PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS, TEMPERAMENT, HEALTH
© Dominique Crapon de Caprona
The general appearance of the Sloughi is that of a smooth, lop-eared, leggy and racy dog with a noble, sad and gentle, somewhat melancholic expression.
Dogs measure 26 - 28" (66 to 72 cm) at the withers, up to 29.5" (75cm) in "mountain type" dogs, bitches 24"- 27" (61 to 68 cm). Dogs weigh around 50-63 lb. (22-28 kg), bitches 40-50 lb. (18-23 kg) approximately.
In structure the Sloughi is squarish, somewhat higher than long. The withers are barely apparent. From the base of the neck the top line is almost straight with a slight curve over the loin, the croup is bony, the hip bones apparent. The brisket is deep but does not reach the elbow, the shoulders are long and oblique with a good return of the upper arm. The underline is first straight (long sternum) then rises sharply to a well tucked up loin. The ribs are first flat then slightly rounded to the back. The Sloughi seen from the front is more narrow than round -ribbed breeds. Muscles are very lean and dry. Sloughis in perfect condition have flat, long and tight muscles. One can see the last free floating ribs, their hip bones and vertebrae over the loin.
The head in profile is long and refined, but stronger than other Sighthounds. Seen from above it forms an elongated triangle from the broad skull to the narrow snout and tip of the nose. The stop and brows are barely pronounced, the muzzle is about as long as the skull. The ears are triangular, rounded at the tip. They are moderate in size and hang flat on each side. They can fold backwards in action or when the dog is nervous. The teeth are white and strong, none should be missing, with a scissor or level bite. Additional pre-molars 1 are found in some individuals.
The eyes are dark brown to amber (topaz), often lined with black. The expression is melancholic, sad, gentle and distant.
The coat is always smooth, very short, dense and soft. The skin is fine and tight. The coat colors are all shades of pale sand to red with or without black markings such as: black mask, black ears, brindling, black mantel and dark overlay. The classical coat colors are sand/black mask and sand/brindle/black mask, all others are less frequent. Red/black brindle/black mask and red/brindle/black mantel/black mask are the darkest and rarest. White hair at the tip of the toes and a white patch on the chest are tolerated. White markings such as "piebald" and "irish" (white socks, tip of tail and blaze) are disqualifications.
Angulation front and rear is moderate, feet are oval and webbed between the toes. The tail is long, in line with the croup, typically curved upward at the end and held low. It should be thin and at least reach the hock.
The "desert type" Sloughis are more lightly built than "mountain type" Sloughis. Dogs, typically larger than bitches, should look more powerful and strongly built than male Salukis and Azawakhs. Bitches should be feminine, graceful, more refined and smaller than the dogs.
The Sloughi has
an effortless, light-footed and floating gait. Because of its squarish
proportions and moderate angulation, there is no exaggeration in reach
and drive. The front paw does not reach beyond the tip of the nose. The
head is held at a moderate angle to the body.
Like all Sighthounds Sloughis are highly efficient and driven hunters. Their keen vision , speed and stamina specializes them in chasing down their prey in open spaces. The Sloughi is always on the alert for moving objects, even a leaf in the wind will trigger a chase. Sloughis playing often chase each other.
Sloughis have retained all their instincts, and when several live together they establish hierarchies stabilized by subtle behavioral rituals. Intentions and moods are expressed by a large repertoire of postures, expressions and sounds. Bitches have no problems whelping and nurture their puppies well. Sloughis dig dens to cool off in hot weather, when they nurture puppies or just for fun. Bedouins sometimes dig a comfortable spot in the sand for their Sloughis and cover them with a blanket.
A well socialized Sloughi is affectionate, gentle, playful, subtle and very loyal to its owner. Some Sloughis, having for once and for all bonded with one particular person do not change ownership with ease. Sloughis are cautious with strangers whom they typically observe for a while before approaching. They usually do not like to be touched by strangers and often require some training to tolerate it. They are excellent watch dogs.
Sloughis raised in kennel situations, with little socializing, are typically very shy. They are nervous, scared and freeze in new situations, and may snap. They can be made to adjust, one step at a time and with a lot of time and patience. Well socialized Sloughis also get scared, but they adjust much more quickly to the new situation, and often rely on their trust to their owner to do so.
Sloughis are intelligent, curious and independent. They can be well trained if disciplined fairly, consistently and gently, as they are sensitive to anger. Dominant animals need a firm hand. However Sloughis do not take to training like a Golden Retriever or Border Collie does. They typically need a lot of space around them and do not put up with endless hours of crating.
Sloughis like children who have been brought up to respect animals. They get along well with other pets such as dogs, cats, parrots.
Precautions are as follows. Do not leave a Sloughi, or any other dog, for long periods of time unattended with young children. Children can abuse dogs without realizing it, and a Sloughi (or any other dog) might want at some point to defend itself. With small dogs which scurry and bark a lot, Sloughis tend to be edgy. Because they are tall, Sloughis may inadvertently be too strong when playing or running around with small dogs. Sloughis can develop great friendships with cats but may mistake their friend for game outside, particularly if the cat runs away. Some cats attack dogs and can inflict serious damage to their eyes and face with their claws. Similar caution is required with Sloughis and parrots. The beak of large parrots can turn into a dangerous weapon.
Sloughis, particularly young dogs, need a daily run. Once they have had their exercise, a Sloughi will be perfectly happy to relax on the most comfortable spot in the house and watch the household from a distance. Regular exercise and being an integrated part of the family are prerequisites for a well adjusted Sloughi. Sloughis love to travel and be taken to different places with their owner. It is not a good idea to leave a Sloughi to its own devices in the yard. A bored Sloughi will look for its own entertainment, not necessarily close to the house.
The Sloughi is
a hound of the desert. It is unhappy in wet and cold surroundings. Although
the breed develops a denser coat in winter, it should not be left outside
for long periods of time in cold weather. Sloughis enjoy a quick race in
the snow, but need to come back in the house to warm up.
So far the Sloughi
is still a healthy breed, mostly because breeders in Europe have cultivated
a large gene pool. There are no widespread genetic diseases in the breed.
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