The Saluki is one of the most ancient breeds. Many believe that they were the first dogs to live near humans. Salukis have gained immense popularity due to their hunting qualities and friendliness.
The Saluki is considered one of the earliest first breeds tamed by man. Its historical homeland is the Middle East and North Africa (primarily Ancient Egypt). This opinion was first expressed by the scientist L.P. Sabaneev in the 19th century. In his work, he suggested that the progenitor of all greyhounds were Tezems – greyhounds of the pharaohs. They were similar in physique to the Saluki, but had erect ears and a curled tail.
The researcher believed that four similar breeds originated from them: Saluki (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran), Slugs (Tunisia and Morocco), Azawakhs (South Sahara) and Bell Moors (African greyhounds of the plains and mountains).
The appearance of these breeds on such a large territory Sabaneev associated with the colonization of the area by the Phoenicians and the resettlement of the Arabian tribes (c. 3000 BC). This opinion prevailed until the middle of the 20th century.
In 1959, the researcher S. N. Bogolyubsky published a work in which he suggested the origin of the Saluks and Tezems from a common ancestor. He debunked the myth that the Salukis were descended from Tezems, and identified two forms of greyhounds – North African and Eurasian. They acquired differences due to living in different conditions and gave rise to several breeds of greyhounds and two different centers of their distribution, and later met in the same territory.
At the moment, scientists agree that Bogolyubsky’s theory more accurately describes the development of the Saluki breed. The appearance of these dogs is attributed to the XI – X century BC. e. and consider them a separate breed, which until 4000 BC. e. was under the influence of theses. After the II millennium BC. e. Tezemas ceased to play a decisive role in the spread of greyhounds, and the Saluki came to the fore.
However, the division of greyhounds from the Arabian Peninsula and dogs descended from Tezems is very conditional.
On the images found in Egypt, there are drawings of lop-eared greyhounds (this is typical for the Saluks), and on the islands of the Mediterranean Sea there are greyhounds with erect ears (for example, dogs of Ibiza), which supposedly could have been brought there by the Arabs during the conquests in IX-XI centuries.
Scientists do not have a consensus about when exactly these dogs began to live with humans. However, we can trace the origin and development of these animals through the mummies found in Egyptian tombs, rock art and poetry.
The first mention of these dogs was found in Egypt and refers to the period when the pharaohs did not yet exist – 9000 – 10000 BC. e. The oldest mummy of the Saluki dog breed belongs to this period. Known poems by the Arab poet Abu Nuwas, dated IX – VIII century. BC which he dedicates to his Saluki. Abu Nuwas calls it “salukiation”:
“How can I glorify the Saluki that belongs to me?
His hunting luck will never run away from him!
All the goodies I have, my hunting trophies –
His merit and prey, my guest is full of his labors.
In 7-6 tons BC. e. the breed finally took shape and spread throughout the Middle East. The head of a Saluki carved from ivory, found on the territory of the Arabian Peninsula, belongs to this period. This breed is also mentioned in the poems of Persian poets, which date back to 3000 BC. e. The next oldest find was made in Egypt: in one of the pyramids, a bas-relief was found, which depicted hunting scenes with red and red-piebald dogs.
Interestingly, this breed was so highly valued in Egypt that they made special collars inlaid with precious stones, and Arabs and Bedouins settled them in their tents.
Muslims considered them “pure animals” and never called greyhounds “al kalb” (dog), as this was considered the greatest insult. Instead, the word “al khur” (noble) was used. They were never bought or sold. Saluk could be given to close relatives and friends. As a thank you for such a gift, a person could ask for anything.
The position of the Saluki was so exceptional that after a Muslim stroked a dog, he could go to the mosque and perform only those prayers that he wanted. At the same time, he did not lose his “purity”, as happened when he came into contact with any other animal (except for a horse).
Saluks were never laid on the ground or left unattended on the street. In cities, special floorings were built under the roofs of houses for their recreation. In Bedouin tents, they lived in the territory of women behind a curtain on a special bedding. At night and on cold days, they were covered with a warm blanket, and on hot days, women sewed light raincoats that protected the dogs from burns.
During the hunt, men covered their legs with a mixture of henna and clay, which protected vulnerable parts from burns (during the day the sand in the desert is very hot), cuts and other damage.
All animals obtained with the help of the Saluki were allowed for consumption by devout Muslims. With the exception of those animals that the dog began to eat itself. This postulate was recorded in one of the hadiths (sayings of the prophet Muhammad), dedicated to the maintenance of dogs and their use for hunting and guarding herds.
Interestingly, the hadeeth gives the following instruction: all dogs must be let off the leash with the words “In the name of Allah!”. And from every person keeping a dog not for hunting and guarding, it was supposed to take a tax for every day that this dog belongs to the owner.
Another exceptional feature of these dogs was that they ate the same food as humans. The diet of the greyhounds was always well monitored: it was balanced and consisted of meat, camel milk and crushed dates.
The distribution of representatives of this breed in Europe occurred in two stages. The first stage of distribution lasted until 1840. It is characterized by the fact that due to the emergence and fall of a number of empires in the Middle East, northern Africa and southern Europe (for example, the Roman Empire, the Empire of Alexander the Great), the Salukis spread throughout the entire Mediterranean coast. However, they did not retain their purebredness and quickly mixed with other breeds.
These dogs took part in the Crusades in the 11th-15th centuries.
However, their main occupation was still hunting. Both in Europe and in the Arab countries they were kept by wealthy feudal lords, so that hunting passed into the rank of entertainment and was a great event in which cavalcades, up to fifty greyhounds and hunting falcons took part.
The second stage of the distribution of Salukas in Europe began in the 19th century, when they began to be brought from Syria. In 1840, explorer Hamilton Smith brought back some specimens from Persia. They were demonstrated at an amateur exhibition in Regent’s Park. And already in 1874, the breed is mentioned in the stud book of the Kennel Club as the “Persian Greyhound”.
The next time representatives of this breed were presented at an exhibition in 1900. In 1923, the breed was recognized in England, and a few years later in the United States.
In Russia, the Saluki appeared in 1897 at a dog show. Then the male Grumiz took the gold medal. However, breeding of the breed began only in the 1990s, after the import of European-bred dogs.
The fate of the Saluk in the countries of the Middle East was ambiguous. In the Arabian Peninsula, hunting is considered an indicator of a person’s well-being, and trained purebred Salukis can be worth a fortune.
And in Iran, hunting is prohibited, and the police shot many dogs of this breed, whose owners used them for illegal hunting. The most purebred individuals survived in the Bedouin tribes living in the deserts.
Standard number: FCI No269
Group: greyhounds for hunting and running.
Section: greyhounds with long hair or feathers.
The general appearance of the Saluki is the embodiment of proportion, grace and grace. There are many varieties, but there are general standards for all representatives of the breed.
- Head. The skull has a strongly elongated shape and is commensurate in width with the body. The transition from the forehead to the muzzle is weakly expressed. The gap between the ears is even, without bulges. The ears are mobile and set high, in a calm state they fit snugly to the head. The ears have long soft hair. The dog must have an even bite. The nose leather may be black or brown. The eyes are large, but not protruding.
- Neck long, graceful, well muscled.
- Back wide enough. Deep, large chest, tucked up abdomen. The front of the body is much larger than the back.
- Tail must not be higher than the hock joint. It is set low and fairly long. On the lower part there is a characteristic suspension made of soft wool.
- Forelimbs well laid back and well muscled. Shoulders and shoulder blades are approximately equal in length. Long, straight forearms merge into wide, powerful pasterns. On the hind limbs, the hocks are well defined and the joints of the knee joints are almost not expressed.
- Wool is smooth and soft. There are featherings on the legs, tail and throat. Coarse or felted wool is considered a serious vice.
The main characteristics of an adult dog:
- the weight – 14 – 27 kg;
- growth – 60 – 70 cm;
- life expectancy – 10-14 years old.
Any color is allowed, but brindle is considered undesirable. But at the same time, the brindle color is not a vice and cannot be the reason for disqualifying a pet in competitions, for example.
Interestingly, the accepted Saluki breed standards were approved for the European variety of the breed, and purebred individuals living in the Bedouin tribes often do not meet these standards in any way.
Salukis are very intelligent, delicate, calm and sensitive. They can’t stand it when they raise their voice. And it doesn’t matter if they are shouted at or not at all. If the dog understands that a conflict is starting, she tries to go to a place where no one will touch her.
They have self-esteem, sometimes turning into arrogance. This is expressed in the recognition of only one person as the owner. Of course, the dog will be friendly with all family members, but it will only follow commands and serve one person.
Salukis do not like to interact with children. This is due to the fact that children often annoy animals and do not see personal boundaries. The dog will not start the conflict first, but if the child began to bully the animal, then she will be able to stand up for herself.
There is one more thing to consider: if the dog is regularly nervous and not given the opportunity to be alone, then it turns into a twitchy, nervous animal that will not even make contact with the owner.
Salukis are quite reserved in showing emotions. For example, a dog will be completely indifferent to strangers and affectionate with those he knows (even if this person is not a family member). They never require special human attention, do not rush to demand hugs. Sometimes there is a feeling that the owner of the Saluki is needed only to feed, walk and scratch behind the ear. Interestingly, with such a detached behavior, the animal sincerely loves the owner and may suffer from loneliness.
Salukis are sociable and fit well in packs. But at the same time, they do not feel discomfort if there are no other four-legged animals in the vicinity. Persian greyhounds are very independent in this regard.
The situation is quite different with other pets.
Because of the developed hunting instinct, Salukis perceive other pets as their prey. This behavior can be reversed with prolonged training, but in many cases instinct takes over and, for example, the cat becomes a potential prey.
Conditions for keeping
Since the breed was formed in the hot climate of the Middle East, they are difficult to experience cold weather. That is why Salukis are not suitable for breeding and living in enclosures and booths – they are moved there only for the summer.
Persian greyhounds are quite large and agile dogs, so they are not recommended to start in apartments. The most comfortable option for animals would be a house with a large plot. However, if the dog does not have enough movement, then it can arbitrarily go for a walk.
Greyhounds have two characteristics:
- they need a lot of movement;
- they “deplete the battery” in a very short time.
The average Saluki takes 40 minutes to walk. But the walk itself is best done at a pace so that the dog has the opportunity to move around. It is advisable to do this in the fields. A Saluki bike is too slow, a scooter or motorcycle is more suitable for speed. And remember that it is very difficult to curb the hunting instinct, so any moving object causes hunting excitement in the greyhound.
Persian greyhounds are distinguished by excellent health, the basis of which lies in proper nutrition and sufficient physical activity. Despite this, there are a number of diseases that can occur in a pet:
- dilated cardiomyopathy (disturbances in the work of the heart);
- hypothyroidism (dysfunction of the thyroid gland);
Dog handlers recommend showing your pet to the veterinarian at least once every six months.
What to feed?
An interesting situation with the nutrition of the Saluki. Among the representatives of this breed, gluttons are extremely rare, so that a healthy animal decides for itself how much it needs to eat. The diet and volume of servings depends on the degree of activity of the animal and its age.
The first 1.5 weeks after the mother-dog stops feeding the puppy, his diet consists of milk, cereals and nutrient mixtures. From about two months (when physical activity increases), the following are gradually added to the diet:
- eggs (raw or mashed and added to porridge);
- porridge in meat broth;
An excellent option for feeding a puppy in the first few days after he is taken from the kennel is ready-made food from the breeder.
Better feed your puppy at one time and in one place. The pet will quickly get used to its place and will not scatter food.
Cottage cheese and kefir are introduced into the diet of an adult Saluki. In addition, the portion of meat increases. The rest of the diet remains the same.
It is worth considering the following nuances:
- an adult dog may ignore unfamiliar foods;
- a puppy is fed 2-3 times a day, an adult – 1-2 times a day.
Should be excluded from the diet:
- fatty foods;
- fried or smoked foods;
The body of the Saluki is very sensitive, and malnutrition leads to obesity, digestive problems, gastritis, allergies and other troubles.
How to care?
Salukis rarely and little shed. Their wool, even when wet, does not emit an unpleasant odor. In addition, animals are naturally clean and will not sin by bathing in ditches. This becomes especially important when you consider that frequent water procedures are contraindicated for them. This is due to the fact that they have a very thin layer of fat.
Experts do not recommend washing the Saluk more than 2-3 times a month. In this case, you need to use sparing shampoos and balms (for easier combing), and after the procedure, dry the coat with a towel.
Particular attention should be paid to the ears (they need to be cleaned once a month and must be wiped dry after the procedures) and claws (if the dog is active, then the claws grind off themselves, and if physical activity is limited, then the claws need to be filed and polished).
For hair care, it is recommended to stock up on combs of different frequencies. They are needed in order to comb out the tangles and burrs that the animal brings from a walk. In the summer, it is worth limiting the dog’s exposure to the open sun. This is due to the fact that Saluki do not have an undercoat.
During walks, it is recommended to bandage your pet’s legs and put on a special cover in order to protect the tail. However, these are ineffective measures, since during the run the dog sheds everything superfluous.
Training and education
The main purpose of training is to accustom the dog to the basic set of commands “sit”, “no”, “stand”, “come” and the like. Do not expect your pet to perform any complex commands. Salukis are not circus dogs after all.
Training starts at 3-4 months. Before that, you need to accustom the pet to his place in the house, establish relationships with him and mutual trust.
Since for thousands of years the main quality that developed among the Salukis was the hunting instinct, they are reluctant to train (and in general commands). And when chased, the dog generally stops responding to anything.
Interestingly, until about two years old, puppies show donkey stubbornness to their owners. Cynologists attribute this to the fact that this is how the animal tests a person for strength.
In order to facilitate the management of the dog, apply special clickers. These devices emit clicks that are associated with certain actions during training. Cynologists also recommend using the “positive reinforcement” method, which consists in giving the animal a treat for obedience. This method works especially well when the Salukis are addicted to their games and do not respond to clickers.
These dogs don’t like being told the same thing over and over. They can respond to a person 2-4 times, but if you repeat one command 10 times, then the pet will simply ignore you.
Salukis are very fond of being talked to, explaining the meaning of things and actions. This can be used if the animal is afraid of any procedure. The attention of the dog in the process of communication is easy to manage.
On the features of the breed, see below.