Responsible Ownership of a Saluki
"It's a lifetime commitment"
Understand the Breed:
Study its history, which will tell you much about the nature of the breed. Are you sure you want to live with a dog like this? Remember that having a Saluki requires a 10-17 year commitment.
A Saluki needs your company on a regular basis. Dogs are pack animals and are not happy when isolated outside, or left alone every day all week and again on the weekends. Puppies are even more demanding of your time and attention. Don’t get a puppy unless you have the proper facilities for its care, and are prepared for the responsibility.
A Saluki is a gentle creature with a cat-like personality, and does not respond well to rough or gruff treatment or training. Never leave your Saluki unsupervised with small children, who may be too rough on a Saluki without realizing it.
Continuing Your Education:
The learning process shouldn’t end the day the new puppy comes home. Finding out more about its health, structure, and temperament is a rewarding, but lifelong, assignment.
Do you have the facilities to house and exercise a Saluki properly?
Salukis need soft places to lie on: pillows, thick dog beds, and/or couches. Lying day after day on hard ground or flooring will damage coats, skin and joints, as Salukis do not have much "natural cushioning". They also need a safe, comfortable place to stay when you are not at home, where they can exercise, find shade and water, and if necessary escape the elements.
Salukis needs to run! Do you have enough land fenced, and is the fence high enough (five feet minimally and preferably six feet high)? If not, are you willing to find time to take your Saluki regularly to a safe place for exercise? An invisible electric fence does not provide an adequate barrier for a Saluki, who is apt to run through it at high speed. This leaves your Saluki helpless and vulnerable on the other side, unwilling to be shocked again in order to return to its yard. It also allows dogs to come into your yard, which leaves your Saluki vulnerable to their aggression.
Possible safe places include:
Size: The area should be as large as possible. Many breeders suggest a min. of 300-400 lateral ft.
Caution: Salukis can run 30-35 miles per hour. Do not easily assume a busy road is too far away for concern. Other than old age, the # 1 cause of death in Salukis is being hit by a moving vehicle!
A Saluki playing in a small back yard will not get enough exercise to enable its muscles to develop well, or to stay fit. If you cannot provide safe, free running for him on a regular basis (weekly or biweekly), then take long walks or jog with your dog at least twice a week. PLEASE, do not consider getting a Saluki unless you are prepared to give it a chance to run and stretch its legs in a secure place. Get a Sheltie or a Dachshund, and hang a picture of a Saluki on your wall instead.
Your dog and its living space, inside and out, must be kept clean. Salukis do not have oily coats or strong doggy odors; so occasional bathing is usually adequate, along with weekly brushing (twice weekly for their feathering). All dogs should be taught to eliminate outside of the house and all excrement should be picked up afterwards, both in your yard and in public places.
Never allow your dog to run loose in your neighborhood, or bark continuously. Salukis occasionally howl and bay (they are hounds after all) but they do not persistently bark unless they are stressed or left alone too long.
Finances & Good Care
Do you have the financial resources to:
a) Purchase a Saluki from a knowledgeable, reputable breeder?
b) Feed high-quality food?
c) Provide excellent and regular veterinary care?
d) Be able to pay for specialist or emergency care if and when it is needed?
e) Purchase all the things you need to make your dog’s life with you comfortable and happy?
A Saluki purchase price is usually anywhere from $400 - $1,000. High quality dry food mixed with some good quality, fresh meat costs $2 per day per dog, or more. Veterinary costs have risen dramatically with the quality of health care, and $100 plus per year for routine care is a very conservative estimate. A single trip to the vet can be $50-100. Tests and x-rays can run over $100 per item. An after hours visit to an emergency clinic will usually cost $200 or up. Specialist veterinarian care is often $500-$2,000. And we haven’t even talked about the dog bed, the dog bowls, the toys, and the training classes . . .
A good quality dog food is a must to keep your dog healthy and happy and less likely to have health problems as the years go by. - Avoid foods whose list of ingredients begins with something other than meat. Avoid foods with soy and corn fillers of limited digestibility. Avoid inexpensive grocery store brands.
Salukis can be "picky" eaters. Mixing in raw or cooked fresh meat of any kind helps stimulate their appetites and supplies nutrients missing in the dry food. (Eating raw meat is natural to canines. If you are considering feeding raw foods we suggest you consult some of the numerous books, publications and websites available on this subject.)
Give meaty bones occasionally, to help keep teeth clean and supply some of the nutrients missing from dry food. Before deciding which types of bones to feed your dog, consult not only your vet but also other reliable sources, since vets may not be familiar with all feeding alternatives. Raw bones are more nutritious and safer than cooked ones, as the cooking process produces a brittle and thus often dangerous bone.
Find a veterinarian who understands and is experienced with sighthounds, and is aware of their special needs. Make sure he is familiar with the information located on our website, entitled: "Anesthesia in Sighthounds". If your vet is not prepared in knowledge and equipment to adhere to these recommendations, we suggest you find another vet. Your dog will require vaccinations on a regular basis, along with any other medicines recommended for your area of the world. For example, heartworm medicine needs can vary, though in most areas of the US, all dogs need to be on heartworm preventative during at least part of the year.
Spay/Neuter & Breeding:
Most pet animals should be spayed or neutered. Millions of unwanted animals are put to death each year, many of them products of accidental pregnancies. Also, please do not even consider breeding Salukis (or any other breed) without, at the very least, a solid understanding of the breed’s history, extensive knowledge of your own dog’s and other major bloodlines, an awareness of possible health problems and their implications, and a firm grasp of basic genetic principles. Ignorance and carelessness, as well as unscrupulousness, in breeding have created severe health and structural problems and ruined many breeds.
Your average well-adjusted pet got off to a good start in life as a well-socialized puppy. A puppy's greatest learning potential ends at 16 weeks of age, and KPT (Kindergarten Puppy Training) classes, they are available in your area, are excellent for teaching him socialization skills and communication with you. They’re also lots of fun, for both you and your dog.
While you should be cautious about exposing him to unhealthy situations before he has completed his vaccinations, it is more than worthwhile to get him into organized puppy class activities between 10 and 16 weeks, a crucial window of opportunity that should not be missed. If these classes are not available, take your puppy to new places on a regular basis (parks, neighbors or friends houses), where strangers can pet him and gently play with him. Be sure he has had at least one complete series of shots before exposing him to public areas; talk to your vet about what is safe to do and not to do.
Saluki puppies, being more reserved than many breeds, need regular socialization throughout their growing years.
Teach your dog the basic obedience commands, using positive reinforcement methods. Salukis must enjoy their training: remember, this is an independent breed. Force or negative conditioning will prompt them simply to "tune you out". Many Saluki owners have had success with "clicker classes", which use clickers and positive reinforcement. There are many good obedience reference books available, and several are listed on this website, at the end of the article "Buying A Saluki Puppy", and in the Obedience section of the article "Saluki Activities".
If you are having problems with your Saluki that you can’t solve yourself, consult the breeder of your dog for advice. If you cannot locate the breeder or get a satisfactory response, get in touch with other Saluki breeders in your area or contact Breeder Referral with the Saluki Club of America. Names, addresses and phone numbers are available at the main Breeder Referral Committee page. Remember, all dogs have their own personalities and will test your patience as often as children will. You can solve most problems if you are willing to put forth the effort.Giving Your Dog Up:
If disaster strikes and you have to give up your dog, call the breeder. If you cannot locate the breeder or they are unwilling to take the dog back, call or email someone in either "Breeder Referral" or "Rescue", at this website. We will be able to find the breeder for you, or help find a new home for your dog.