The Sloughi is a graceful representative of the sighthounds and originates from North Africa. In his homeland he is still used as a hunting dog. Like all sighthounds, the Sloughi is a fast and active runner who needs a lot of exercise. Nevertheless, he is also a very good family dog due to his attachment and loyalty.
The Sloughi is an independent dog breed of group 10 recognized by the FCI and belongs to the sighthounds. Its country of origin is Morocco where it was bred as a fast and persistent hunting dog.
The build of the Sloughi, as with all sighthounds, is extremely slender, elegant and high-legged. His chest is deep and capacious, the belly well tucked up. Although the body is fine-boned and slender, it is well muscled. The height at the withers should be between 66 cm and 72 cm for males and between 61 cm and 68 cm for females. Despite this size, the Sloughi is quite light and usually weighs between 25 and 28 kg.
The head is nobly formed and sighthound-typically long-drawn, with straight nose bridge. The pendulous ears are set high and are slightly triangular and rounded in shape. The eyes of the Sloughi are large, dark and appear melancholy. This is even mentioned in the FCI Standard as "their expression is gentle, a little sad, the look as of homesickness."
The Sloughi occurs exclusively with short hair. His coat is very dense and fine. His coloration is mostly sandy, sometimes also reddish-sandy. Black masks, coats or twirls are permitted.
The movements of the Sloughi are ground covering and elegant. Due to their good muscling they are capable of fast sprints, but also of endurance running without any problems.
The Sloughi is a very independent and proud dog, whose love and loyalty are not given away to everyone. He is often shy towards strangers. However, once he has taken his owner to his heart, he is extremely loyal and affectionate. Although his character is basically rather calm, he defends his owner fearlessly in an emergency.
Since the Sloughi is very intelligent and sensitive, it must not be trained by force in any case. A Sloughi will only obey if he is treated with patience and love. He is also reserved towards children at first. But once he has accepted them as part of the family, he will be gentle, obedient and calm. The neighbors will also be pleased with a Sloughi, because this dog breed barks only extremely rarely.
As a greyhound, it is essential for the Sloughi to get enough exercise. He also enjoys dog sports and the opportunity to run on a racetrack. It makes a lot of sense to train a young Sloughi to be retrievable as soon as possible. So you can also let him run freely on walks. Here, however, one should always watch out for the existing hunting instinct.
The right food
The Sloughi differs little from other large dog breeds in its dietary requirements. He is generally not picky, but also not very food-fixated. This makes feeding uncomplicated. The Sloughi can be fed with fresh food ("BARF"), as well as with dry or canned food. Of course, attention should be paid to the quality of the food. All important nutrients should be contained in any form. Here, feed mixtures for large breeds are particularly suitable.
But just as important is the amount fed. The Sloughi, as a large dog, naturally needs significantly more food than representatives of smaller breeds. Nevertheless, the more common problem is rather overfeeding the dog. Sloughis are desert dogs and as such are not accustomed to excessive or high calorie diets.
In addition, their slender physique tempts many an owner to increase food rations. This can be very dangerous for the dog and promote numerous diseases. Among the most common of these are, for example, heart problems and arthritis.
The amount of food should also be strictly monitored in young dogs. On the one hand, it is important that the young Sloughi has all the nutrients for its growth. However, he should also not grow too fast. If he grows too fast due to a calorie surplus, this can damage his bone growth.
You should also use natural and sugar-free alternatives for treats. Examples would include natural chews or dried beef ears. Most Sloughis are better trained through praise and play than through food rewards. Another characteristic of this dog breed is its enormous urge to move. For this reason, the Sloughi should always be fed after exercise to avoid gastric distress.
Health & Care
The care of the Sloughi is not costly or complicated. Since he has a very short coat, he hardly sheds and does not need to be brushed. However, he does appreciate an occasional massage with a nap glove. It is not only a treat for him and strengthens the bond with the owner, but also helps to remove loose hair from the coat.
Sloughis are considered very clean and keep themselves clean as best they can. Some dogs even groom themselves in cat fashion. If their fur does get dirty, wiping it with a damp cloth is usually sufficient. The Sloughi should only be bathed in extreme cases. Even then, however, only a very mild dog shampoo should be used.
Special attention must be paid to the drooping ears. As with all dogs with hanging ears, these must be regularly checked and cleaned. Otherwise, inflammations could form here or ticks could hide in the summer. Also the claws must be controlled regularly. If they become too long, they must be shortened. This can be done both at the vet and at home. If you're not sure how to do this, it's best to take a close look at your vet. It is not that difficult.
Although the Sloughi is very slender and has only a very short coat, it usually does not need clothing even in winter. Only with older animals or extremely cold temperatures a coat is useful. Since it gets very cold at night in the desert, he is used to large temperature differences. However, you should still make sure to keep your Sloughi moving in the cold.
Many special accessories are not necessary for the Sloughi. Due to its high urge to move and its strength, the Sloughi can quickly run or pull. Therefore, it is important to choose a very thick collar or, even better, a harness. A thin collar, on the other hand, is unsuitable.
If the dog does not yet hear reliably or cannot run on a dog track, a long drag line is also recommended. With it, the greyhound can also run on the leash and gets rid of its excess energy more easily. The shopping list should also include a nap glove, a mild dog shampoo, a dog ear cleaner, tick pliers and possibly claw scissors.
Especially for a young Sloughi is also a height-adjustable food bowl very useful. This grows with the dog and protects the back of the dog.
Origin & History
The home of the Sloughis is Morocco, from where they spread all over North Africa. The breed standard is also established there. It descends from short-haired greyhounds, which can already be seen on Egyptian reliefs from 1500 BC.
As a noble hunting companion of the Bedouins and Berbers, he was pampered and often even taken along with his master on horseback for the hunt. His sand-colored coat offered him good camouflage on the hunt, which he often carried out together with falcons. In addition, the noble dogs were an important status symbol. Sheikhs and rich merchants often maintained a large Sloughi breed for this reason.
In the context of a hunting ban in Morocco, the number of Sloughis reduced drastically, so that they were temporarily threatened with extinction. However, breeding by enthusiasts and the status as a sporting and noble dog prevented this. Although hunting is now allowed again, only a few Sloughis are still used in the traditional way.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the first explorers and travelers began to explore the Arab world, which had been closed until then. In the process, they also came across the Sloughis. In this way, the first reports about this breed reached the West. Gradually the Sloughi spread from this time also here. Its use today is almost exclusively as a sporting dog or family companion.