Sloughi (Arabian Greyhound)
The Sloughi is a graceful and agile Sight Hound with its homeland in North Africa. The dog is impressively fast in its prey pursuit and is able to withstand almost unbearable heat of African terrains. It’s now acquiring more and more fanciers in Europe and in the United States as a companion and show dog.
The Sloughi was developed on the territory of the North Africa, which today envelopes Morocco, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria. The first written records of this dog appeared in the works of Moroccan author Al Mansur and date back to the XIII century. However it’s strongly suggested that the breed was created much earlier and has been inhabiting this region for perhaps millennia.
The proven ancestry of the Sloughi is hard to establish with any amount of certainty since it’s such an ancient breed. It was developed by the indigenous, nomadic Berbers from so called semi-feral Pariah dog that harassed ancient villages from Morocco to India. Recent genetic finding affirms that the Sloughi may have been interbred with local jackal or jackal/dog hybrids.
In its native Africa the breed is also called «Sloughi Moghrebi», which is translated as the «Sighthound of the Maghreb». It was highly treasured by local folks and fulfilled the duties of hunting and guarding. The dog should run down fast moving animals and kill or keep them at bay until the hunters arrive. It also served as uncompromising guardian of the master’s adobe and livestock, the most valuable possessions that majority of Berbers had. Moreover the breed offered unobtrusive and pleasant companionship being at the same time unconditionally loyal and supportive.
There are two separate varieties of the Sloughi namely the Mountain Sloughi and the Desert Sloughi. They differ insubstantially with the Desert Sloughi is prone to be slimmer and lighter in constitution. However these differences may be noticed only in African dogs and they completely disappeared in imported western dog.
The Sloughi was introduced to European counties in the XIX century when soldiers located in North Africa imported them home. The breed was given recognition of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale in 1935, but the Second World War called a halt to its development in the West. European breeders couldn’t continue their work until the late 60s of the XX century because of the French war in Algeria.
The first dogs were brought to America in 1973 and in 1995 the Sloughi was recognised by the United Kennel Club (UKC). It hasn’t yet achieved the recognition of the American Kennel Club (AKC) but it has an admission to the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service. The Sloughi is eligible to participate in the Miscellaneous Class, agility, tracking, and obedience competitions.
The Sloughi has noticeably more independent and restrained character than most of the Sight Hounds. It prefers to keep its emotions hidden under the mask of regal dignity and aloofness. Nevertheless this breed is prized for its extreme faithfulness to its master so it’s rather challenge to rehome it. It’s also prone to be a one-person dog meaning it usually develops special relationship with only one member of its family. The dog is generally good with children but only with considerable kids of the older age (8 years or older). The Sloughi won’t put up with any amount of teasing or disrespectful treatments and therefore it’s necessary to teach a child proper ways of communications with this dog.
In general, the Sloughi dislikes the company of unfamiliar people and manifests a great deal of its essential suspiciousness in their presence. A well-socialised dog will behave politely and gracefully with strangers but no amount of training is going to make a cheerful and welcoming greeter out of it. This breed is remarkably protective and watchful and has potential of becoming a wonderful watchdog. Its appearance doesn’t seem to be intimidating but it will also make a good guard dog, which will fearlessly and with surprising power confront any unwelcomed guest in your house.
The attitude of the Sloughi towards other canine animals varies from individual to individual. If the dog has been exposed to their company since the early age then it’ll be quiet accepting of their presence afterwards and will actually gladly co-habituate with one or more other dogs. The Sloughi preserves most of it powerful hunting drive, so it can never be completely trustworthy with such small home pets as a rabbit or a hamster. It’s likely that the dog won’t bother a home cat if they have been reared together but no one can ensure that.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· eyes problems;
· immune system deficiencies;
· balance problems;
· anestethsia sensivity.
The maintenance of the Sloughi requires minimal investment of time and efforts on the part of its master. Its short coat should be brushed a few times a week and will never need a professional grooming. This breed is a light shedder and its hair won’t be so visible on your possessions.
It’s important to take into account that the Sloughi hates water and consequently bathing. This dog should become accustomed to this procedure from its puppyhood and the owner should introduce to to bathing as gently as possible.
The training of the Sloughi usually becomes a serious endeavour because of its stubborn streak. This dog seems to be uninterested in obliging its master and prefers to seek out for more tangible incentives than simple verbal praise. It doesn’t mean that this breed is impossible to train but you should be prepared to dedicate much more time to your lessons with the dog to achieve any reasonable results.
The trainer should always radiate confidence and aura of power in order to get most of the training sessions with the Sloughi. It’s absolutely unacceptable to use rude tone of voice or physical punishment while working with this breed since these ways of training are completely useless with this dog.
Being an excellent runner the Sloughi is a sporting and active dog and as such it demands lots of daily exercise. The dog will be satisfied with brisk walk of an hour long but it really longs for a chance to run and roam unrestrained on the safely enclosed territory.
However the need for exercise for this breed is far from extreme and a moderately active family is quite capable of providing it with enough opportunities to express its buoyant temperament. Once the dog has exercised and played for enough time it tends to be relaxed at home laying all day long on its favourite sofa. The Sloughi will become an outstanding family dog for a properly committed family but it’s not an ideal option as a first-time dog.