AKC Hound Group (as of Jan. 2016
Also known as the Arabian Sighthound, the Sloughi (pronounced “slew-gee” with a hard g), originated in Northern Africa (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Libya). The Arabian people of North Africa bred the dogs to be both sight hounds and trackers; the dogs’ prey typically included desert hare, desert fox, gazelle, large mountain gazelle, hyena, ostrich, and jackal. Sloughis were so highly valued that they were the only dogs allowed into the family’s tent. European colonists and travelers in Northern Africa brought back tales of the sleek Sloughi in the mid-1800s; fanciers in France and the Netherlands imported the first dogs at the end of the nineteenth century.
The breed was nearly destroyed in the early twentieth century, when a law banning hunting with sight hounds was introduced in Algeria. Some people shot Sloughis on sight and a rabies epidemic also swept through the country. The breed remains very rare today, although it has been in the United States since 1973. The Sloughi’s speed, stamina, and agility still make him highly valued as a sight hound, both in the field and in competition. The Sloughi enters the AKC Hound Group in January 2016.
The Sloughi is an athletic, robust, pursuit dog. It is not fragile, but is a dog with class and grace. The head should be long and elegant—its expression, gentle and somewhat melancholy. The large, oval-shaped eyes are dark brown to dark amber. The ears are medium sized, triangular in shape, and slightly rounded at the tips. The stop is slightly pronounced and the muzzle is wedge shaped. A scissors bite is preferred, although a level bite is allowed.
The Sloughi’s neck is long and powerful, and its topline should be level, though the hip bones can be slightly higher than the withers. The belly is well tucked up and the loin is slightly arched. The withers, hips, and croup are all bony, and the tail is carried low, but with an upward curve at the tip—unless the dog is excited, in which case the tip of the tail rises above the back. The forelegs are long, and the feet are oval or hare-like.
The coat is short, smooth, and fine and comes in colors ranging from cream to mahogany brindle, brindle, or cream (sand) with black mantle. Black markings and small-to-medium white marks on the chest or toes are acceptable. (White marks due to age or scarring are allowed anywhere on the body). The breed’s gait is smooth, graceful, and elegant.
- Height: 26 to 29 in. (male); 24 to 27 in. (female)
- Size: Large
- Weight: 50 to 85 lbs.
- Availability: Difficult to find
- Talents: Hunting by sight, tracking, watchdog, lure coursing
A robust breed, Sloughis are vulnerable to only a few genetic disorders, including progressive retinal atrophy. The breed is also sensitive to anesthesia and some other kinds of medication, including some vaccines and de-wormers. In general, these dogs don’t like to be crated for long hours at a time and are sensitive to the wet and cold. Sloughis need at least a 6-foot fence or comparable barriers to prevent them from jumping out of a yard.
With his human family, the Sloughi is sensitive, affectionate, and loyal—so much so that they often have trouble transitioning to new homes. With strangers, however, the Sloughi tends to be aloof, even cautious, and is an excellent watchdog. The dog’s sensitivity and intelligence make him easy to train, but only if the training method emphasizes positivity and friendliness. These are not wallflower dogs, and they like to play and romp. Indeed, they need that play time, as without proper socialization they may be fearful and shy.
Like other sight hounds, the Sloughi enjoys a good run, but is the consummate couch potato in the home.
The Sloughi is generally good with other dogs but can be aggressive when pressured.
- Children: Best with older, considerate children
- Friendliness: Reserved with strangers
- Trainability: Can be slightly difficult to train
- Independence: Fairly independent
- Dominance: Moderate
- Other Pets: Generally good with other pets
- Combativeness: Can be a bit dog-aggressive
- Noise: Not a barker
- Grooming: Very little grooming needed
- Trimming and Stripping: No trimming or stripping needed
- Coat: Short
- Shedding: Average shedder
- Exercise: Needs lots of exercise
- Jogging: A good jogging companion
- Indoors: Relatively inactive indoors
- Apartments: Will be OK in an apartment if sufficiently exercised
- Outdoor Space: Best with at least an average-size yard
- Climate: Best in warmer climates
- Owner: Not suitable for novice owner
- Longevity: Moderately long lived, 12 to 15 years