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Saluki: Dog Breed Info, Pictures, Facts, & Traits

Written by: Grant Piper

Last Updated on April 19, 2024 by Dogster Team


Saluki: Dog Breed Info, Pictures, Facts, & Traits

The Saluki is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world, and their existence can be confidently traced back thousands of years. This incredibly athletic dog is built to sprint and is reminiscent of a long-haired Greyhound. These dogs can come in a large array of colors, and they are loving and open with their families. Salukis are sure to thrill and delight anyone looking for an ancient and regal breed to call their own.

Breed Overview


20–28 inches


40–65 pounds


10–17 years


Black, tan, red, silver, white, chocolate, golden

Suitable for:

Active people looking for an active, energetic, and regal canine companion


Energetic, loving, gentle and refined

The Saluki is a hunting dog that was born to run, and they are incredibly fast. They have a lanky and leggy body, and they need consistent exercise. When at rest, these dogs love to lounge, but they also need plenty of mental stimulation to keep their brains busy. They can also come in a variety of sizes, with the females being much smaller than the males. While Salukis are beautiful and loving creatures, they do come with a concerning array of health issues that need to be addressed by anyone considering ownership.

Saluki Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Saluki Puppies

Saluki puppy outdoor
Image Credit: Natalia Fedosova, Shutterstock

Due to their history and appearance, there are a large number of Saluki enjoyers in the world. Those who love Salukis do so with a passion. That means that there is a strong breeding community, albeit a small one. The best way to get a Saluki puppy is to go through a reputable or registered breeder.

Finding a reputable breeder is important with Salukis due to the number of health issues that the breed can suffer from. A good breeder will be able to try and weed out a number of issues during the breeding process. A poorly bred Saluki can be a health nightmare, so a good breeder is invaluable.

Saluki puppies are adorable and almost ethereal in appearance. They are energetic and require a consistent outlet for their energy when they are young. Puppies that do not get time and space to run around can become problematic inside the home.

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Saluki 🧠

The Saluki is regal, elegant, loyal, and slightly aloof. They are quick to bond with their owners but then retain an independent streak around other people. This breed has a long history, and they are trainable and sociable, given that their unique exercise requirements are met. Salukis are smart and observant. They are rarely territorial, possessive, or aggressive. They don’t care much for strangers but will rarely show signs of poor behavior and would rather disengage from unfamiliar people rather than become anxious.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Yes. Salukis can make great family dogs. They are often very loyal and affectionate with their owners. They are the type of dog that is likely to bond to one or two people whom they adore and be indifferent toward most other people. This breed can be loving and friendly to children, especially those who are willing to play with them and run around. Socialization is important for Salukis that are going to be around small children.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽

Yes. Salukis usually get along with other dogs. They do well together and will enjoy the company of other dogs that enjoy running around like they do. Salukis love to play chase, and any dog that is willing to chase them will likely become a fast friend. However, they are not overly friendly with other dogs. They don’t need canine companionship, and they are usually fine living alone as a single dog. Salukis were hunting dogs in the past, so some of them retain a strong prey drive, which can make them unsuitable for houses with small pets.

saluki dog and tibettan mastiff sitting together
Image Credit: Natalia Fedosova, Shutterstock

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Things to Know When Owning a Saluki

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Salukis do not have any special dietary requirements. It is recommended to put your Saluki on a high-quality and well-formulated complete dry dog food. They can have a variable diet. Some will not be food motivated at all, while others can be positively gluttonous. If you have more than one Saluki, it is important to know this because the hungry Salukis will often steal the food of the Salukis with poor appetites, leading to caloric imbalance within a multi-Saluki household. If you participate in regular exercise with your dog or do dog sports, it is recommended to put them on a specialty food for active breeds that supports joint health.

Exercise 🐕

Salukis need different kinds of exercise. They require long walks multiple times a day. They also need time to run around and sprint, as that is in their nature. That means that a fenced yard or regular access to a dog park is a must. Salukis can be wily escape artists when they want to be, so yards and leashes must be secure at all times. If they get an opportunity to bolt, they often will do so due to a desire to run.

If you do not have a safe, fenced yard or a nearby dog park to utilize on a regular basis, you might not be equipped to deal with the Saluki’s need to run. A Saluki that does not get enough exercise can become destructive through persistent chewing due to boredom and excess energy.

Training 🎾

Salukis can easily get bored, anxious, or lonely, and these feelings often manifest themselves as chewing. That means that crate training for these dogs is highly recommended by experts. When left to their own devices, they can end up chewing up your house or eating things that they should not. Crate training will ensure they remain safe when you are not home.

In addition to crate training, basic obedience training is also a high priority. You should have your Saluki under firm voice command due to their habit of running off. If they run off at high speed, you need to have training tools at your disposal to refocus them and get them to come back, or you could be in for a bad day.

Grooming ✂️

This breed has moderate grooming requirements. All Salukis will need regular brushing to keep their coats shiny and healthy. They can have two different types of coats: smooth or feathered. The latter needs slightly more upkeep than the former. Feathered Salukis also have a higher chance of getting their fur dirty while running around or eating.

These dogs need regular ear cleanings. Due to their long ears (and potentially long fur in the case of the feathered Saluki), they can get debris trapped in their ears, which can lead to infections if they are not kept clean. Your veterinarian can clean your dog’s ears and provide ear-cleaning supplies to make the job easier at home.

saluki dog portrait
Image Credit: elisabettabellomi, Pixabay

Health and Conditions 🏥

A Saluki’s health is a little bit of a lottery. The random nature of their health is reflected in their lifespan, which can range from 10 years (for unhealthy Salukis) to 17 years (for healthy Salukis). Some will dodge all the problematic health bullets and live long and uneventful lives. But others will end up developing a bevy of serious health conditions.

Salukis can have issues with their heart, thyroid, blood, and immune system. They are also prone to a number of different types of cancer, including osteosarcoma and lymphoma. These health issues can end up being expensive. They can also shorten your dog’s lifespan considerably.

Not all Salukis are unhealthy, though. Most never have any health issues. However, the ones that do develop health problems often develop serious ones or struggle with several different problems over their lifespan. This is important information to have for any potential owner because Salukis can start developing health issues between 7 and 10 years old.

Minor Conditions:
  • Thyroid problems
  • Skin allergies
  • Ear infections
Serious Conditions:
  • Various types of cancer (hemangiosarcoma or osteosarcoma, lymphoma, or mammary)
  • Heart problems (valve disease, arrhythmia, and enlarged hearts)
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Blood disease
  • Bloat

Male vs. Female

The Saluki is one of the few breeds that has a large difference between males and females. Females are considerably smaller than males. Female Salukis can be up to 6 inches shorter than males and weigh half as much. Males are powerful and tall, while females are small and diminutive. Females are also typically meeker and more chill than males. The larger males can have more energy than their smaller female counterparts.

If you want a small Saluki, you definitely want to look at getting a female. If you want a larger and more energetic dog with a more confident personality, you should consider getting a male. Female Salukis are noticeably different from males, and the Saluki is one of the only breeds where you can usually pick out a female from a crowd.

saluki dogs playing
Image Credit: popovicmjeljica, Pixabay

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Saluki

1. Salukis Are One of the Oldest Breeds in the World

The Saluki is older than the Great Pyramids in Egypt. Let that sink in for a moment! This breed has been around for over 9,000 years, which is absolutely incredible. Scientists have traced the Saluki back to 7000 B.C.E., making it one of the oldest dogs in the world. One of the reasons that the Saluki has stuck around for such a long time is that they were prized by leaders and kings going all the way back to Ancient Egypt.

2. Salukis Were a Dog to Kings

Salukis have long been owned and bred by kings. Stretching back thousands of years, they have been owned by Egyptian pharaohs and Roman emperors. Alexander the Great had a soft spot in his heart for this regal hound. Salukis have long been found lounging in courts and castles of Middle Eastern sheiks and Asian lords. They were originally sighthounds, and hunting has long been one of the most popular activities for royalty throughout history. Salukis were often kept in castles and manors in order to facilitate the favorite pastime of the local leaders.

3. Salukis Have Retained Their Appearance for Thousands of Years

Some breeds can change appearances over time. In fact, many modern dogs have only retained their current appearance for a couple of hundred years at most. Modern breeds are usually bred out of local or wild dog stock. The Saluki is unique in that there are paintings going back thousands of years showing this breed in all of their glory, looking exactly as they do today. That is a testament to this dog’s staying power throughout history.

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Final Thoughts

If you are willing to tackle a Saluki’s powerful need to sprint and their potential health problems, this dog is unique, gorgeous, and loving. The Saluki can be an elegant and enduring companion for the right owner. As long as they receive regular exercise, veterinary checkups, and brushing, they can be an amazing family dog and a memorable companion. Owning a Saluki will put you in elite company with some of the most powerful figures in history, and it will tie you to thousands of years of human history, which, for those who appreciate such things, can be breathtaking.


Featured Image Credit: Svetlay, Shutterstock

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