Time-Worn Long Bois: The Salukis of Ancient Egypt

The svelte and odd-looking  Salukis have been around since ancient times. Since the history of these dogs stretches back before the creation of breed clubs and reported breeding records, their origins are shrouded in mystery.  However, it’s worth mentioning that Salukis were revered by the Egyptian royalty once upon a distant past.

Let’s get to know these long bois of ancient Egypt. Imagine them prancing along with King Tutankhamun’s chariot on the way to battle. 

History of Salukis

Salukis are one of the oldest dog breeds. They were originally bred to chase foxes, gazelles, and hares. No wonder they’re so long legged! Those lengthy, nimble limbs sure did them well during the hunt. 

Adored by the pharaohs of ancient Egypt and the sheikhs of early Middle East, Salukis luxuriated in the desert palaces, safe from the deprivations common to other dog breeds. A stubborn breed, the Salukis live as if listening to commands is entirely beneath them.
Despite their bullheadedness and difficulty following commands, people who adore them appreciate and acknowledge their free-spirit and independence, together with their sophistication. 

The Salukis’ existence thousands of years ago were evident in the illustrations of athletic canines found in the tombs of Nilotic settlements, the ancient place that preceded what eventually became the nation we know today as Egypt, dating 7000 BC.

In Tutankhamun’s tomb was carved the boy king’s figure and his cherished long hounds, which all happened to be Salukis.

Salukis in Egypt

No other dog breeds hold higher regard among ancient Egyptians than Salukis. They were the true favorite companion animals of that ancient civilization. This breed was considered the Royal Dogs of Egypt. Ancient Egyptians revered their Salukis so much that when a hound in their pack passed away, the family mourned their death inconsolably as if a human family member left them. The grieving family members shaved their eyebrows off to demonstrate their respect to the dog’s departed spirit, all the while weeping and thumping the gong to signify their grief.

Some Salukis were even mummified to preserve their long, lithe forms, intricately conserved through secret embalming recipes like the Pharaohs whose lives they touched.  Archeologists have found a few mummified Salukis still wearing their collars, their names lovingly carved into the ancient material.

Characteristics of Salukis

 Classy looking and energetic, the timeworn Saluki is commonly accepted as one of the oldest canine breeds. Their saga can be traced back more than 5,000 years. Elegant in looks and skilled in the hunting fields, it is no wonder that these hounds were highly priced by Egyptian rulers of the bygone past. Pharaohs,  valued highly by the Pharaohs of Egypt, as well as the other important leaders in history such as Alexander the Great.

Salukis have been famous throughout Asia, the Middle East, and Egypt through the years. And just like the Sighthounds, Salukis are astoundingly fast and normally possess a high-prey initiative. They normally depend on their eyesight instead of their noses when searching for prey and employ their fantastic speed for quest and capture. 

These animals were bred to catch prey through the long and complicated ground; hence they are not as dainty as they appear. They can run 30 to 35 miles per hour. Some breeders even say that Salukis can also manage to run nearly 50 miles per hour. This is the reason why the tribesmen in the Arab used them when catching gazelle. Nut oil or henna is put on their feet to make them hard and inhibit them from possible injuries.

They are not likely a good choice for a house pet especially if the house is packed with little furry animals. Since Salukis are extremely fast for people to run with, they are normally seen working alone. This has granted them a freewheeling personality.

Given that these dogs are getting sufficient exercise, they can be gentle and low-key when placed at home. They especially love snuggling on a sofa. However, they can be hard-headed and independent and can be sensitive sometimes, too. This simply implies that you have to bear extra patience when training them, although employing plenty of amiable and positive supports can produce great outputs.

Even though they are not popular for being warm, Salukis develop a very firm bond with the family and may be susceptible to separation anxiety, if they are abandoned for quite a while.  

Importance of their Names

Salukis carry names that mirrored their personality and remarkable qualities. As a creature that is treated as an important member of the family, their names were thought-through. There are times that their owner takes several months to determine the best name for their Saluki. 

Common examples of Saluki’s names are Khataf (snatcher), Nimran (panther), Sougha (the gift), Saqar (falcon), Shihaab (shooting star), Lateef (friendly), Reasha (feathered), Sharrek (partner), and Shadeed (strong).  

How to Care for Salukis

Caring for Salukis would require a large fence since these dogs are known to be escape artists. You should also be cautious of the lead since their urge to catch prey can be beyond the desire to come after you. Bear in mind that all dog breeds are general but each dog remains unique.

Salukis have to run once or twice a week. A simple roaming around the blocks cannot satisfy them. Thus, a Saluki owner may find it beneficial to have a very big fenced yard where his dog can regularly exercise.  However, the owner has to make sure that the fence should be 5-feet high at the minimum, and ideally 6 feet, considering that Salukis are exceptional jumpers.


The commitment of people given to their Salukis, and the loyalty these dogs have given back, continues even when the latter dies. This is very evident based on what history suggests. But then again, it is worth knowing that these dogs are not recommended to be raised in your home. They are simply not inclined to domestic living.

Understanding the characteristics of Salukis, you know that they are better outdoors where they can exercise their independence and execute their passion to hunt for prey.


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2 thoughts on “Time-Worn Long Bois: The Salukis of Ancient Egypt”

  1. My family has had salukis for hundred of years. That part of them not being indoor dogs is utter rubbish. If you take them in walks theyre 100% fine with it. You just need a nice size yard with a high fence. Dumbest thing I’ve ever heard from someone who obviously hasn’t had as much experience with salukis as we have.

    1. Thank you Aisha, obviously I appreciate your expert input on this article but I’m taken aback by the way you delivered it. “Dumbest comment” Ahhh…but it’s the internet, so everything is game. So I’d like your expert opinion to validate your claims, as this article was written by a Veterinary Sciences student I hired for the informational articles on this site. We foster an atmosphere of caring and helping on Every Creature Counts and your comment will be published because we don’t censor views here, negative or not.

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