The saluki, the oldest of the greyhounds

Since the dawn of civilization, the Saluki has accompanied us, a dog that hides thousands of years of history behind its gaze. And no, we do not use a literary device. This greyhound is not only the oldest of its kind, but is also considered a of the oldest dog breeds in the world, having lived with the Sumerians and Egyptians.

The genetic selection of the breed has made the saluki a perfectly adapted dog for hunting gazelles in the desert, currently being considered as the race of faster dog over long distances, reaching speeds of up to 68 km per hour. Although this vision of race is maintained in the Middle East, in recent years they have begun to arise organizations that defend their rights and they fight to change a reality that hides abuse and neglect in the desert sands.


The history of saluki has its roots in the sands of time, existing references of a very similar dog in archaeological finds from Mesopotamia and Egypt.

They were domesticated in Mesopotamia by the Sumerians, becoming one of the most popular breeds in the region and they were so appreciated that they were buried with great care after their death, as the archaeological remains attest. The breed also gained popularity in Egypt, although temporarily later than in Mesopotamia. Considered the «Royal Dog of Egypt«, is depicted in wall paintings of pharaonic tombs, both as a hunting dog and as a companion, and they mummified to offer to Anubis and accompany his human after his death.

Its history and subsequent evolution is linked to the desert tribes, which would explain the lack of data. This nomadic tradition expanded the breed across a wide region comprising from the Sahara desert to the Caspian Sea, favoring the development of different types of saluki according to the region in which it lives and becoming the future father of the afghan hound. The Salukis were highly valued for their hunting skills among the Berber peoples and traditionally gave each other to people of high esteem or exchanged for objects of great value.

This is how the first specimens arrived in Europe, with the first record in Belgium during the Middle Ages. Nonetheless, It was not until the 19th century that the Salukis returned to the ancient continent, when Florence Amherst brought specimens to England from Lower Egypt in 1840.

Its popularity in Europe was reached in the 20th century, when the British officers returned to their lands accompanied by new specimens after the end of the Arab Revolt of the first World War. Likewise, its rise coincided with the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb by Howard Carter in 1922 and Europe's fascination with Ancient Egypt.

The specimens that arrived in Europe belonged to different typologies due to their wide geographic variety. It was not until the establishment of British standard of 1923 when the existing varieties were unified, a standard that sought to respect the most characteristic features of all the original typologies and that maintained two racial lines, one for short hair and one for long hair with its characteristic locks.

The Second World War was a great setback for the breed. All dog activities were paralyzed and the harshness of the war caused many owners to avoid new litters or even to euthanize their dogs to avoid death by starvation. Very few specimens survived, but with the end of the war and the return of new specimens from the Middle East allowed the breed to resurface in Europe.

Today the beautiful saluki has earned its place in dog shows, as well as a nice corner on the sofas of thousands of western families thanks to its sweetness. Nonetheless, in the Middle East its status as a hunting dog has been frozen since time immemorial and his running skills they have popularized it as racing dog. Even so, in recent years changes have been seen in countries such as the United Arab Emirates, where organizations have emerged that fight abuse and neglect who suffer from this breed and help them find a new home outside the country.


The official standard of saluki was established by the International Cynological Federation in 2000. Classified in group 10 section 1 as sighthounds long or fringed, their physical characteristics are:

  1. Hope of lifetime: between 12 and 14 years old.
  2. Size: big.
  3. Height: between 55 and 70 cm.
  4. Weight: between 25 and 45 kg.
  5. Complexion: slim.
  6. Extremities: long and strong.
  7. Eyes: long and oval with a dark to hazelnut color and bright.
  8. Ears: long and covered with long, silky hair. Its insertion is high, mobile and fall close to the skull.
  9. Snout: long with black or liver brown truffle.
  10. Jaws: strong with a perfect scissor bite.
  11. Neck: long, curved and well muscled.
  12. Line: long and curved, with long silky hair at the bottom.
  13. Hair: smooth and silky. The long-haired variety features fringes on the tail, legs, lower thighs, and throat.
  14. Coat colors: Any color or combination is allowed except brindle: white, beige, gold, red, gray with tan brown, black with tan brown, and tricolor in white, black, and tan.

There are two varieties of the Persian sighthound, one with long hair and the other with short hair.. Both have the same characteristics, except for the fringes of the mantle in the short-haired variety.

These graceful sighthounds are very strong and resistant dogs, capable of withstanding harsh climatic conditions. Were genetically selected to track and hunt the fastest antelope, the gazelles, so they stand out for their great speed in running on sand and stony terrain. This selection has made them great runners And, unlike greyhounds and whippets, they can do it for miles without falling exhausted.


After his elegant demeanor and certain indifference, he hides a shy greyhound who keeps his distance from strangers well. The saluki shows its sweetest side in the family, a loving and kind dog with those closest to it. tends to create a special bond with a certain member of their environment. Because of this, we shouldn't neglect his socialization with other humans at the imprinting stage to help him overcome his shyness as an adult.

As a good eastern breed, these sighthounds they are very independent dogs. They can be taught obedience, but with patience, constancy and consistency. Like other greyhound breeds, you should opt for a polite or positive education in which active punishment and fear are dispensed with to avoid serious behavior problems, such as learned helplessness.

The saluki was selected for the gazelle hunting, so it has a natural predisposition towards hunting moving prey. But not only does he trust his gaze, he also trusts his smell, with which he tracks possible prey out of his visual field. For all these reasons, take care of socialization during the puppy stage so as not to promote their great hunting instinct, presenting him with different species with which he will live in his environment, such as small breed dogs, cats and rabbits, among others.

If your greyhound has a strong instinct, it is not advisable to release it in open spaces or with fences that do not exceed two meters in height because they can jump over them with ease.

The salukis They are very active dogs, but this does not mean that we should force physical exercise to tire them. Your ideal routine would include daily walks in which it is allowed a few minutes of running at your own pace and in freedom, as well as smell games to challenge you and keep you mentally active.


The Persian Greyhound can be affected by a series of pathologies more frequent in their racial group:

  1. Heart diseases.
  2. Progressive retinal atrophy.
  3. Hip dysplasia.
  4. Gastric dilation.
  5. Leukodystrophy.
  6. Ceroidolipofuscinosis.
  7. Chemical sensitivity to certain compounds and medical treatments, such as anesthesia.
  8. Motor neuron disease.
  9. Follicular dysplasia of black hair.
  10. Thrombocytopenia
  11. Hypothyroidism
  12. Canine hemangiosarcoma.


The Persian Greyhound it is a dog of little care. Mainly, attention should be paid to her nails, which grow very quickly and they must be cut or filed regularly to avoid fissures, breaks or plantar deformations.

The variety of long hair requires a little more attention, like a regular brushing to keep your hair soft healthy and knot-free. They should also be grooming the ears to prevent wax and dirt build-up between your locks.

We must also prevent it from resting on the ground or on hard surfaces because it is a breed prone to corns and joint sores. 

As with other dogs, it must visit the vet regularly for your vaccination, deworming and health checks. You should also maintain a stable routine of daily walks and feeding.


Are you one of the lucky ones to share your couch with a Persian sighthound? Well, don't wait any longer to share your experience with us.Go ahead and leave us a comment telling us your story. We can't wait to meet her!

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