Ancient Egyptian Royalty
Greetings Thursday readers!
Miss Xeva and I are back on this wonderful Thursday to share with you a very old and very unique breed of dog in our weekly ‘Breed All About It’ series. For those of you that are new, each Thursday we cover a new dog breed- some old, some new- for our readers to enjoy. If you would like to assist in the picking of the next breed that we cover, we have been randomly selecting a country and then a breed that looks interesting, so drop us a line in the comments below and we’ll let you know who got chosen in the upcoming week! But for right now, sit back and get ready to learn about some Egyptian Royalty 🙂
To be more precise- this breed is known as the Royal Dog of Egypt.
Perhaps better known by the more common name of the Saluki, or Persian Greyhound.
The Saluki is truly an ancient breed. Throughout history, these dogs have appeared in various forms and illustrations. As one of the oldest known breeds of domesticated dogs, their likeness can be seen in petroglyphs and rock arts in Golpaygan and Khomein in Central Iran that shows Saluki-like hounds and falcons accompanying hunters in their pursuit of prey. These images were dated to be from about 8000-10,000 BCE. They are also depicted on pottery that was unearthed in Susa, Iran that dates back to 4200 BCE. Seen on the walls of ancient Egyptian tombs, they have maintained a strong presence throughout the ages and are widely recognized today as versatile and loyal companions.
As sighthounds, the Saluki traveled through the Middle East and the Silk road with nomads and caravans, as well as the Sahara, Caspian Sea area, and China. They are skilled hunters of gazelle, hares, and Ibex, and use their speed and inherent skill when it comes to hunting game. They were never sold and were only ever offered as gifts of friendship or honor, and Saluki’s with a white patch on the forehead are regarded as special by the Bedouin tribes for having “the kiss of Allah.”
Very thin and slender is one of the most apt descriptions to be found for this breed. Sporting a narrow, long head with large, oval eyes, the Saluki is not a heavy dog. The neck is long and ends in a deep and narrow chest with straight front legs. To keep their pads protected from rough terrain and conditions, they have thick hair between their toes. One particularly interesting note to make regarding their feet and legs is in reference to their gait. While moving at a dead run, all four legs are seen to be in the air at the same time, rather than the typical gait of having one foot striking the ground at any given stride.
As with most sighthounds, they come in two coat types, although one is far more rare than the other- the feathered and the smooth. In the feathered variety, the coat is short with long, silky feathers on the ears and tail; while in the rare smooth variety, the coat is coarse and has no feathering on the ears or tail. The coat may come in several colors, including white, cream, fawn, golden, red, grizzle and tan, black and tan tricolor, and black and white.
Gentle, friendly, even tempered, and loyal, the Saluki is an agreeable and calm companion to have. While they can be aloof at times, even with family, they will be a watchdog over you and your family and are not typically aggressive with people. The Saluki does not take well to harsh discipline, so a patient and calm hand must be used during training to be effective. If they know you are their leader, they are content to follow due to their somewhat submissive nature, although they are easily distracted from time to time. Patient obedience training is necessary in order to control the sighthound desire to chase and hunt any non-canine or non-human prey. They get along well with children, provided that the children do not try and roughhouse with them, as they are very sensitive and quick to react to a perceived threat.
As with any hound breed, the Saluki does not do well when cooped up. This breed is naturally athletic and is most happy while running. Able to run at speeds of up to 40 mph or more in short bursts, this breed has an exceptional level of endurance, and will trot happily alongside you while you walk, run, or bike for as long as you can stand to be outside and moving. However, due to their high energy and natural instinct, the Saluki is also a very independent dog. They shouldn’t be allowed off their lead outside of a secured and scouted area as they are, above all, sighthounds. They hunt on sight and will pay no attention to a handler’s calls if they are on the hunt of some animal. Some countries do not permit them to be off leash at all for this very reason and due to the high number that are lost or killed while loose and hunting prey.
Health and Life Expectancy:
Prone to some health issues that are inherent to the breed, the Saluki is, all and all, a fairly healthy breed. They are susceptible to sunburns, especially on their noses, and are predisposed to some genetic eye diseases and cancer. Their average lifespan ranges between 10-12 years, although there are several who have reached older ages.
That about wraps it up for this Thursday’s ‘Breed All About It’ series! Make sure to come back next week and see what breed we’ve picked to cover, and if you want to input a country for us to pick from, drop us a comment below and we’ll let you know if your country was selected. If there is a particular breed that you would like to raise awareness for, feel free to leave us a note below as well and we’ll try and cover it as well! Miss Xeva and I hope that you enjoyed this Thursday’s breed and we hope to see you back next week 🙂
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