This month we look at a lesser known breed. Ranking only 125 out of 194 breeds, the Saluki is under-represented. Majestic, elegant, and intelligent are only a few words that perfectly describe the Saluki. They can be very nice dogs to have as a family pet, but are not ideal for less experienced handlers. Let us take a closer look at this breed’s traits and personality in order to determine whether or not the Saluki is the right fit for your family.
Characteristics and Maintenance:
The Saluki is part of the group known as the Sighthounds. These dogs have high prey drives, and will stop at nothing to get what they are chasing after. Since they were bred to hunt, they have high levels of energy which need to be exhausted each day. Although they can be very comfortable sleeping and lounging on a soft bed, if their energy requirements have not been met on a daily basis they can be quite naughty. They can become bored and will become destructive if left alone too long without having had a good run.
They are very loyal to their family, and tend to be good with children. Salukis are aloof however, toward strangers. They can be quite shy and prefer not to be around newcomers, so proper socialization is necessary in the Saluki’s upbringing. They usually get along well with other dogs, but prefer to be around other Salukis or like-minded dogs. Puppy classes can aid in getting your Saluki more adapted to different types of dogs.
They have a relatively easy coat to care for, and would need weekly brushing to keep the long fur on their tails and ears from developing knots. It would also be ideal to have the bottom of their pads trimmed, since the fur between their toes tend to get long and can cause them to slip while walking on certain surfaces.
Sighthounds in general have a very slim figure, and Salukis are no different. A high quality diet that is carefully portion controlled is essential in keeping the Saluki fit. The majority of Salukis tend to be picky eaters, however, there have been some known for having an overzealous attitude toward food. With time, overeating will cause obesity, and these dogs are meant to have a very thin build. Accurate portion control is essential when feeding these dogs.
Is this dog right for me?
As previously mentioned, these dogs have a high prey drive and will chase after anything, including cars. They also have an abundance of energy, which only adds to the desire to chase. It is unrealistic to think that you can have a Saluki off leash and not have him run away. The moment they see their prey, they no longer listen to their recall which can cause injury, specifically if they are chasing after a car. A home with a well-fenced yard is essential when owning a Saluki. They have so much energy, they need a place they can run safely without being able to run away. If walking in the woods and cottage life is your ideal living, then the Saluki is not the right fit for you.
In general, the Saluki is free from genetic diseases. There are, however, a few things to look out for. They have been known to develop certain cancers such as hemangiosarcomas, lymphomas, osteosarcomas and mammary tumours. Heart disease such as dilated cardiomyopathy and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy have been reported as well.
As previously mentioned, Salukis naturally have a slim figure. If you notice your pet gaining weight even with proper portion control, this could be a sign of hypothyroidism, which is something that has been seen developing in the Saluki.
Since they do not have a high body fat percentage, they tend to be sensitive to anesthesia and sedatory drugs. This can make basic procedures such as sterilization more complicated, however, there are certain drugs and protocols that are safe to use on sighthounds and speaking with your veterinarian can help ease your mind.
Although they are not prone to many things, some of these issues can be financially straining to treat, therefore, pet insurance is highly recommended when considering the Saluki.
The Saluki is a beautiful and majestic breed. They are loving and can be quite calm and may even be considered couch potatoes while indoors. Do not let this fool you, however. Without a proper outlet to burn excess energy, the Saluki will not be happy staying indoors and can become destructive. A well-fenced yard is a must since they have a high prey drive and need to be protected from themselves.
Although they are not prone to many diseases, adding a dog to your family is costly. Pet insurance can help when surprises occur, however, if you are unwilling to have extra money set aside to spend on good quality diets and health care, then adding any fur baby to your home may not be the right decision for you at this time.
Please speak with your veterinary team prior to making any decisions to see if the Saluki is the right fit for your family.
Certified Animal Health Technician