Azawakh - General Features, Temperament, Health problems


FCI # 307, Origin: Mali (France), Group 10.3 Short-haired Sighthounds.

Height: 23-29 in, Weight:17-25 pounds

Grooming: Low, Shedding: Low, Coat: short and smooth.

Color: brindle, all shades of fawn with or without white markings.

Ease of training: Medium, Energy level: High, Span of life: 11-13 years.

Breed: The origin of these breed of Sighthounds, is shrouded in mystery.

There is a version of a French cynologist Xavier Przhedzetsky, who believed, that this breed of Sighthounds could appear in the same time with Sloughi and Saluki, as a version of an Asian Sighthound. Migrating to Africa, some Hamitic tribes could bring the Asian Sighthounds with them, it is also possible that the Tuareg, who later migrated to the Central Sahara, could bring with them Sloughi from the Northern Africa.

By the seventies of the twentieth century the first representatives of this breed appeared in France, and almost at the same time one Azawakh couple came to Yugoslavia. In 1975, the first female from Yugoslavia came to Germany.

Already in 1972 the Sighthound Commission recommended not to mix this two breeds: Azawakh and Sloughi, in order to wait for a final decision about the status of Azawakh.

France was a country that carried the greatest import of the original purebred Azawakh and supported the connection with Northern Africa. Therefore now exactly France became a lawmaker of the Azawakh standard.

The first standard for this Sighthound was adopted in France in 1981.

At the very first exhibitions this dogs were introduced as a Sloughi, because they had a smooth coats, hanging ears and also because they came from Africa. But the other features of Azawakh were also clearly manifested and they did not match with the Sloughi standard.

To the Eastern Europe the first couple of Azawakh was brought from Mali in 1986. First it was a male named Ermad Ag Mastoy, then there was also brought a bitch named Attar Zunu Ag Mastoy. The first litter from this couple was recceived in 1988 - so the breeding of Azawakh started in the Eastern Europe almost in the same time with France.

This breed of Sighthounds is very well known in Africa, especially in Mali and Nigeria. Also Azawakh has gained a significant popularity among the Sighthound fanciers in many European countries, where he was truly "discovered".

azawakh dog breed

General Features: Azawakh is very elegant and graceful. This Sighthound is a slender, graceful dog with the deep chest, standing on a very long, slender, muscular legs with the small paws. This dog reminds you of a purebred Arabian horse. The coat of Azawakh is thin and very short. Color: the various shades of sandy-color, including light fawn and blue fawn with or without white markings. Also the brindle color is allowed in this breed of Sighthounds.  Many Azawakh have a white "stockings", sometimes the white markings on the front legs can reach the chest and a white collar, which is permitted by the American standard, but not allowed by the standard of FCI.

The head of Azawakh is narrow, elongated, pear-shaped. On the muzzle the hair bags are pretty much prominent. Ears of Azawakh are relatively small, hanging. If we compare the Azawakh with Sloughi - this two breeds are very similar to each other - it is clearly noticeable that the Azawakh's skull is longer and less broad, his body is much shorter, there are also some differences in the small details, such as in the position and shape of the ears and in a manner to keep the tail.

Azawakh is a very hardy and agile dog known for his quick jump. This Sighthound  is used to hunt antelope and rabbits. Azawakh may even catch a soaring bird. Also Azawakh is a good guard dog, that was protecting the sites of the nomads, because this dog is very wary of strangers and is characterized by vigilance. This Sighthhound has a strong and very independent character, sometimes can be very stubborn. Azawakh is usualy very faithful and chooses only one owner in his life, so it should not pass into other hands. Requires early and persistent but calm training.

Temperament: Azawakh is a Sighthound from the southern part of the Sakhara territories. Azawakh is a natural born hunterd, so this dog is until now actively used by the African nomads to catch different animals.

In the coursing competitions Azawakh sometimes is slightly slower than Sloughi or Saluki - his speed is lower by the average of 3 seconds.

Tuareg tribes have been breeding Azawakh for centuries. This dogs were helping people in their uneasy life - Azawakh is a very good hunter and also a watchful guardian. This dogs are "so fast that they can easily catch up with the gazelle, hare or the European mouflon; they are so bold, that are not afraid even of the large predators; they are tireless, like a camel, and beautiful like the Arabian horse." On the hunt Azawakh is sitting in the saddle together with the hunter, and when the dog from the height of the horse sees the game, the hunter immediately releases his Azawakh. Azawakh can chase a gazelle for more than five hours and he can keep the speed - over 60 km / h. Azawakh is not killing his prey, his task is different - this Sihgthound has to bite the tendons and keep the beast until the arrival of the owner, for the meat to be fresh. For the Tuareg tribes Azawakh is a welcome companion on the hunt, they appreciate this dog very much and take a good care of their Sihgthounds, to the point that, contrary to their traditional opinion that the dogs are "unclean" animals, Azawakh is allowed into the tent of his owner. Through many centuries of it's existence, this breed firmly retains it's unique abilities, beautiful appearance and the proud name.

According to the observations and reports of travelers, these dogs are usually spending their time on the low thatched roofs of the village houses of their owners. But if they see a predator, who could make his way to the village, then Azawakhs immediately jump off the roofs, forming a large pack and run together to scare the intruder away - sometimes they even may kill him.

The one who is willing to understand Azawakh, should be aware of his lifestyle. To be able to survive in the life-threatening conditions of the deserts, vigilance, and an instinctive mistrust were necessary for this breed of dogs.

Azawakh has a very strong character and a pleasant, very well balanced behavior. In his homeland this Sighthound got used to receive a certain respectful treatment from the side of "his" people. The representatives of this breed are making a very strong bound with their owners, but of course it needs a lot of work to achieve the full understanding and deserve trust and respect of this willful and magnificent Sighthound. The one who is thinking to have Azawakh as a hunting companion or just a pet, have to understand, the responsibility. Because - for sure - for any dog it will be stressful to change the owner, but for the Azawakh it will be almost equal to death.

azawakh breed photo

This dog requires an early and persistent but calm training without overreactions.

It is particularly important to socialize your Azawakh puppy properly from an early age: you have to introduce him to as much as possible new people and animals, to the unusual situations, so that your Azawakh will grow up friendly.

Azawakh is an excellent guard dog, because he is very mistrustful with the strangers.

Azawakh loves children and always strive to protect them. But you have to be aware - he loves only "his" children - which means the kids of his owner and their close friends, who come often to the house. Sometimes the children are arguing on the playground, and for the guard dog it is natural to protect all the members of "his" family. For Azawakh it is a matter of honor to defend his masters from the "aggressors" no matter how big or small they are. So in case your kids are having some argument with the other children in the street or on the playground, you Azawakh may take it his way and in this case he will certainly try to protest "his" people. This unexpected "help" may scare everyone, so the Azawakh should not be left with kids without a supervision of an adult master. And this is something, that you have to remember always - Azawakh is not a Golden Retriever - he is making his own conclusions and his own decisions, every situation he will understand his own way, so children should never be left with this Sighthound during the absence of adults.

Azawakh does not accept another dogs in "his flock". The hunting instinct is very strong in this breed. Any domestic animals (cats, hamsters, pigeons etc) or the running dogs may immediately intensify his instincts. It should be noted that Azawakh is a very dominant breed. They always strive for the Alpha position and they always will look for the position of a leader. So if you already have a dog that is a leader, you may expect conflict between this dog and you Azawakh.

For Azawakh it will be pretty hard to live in the city. This Sighthound needs long walk every day, preferably on the same schedule and a lot of physical and mental exercises to keep him busy.

In any weather Azawakh need to be left to run free - off the leash, because this dog has to move and keep himself warm. Dogs of this breed do not like cold and humid weather, so the owner of Azawakh has to be ready and prepare for his dog a comfortable life conditions.
Grooming of this dog is very easy - it is enough to brush him daily with a special glove for the smooth haired dogs, which you can get from any groomer or any pet-shop.

Health problems: The Azawakh is a very healthy breed, even during the coursing training or competitions they rarely get injured. Some dogs of this breed may be prone to the epilepsy, but this does not occur often enough to say, that the whole breed is prone to this disease.

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