Azawakh is an elegant and tall West African Sighthound that originated from Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali.
These dogs can be standoffish around strangers but very calm and loyal at home.
The name Azawakh should be pronounced as “OZ-A-WOK” but he is also known as the Tuareg Sloughi.
Traditional tribes referred this pooch as idii n’ illeli, a name that means sighthound of the free people.
These leggy dogs were recently recognized by AKC making him eligible to compete in dog competitions and shows.
There is a lot to learn about this canine if you are looking to add him as the next member of your family.
If you were looking for more information about this pooch, you have come to the right place.
In this dog breed guide, we are going to cover all the essentials that you need to know about this West African Sighthound, from his appearance to his temperament and how you can best take care of him.
So, why don’t we get right into it?
About the Azawakh
This dog is regarded as a protective, proud, prized, tall, and elegant hound that also doubles as a great companion.
He is named after a Saharan valley also known as Azawakh and he is quite rare.
These dogs are great protectors of the people they love and their territory with their lovers describing them as independent and loyal companions.
This canine friend has a high prey drive mainly because of his hunting background and his instincts to chase after prey and other moving objects are high.
With that said active families and individuals will find this dog to be very useful and his lean but muscular physique makes him a perfect companion for athletes, joggers, and runners.
He is one of the fastest dogs known to mankind with a maximum speed of 40 miles per hour which is close to the fastest dog, the Greyhound.
However, indoors he is very calm and reserved.
These are not the best dogs for apartment life and will require a large space where they can burn off most of their energy by playing and running up and around.
They also do not do so well in cold weather areas and need to be protected from the cold during winter. This is mainly because they have low body fat and a short coat and will get chilled easily.
So, what is the story behind this elegant dog breed?
History and origin of the Tuareg Sloughi
As we have mentioned above the Azawakh originated from the West African Sahara Desert.
The name Azawakh comes from a valley between Niger and Mali that also goes with the same moniker and means “Land of the North.”
They were primarily bred to be guards for the nonads and their livestock and in particular the Tuareg pastoralists.
These dogs were also great hunters and companions for the people.
Living in the desert made these canines particularly well adapted to live in hot and harsh desert conditions.
In 1970, the nomadic people gifted a male Azawakh to a Yugoslavian Diplomat whom they had developed a close relationship with, after which he insisted on getting a female dog too.
These two are believed to be the 1st Tuareg Sloughis to be exported.
French troops and civil servants based in that region exported these dogs further into the US and other parts of Europe.
After they were exported these dogs were referred to as Sloughi-Azawakh which was changed solely as Azawakh in 1980.
Pedigree and breed recognition
After being introduced to the United States in the 1980s, this canine was not recognized by the American Kennel Club until 2019. However, in 1997 AKC had added this dog to the Foundation Stock Service(FSS).
He is now a member of the hound group which the following dog breed also fall under;
- The Saluki
- Rhodesian Ridgeback e.t.c
Pros and cons of the Tuareg Sloughi
✓ These dogs are very affectionate to their families.
✔ They are low maintenance dogs.
✓ If given enough physical stimulation, the Azawakh is a very calm dog indoors.
✘ They have a high prey drive.
✗ These dogs can be aloof and standoffish around strangers.
✘ They can be super territorial and even tend to bark a lot.
Appearance and General characteristics of Azawakh
|Azawakh Dog summary table|
|Height||23 to 29 inches|
|Weight||33 to 55 pounds|
|Lifespan||12 to 15 years|
|Purpose||Family and companion dogs|
|Suitable For||Active and playful families|
|Color Variations||Black, Grizzle, Clear Sand, Dark Fawn, Blue Fawn, and even brindle|
|Health concerns||Idiopathic Epilepsy, Auto-immune mediated diseases, hypothyroidism and Bloat|
|Temperament||Aloof, Deeply Affectionate, Attentive, Fierce, Rugged, Refined, Reserved, Independent and incredibly loyal|
|Other Names||Tuareg Sloughi|
Height and weight
Male Azawakhs stand between 25 and 29 inches and weigh between 44 and 55 pounds. Their female counterparts, on the other hand, have a height that ranges from 23 to 27 inches and weighs anywhere between 33 and 44 pounds.
The physical appearance of the Tuareg Sloughi
The Tuareg Sloughi has a lean and athletic appearance.
On your first sight of an Azawakh, you may get the idea that he is starved, however, this is his natural appearance.
You can see the dog’s muscular and bone structure his lean skin.
These dogs closely resemble tha South Indian and Middle Eastern Sight Hounds with several differences in their appearance that set them apart.
They have almond-shaped eyes that are mostly dark brown that give out an intelligent expression.
Azawakhs have long legs that are adapted for speed and will need to be exercised regularly to maintain the muscular structure.
They also have high-set, pendant, and medium-sized ears that are close to their heads and long muzzles.
Many dog lovers refer to this athletic pooch as elegant and regal mainly due to his appearance.
Shedding and coat appearance
These canines have a short and fine coat that can come in color and color combinations according to the breed standards.
This coat seems to disappear on the groin, belly, and in the inner part of the hindlimbs.
The coat colors can include;
Parti-colored Azawakhs should be predominantly white. These dogs may also have black masks and can also have white markings on the tip of their tails, legs, and bib.
This dog has little to no shedding at all.
Unfortunately, this dog is not hypoallergenic and may not be suitable for you if you commonly suffer from dog-related allergies.
Here are some dog breeds that you should consider if you are an allergic sufferer.
Temperament and personality traits if the Tuareg Sloughi
You need to note that the temperament of the Azawakh dog is not settled into a definable mold since this dog is a relatively new dog breed to the outside world.
The traits of these dogs may vary from one canine friend to the other depending on how you raise him.
Generally, this dog is affectionate and very loyal to his close family.
You also need to keep in mind that this pooch can be independent and loves to spend some alone time. At home, he is very reserved and calm and is extremely active outdoors.
Azawakhs are very adaptable, but they may try to take charge and be the alpha dog to other canines and you, therefore, need to be a firm owner.
His protective and aloof nature may not be perfect for people that he dislikes or strangers, but I believe that this is usually in the best interest of his family.
This, however, does make him a perfect guard dog. They are not innately aggressive but may react aggressively to any provocation and threats.
He is the perfect dog, provided you socialize him early enough.
The Tuareg Sloughi is a great family dog and forms tight bonds with his family members.
They are also patient and good around children but this may not be the case for other dogs and family.
These dogs are territorial and their high prey drive could see them chase smaller animals tha are at home.
Visit this guide to see some pro tips on how you can tame a dog that has a high prey drive.
Frequently asked questions
How fast is a Tuareg Sloughi?
Azawakhs are very fast dogs that can run at top speeds of 40m/hr and additionally jump very high.
What is a Sighthound?
Azawakhs belong to the sighthound family. Sighthounds are also known as gazehounds and are good at hunting and primarily use their speed and good eyesight as their main weapons rather than relying on endurance and smelling abilities.
What makes the Azawakh so skinny?
At the first sight of this West African canine, many tend to thin that the Azawakh is starved. However, this is not the case as this is the natural build of the dog. Having long legs and a skinny but muscular helps him to run fast when he is chasing after grey.
What is the average lifespan of a Tuareg Sloughi?
The Tuareg Sloughi has an average life expectancy of between 12 and 15 years.
Tuareg Sloughi mothers bare litter that has between 4 and 6 puppies but some could give birth to one or even ten puppies.
Most of these Azawakh puppies are born through normal and unassisted birth.
These puppies take between 12 and 18 months to reach their full size.
The growth chart below will help you better understand the growing progression of Azawakh puppies;
|Age||Male Weight (pounds)||Female Weight (pounds)|
Note: The above growth chart is just an estimate.
Azawakh puppies are expensive and go for between $2500 and $3000 on average. For top lines and pedigrees, the price can go as high as $10000.
The reason for this high cost is because of the dog’s rarity and Tuareg Sloughi do not come by easily. Azawakh breeders often have waiting lists for their puppies.
It is also not a common occurrence to this dog in a rescue shelter but you can look in your local and neighboring shelters and try your luck.
This breed’s scarcity may tempt you to get him from backyard breeders and unscrupulous puppy mills which you should avoid like a plague. Most of these puppies are usually bred poorly are susceptible to many health issues.
Grooming a Tuareg Sloughi
The Azawakh has low grooming needs.
This dog may need rubbing occasionally with a grooming glove and brushing twice a week.
Brushing helps to remove any loose hair and minimizes the already low shedding to a bare minimum.
These dogs may also need brushing several times a year using a hypoallergenic dog shampoo that may not affect their skin at all. You must note that this canine does not have a dog odor and therefore does not need to be bathed often.
Clean their ear canals and remove any wax build-up to reduce the risk of ear infections.
Dental care should also be a top priority which should be coupled with trimming of his nails.
Azawakh exercise needs
With his speed, stamina, and vision the Azawakh needs to be frequently mentally and physically stimulated.
This dog breed is not suitable apartment living and has a strong affinity to dogs of the same breed as him.
Lovers of this canine often own more than one which allows them to play together and keep each other busy.
His exercise needs may be too much for some people and if you are not a super active individual this is not the dog for you.
Taking the Tuareg Sloughi will not cut it as long as his physical stimulation needs are concerned.
You should make sure that you take him for activities that can help him burn up most of his energy such as sprinting, going for hikes, and participating in other sports such as dock diving and agility sports.
Diet and nutritional requirements
Just like any other active dogs, this pooch needs to be fed on high quality and well-balanced diet.
His level of activity means that you must meet his calorie requirements. A general rule of thumb is to feed him on 30 calories for every pound that he weighs.
|Azawakh Daily Food Consumption|
|Cups of Kibble||🍗🍗🍗|
You should not feed this furry friend to fatten him up.
Overfeeding this dog can cause him to become obese and being slim does not mean that he is underweight.
Here are some tips on the nutrition of a Tuareg Sloughi;
- You need to ensure that the diet has the correct levels of fats(8%), proteins(20%), vitamins, carbohydrates, and minerals. However, the protein should be mainly meat-based.
- You mustn’t overfeed this dog on some minerals and vitamins as they can be harmful to him.
- The diet should be adjusted according to the amount of work he is doing, maintaining his lean but muscular physique.
- He should be fed on fresh meals that are served in the most hygienic conditions.
- Providing an Azawakh with clean water is crucial for his well-being and hydration.
Although the Azawakh is an affectionate and loyal dog he is also independent and tends to make decisions on his own.
This makes them unsuitable for novice dog owners who may not know what to do with this side of him.
They require a firm owner that can provide them with consistent training.
Use positive reinforcements and reward-based training to achieve the best results which should be coupled with early and ongoing socialization.
Azawakh health problems
The Tuareg Sloughi can suffer from some health complications, regardless, he is a generally robust and healthy dog breed.
Some of the most common health issues are;
- Idiopathic Epilepsy are seemingly spontaneous and sudden seizures.
- Auto-immune mediated diseases.
- Hypothyroidism is a hormonal condition that is caused when the thyroid glands are underactive leading to a decrease in the rate of metabolism. This can, in turn, lead to an increase in the dog’s weight, fatigue, behavioral changes, and general condition loss.
- Bloat is also known as Gastric Volvulus.
Dog breed summary
The Azawakh is a lean but muscular and fast dog breed that originated from the West African Saharan countries where he was hunter and protector.
These dogs are elegant loyal and affectionate family companions that also has an independent side.
They can be timid around strangers and need to be socialized while they are puppies.
Their high prey drive also means that they will need consistent and patient training to help you tame them.
So, was this guide helpful to you?
You can share your thoughts, feedback, and any questions that you may have in the comment section below.
There you go, WOOF!
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