(aka: Berber Greyhound, Sloughi Moghrebi)
An ancient sight-hound breed, the Sloughi was developed in North Africa as a desert hunter of fox, hare, jackal, hyena, wild boar, and gazelle. They were highly treasured and the only dog that were treated as a member of the family. Due to the French occupation and a rabies epidemic, the Sloughi breed was decimated. Today this breed is exceedingly uncommon and rare.
The Sloughi is squarish and leggy, slightly higher than long. The top-line descends along the neck and straightens along the back. The withers are hardly visible and the topline is almost straight from the base of the neck. There is a slight curve over the loin. The croup is bony, the brisket does not reach the elbow, the underline is first straight (long sternum) then rising sharply.
The Sloughi's coat color is solid with no extensive white markings (a white patch on the chest and few white hair at the tip of the toes are overlooked). Colors are all shades of light to red sand with or without black mask, black ears, brindle, black overlay and black mantle. The most common color is sand with a black mask. The facial expression of the Sloughi is gentle and melancholy, almost sad. The Sloughi has a smooth, floating, effortless gait, tail held low, head at a moderate angle to the body. There is no exaggeration in extension, and the front paws don't reach beyond the tip of the nose. This type of gait enables the hound to cover large distances without tiring. When racing, its style resembles that of the Greyhound, but looks more pulled together as a result of the squarish structure of the Sloughi in comparison to the "lying rectangle" structure of the Greyhound. Because of its straighter topline, the Sloughi does not flex its back as much as the Greyhound.
An affectionate and loyal breed, the Sloughi forms a strong and deep emotional attachment to their master and family. As a result, they do not change ownership easily. They are cautious, aloof, and wary with people they do not know. This breed is a reliable and dependable watchdog. The Sloughi is not recommended for the novice dog owner. They do best in a home with older considerate children and with household pets they have been raised with. Care should be taken with small pets such as cats or small breeds of dogs as the Sloughi may continue to interpret them as prey even if they have been raised with them. They have a strong emotional sensitivity and do not do well if stressed or if there are changes in their routine. They are not recommended for a two career family.
The Sloughi is tall, elegant, and slender. They exude a noble, graceful, and aristocratic demeanor. Extremely athletic, this breed is capable of jumping great heights and is a swift runner. They are active, alert, highly intelligent, and possess a fastidious and gentle manner.
The Sloughi's coat is very short with no undercoat, and it has no "doggy odor" unless it's wet. Dirt and mud falls off by itself when the fur dries. Because it is a desert hound, the Sloughi needs protection in cold and wet weather. Grooming is easy; a rubber brush or grooming glove will remove dead hairs. The Sloughi is an average shedder. Several people have reported that Sloughis are good for people with mild cases of dog allergy.
The origin of the Sloughi is not known, but it is a very old breed. It was mentioned in a book by the Moroccan writer Al Mansur wich was probably written in the 13th century. Morocco holds the FCI standard, but the breed originated in the area which today consists of Morocco, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria, in the Northern Saharan region of the Maghreb. The Sloughi is also known as the Arabian Sighthound, which is actually incorrect as it was the indigenous, nomadic Berbers (the Amazigh or "free people", as they call themselves) who developed the breed long before the invasion of the Arabs. The breed is locally known as the Sloughi Moghrebi, meaning the "sighthound of the Maghreb". The Sloughis held an elevated position in comparison to other dogs, and they were greatly prized. Only chiefs and kings were allowed to own them, and much effort went into making sure that they were bred pure. An owner of a fine hunting bitch would travel far to find just the right mate for her. There were originally two types of Sloughi: the larger, more substantial mountain Sloughi and the smaller, more lithe desert Sloughi. In western countries there is less distinction between the two as they have been mixed. The breed is not, as previously believed, closely related to the Saluki. DNA testing has shown that these two breeds are only remotely related. The Sloughi's closest relative is the Azawakh, which belongs to the Berber tribes of Southern Sahara. Still, the two breeds have been separated long enough that there are obvious differences in conformity and temperament.
As an independent thinker, the Sloughi can be somewhat stubborn and want things their own way. They will not respond to harsh or heavy-handed training methods. This breed requires positive reinforcement, consistency, respect, firmness, fairness, and repetition. They may be difficult to housebreak. The crate training method is recommended, but should not be used excessively. The Sloughi does not do well in confined spaces for lengthy periods of time.
The Sloughi is generally a very healthy breed. PRA (progressive retinal atrophy, or "night blindness") is found very rarely, and dogs who are DNA-tested and found free of PRA give 100% PRA-free offspring. Breeders in Europe and the US test their breeding stock in the hope of eliminating the disease within a few generations. A PRA-affected dog of otherwise excellent health, temperament and conformity can be bred to a normal (PRA free) dog and give offspring that are carriers (not affected), but the carriers can then be bred to normal dogs and give 50/50 carrier/normal pups. In this way, affected and carrier dogs of otherwise great quality can still be used in a planned breeding program. There have been isolated cases of deficient immune system, balance problems and Hemophilia (an illness that impairs the body's ability to control bleeding) in inbred lines. Sloughis, like many other sighthounds, are sensitive to anesthetics.