The Saluki, also known as the Persian Greyhound or the Gazelle Hound, is one of the oldest known breeds of domesticated dogs. Salukis were originally bred in the Fertile Crescent, the cradle of civilization that extends through parts of the present-day Middle East, including modern Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, and parts of Iran and Turkey. The breed's name comes from the ancient city of Saluk, in Yemen, although its historical origins are up for debate. They were bred for speed, strength, and endurance, traits needed for hunting in harsh desert environments. Salukis are even mentioned in the Bible and depicted on Egyptian tombs dating back to 2100 B.C.
Salukis are known to be generally healthy dogs, but as a larger breed they are at risk for developing orthopedic problems, such as hip and elbow dysplasia. Genetic testing is recommended, including for the following specific conditions: hyperuricosoria, degenerative myelopathy, and progressive rod-cone degeneration.
Salukis are known for their intelligence, independence, and aloofness. They can be reserved, even with family, and are typically cautious around strangers. Despite their aloof nature, Salukis require a good amount of love and companionship from their families. They're gentle and affectionate, but not overly demonstrative. Salukis have a strong instinct to chase and should not be trusted off-leash in an unfenced area, as they may not be able to resist the urge to chase after small animals.
Salukis have two types of coats - smooth and "feathered". The feathered Saluki has silky flowing hair on the ears, tail, and the backs of the legs. The smooth variety, as the name suggests, has short hair all over.
The Saluki is often called a "gazelle hound" due to its incredible speed and agility. It can reach speeds up to 42 miles per hour, making it one of the fastest dog breeds.
Despite their high energy and athleticism, Salukis are often described as "cat-like" due to their independent and aloof nature.
In their native Middle East, Salukis are so highly esteemed that they're often considered "clean" dogs, according to Islamic dietary laws, which is a significant honor in Muslim culture.