The sloughi, the African desert greyhound

The sloughi was born to the shelter of the Berbers and Bedouins, a greyhound of great distinction and elegance that is still a great unknown outside its borders. Morocco is considered your country of origin, although it is also discussed by other countries such as Algeria, Tunisia and Libya, being a race that existed before they were born as nations.
This greyhound is one with the desert, to which it has adapted to such perfection that it is capable of running at full speed enduring temperatures so high that it could kill a greyhound. And thanks to this adaptation, It is one of the recommended breeds for humans with allergies, having a very scarce coat and shedding.


The sloughi's remote origins are lost in the desert sands that saw it grow as a breed. Departing from the multiple theories that attempt to connect lop-eared races with Egyptian and Mesopotamian ancestors, genetic evidence shows that sloughi development was concentrated in the Maghreb.

SHis genes show that he is a genuinely African breed, sharing sequences with other indigenous breeds like the basenji, so it would arise by crossing its ancestors with local dogs. Your closest sighthound is the azawakh, its sister race from the Sahel, although it also shares certain traits with the saluki.

His story goes intimately linked to that of the Berbers, who have inhabited North Africa since time immemorial. The sloughi earned the protection of these ethnic groups and managed to maintain its privileged status after the arrival of Islam in the region, considering it as a pure animal. Your appreciation is so high which is the only breed of dog that is allowed access to its stores, a special space is reserved for it to rest and, after its death, it is mourned like another family member. In addition, it is very useful for them, doing tasks as varied as hunting dog, guardian, company and, even, grazing.

European colonialism in Africa encouraged the arrival of the first specimens from sighthounds to France, Italy and Germany in the 19th century. At first they were confused with saluki, although they finally achieved their status as an independent race having been recognized as such by the International Cynological Federation in 1934. After the Second World War, the confusion was rekindled with the arrival in Europe of the azawakh, until genetic evidence demonstrated their differences and the Federation recognized the azawakh in 1980.

The beginning of 20th century was devastating for the greyhound. The uprisings in the various regions altered the established order and harmed their upbringing, to which was added the French ban on greyhound hunting in their occupied territories. To make matters worse, there were several rabies epidemics that ended up decimating its population. Despite this tough period, the Arabian greyhound survived thanks to its stay with the Berbers, whom it continues to accompany on their journeys.

At present, outside its borders of origin, still remains an unknown breed and popular breed confusion persists with the Azawakh and Salukis. Western specimens of the breed are uniform, the two varieties still existing in the Maghreb: the desert sloughi, light and slim, and the mountain sloughi, thicker and more athletic.


The official standard of the sloughi was established by the International Cynological Federation in 1998. Classified in group 10 section 3 as short-haired sighthounds, their physical characteristics They are:

  1. Life expectancy: between 12 and 16 years old.
  2. Size: big.
  3. Height: between 68 and 80 cm.
  4. Weight: between 18 and 28 kg.
  5. Complexion: slim and graceful.
  6. Extremities: long and muscular.
  7. Eyes: large and dark, with pigmented edges. In light-coated dogs, amber eyes are allowed.
  8. Ears: not very large, triangular in shape and rounded at the end. They fall well attached to both sides of the head.
  9. Snout: elongated with a black nose.
  10. Jaws: strong with scissor bite.
  11. Neck: long, well delineated and without dewlap.
  12. Line: long and thin. The tip curves upward at rest.
  13. Hair: very short, dense and fine.
  14. Coat colors: All shades are allowed from light sand to red sand, with or without a black mask, black coat, brindle or shaded.

The sloughi was bred by Berbers and Bedouins in North Africa as a hunter adapted to the harshness of the desert. Although sight is the most important sense for greyhounds in this task, the sloughi has an added peculiarity and it is that he is a magnificent tracker.


The sloughi is a greyhound at its best, having inherited great character traits from his racial group. Shyness and sensitivity are his predominant notes, so that it is very important that we take care of their socialization from puppy to favor its facet of balanced and stable dog.

His shyness with strangers is somewhat more accentuated than in the rest of the sister races, with tendency to prefer only one human, being loyal and protective. Despite this, he can be made more open and receptive to strangers by ensuring good socialization, introducing him to strangers and new environments with calm and gentleness.

At the same time, is an independent dog that likes relaxed company in which it enjoys its own space. For this reason, if you were to live with children, it is important that they be taught to respect our dog, taking care of his rest and allowing him to decide when to interact with them.

Like other sighthounds, we must not forget that its hunting instinct is strong, it has great physical power and it focuses on its prey. If he is going to live with other animals, we can socialize him so that he learns to relate to them and accept them as part of the family. The problem is that this does not guarantee that it does not see other specimens as prey, so it is not recommended to drop it in open spaces if the call is not reliable and if we are not sure of their obedience to the appearance of the stimulus.

As we pointed out at the beginning, the very sensitive as well as intelligent sloughis, so that We must rule out using any educational method that is not based on positive reinforcement. Using a soft tone of voice, building a good relationship and patience are the best tools to educate our dog.


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

  1. Progressive retinal atrophy.
  2. Atrophy of the jaw.
  3. Heart murmurs.
  4. Hemophilia.
  5. Gastric dilation.
  6. Stomach twisting.
  7. Balance problems.
  8. Immune System Deficiencies.
  9. Hypersensitivity to chemical compounds.


The sloughi is a dog that needs little daily care thanks to its physical characteristics. His hair is very short and has no undercoat, being her very scarce change compared to other breeds, so its brushing can be very spaced in the time. The advantage of this type of coat is that The dirt, like mud, does not tend to adhere and falls off on its own when dry.

Even if you need little hygienic care, You must get used to bathing, brushing teeth and maintaining your nails from a young age in order to facilitate the process when necessary as an adult. Although it is not a breed with a tendency to generate plaques of tartar, it never hurts to brush and adapt its diet to maintain its oral hygiene, avoiding the fearsome plaque and serious associated diseases.

The greatest care we must have with our Arabian greyhound is with the cold and humidity. We must remember that it is a breed bred and adapted to the dry and hot desert climate, being able to withstand high temperatures, but that it suffers when the mercury drops due to its scarce coat and lack of fat. When this happens, we must keep it warm with blankets and a good coat to walk, like a raincoat when it rains and dry it well when we get home, in order to avoid colds and related diseases.

What's more, we must try to keep him at a healthy weight and avoid exercises that can cause musculoskeletal injuries, such as bone fractures or muscle tears during high intensity games.

As with other dogs, you should periodically go to the vet for vaccination, deworming and health checks. A stable routine of daily walks and feeding should also be maintained, appropriate to their size.


Are you one of the lucky ones who shares your couch with a sloughi? 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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