The origins of the Arab Greyhound dog breed, commonly known as the Sloughi, is from northern Africa. Its regions of origin are Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. In ancient times it was the dog of the Berbers and Bedouins where it was used for hunting in the desert. It was used for hunting desert hare, desert fox, gazelles, but also ostrich, wild boar and hyena, and was highly valued for its speed, agility, endurance over long distances and hunting ability.
After the ban imposed by France on the use of greyhounds for hunting in the colonies and the many cases of rabies that decimated the population of these dogs, the Arabian Greyhound risked extinction in the 20th century. But after the 1960s, it was repopulated in both Europe and America and is now stable and indeed breeding has developed considerably in Europe, while the first specimens were imported to the United States in 1973.
In America and Europe, this breed is much used in dog shows, but it is also appreciated as a companion dog.
There are various legends surrounding this dog; in the Koran it is mentioned as a companion of Muhammad, in fact the Arabian Greyhound is the only dog breed allowed by the Muslim religion. Another legend concerns the speed of these dogs; it is said that when an Arab Greyhound sees a gazelle cutting a blade of grass, it is able to catch up with it before it has finished chewing it.
Another curiosity concerning these dogs concerns the first cultivators and selectors of this breed; the Bedouins. It is said that they had a pedigree of all the greyhounds they had selected up to that time, long before the idea of establishing this document had even occurred to anyone. It was the breeder’s responsibility to manage the matings and orally pass on all offspring to those who would inherit that role.
Character of the Arab Greyhound dog breed
The Arabian Greyhound is considered the most intelligent in the greyhound category. As a character, it is obedient, calm and polite, is very well-balanced and never aggressive. It is very sweet with family members, although it is not suitable for children as it is a reserved dog that does not like confusion. It can easily live in a flat, as it does not cause any particular disturbance or problems, it is very clean and respectful of family space. It likes to snooze all day at home on a sofa or a soft bed and even on outings it has a very calm demeanour.
But it is an extremely active animal and needs a lot of movement, especially in the first years of life, and it needs to be able to run around and give off all its energy. It therefore needs either a rather large outdoor space or several outings every day. Towards strangers he is very wary, suspicious and not very sociable. It only barks in cases of real danger. It is quite sociable towards other animals in the house. Although it is an independent dog, very habituated, it is fairly easy to train, as it tends to please its owner.
Appearance of the Greyhound dog breed
The Arabian Greyhound is a large dog; the height at withers for a male is around 68 centimetres and weight around 32 kilograms. The female usually a little less. Its bone structure is pronounced, its musculature is dry and its skin is fine. It has a very agile structure, it is not slender but neither robust nor stocky, in practice it is almost all skin and muscle. The limbs are slender, but capable of running at incredible speed at a gallop, maintaining an excellent thrust. The tail is fine, curved at the tip, a good extension of the dorsal line, elongated up to the hock.
The head has a flat, rounded shape with an elongated but not pointed muzzle ending in a small, generally dark truffle. The ears are pendulous but very close to the skull, the eyes are large and usually dark, but in specimens with a light coat they may also be a burnt topaz colour.
The coat is short and thin, and may be of different shades: sand, fawn, white, tiger and black with focalities. Sometimes we can find the mask on the muzzle or saddle, darker than the coat.
Care and health of the Arabian Greyhound dog breed
The Arabian Greyhound is an essentially healthy dog that does not suffer from any particular pathology. It may suffer from degenerative myelopathy, which is a genetic blood disorder that affects several dog breeds, but is usually prevented in serious breeding. Its average life expectancy is 12 to 16 years.
It bears heat very well, considering its origins, whereas it cannot tolerate cold and humidity, so in the cold season it must be kept indoors and possibly also warm.
Its shaggy coat does not require any special care other than regular brushing. As far as its diet is concerned, this is not a particularly greedy dog, but it may have allergies.