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The Azawakh – Speed and Stamina

The elegant but aloof Azawakh, is able to reach a maximum speed of 64km/hour, if you blink, you really could miss them. Known for their speed and stamina, they are able to run down game such as hares and antelope.

Origins of the Azawakh

The Azawakh is a breed of dog from West Africa. With ancient origins, it is raised throughout the Sahelian zone of Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso. This region includes the Azawakh Valley (found in the Sahara Desert) for which the breed is named. Also known as the Tuareg Sloughi, the Tuareg Nomads (one of several tribes who own this breed), call it “idii n’ illeli“, which means “sighthound or noble dog, of the free people”.

The breed developed as a result of inter breeding thousands of years ago, sharing heritage with the Saluki and Sloughi.

Living and hunting in packs, this sighthound breed was bred to guard and hunt. Their job was to chase down and catch speedy prey like hare, antelope, and other game animals. They see exceptionally well and their prey drive is high, as befits a hunter who ensured that his human family ate.

Breed characteristics of the Azawakh

The Azawakh is a refined elegant looking dog. Taller than they are long, their leggyness allows them to reach high speeds and cover great distances easily. They are thin skinned, and their skin is pulled taught over their somewhat boney frame. Their muscle development is lean, athletic muscular as opposed to the bulk of the power breeds.

They have a long neck, their head is narrow with a long muzzle, pendant ears held close to the head, and dark coloured, almond shaped eyes.

They are vocal in “protector mode”, barking if they see strangers approaching or sense any danger.

Health of the Azawakh

There is little information to be found on the Azawakh’s health in their original environment, one can assume that they are fairly robust for the breed to survive as long as it has. The modern Azawakh kept as a pet or as a show dog, does experience some health challenges, Bloat, Epilepsy and Wobbler’s Syndrome, whilst that sounds like a lot, they are listed as moderate health concerns.

Appearance and coat of the Azawakh

As is fitting of a breed from a hot climate, they have a very short, fine coat, with minimal to no hair on the belly area. Coat colours vary from tan, red, white, black, blue and brindle to all shades of brown. They can show a black mask on their face, and are well known for their long white stockings on their legs, a bib and a tip of white on the tail.

If you love a chunky dog then the Azawakh is not for you, known to be a “skinny” breed, Azawakh has a very low body fat, ideal for an active life in the desert, not great as someone’s pet in a cold climate.

Breed specific information for the Azawakh

  • Shoulder height males and females 60 to 74 cm
  • Weight males and females 15 to 25 kg
  • Life expectancy 12 to 15 years

Azawakh Fun Facts:

  • Aloof to strangers, the Azawakh is a fierce protector of his family.
  • It is normal for an Azawakh to look ribby.
  • They are said to have “dry” muscles. Lean muscles which lie flat on the body, like the Saluki.
  • They are incredibly sensitive and do well with gentle handling and positive reinforcement.
  • They are a single family and one person dogs.
  • When they move, they appear to float effortlessly above the ground.
  • They are considered a rare breed.
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