Arab Dog Breed – Are Salukis an Arab Man’s Best Friend?

Gary Greer 8/6/2020
Arab Culture

The Saluki Arab dog breed is known to be fast and clever. Thus, they 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 ago. Native to the region, the Saluki dog’s speed, intelligence and loyalty are loved and respected by their Bedouin owners.

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 Saluk, Yemen). Or, maybe, from the tribe of Yemenis known as the Bani Saluk who, supposedly, the first 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. Their long, narrow bodies and flat, high chests make them perfectly streamlined and built for speed. In fact, Saluki dogs can run extremely fast, reaching speeds of up to 75 kilometers per hour. They have been known to maintain these speeds over extended distances of up to 5 kilometers at a time. Because of their speed, Saluki dog racing has been practiced along the Arabian Peninsula for centuries. 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. They are often used alongside falcons in the sport of falconry hunting. Trained to work together during the hunt, these dogs were raised as puppies and kept in constant contact with their falcon partners.

This Arab dog breed falls 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. They can find and root out prey hidden in bushes, tall grasses, or thickets after it 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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