The Morphology of the Sloughi's Skull
by Dr. Dominique de Caprona 
© de Caprona 2009

Sloughi* skull after Studer, 1901.

       Already a century ago, the North African Sloughi was the subject of scientific research. In his article entitled "Die Prähistorischen Hunde" ("The Prehistoric Dogs"), published in 1901, T. Studer observed that large Sighthounds used for hunting, such as the North African Sloughi and the Russian Borzoi, have a very much drawn out skull. He described a cranial superstructure (sagittal crest) considerably heightened, whereas the forehead is low, the stop hardly or not at all pronounced. The part of the skull in front of the first superior premolar is long, high and narrow. The outer wall of the maxilla forms a right angle with the narrow nasals. Because of the elongated maxilla, the premolars are placed far apart. In some cases, there are additional premolars.
       Six years later, in 1907, T. Noack in his article entitled "Wölfe, Schakale, vorgeschichtliche und neuzeitliche Haushunde" ("Wolves, Jackals, prehistoric and recent Domestic Dogs) describes two Sloughi skulls from Shtida and Boulawan in Morocco, as having the following characteristics:
- A backward slope of the occiput.
- A weak development of the occipital crest.
- A shallow stop.
- The absence of a sagittal crest, the parieto-frontal ridges remaining separate throughout.

       Most importantly, in comparison with the Borzoi, the Sloughi skulls are shorter, wider between the orbits, and more robust and the olfactory tubes are better developped in the Sloughi,  the nasals being vaulted as a result.
       These morphological characteristics indicated a good sense of smell, and correlated with the known fact at the time that North African Sloughis, although they are Sighthounds, can hunt by scent. In fact today's Sloughi owners admire the tracking ability of this breed.

Libyan Sloughi after Peters, 1940           ~   Tunisian Sloughi after Siber, 1899


Noack T (1907): "Wölfe, Schakale, vorgeschichtliche und neuzeitliche Haushunde". Zoologischer Anzeiger. Vol.31
Peters H (1940): "Haustier und Mensch in Libyen" Oehringen (Wurtt.)
Siber M (1899): "Die Hunde Afrikas", StGallen.
Studer T. (1901): "Die Prähistorischen Hunde". Abhand. Schweizer Pal.Gesellschaft. Vol. XXXVIII

Author's notes
* This information is cited in a book by H.Epstein entitled "The Origin of the Domestic Animals of Africa", Africana Publishing Corporation, published in 1971.
Unfortunately, the same mistake which is rampant in the publications in the English language is made in this book also: the author refers to the North African Sighthound as "Saluki."
Therefore the word "Saluki" is replaced here by the correct word "Sloughi", this documentation being about the North African Sighthound thus named.


| Copyright: Copyright 2008-2012, all rights of all pages under this chapter reserved to Dominique de Caprona. |