The Sloughi, North African Sighthound
By Michael Russell
North Africa is home to the Sloughi, a sighthound believed to be one of the ancient breeds still in existence today. The Sloughi was the most treasured dog of the Northern African Bedouin tribes, kept within their tents and cherished for their steadfastness and speed on the hunt. For many centuries this is the dog that supplied the Bedouins with their food supply, for they are skilled hunters of the gazelle and the ostrich. This breed also served as a protector of the Bedouin flocks, warding off the hyena and jackals. The nature of the sighthound is that of a dog that will give chase to anything that moves and the Sloughi is no exception. Consequently they have good vision and exceptional speed besides of course the sense of smell which also plays some part in their hunting skill.
The Sloughi is a desert dog with a smooth dense coat that is the color of the desert, thus he is naturally camouflaged. He may be brindle or solid color in sandy or tawny variations and darker colors such as deep blue black or red black. His ears are fold over “lop” ears and the muzzle is long and triangular with only a slight stop. The Sloughi has what is known as a straight shoulder which means that there is not a lot of angulation in the front shoulder and this allows the dog to move with an easy loping gait and corner tightly. This is a breed that will extend his movement at the full gallop but can also cover a lot of ground at a lope. He is a tall dog carrying very little fat, presenting a streamlined appearance. The standard calls for a height at the shoulders is 27-29 inches. The breed is recognized by the F.C.I. and is a member of the F.S.S. service of the American Kennel Club, which is the precursor to the breed being admitted as a member of the Miscellaneous Class in A.K.C. shows. In the United States there are two groups which are eligible to register and keep the stud book, the American Sloughi Association and the Sloughi Fanciers Association of America.
This is a breed that loves to be outdoors and experience the joy of a good run but also loves to be a house dog and can turn into a real couch potato if given the opportunity. He is good with children, wary of strangers, alert and yet calm, energetic but also mannerly. As a general rule he gets along well with other dogs and when in a “pack” situation the Sloughi tends to develop a hierarchy of behaviors and rituals similar to that presented in wild packs of wolves or jackals. It is never wise to own a sighthound such as the Sloughi without also maintaining a well fenced property for the dog will immediately give chase to distant running or moving creatures and he will not respond to commands to stop when he is in the mood.
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