The Saluki Hound or Saluqi, is also known as the Russian Tazi or just Tazi and also known as the Persian Greyhound. They come in two varieties feathered and smooth.
The breed dates back 7000 years and is unchanged genetically in all that time. They were ancient in the time of the Pharaohs and the time of Christ and can be seen on the walls and artefacts etc., of the pyramids and they are also mentioned in the bible.
There is a mummified hound in Cairo Museum dated circa 3600BC cataloqued as the "favorite Hunting dog of the Ancient Egyptians" It is unquestionably a Saluki and is little different from modern specimens of the breed.
So after such a long period it is no wonder there is some confusion regarding the name. We do know that the English version of the Arabic name is Saluq or Saluqi. It was not until, around the beginning of the 20th century that these beautiful animals were seen in the western world mainly in the UK.
At some point in the early 1900’s it was decided by the clubs in England that to save any confusion the breed should be known as Saluki. Of course now it is spread far and wide through other European and other countries including the USA, New Zealand and Australia.
It has been proven that the “Saluki” is a direct descendant from the Asian Wolf and many other well known breeds have come from the lineage including the Afghan and Greyhound. Originally coming down through Mesopotamia, the breed has spent most of its life (and still does) with the Arabs.
We do know that the Bedouins were the first in history to practice animal husbandry and as such they are responsible for keeping the breed pure. The Saluki was never known as a dog, as the Arabic name for dog was “Kalb” where the Saluki was called "El Hor". They were allowed to sleep in the tents of the Shieks etc, and were highly prized, one could never buy a Saluki, but if viewed favourable could be given one. That is how they came to the Western world, through early army personnel stationed in the Arabic Countries.
The Saluki is a superb swift hunter and was used for centuries to hunt game on the sands of the deserts. It is interesting to note the Arabs would ride into the desert on horseback with the Saluki slung over the horse in front of them and a hawk on their arm. (These people were experts in Falconry) They would send the hawk out to find the prey and then lead the Saluki to it. Although such hunting these days does not happen that often you can see many examples of the Arabs coursing their Salukis on the internet.
These animals although they recognise other Salukis either in their family pack or strangers, they would rather be with people and most definitely are companions. They are very easily house trained; they have no doggy smell, and take very little upkeep, although they do shed a bit of hair. They only have a short single coat which means that they do feel the cold and heat, so during the winter a coat is advisable.
As a house pet they are more like children with their likes and dislikes, I guess one could say they are more cat like than dog like. For our family of Salukis they spend most of their time inside with us, have a different chair each. They will go for a run in their ½ acre back paddock but will be back in anything from 5 to 30 minutes, having had enough time away from us. Do they like the car? Well one has only to see 6 Saluki vying to get into a station wagon to go for a ride!
Do they have any faults; not really, there are a couple things you have to be aware of if you intend to own one. Firstly, Salukis are jumpers, so therefore you need high fences at least 1.8 high. Salukis need to be walked on a lead if on the street, as sight hounds they have little or no road sense and if they see something to chase they will not look either left or right. They are not kennel dogs and will be distressed if left alone for long periods. A good balanced diet is needed to keep them healthy and at the same time keep the elegant look.
The Saluki is known as the Aristocrat of the dog world, being slightly aloof with first time meeting, but getting to know them, they are just the most wonderful pets. Your life will never be the same after owning one of these most beautiful of God’s creatures.