Amherst mounted a campaign for
recognition of the Middle Eastern breed, that coincided with the
phenomenon of "Tutmania" caused by Howard Carter's discovery of
Tutankhamun’s tomb in late 1922. In 1923, the Saluki or
Gazelle Hound Club was formed, and the Kennel Club granted
official recognition to the breed. Popularity of Salukis
dramatically increased, and the Saluki Club of America was
founded in 1927, with recognition by
The American Kennel Club following in 1929.

Imports to England during the inter-war years were chiefly from
areas of British military influence and commerce: Bahrain, Egypt,
Transjordan, and Iraq. Both Florence Amherst and the Lances imported
breeding stock from the latter two countries. Despite substantial
populations of Salukis in Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden,
none of these were imported to England.

English Salukis (chiefly descendants of Sarona Kelb) were exported
to many countries,[33] but by the mid-1930s, interest slackened,
and with the outbreak of World War II, breeding and show activities
almost entirely stopped. The number of litters was minimal –
just enough to keep the breed alive. Food rationing reserved
all edible meat for humans, and to prevent the Salukis from dying
from starvation or being killed by bombs, some owners euthanized
entire kennels. A small number of Saluki kennels survived the war,
and along with fresh imports belonging to a second wave of soldiers
returning from the Middle East, the slow process of re-establishing
the breed began again.

The popularity of the Saluki in the United States, according to
the American Kennel Club, has remained relatively stable over
the past decade, with the breed ranked 107th in 1999, had decreased
to 118th in 2008, but by 2008 had increased once again to 112th.
Between 2000 and 2009, 1215 Salukis were registered with
The Kennel Club in the UK, while this does not approach the
numbers of the more popular breeds, it is in line with similar
breeds in the Hound Group such as the Borzoi, which had 1399 puppies
registered in the same period. In September 2007,
The Kennel Club Art Gallery's 12th exhibition celebrated the Saluki,
The Saluki in Art showed a range of exhibits including terracotta
and bronze works, along with contemporary artists and a range
of trophies from Saluki breed clubs. 


Salukis are "sight" hounds, which means they hunt by sight, run the
quarry down, catch it, and kill or retrieve it. The normal size range for
the breed is 23–28 inches (58–71 cm) high at the
withers and 40–60
pounds (18–27 kg) in weight, with females being slightly smaller than males.

The Saluki's head is long and narrow with large eyes and drop ears.
The tail of the breed is long and curved. It has the typical deep-chested,
long legged body of the
sighthounds. Their coats come in a variety of colors,
including white, cream, fawn, red, grizzle and tan, black and tan, and tricolor
(white, black and tan).

The overall appearance of the Saluki is one of grace and symmetry. There
are two coat types evident in the Saluki gene pool, smooth and feathered.
The feathered variety has light feathering on the back of the legs and thighs.
The fur on both varieties is silky to the touch, and is low shedding
compared to other breeds.


Historically, Salukis were used by nomadic tribes for hunting. Typical
quarry included
gazelles, hares, foxes and jackals. In one Bedouin method
of hunting hares, the hunter rides close to the quarry on a
camel while
holding the Saluki, which he throws towards the prey while at speed, giving
the dog a running start. Another method, primarily used in hunting gazelles,
 involved the use of a hawk to gouge out the eyes of the prey, so that a Saluki
can then bring down the blinded animal.

A true modern Saluki retains the qualities of hunting hounds and may seem
reserved to strangers. An independent and aloof breed, but gentle and affectionate,
they can be difficult to train and any such training should be gentle and patient.
They can get bored easily, and should not be left at home unattended for
long periods. Sensitive and intelligent, the Saluki should never be trained using
force or harsh methods, and typically does not enjoy rough games or typical dog
games such as chasing sticks. Early socialization is required to prevent timidity
and shyness in later life. Given their hunting instincts, they are prone to
chasing moving objects.

While the Greyhound is credited as being the fastest dog breed up to distances
of around 800 metres (2,600 ft), both the Saluki and
Whippet breeds are
thought to be faster over longer distances. The 1996 edition of the
Guinness Book of Records lists a Saluki as being the fastest dog, reaching
a speed of 68.8 kilometres (42.8 mi) per hour. Due to its heavily padded
feet being able to absorb the impact on its body,
it has remarkable stamina when running.


Hip dysplasia is uncommon in Salukis, with the breed ranking joint lowest in
a survey by the
British Veterinary Association in 2003. The breed scored an
average of 5 points, with a score of 0 being low, while 106 is high. In a 2006
breed specific survey conducted by The Kennel Club and the British Small
Animal Veterinary Association Scientific Committee, responses highlighted
several health issues. The primary cause of death identified was that of
being responsible for 35.6% of deaths, with the most common forms being that
liver cancer or lymphoma. The secondary cause of death was cardiac related,
with forms such as
heart failure, or unspecified heart defects. Old age is listed
as the third most frequent cause of death.

Cardiomyopathy, heart murmur and other cardiac issues were present in 17.2%
of responses while
dermatolic conditions such as dermatitis or alopecia were
reported by 10.8% of responses. Salukis have an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years.


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