The Azawakh is a sight hound dog breed from Africa.
Rangy, leggy, lean, and elegant, the Azawakh is extremely high-stationed, taller than it is long. Its back length should be 90 percent of its leg length to withers (shoulder blades). It has a deep chest, which should not go below the elbows, and a high tuck/waist.
The breed weighs from 33 to 55 pounds (15-25 kg); its height is 24 to 29 inches (60-74 cm). The coat is very short and almost absent on the belly. Its bone structure shows clearly through the skin and musculature. Its muscles lie quite flat, unlike the Greyhound, and in this respect it is closer to the Saluki.
Colours permitted by the FCI breed standard are clear sand to dark fawn/brown, red and brindle (with or without a dark mask), with white bib, tail tip, and white on all feet (which can be tips of toes to high stockings). Currently, white stockings that go above the elbow joint are considered disqualifying features in France, as is a white collar or half collar. Many other colours occur in Africa such as black, blue fawn (that is, with a lilac cast), grizzle, and blue. The Azawakh in its native land also comes in particolour. Blue brindle is also found in about 0.5% of the population; this is a normal recessive gene which again does not meet current FCI standards. The Azawakh’s light, supple, elastic gait is a notable breed characteristic, as is a 'bouncy gallop'.
Azawakhs need to be well socialised from an early age and should be challenged with new situations.
They are a combination of a sprinter (though not as fast as a Greyhound) and a long distance runner (like a Saluki). Therefore they need a good to high level of exercise and should have regular runs off lead in large enclosed areas to run off steam.
Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso
It manages to balance a close bond with its owner with a strong, almost feline independence. Attentive, distant, reserved with strangers, Azawakhs are gentle and affectionate with those they accept.
Bred by the Tuareg nomads of the Sahara and sub-Saharan Sahel in the countries of Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso, the breed is used there as a guard dog and to hunt gazelle and hare at speeds up to 40 miles per hour. Unlike some other Afro-Asian sighthounds it is more of a pack hunter and they bump down the quarry with hindquarters when it has been tired out. The Sloughi, by comparison, is more of an independent lone hunter and has a high hunting instinct.
They are relatively uncommon in Europe and North America but there is a growing band of devotees. It is not a 'doggy' dog, being very feline in temperamanet and therefore not a good pet for mainstream owners. However, well socialised and trained, they can be good with cats, children, and strangers. The breed is not yet registered by CKC or AKC (but is recorded in AKC’s Foundation Stock Service); it is registered with UKC, ARBA and others.
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