The Azawakh is an ancient breed originating in the Sahara desert and has been around for thousands of years. They are classed as sighthounds and were developed by the local tribes for use as a guard dog and protector. It was also used to hunt gazelle and hare across the arid desert lands. It is more of a pack hunter and the hierarchy within the group is complex. The breed is uncommon in the USA.
The Azawakh is good family dog, very loyal to its human 'pack'. They form incredibly strong bonds with their owners and family and can sometimes get too close. They can often suffer separation anxiety, a result of their close bond to their owners, so this is not a dog for leaving at home all day while you go to work. Their devotion to their owner is unquestioning and very affectionate.
One unfortunate side effect of this devotion to you is the fact that they don't cope very well with strangers, and dislike being touched by them. They will tend to cower or just run away, but are rarely aggressive. They tend to get on well with other dogs and cats, though, if raised with them. They thrive if with another Azawakh for companionship. Their hunting instincts kick in outdoors, though, and they will chase strange cats, bikes and cars, so you need to take care when out walking. They will happily leap over fences to follow their prey! Keeping them on a leash in the street is a good idea, only letting them loose in secure areas and fields.
Azawakhs have amazing memories and are easy to train. They only have to learn something once or twice, and they will usually remember it. They are great dogs for joggers, and have immense stamina over long distances. When training them you need to be firm, but kind too, as harsh commands or actions will scare them, after which it will be much harder to regain their trust and train them. They want to please you but don't always understand what you are trying to teach them. It takes consistent training to reinforce the hierarchy, as Azwakhs like to be top dog, given the chance.
They need to run, so best suited to a very active person who can let them run free (and safely). As mentioned a running partner would be ideal for this breed. A very long walk once a day should be enough for them and they will happily curl up at home in a comfortable bed and sleep. If their bed is not comfortable enough, they will sleep on your bed or sofa. They need a jacket in winter due to their low body fat and thin coat and aren't a fan of the rain/cold; a fair weather dog!
The Azawakh's coat needs brushing once a week to get rid of dead hair.
They are incredibly hardy when it comes to illness and rarely show signs of problems. They heal quickly and with little fuss. Sometimes there is an issue with Adult onset epilepsy, but generally this is rare.
They need to be fed on a low protein diet as is the case in their native country. Supplementing their food with rice and pasta is recommended. A diet that is high in protein, such as shop bought dog food, is too rich and will be detrimental to their health.
Azawakh have a protective and loyal temperament. Unlike most other sight hounds, they were bred as protectors, so they combine great agility with strong protective instincts. They love the company of their human family (or their fellow household dogs animals). They don't enjoy contact with strangers, though, and remain suspicious of them. This makes it important to socialize them as early as possible.
Azawakh's are prone to canine hip dysplasia (CHD) and bloat.
- Status: Common
- Life Expectancy: 10 - 12 years
- Weight: 33 - 55 lb
- Height: 24 - 29"
- Rare: No
- Coat: Short
- Grooming Requirements: Once a week
- Town or Country: Country
- Minimum Home Size: Large House
- Minimum Garden Size: Large Garden
- Breed Type: Hound
- Size: Large
- Energy Level: High
- Exercise Required: Over 2 hours