Published on June 24, 2011
- Height: 24 to 29 inches at the shoulder
- Weight: 35 to 65 pounds
The Sloughi is an intelligent, sensitive, and affectionate dog who forms a tight bond with his family. He must live inside with his people and is difficult to rehome. Bring home a Sloughi and he is yours for life.
The Sloughi can live 12 to 15 years. Built for speed, he has thin skin stretched over a frame of muscle and bone. Do not overfeed him and make sure he gets regular exercise to stay fit. His coat is easy to care for — a regular brushing and an occasional bath should do it.
Like every sighthound, the Sloughi has a strong prey drive. Cats and small dogs are not safe around a Sloughi unless he grew up with them. Even so, it’s best to supervise the Sloughi around other pets and keep them apart when you cannot. And a Sloughi who gets along with small pets indoors may forget they are his pals if he sees them running around outside. And he certainly won’t hesitate to chase unknown cats or other small furry animals, so he must always be walked on a leash.
Never let a Sloughi run free except in a safely enclosed area. An underground electronic fence is not a safe enclosure; the Sloughi may run right through it, seemingly ignoring the shock.
Sloughis are a proud and independent breed. They respond well to positive reinforcement, but punishment or heavy-handed methods will shut them down. Puppies need extensive socialization to new people, places, and situations, and older dogs should continue to be socialized throughout their lives.
Other Quick Facts
- The Sloughi, Saluki, and Azawakh look similar, but they come from different geographic areas and are distinct breeds with different standards.
- The Sloughi has a long, wedge-shaped head, small drop ears, and a bony body covered with strong, lean muscles.
- Sloughis were originally used to hunt jackals, gazelles, and desert hares. In some areas of the United States, they course jackrabbits and coyotes.
The History of Sloughis
The Sloughi is not a smooth Saluki operating under a pseudonym. He’s the sighthound of the Berber people of North Africa, originally found in Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, and Algeria.
Sloughis first arrived in Europe in the 19th century when soldiers stationed in North Africa brought them home. The Federation Cynologique Internationale recognized the breed in 1935, but World War II interrupted the Sloughi’s development. Because of the French war in Algeria, Europeans did not resume breeding the dogs until the late 1960s.
In 1973, the first Sloughis were imported to the United States. The United Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1995. The American Kennel Club does not yet recognize the Sloughi, but he is part of the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service and can compete in the Miscellaneous Class, lure coursing, agility, tracking, and obedience events.
Sloughi Temperament and Personality
The Sloughi is sensitive and smart. He is affectionate and loves his family. This is a dog that must live indoors with his people, in the same way he shared the tents of nomadic Berbers for thousands of years. Sloughis bond very closely with their family, and it can be difficult to rehome them.
Sloughis have a strong prey drive. If they are to live safely and amicably with cats or toy dogs, they must be raised with them from early on. Even then, it’s unwise to leave them together unsupervised. And a Sloughi who gets along with his family’s pets will not necessarily extend the same courtesy to the neighbor’s cat or other small animals he sees outdoors. A Sloughi who is sighted on prey has a one-track mind, breathtaking speed, and impressive stamina. To keep him safe, let him off-leash only in a securely fenced yard or park.
Train a Sloughi only with positive reinforcement. Punishment or heavy-handed methods will backfire with this proud, independent dog.
Start training your puppy the day you bring him home. Even at 8 weeks old, he is capable of soaking up everything you teach him. Do not wait until he is 6 months old to begin training or you will have a bigger, more headstrong dog to deal with. A young Sloughi will test you to see what he can get away with.
If possible, get him into puppy kindergarten class by the time he is 10 to 12 weeks old, and socialize, socialize, socialize. However, be aware that many puppy training classes require certain vaccines (like kennel cough) to be up to date, and many veterinarians recommend limited exposure to other dogs and public places until puppy vaccines (including rabies, distemper and parvovirus) have been completed. In lieu of formal training, you can begin training your puppy at home and socializing him among family and friends until puppy vaccines are completed.
With a Sloughi puppy, especially, introduce him to many new situations, people, and places early, and continue socialization throughout his life.
What You Need to Know About Sloughi Health
All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines. If you’re getting a puppy, ask the breeder about the ages of the dogs in her lines and what they died of. A good breeder will be able to discuss the prevalence of health problems in her dogs’ lines and help puppy buyers make informed decisions about health risks.
Fortunately, Sloughis are relatively healthy and can live 12 to 15 years. They do have some quirks and health issues, though. Here are a few of the things you should know.
Like all sighthounds, Sloughis may be sensitive to anesthesia and may have some atypical blood test results. If you are concerned about an upcoming procedure involving anesthesia, discuss it with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian can also discuss whether unusual laboratory results are a real health problem for your Sloughi or simply an “abnormal normal.”
Veterinarians have identified an eye disease called progressive retinal atrophy in the Sloughi. Breeders should be able to show that both parents are DNA-cleared for PRA, which is linked to a recessively inherited gene.
Like all deep-chested breeds, the Sloughi is at increased risk of bloat, a condition in which the stomach distends with gas and can twist on itself (called gastric torsion), cutting off blood flow. Bloat and torsion strikes very suddenly, and a dog who was fine one minute can be dead a few hours later. Watch for symptoms like restlessness and pacing, drooling, pale gums, lip licking, trying unsuccessfully to vomit, and signs of pain. Bloat requires immediate veterinary intervention, and surgery is necessary in many cases. Unfortunately, dogs that have bloated can bloat again, so most veterinarians offer a procedure known as gastropexy or "stomach tacking," which anchors the stomach to the body wall to help keep it from twisting in the future. This procedure can also be done as a preventive measure.
The general good health of the Sloughi is a strong motivation for good breeders to continue to obtain available health clearances and make careful, informed breeding decisions. Puppy buyers can do their part to support those breeders in their efforts by seeking out their dogs.
Careful breeders screen their breeding dogs for genetic disease and breed only the healthiest and best-looking specimens, but sometimes Mother Nature has other ideas and a puppy develops one of these diseases despite good breeding practices. Advances in veterinary medicine mean that in most cases the dogs can still live good lives.
Remember that after you’ve taken a new puppy into your home, you have the power to protect him from one of the more common health problems: obesity. A Sloughi should not be fat. Keeping a Sloughi at an appropriate weight is one of the easiest ways to extend his life. Make the most of diet and exercise to help ensure a healthier dog for life.
The Basics of Sloughi Grooming
Looking for a dog with an easy-care coat? Look no further than the Sloughi. Weekly brushing of his smooth, shorthaired coat is all you need to do to keep it clean and in good condition — plus the occasional bath if he rolls in something stinky.
The rest is basic care. Trim the nails as needed, usually every week or so. Like most sighthounds, Sloughis have sensitive feet, so practice this early on with a puppy and be sure you never hurt him when you are touching his feet. He’ll never forget it. Keep the ears clean and dry, and brush the teeth regularly with a vet-approved doggie toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath.
Finding a Sloughi
Whether you want to go with a breeder or get your dog from a shelter or rescue, here are some things to keep in mind.
Choosing a Sloughi Breeder
A good breeder will match you with the right puppy and will, without question, have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible. He or she is more interested in placing pups in the right homes than making big bucks.
Good breeders will welcome your questions about temperament, health clearances, and what the dogs are like to live with and will come right back at you with questions of their own about what you’re looking for in a dog and what kind of life you can provide for him. A good breeder can tell you about the history of the breed, explain why one puppy is considered pet quality while another is not, and discuss what health problems affect the breed and the steps she takes take to avoid those problems. A breeder should want to be a resource for you throughout your dog’s life.
Talk to the breeder, describe exactly what you’re looking for in a dog, and ask for assistance in selecting a puppy. Breeders see their puppies every day and can make uncannily accurate recommendations once they know something about your lifestyle and personality. Whatever you want from a Sloughi, look for one whose parents have nice personalities and who has been well socialized from early puppyhood.
Look for more information about the Sloughi and start your search for a good breeder at the website of the American Sloughi Association or the Sloughi Fanciers Association of America. Choose a breeder who has agreed to abide by the ASA’s code of conduct, which prohibits the sale of puppies to or through pet stores and calls for the breeder to sell puppies only with written contracts.
Avoid breeders who seem interested only in how quickly they can unload a puppy on you and whether your credit card will go through. You should also bear in mind that buying a puppy from a website that offers to ship your dog to you immediately can be a risky venture, as it leaves you no recourse if what you get isn’t exactly what you expected. Put at least as much effort into researching your puppy as you would into choosing a new car or expensive appliance. It will save you money in the long run.
Lots of reputable breeders have websites, so how can you tell who’s good and who’s not? Red flags include puppies always being available, multiple litters on the premises, having your choice of any puppy, and the ability to pay online with a credit card. Quickie online purchases are convenient, but they are almost never associated with reputable breeders.
Whether you’re planning to get your new best friend from a breeder, a pet store, or another source, don’t forget that old adage “let the buyer beware”. Disreputable breeders and facilities that deal with puppy mills can be hard to distinguish from reliable operations. There’s no 100% guaranteed way to make sure you’ll never purchase a sick puppy, but researching the breed (so you know what to expect), checking out the facility (to identify unhealthy conditions or sick animals), and asking the right questions can reduce the chances of heading into a disastrous situation. And don’t forget to ask your veterinarian, who can often refer you to a reputable breeder, breed rescue organization, or other reliable source for healthy puppies.
The cost of a Sloughi puppy varies depending on the breeder’s locale, whether the pup is male or female, what titles his parents have, and whether he is best suited for the show ring or a pet home. The puppy you buy should have been raised in a clean home environment, from parents with health clearances and conformation (show) and, ideally, field titles to prove that they are good specimens of the breed. Puppies should be temperament tested, vetted, dewormed, and socialized to give them a healthy, confident start in life.
Before you decide to buy a puppy, consider whether an adult Sloughi might better suit your needs and lifestyle. Puppies are loads of fun, but they require a lot of time and effort before they grow up to become the dog of your dreams. An adult may already have some training and will probably be less active, destructive, and demanding than a puppy. With an adult, you know more about what you’re getting in terms of personality and health.
You can find adult dogs through breeders or shelters. If you are interested in acquiring an older dog through a breeder, ask about purchasing a retired show dog or if the breeder knows of an adult dog who needs a new home. If you want to adopt a dog, read the advice below on how to do that.
Adopting a Dog From a Sloughi Rescue or Shelter
There are many great options available if you want to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or breed rescue organization. Here is how to get started.
1. Use the Web
Sites like Petfinder.com and Adopt-a-Pet.com can have you searching for a Sloughi in your area in no time flat. The site allows you to be very specific in your requests (housetraining status, for example) or very general (all the Sloughis available on Petfinder across the country). AnimalShelter.org can help you find animal rescue groups in your area. Also some local newspapers have “pets looking for homes” sections you can review.
Social media is another great way to find a dog. Post on your Facebook page that you are looking for a specific breed so that your entire community can be your eyes and ears.
2. Reach Out to Local Experts
Start talking with all the pet pros in your area about your desire for a Sloughi. That includes vets, dog walkers, and groomers. When someone has to make the tough decision to give up a dog, that person will often ask her own trusted network for recommendations.
3. Talk to Breed Rescue
Most people who love Sloughis love all Sloughis. That’s why breed clubs have rescue organizations devoted to taking care of homeless dogs. The American Sloughi Association can help you find a dog that may be the perfect companion for your family. You can also search online for other Sloughi rescues in your area.
The great thing about breed rescue groups is that they tend to be very upfront about any health conditions the dogs may have and are a valuable resource for advice. They also often offer fostering opportunities so, with training, you could bring a Sloughi home for a trial to see what the experience is like.
4. Key Questions to Ask
You now know the things to discuss with a breeder, but there are also questions you should discuss with shelter or rescue group staff or volunteers before you bring home a pup. These include:
What is his energy level?
How is he around other animals?
How does he respond to shelter workers, visitors, and children?
What is his personality like?
What is his age?
Is he housetrained?
Has he ever bitten or hurt anyone that they know of?
Are there any known health issues?
Wherever you acquire your Sloughi, make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter, or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. Petfinder offers an Adopters Bill of Rights that helps you understand what you can consider normal and appropriate when you get a dog from a shelter. In states with “puppy lemon laws,” be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.
Puppy or adult, a breeder purchase or a rescue, take your Sloughi to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot visible problems and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.