Salukis are thought to be ancestors of today's greyhound (they were once called Persian Greyhounds). When the Romans conquered Egypt they brought Salukis back to Rome and crossed them with other breeds to form the basis for modern greyhounds. Salukis were known throughout the Middle East and Asia, being the hunting dog of Egyptian Pharaohs, companion to the Emperor of China and Persian rulers. It has been said that whenever one sees references to "dog" in the Bible in a positive light, it refers to the Saluki. .
So great was the esteem in which the Saluki was held that his body was often mummified along with the bodies of the Pharaohs themselves. Salukis did not appear in Western Europe until the mid-1800s, when Florence Amherst brought a pair to England, but they were not bred there until the turn of the century. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in the U.S. in 1927. Today, Salukis are not a well known breed, but there are dedicated fanciers in many parts of the world keeping the breed alive and well, and as true to its original form and purpose as possible.
The Saluki ranges in height from 23"-28", and weighs 35-65 lbs. They come in many colors--cream, gold, black and tan, red, grizzles of different shades (silver grizzle, deer grizzle, ivory grizzle), tricolor (black, tan and white), and parti--colors of different shades. There is also a choice of coat, either feathered with long, silky hair on the ears and tail; or the genetically dominant smooth variety. They have almond-shaped, far-seeing eyes; an elegant long muzzle; long neck, slender waist and lean physique, made for running. In disposition, the Saluki shows great attachment to his humans. He is affectionate without being demonstrative, a good watchdog but not usually aggressive.
There can never be too much petting from the Saluki's point of view, although their far off gaze may give the impression that they are quite bored with the whole thing. The moment you stop, however, you will quickly find a moist nose nudging you to continue. The Saluki can be a clown (wearing the brim of your new hat around his neck while the crown lies chewed to bits on the floor around him). If not properly socialized, he can be destructive (but all dogs and people share that trait). The Saluki is not often thought of as a good protector, but he can be and he will protect his own. To illustrate this point I am reminded of an incident which occurred a few years back. I was out walking with two of my male Salukis. A man came up on me quickly from behind. I didn't see him but the Salukis did. Suddenly and silently they moved as mirror images and in a micro-second they had pinned him against the wall of a building, their front legs pressing his shoulders against the wall, their teeth bared with low, menacing growls emanating from their huge chests. They made no attempt to harm him. They just held him there. I gained a new respect for them that day.
The one thing that can be confidently said about Salukis is that they are always surprising, never boring. They challenge human intelligence and often exceed it. People who don't truly live with their Salukis in a family situation, don't know what they're missing. The Saluki is like caviar, an acquired taste that is relished by connoisseurs. Each one is uniquely different. Salukis have been likened to potato chips--it's hard to stop at just one.
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