Description & History

A court poet from Persia, Abu Newas, wrote in AD 800, "Oh, my Huntsman bring me my dogs brought by the kings of Saluk". This may explain the origin of the breed, which is believed to have come from the vanished town of Saluk in the Yemen. In Arabic, Saluk means 'hound'.

The Bedouin developed and perpetuated the Saluki. In early times it was considered by them to be sacred and therefore their rulers would never sell them. However they would occasionally present them to princes or nobles as gifts.

The Saluki is thought to be the oldest of all domesticated breeds and is said to date back at least five thousand years. There is evidence to show that it existed throughout the Middle East - Egypt, Syria and Persia - as well as India, Afghanistan and Russia. Murals and bas - reliefs in bronze depict this and portray hounds very similar to today's Salukis. Also it is known that the breed travelled down the trade routes while accompanying armies in their attempts to conquer different lands.

Outstanding desert hunters that were bred for speed, agility and endurance. They would accompany falcons often hunting over difficult terrain, and course desert gazelle and desert fox. Today's hounds still hunt but now are used mostly for ceremonial hunting.

The breed did not appear in England until the end of the nineteenth century - probably about 1887 and did not become popular until after the First World War.

Like other sight hounds, it has boundless energy and therefore it is essential that it should be given plenty of exercise. The Saluki is not always obedient and therefore all outdoor activities should be well controlled.

Rosamund Walters.

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