Although they are playful and energetic, azawakhs can also be fiercely protective of their home and family.
1. Key Characteristics
- AKC Group: Miscellaneous Class, Hound Group Designation
- Height: 23–27 inches (female); 25–29 inches (male)
- Weight: 33–44 pounds (female); 44–55 pounds (male)
- Life Expectancy: 12–15 years
The azawakh, a.k.a. the Tuareg sloughi, is a tall, elegant, rare sighthound. These dogs were originally companions and guardians to nomads and prized for their excellent hunting skills.
They have short, fine coats that can include any colors, color combinations or markings, the most common being red, sand, fawn, brindle, blue, black, brown and predominantly white with colors. There are no color or marking disqualifications for this breed for conformation purposes (outside the United States).
The eyes are large and almond-shaped, and the pendant ears are triangular and set high. The tail is low and thin, and the neck is long, giving the dog a thin, elongated appearance.
2. Where They Came From
Azawakhs originated in the Sahel region and the South Sahara in Africa. The dogs’ reputation as nomadic companions also suggests they are an ancient breed. They share characteristics and heritage with the saluki and sloughi.
Tuareg nomads called them “idii n’ illeli,” meaning “sighthound of the free people.” Living with the nomads was a comfortable life — the dogs were treated like family members and lived inside their families’ homes. They protected the camp and the livestock and also hunted hares, antelope and boars.
The azawakh breed was introduced into the United States in the 1980s. The breed was added to the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service in 1997. The American Azawakh Association was founded in February 1988.
3. How Friendly Are They?
Although azawakhs are playful, affectionate and energetic, they are known for their fierce loyalty and exceptional protectiveness of family members and their homes. They can be reserved with strangers, so start training and socialization as early as possible. Azawakhs have strong hunting and guarding instincts and are fast and attentive.
This is a highly intelligent breed and can be independent at times. These dogs like to be in charge and will try to obtain an alpha dog position if other canines are in the home. They adapt and travel well, but they should not be left crated for extended times.
4. Is This the Right Dog for You?
HIGH: Azawakhs have keen vision, speed and stamina. They are agile with high endurance and must have daily exercise.
They should be leashed or exercised in an enclosed area because of their strong hunting instincts; otherwise, they may view smaller animals as prey and chase them. This breed is good for joggers and does best with a yard, although it can thrive in apartments if exercise needs are met.
LOW: The short coat needs only occasional brushing or rubbing with a grooming glove. Bathe your azawakh as necessary, but her sensitive skin requires a mild, hypoallergenic shampoo.
HIGH: Azawakh dogs have a number of health issues to be aware of, including:
Check out this video of a very talkative azawakh:
5. Where to Adopt One?
Although the azawakh is a rare breed, purebred dogs can sometimes be found in shelters and rescues. Start with our adoptable dog search first and check your local resources.
- American Kennel Club’s Azawakh page
- American Azawakh Association
- Azawakh Club of Canada
- The Kennel Club’s Azawakh Page (Great Britain)
Get Free Recall Alerts! Sign up now to Petful’s twice-monthly email newsletter, and you’ll also get our FREE pet food recall alerts. You’ll be among the very first to know about recalls. Click here to sign up now (it’s free).