Known to be fast and clever, the Saluki breed of dogs have been used for hunting, guarding and other daily tasks by the Bedouin people of the Arabian Peninsula ever since they domesticated it more than 5,000 years. Native to the region, the Saluki dog’s speed, intelligence and loyalty are loved and respected by their Bedouin owners.
Though no one is sure where the name of the breed came from exactly, it is believed that their name comes from either where the dog may have first been domesticated in the city of Saluk, Yemen, or from the tribe of Yeminis known as the Bani Saluk who are thought to be the first tribe to domesticate the breed. Where their name came from, ever since their domestication, Saluki dog breeders have been breeding the canines for both racing and hunting.
Built for Speed
Adult Salukis weigh generally around 26 kilograms (57 lbs.), and their long, narrow bodies, and flat, high chest make them perfectly streamlined and built for speed. In fact, Saluki dogs can run extremely fast, reaching speeds of up to 75 kilometers (47 mi.) per hour, and have been known to maintain these speeds over extended distances of up to 5 kilometers (three miles) at a time. Because of their speed, Saluki dog racing has been practiced along the Arabian Peninsula for centuries, and even today you can find these dogs creating heart-racing entertainment during heritage festivals and other Arab sporting events.
On the Hunt
When it comes to hunting dogs, Salukis’ speed makes them excellent dogs for hunting and are often used alongside falcons in the sport of falconry hunting. Trained to work together during the hunt, dogs that will join these hunting parties are raised from Saluki puppies and kept in constant contact with their falcon partners.
Saluki hunting dogs fall into two types: “Al Hoss” – Salukis with light colored hair covering their entire bodies; and “Aryash” – Saluki dogs with a thick coat of hair. Both of these dogs are important during the hunt as they can find and root out prey that has hidden in bushes, tall grasses, or thickets after the prey was wounded by falcons. Likewise, falcons can also signal Salukis as to where prey might be hiding that is difficult for the falcon to reach.
Indeed, you can say that the Salukis have been an Arab man’s best friend for centuries.
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