“The Saluki is thought to be the world’s first domesticated dog, as old as the earliest known civilisation. They are also called “living antiquities”.
Salukis are an ancient breed originating from the Fertile Crescent in the regions of Mesopotamia and Sumeria that have shared the lives of many peoples around the world, including the pharaohs of ancient Egypt, the emperor of China, Persian nobles, English nobility and the humble homes of people around the world who recognise them for their intelligence, speed and beauty. Salukis are sometimes known as the Royal Hound or greyhound because of their great speed and stamina. The Saluki appears on Egyptian tombs of 2100 BC and more recent excavations of the even older Sumerian empire, estimated at 7000-6000 BC, have revealed carvings with obvious resemblance to the Saluki. Used to chase, catch and kill game such as rabbits and gazelles, they belong to the “Sighthound” group of dogs, those dogs that hunt with their eyes rather than their noses. Built for speed, the sighthound is capable of outsmarting game. Salukis are said to be the ancestors of today’s greyhound (they were once called Persian greyhounds). When the Romans conquered Egypt, they brought Salukis to Rome and crossed them with other breeds to form the basis for modern greyhounds. Salukis were known throughout the Middle East and Asia, as hunting dogs of the Egyptian pharaohs, companions of the emperor of China and Persian rulers. It has been said that when one sees references in the Bible to “dog” in a positive light, it refers to the Saluki.
So great was the regard for the Saluki that its body was often mummified along with the bodies of the pharaohs themselves. Salukis did not appear in Western Europe until the mid-18th century, when Florence Amherst brought a pair to England, but they were not bred there until the turn of the century. The American Kennel Club recognised the breed in the US in 1927. Today, Salukis are not a well-known breed, but there are dedicated fanciers in many parts of the world who keep the breed alive, and as faithful as possible to its original form and purpose.
The Saluki ranges in height from 58-71cm, and weighs 16-29kg. They come in many colours-cream, gold, black and tan, red, grizzles of various shades (silver grizzle, deer grizzle, ivory grizzle), tricolour (black, tan and white), and parti-colours of various shades. There is also a choice of fur, either feathered with long, silky hair on the ears and tail; or the genetically dominant smooth variety. They have almond-shaped, far-sighted eyes; an elegant long muzzle; a long neck, slender waist and a slender build, made for running. In terms of character, the Saluki shows great attachment to its people. He is affectionate without being demonstrative, a good watchdog but usually not aggressive.
The Saluki is an intelligent, intuitive, sensitive hunting dog known for its aloofness towards strangers and its ability to become completely attached to its human companions. He can be shy. For those of us who are captivated by them, there is simply no other dog. Salukis are free spirits and do not take well to rough treatment. They deserve better and they know it. When Saluki and human are a good match, the relationship is almost magical. They practically read your thoughts. They know your moods, they comfort you when you have problems and they celebrate with you when you are in a joyful state. They love to be close to their humans and find it sublime to cuddle with you in bed or on the sofa.
The Saluki can never be petted too much, although his distant gaze may give the impression that he is rather bored of it all. The moment you stop, however, you will soon find a moist nose urging you to continue. The Saluki can be a clown (he wears the brim of your new hat around his neck while the crown around him lies chewed to pieces on the ground). The Saluki is not often seen as a good protector, but he can be and he will protect his own.
The one thing that can be said with certainty about Salukis is that they are always surprising, never boring. They challenge and often surpass human intelligence. People who do not actually live with their Salukis in a family setting do not know what they are missing. The Saluki is like caviar, an acquired taste enjoyed by connoisseurs. Each animal is uniquely different. Salukis have been compared to crisps, it is hard to stop at one.
Salukis in Qatar
Saluki are beautiful dogs, and one of the original ancient dog breeds. But in Qatar, dogs are treated very badly. Very often they are mistreated and abused. They are regularly kicked resulting in serious injuries, broken legs etc, and they are also sexually abused. This happens in all walks of life in the country.
They are tied behind cars and dragged through the streets. They are found with minimal room to move, tied tightly or in cages that are too small etc etc…In the best case scenario, the dogs are simply dumped on the streets. But in Qatar’s climate, with the immense heat during the day and cold at night, that is no do.
Besides hunger, drought also guarantees difficult survival. Salukis are also dumped in the middle of the desert to slowly die. Besides this, many salukis are picked from the streets to be killed or they are shot at in the streets. The upcoming World Cup means that this hunting of stray dogs has only intensified and, above all, become more brutal.
The pictures show the wretched conditions they try to survive in, covered in ticks they get sick. They are not spayed or neutered and therefore often have puppies. In short, they need help. and fortunately, there are people there who are trying to help and take in the Salukis. We support them and look for a golden basket for these little dogs. They are extremely grateful, non-aggressive and pleasant dogs who deserve to have another good life.