Saluki Adoption Ancient Dogs as Modern Pets
Although these ancient dogs were associated with both Egyptian royalty and Bedouin nomadicism, salukis make sharp, noble pets for us modern folk. Don't let your lack of acquaintance with the breed prevent you from exploring saluki adoption.
Unless you're well-versed in dog breeds or familiar with the mascot of Southern Illinois University, you may not know about the Saluki, one of the oldest dog breeds around. Although these ancient dogs were associated with both Egyptian royalty and Bedouin nomadicism, salukis make sharp, noble pets for us modern folk. All around the country, there are salukis and saluki mixes waiting for adoption into loving, active homes. In the United States, salukis are less common than other breeds and thus avoided by some pet-seekers unfamiliar with the dog's rich history. But don't let your lack of acquaintance with the breed prevent you from exploring saluki adoption.
The Saluki's Appearance
Similar to the greyhound in appearance, the saluki was originally referred to by Westerners as the Persian greyhound. As it was used by nomadic peoples as a hunting dog, the saluki sports long, powerful legs from which it generates speed. This swiftness, combined with its superior eyesight, helped the saluki to gallop across the sand in pursuit of game. The saluki's body is rather slim, and its head is proportionally narrow and long.
Because the saluki traces its origin to the Middle East, which is a fairly large area geographically, the breed displays variety in color. Combinations of black, white, silver, tan, and even reddish tones are seen in the dogs and recognized by breeders. If you peruse the internet in search of a saluki for adoption, you'll note this diversity. Male saluki dogs stand about 22" - 28" tall at the withers, with bitches several inches shorter on average.
Other notable features of the saluki include its long glossy-haired ears and its curved, plume-like tail. The American Kennel club sums up the appearance of the saluki by lighting in its "impression of grace and symmetry" and its "dignified expression." Certainly, the dog possesses a refined, poised visual appeal, but people considering saluki adoption should know that the breed's gallant form is not the be-all and end-all of the dog. Even if a saluki isn't perfect based on AKC criteria, it can still be a steadfast companion.
Temperament: What should I expect from Saluki Adoption?
Sometimes the saluki has a reputation for being standoffish or unfriendly, and there is some basis for this criticism, as the dogs are naturally "introverted" when around strangers. This can especially be the case in saluki adoption, as the dog may have been neglected or surrendered by an owner who did not show gentle affection. Adoptive owners find that salukis are loyal and incredibly attentive dogs; they just don't lavish their affections on people they don't know well. One benefit to this is that salukis are gracious hosts and don't pester houseguests excessively. The saluki can handle older children well, but it isn't the best dog for younger kids who may taunt it.
The breed is can be willful, so it will love and test its owners at the same time, especially in an adoptive setting. Saluki owners sometimes describe their dogs as "subtle" or "sophisticated," saying that the dog's personality emerges over time and that the relationship is almost cerebral - with nuanced two-way communication forming the crux of the bond. Nearly every saluki owner I've personally known believes that the breed is one of the smartest.
The saluki enjoys running and needs regular exercise more than the greyhound breed that descended from it. In fact, this "Persian greyhound" makes an excellent agility course dog because of its speed, lovely movement, and ability to learn. A saluki will lounge around and doesn't mind being petted, but it has action in its blood and demands physical activity. After all, we're talking about a breed that used to hunt gazelles - and that's some intense, sprinty game.
Resources for Saluki Adoption
Because the saluki remains less common in US households, the community of owners maintains a strong network. The Saluki Club of America, the official organization for caretakers of this ancient breed, works cooperatively with a group called Saluki Tree of Life Alliance (STOLA) that rescues salukis in need, places them in foster homes, and finds them permanent owners through the saluki adoption process.
STOLA is a nonprofit organization that places salukis around the country, although there are also local Saluki rescue groups that will assist with adoption as well. In addition, the PetFinder network includes a variety of animals at shelters nationwide, including a lot of Saluki mixes who need love and care just like the purebreds. For information on these groups and to see some pictures of saluki adoption candidates, check out these websites and see why these ancient dogs are great modern pets.