Is a Saluki for You?
Are you considering a Saluki? Though no breed is appropriate for every home, the Saluki is not like a Lab, Golden, or Shepherd, which can work well for a larger variety of homes.
Salukis are exotic, beautiful, and spirited. They are clean, do not shed much, and draw lots of attention when taken for a walk in the neighborhood. But they are also hunters with thousands of years of purposeful breeding behind them. They will run after anything that is fuzzy and moves, and will sometimes catch and kill their targets. Salukis are not to be trusted off leash in an unsafe area. Also, Salukis are much too fast and clever to catch if they accidentally sneak out the door. Salukis tend to sleep on beds, sofas, and chairs rather than on floors. However, Salukis are the most independently loving creatures on God's Earth. They get under your skin to become an important part of your life. If you acquire a Saluki, you must prepare to be consumed.
Is your yard fenced? As stressed above, Salukis can rarely be trusted off leash in a non-enclosed area. A yard fenced to a height of five feet is recommended, as Salukis can jump anything less with ease. If you do not have fencing, you must be prepared to walk your Saluki on leash at all times, and find it a safe area for regular free running. In other words, you must go outside during rainstorms, at night, before bed, in your pajamas, and you must be willing to drive or walk your Saluki to safe places to run. Are you prepared for this?
Can Salukis be taught obedience? Yes and no. In a controlled situation, with proper training, most Salukis can be taught to act in a civilized fashion. But you may not be able to get your Saluki to return consistently on recall in an open field, especially if he spots a squirrel.
Do Salukis live a long time? Salukis are generally a long-lived breed. The number one killer of young Salukis is "CARS", which is why we stress finding safe areas for them to run. A Saluki will routinely reach thirteen years of age, and many live to be fifteen years or older. Most Salukis eventually die from standard old age illnesses such as cancer or congestive heart failure.
Do Salukis do well in crates? Can a Saluki be crate trained? Salukis can be taught to sleep on dog beds or in crates if you do not want them in bed with you. Also, teaching any dog to stay quietly in a crate for short periods can be an effective tool in keeping your dog safe in traveling, during an illness or injury when you need to keep him quiet, etc. This is not to be confused with crating them for long periods of time on a continuous basis. For example, crating a dog while you are at work all day, every day, is not a healthy lifestyle for any dog. For the majority of the day a Saluki needs a larger area it can be contained safely in, where they can have some form of exercise and play, with access to an outside fenced area if possible. If your schedule or facilities do not allow for this, we suggest you consider another breed or a cat.
Are you aware of particular health concerns about medicating Salukis? Please take your puppy to your veterinarian immediately after you purchase him, to ensure he is in good health, and so he and the vet can get to know each other. Find out if your veterinarian is familiar with treating sighthounds in general and Salukis in particular. Salukis may respond differently than other breeds to certain anesthetics, drugs and medications. Please read the Anesthesia in Salukis and How to Select a Veterinarian articles off the Saluki Health link.
Remember: If you want a dog that instantly obeys your command and comes unfailingly the moment you call, do not buy a Saluki. If you are not willing to use gentle patience and positive reinforcement (not force) to train a dog, do not buy a Saluki. If you are not willing to exercise your dog properly, do not buy a Saluki.
Note: Part of the material in this article was taken from an article by the same name, written by Shereen Shuman.