North African Traditions with Sloughis
by Dr. Dominique de Caprona
© de Caprona, 2009

All photographs copyrighted to their photographers. Please do not use for any purpose without asking.

Markings with Henna
The Moroccan Sloughi is often marked with henna on various parts of his body.
The henna can be applied on the legs, throat, top of head, ears, croup and chest, both on males and females.
When asked about the reason of these henna markings, Moroccans reply "it is tradition" and that henna is also very good for the bones.

Two Moroccan Sloughias, one with (left), and one without (right) henna markings © Tachihante, 2008 

Moroccan Sloughia sound asleep showing henna on chest, legs and ears © Tachihante, 2009 

Two adult Moroccan male Sloughis showing henna markings on feet, legs, croup, throat and top of head
© de Caprona, 2008

Ear crop and brand marks on the front legs, muzzles
In Tunisia the ears of Sloughis, whether males or females, are often traditionally cropped "to make them hear better" or "to prevent their ears from being torn by jackals", and the brandmarks on the legs are "to strengthen the legs". Brandmarking is an old tradition in Tunisia.

"Schaab" imported to the Netherlands from Tunisia by Auguste Le Gras
early 1900s, showing brandmarks on its front leg.

Tunisian Sloughia imported to Europe 1975
with cropped ears and brandmarks
© Bächtiger 1975

Working dogs, guard dogs, shepherds dogs and Sloughis can have their ears cropped in Tunisia, the ear cropping is not limited to the Sloughis. Brandmarks are usually seen on Sloughis.
Tunisians also muzzle their Sloughis to prevent them from picking up things "unclean".
The feet are dipped in Henna to protect the Sloughi against the evil eye. 

Tunisian Sloughia with traditional ear crop and 3 brand marks on each of her frontlegs. 
© de Caprona, 2008 

Brandmarks in the form of a cross on a Nomad bred Sloughi's chest, as well as cropped ears.
 One says that this "cross" tears the skin's "tissue" enabling thus the Sloughi to stretch out well when running.
Others say it is a purely decorative tattoo
. It is tradition among Berbers, the indigenous people of Northern Africa, to tattoo their animals.

© Ochi 2011

A Tunisian Sloughi pair with cropped ears and no brandmarks  © G.Schwartz, 2007

Left: Tunisian shepherd dog, right: Tunisian guard dog, both with cropped ears © de Caprona, 2008 

Tunisian working dog with cropped ears © de Caprona, 2008 

Not all dogs or all Sloughis have their ears cropped in Tunisia or have brandmarks

Left: Tunisian desert Sloughia,© de Caprona, 2008; right: Tunisian Sloughis with intact ears and no brandmarks © A.d'Ersu 1999

Tunisian working dogs with intact ears. © de Caprona, 2008

In the 19th century, the General Daumas in his description of  the Sloughi  mentionned that 5 lines were brand marked on each front leg of a Sloughi to consolidate the joints. Algeria is a large country located between Morocco to the west and Tunisia to the east. It is sometimes difficult to access, but it seems this tradition may not be as prevalent anymore. At least in the regions of Bensekrane, Cheaaria, Tlemcen, El Oued, and Sebdou, the Algerian Sloughi's ears do not seem to be cropped, nor are his front legs brand marked. I have seen one picture of Algerian Sloughis hunting boar in which two had a henna marking on the top of their heads, and other pictures on which the dogs had henna on their toes and the bottom of their throats.

Algerian Sloughis , both photos © Abdelmouhaimene

A recent picture of a Sloughi from the region of Bensekrane with Henna on his head. According to the owner Henna is used to make the Sloughi look beautiful. It is also a symbol of a Sloughi's strength.

© Mangelsdorf 2010

No widespread traditions are known for this country regarding the Sloughi. If you know of any, or have pictures of Libyan Sloughis please contact the webmaster


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