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The Royal Dog of Egypt – Saluki

The Saluki, classified in the hound group, is a breed known for its historical importance and its high endurance and strength. Salukis are sometimes referred to as the Persian Greyhound, The Egyptian Royal, and the Royal Dog of Egypt.

A brief history of the Saluki

salukiThe Saluki breed is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. It is not known where the name Saluki first originated, although some linguistic historians believe that Saluki may have come from the Arabic adjective, ‘Saluqi,’ which was used to refer to where an individual came from. Saluki, or Saluqi, then, may refer to origins in Yemen, Iraq, or Turkey. Although the origins of its name are unknown, it is known that the Saluki was found along the Silk Road for about as long as dogs have been known to be domesticated. There are images depicting a Saluki-like breed on rocks and in caves as far back as 8000 to 10,000 BC. Historical evidence of Salukis as a domesticated breed, particularly popular among royalty and aristocracy, can be found in many different areas of the world. The breed was popular among the royalty of ancient Egypt, and paintings of Salukis can be found in Egyptian tombs and temples dating back thousands of years. They were also popular among Chinese royalty–they were particularly favored by Zhu Zhanji, the fifth Ming Emperor. But their history is not limited to the East: during the 12th century, the breed was brought back from the Crusades and quickly became popular as hunting hounds among aristocracy and royalty. They can be even found in European artwork, such as the famous work by Paolo Veronese, The Adoration of the Magi.

Today, the breed remains popular with hunters and dog owners around the world.

Characteristics

The Saluki medium to large sized dog which typically reaches about 23 to 28 inches in height at the shoulders and 40 to 60 pounds once they have reached adulthood. The Saluki, bred to be sight hunts that run down their targets, is a muscular breed with a high amount of physical endurance. Their appearance is often described as graceful, agile, and elegant but strong.

Salukis are considered to be independent but affectionate to its family members. They may seem reserved, aloof or cold with strangers due to their shy nature, which makes them wary of people they do not know. Early socialization with strangers and new people is necessary to prevent the breed from becoming too nervous or shy around strangers as it grows older. Although the breed is strong and bred for hunting, they are considered difficult to train. They require gentle, patient training and do not respond to harsh, loud or forceful training. They will typically not enjoy what many pet owners consider the “typical” dog game, such as chasing sticks, and require more mental stimulation to keep them occupied.

Did you know? Trivia

  • The Saluki was highly prized by Egyptian Pharaohs—archeologists have found mummified Salukis next to their owners in several Egyptian tombs!
  • The popularity of the breed dramatically increased in the early 20th century after the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb made everything “Egypt” more in vogue.

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