Azawakh is a sighthound and a herding dog coming from West Africa. It is a dog breed which has ties with the Sloughi but not so much with the Saluki. The Azawakh is related to the Sahelian zone where it was developed and is mostly used today by the people and nomadic tribes from Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso. The name of the dog breed is related to the Azawagh Valley, which is located in this region.
The Azawakh is an ancient dog breed which has also been used to hunting. But it became a working kind of a dog due to lack of game in the area. It is mostly associated with the nomadic tribe called the Tuareg people, but the Azawakh is also bred and owned by many other ethnic groups and people from the region.
Azawakh History & Origins
The Azawakh hound draws its origin from the Sahelian zone or more accurately the Azawakh Valley. It has been bred by Tuareg, Fula people and by various nomadic tribes located in the Saharan and Sub-Saharan region. The people of this area call this type of a dog as Oska and have mainly used it as a guard dog. But the breed proved useful as a hunting dog and was mainly used to hunt gazelle and hare. Their greatest advantage is that they are very fast and can run up to 40 miles per hour when pursuing their prey.
Due to the harsh Azawakh environment, only the fittest and most enduring dogs get to survive. SO you know that the dog you are left with is a good one. They are very rugged and can be independent. But the Azawakh hound is a pack dog in its heart. They follow the alpha dog and even hunt that way. This was very useful to the nomadic tribes of the area. The breed was mainly found in this part of Africa and has only recently started spreading around the world.
Characteristics & Temperament
The Azawakh are very emotional and energetic type of hounds. They need a master which will train them in a firm but fair way and they also enjoy the company of other dogs of the same breed. Their high levels of energy needs to be consumed somehow, so these dogs are best kept outside or in a big yard where they can run. Walking them as often as you can is a must and you also have to allow them to run. They need to develop and maintain their lanky bodies that way and it is the only way for you to get a well-balanced dog. The Azawakh will enjoy going on jogs with their masters and will not even mind the heat. In fact, these dogs are not affected by heat at all. But they don’t like rain and cold weather.
The Azawakh is very loyal and affectionate with its maser. It will create a bond with him or her and try to be as close to them as possible. But they can also perform independently form their masters. Since these dogs have been breed to protect the stock they have inherited a guard dog instinct. This means that they will protect the household but they do not have innate aggressiveness. They are vary of strangers and do not like to be touched by people they do not know. Still, they are not aggressive towards other people unless they are provoked or threaten by them. You can also keep the Azawakh around children as they do not mind them.
Azawakh Appearance, Colors, Size
The Azawakh is very similar in appearance to the Middle Eastern and South Indian sight hounds. But there are severable notable differences which draw them apart. For example, the Azawakh has a flat and a short back and they do have long legs. This pushes the hips to be positioned higher than the withers. These dogs have almond shaped eyes and are very thin. Their movement is a bit different compared to other dogs and is sometimes described as being almost feline-like.
The standard height of an Azawakh is between 24 to 29 inches (61 to 74 cm) and the weight is usually between 33 to 55 pounds (15 to 25 kg). Since these dogs are very thin so you can easily see their muscles and even the bone texture underneath. The muscles are described as being dry or flat, similar to the Saluki.
Their coat is very short and sometimes their bellies are completely devoid of fur. There are several color option which are accepted but the Azawakh actually comes in a variety of colors. Clear sand to dark fawn/brown, red and brindle with white bib, tail tip, and white on all feet is the breed’s standard look. Some have white stockings and white collars, but these are considered as disqualifying features.
The Azawakh is actually a very sturdy and a healthy type of a dog. There are several problems and conditions that these dogs face, but it has been proven that even these do not come in such rare occurrences. The lifespan of an Azawakh is between 13 and 15 years, which is pretty long when you consider the type and the size of the dog. Even though they have a frail demeanor, they tend to avoid serious injuries. There have been problems with hip dysplasia, but recently it was proven that it only comes in rare occasions. Other health problems that might be taken seriously include adult-onset idiopathic epilepsy, Wobbler disease and cervical vertebral instability.
Azawakh Grooming & Shedding
There is a certain advantage when it comes to Azawakh dogs, and that are the grooming needs. This dog actually needs minimal care and grooming. This is thanks to its short and fine coat. It just needs so brushing in order to keep the coat fine and to remove the dead hair. There are periods when the dogs sheds more but they are not big shedders. They do not possess a dog odor and just require to be bathed a few times a year. Even if these dogs get really dirty, like rolling around in mud, you can simply wait for the mud to dry and brush it off. But clipping their nails on a regular basis is necessary because it can get really painful for the dog if you don’t.
Price and Breeders
Breeders of Azawakh dogs are mostly found in the Sahelian zone, the place of their origin. This is where the most quality stock is found but the breed has been spreading outside the African continent and can be found elsewhere. There are breeders outside which will provide you with a quality dog. The price for a single puppy is not cheap at all as it goes somewhere between $2,000 and $2,500 USD.
With the growing popularity of rescue groups, Azawakh dogs have also become a thing. Rescue organizations with the aim of helping the dogs without a home have begun developing. There are various ones that will allow you to search, find and eventually rescue a dog or even a puppy. Find a dog to adopt at Azawakh – Rescue and find them on Facebook or check out the page of USRCC Azawakh.