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Sloughi | Breed Info: Pictures, Characteristics, Facts, Traits

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By Nicole Cosgrove


Height: 24 – 29 inches
Weight: 40 – 65 pounds
Lifespan: 12 – 16 years
Colors: Black, fawn, brindle, sandy
Suitable for: Families, singles, hunters, outdoor enthusiasts
Temperament: Intelligent, sensitive, athletic, alert, loyal, energetic

The Sloughi is a sighthound hailing from Northern Africa, mainly Morocco, which is credited with standardizing the breed. They are often confused with the Afghan Hound and Saluki, as they share similar traits with both breeds, namely their short, smooth coat, agile build, and long, pointed snout. These traits also give them a Greyhound characteristic, leading them to often be referred to as the “Arabian Greyhound.”

These slinky hounds were bred specifically for hunting and were often employed to hunt down hare, jackal, and even wild pigs. The breed itself is ancient but was only recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2016. They were favored hunters of the Egyptians due to their tough nature and rugged endurance in the desert regions of Northern Africa.

These dogs are lean, fast, and tough and have boundless energy and incredible endurance, making them ideal for hunters and outdoor enthusiasts. Behind this rugged and tough exterior, though, lies an affectionate and loyal dog that is wary with strangers but dedicated to their owners.

If this energetic and agile dog sounds like the breed for you, read on for more information about these unique and elegant African hounds.

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Sloughi Puppy

Sloughi puppy laying on Grass
Photo credit: slowmotiongli, Shutterstock

Before taking the plunge and bringing home a Sloughi puppy, you should know that these dogs are highly energetic and need a ton of regular exercise to burn off their seemingly never-ending energy reserves. These dogs were bred for running long distances through arid and hot climates and have incredible endurance. If you are looking for a family pet to relax with on the sofa, the Sloughi is definitely not it.

Sloughis are also known for having a powerful stubborn streak, so they may be a challenge for first-time dog owners. Although they are intelligent animals that are highly devoted to their owners, they are sensitive dogs that need a gentle hand in training and a ton of patience, making them best suited for owners who have experience training high-energy dogs. That being said, if the breed feels like the one for you and you have the time and patience to dedicate to them, they are smart dogs that are a joy to own.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Sloughi

1. They are an ancient breed.

While the exact origins of the Sloughi are unknown, the breed developed in the Northern countries of the African continent, including Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, and Morocco, where the breed was standardized. Some estimates date the breed as far back as 8,000 B.C., but again, no one is really sure. They are prized by the Berber and Bedouin people of Northern Africa for their amazing hunting skills and incredible stamina, and they are still used for hunting today in harsh terrain.

2. They are new to the AKC.

The first litter of Soughis was born in 1981, and it wasn’t until the late 1990s that the AKC finally accepted the breed into its Foundation Stock Service. In 2004, the AKC allowed the breed to enter into agility, obedience, and tracking events, and then the breed was finally officially recognized in 2016.

3. Early socialization is essential.

The Sloughi is a sensitive breed that is highly aloof and wary of strangers. While they are loving and affectionate with their family, they need early socialization in order to have a healthy relationship with other dogs and pets. Due to their long hunting heritage, early socialization is essential to keep them from exercising their powerful prey drive on unwitting family pets.

Sloughi standing in the garden
Photo Credit: Bianca Grueneberg, Shutterstock

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Sloughi 🧠

Sloughis are friendly and rarely aggressive, but their independent and stubborn nature makes them a challenge for novice owners. While rarely aggressive, these dogs are highly loyal and can be territorial at times, and may act out if they feel threatened. They are typically aloof with strangers, so early socialization and good training are a must.

Although these dogs have an independent streak that can make training a challenge, they love to be close to their owners as much as possible. This is likely due to working closely alongside humans for centuries. They can experience severe separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods and need regular interaction, which is yet another reason to not take the decision of bringing home one of these hounds lightly.

They are devoted dogs that are as loyal as they come and will often attach strongly to one owner. They attach themselves so strongly that they can be difficult to rehome at times, and this is a point worth considering if you are looking at getting a Sloughi from a rescue shelter.

Once you move past the aloofness, shyness, and stubborn streak, they are highly intelligent dogs that take well to training. They are highly curious and inquisitive animals that love to explore, and they will adore their daily training and exercise regimens.

Are Sloughis Good for Families? 🏡

Yes! Although shy at times, Sloughis are generally great family pets, provided that they are well-trained and sufficiently exercised. They may not be ideal if you have small children around, as they can be fairly boisterous at times. They are highly alert dogs that make for great guard dogs. That said, with harsh training methods or a tumultuous upbringing, this can easily result in nervous and skittish behavior.

Do Sloughis Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽

Provided that they are socialized early, Sloughis generally get along fine with other dogs. They have a rich hunting history and powerful prey drive, though, so they may view smaller family pets as prey, especially animals like cats that offer an exciting opportunity to chase!

Sloughi greyhound hunting dog
Photo Credit: Liliya Kulianionak, Shutterstock

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Things to Know When Owning a Sloughi

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

The Sloughi is a highly energetic dog that needs a diet to match. We recommend a diet high in good-quality meat, preferably obtained from animal sources. High-quality commercial kibble is convenient and has all the nutrients and vitamins that your Sloughi needs to maintain their energy levels, and around 3 cups a day should be ideal, depending on your dog’s age, size, and energy output.

This dry kibble should be supplemented with lean meat, rice, and various vegetables on occasion to offer variety in flavor and texture and add in extra protein and carbohydrates for an energy boost. We advise splitting your dog’s meals into two: feeding in the morning and the evening. This simple practice will lessen the risk of digestive issues like bloat and will aid in their fast metabolism.

The Sloughi has a naturally thin and lean body type that often has ribs visible. Some owners mistake this for being undernourished or under-fed, but this is a unique part of their physical characteristics, similar to their close cousins, the Afghan Hound, and Saluki.

Other than that, your Sloughi needs to have constant access to fresh clean water at all times.

Exercise 🐕

Although the Sloughi loves to relax as much as any other dog, they are a highly active breed that needs a great deal of regular, intensive exercise. These dogs are fairly adaptable and can live in an apartment if exercised several times a day, but a house with a well-fenced garden is preferable. These dogs are known to be expert escape artists, so a tall, well-built fence is essential.

Sloughis are excellent running and jogging companions and will even love running alongside their owner on a leash while cycling. Remember, these dogs have a ton of energy and stamina, and it will take a great deal to get them sufficiently tired out, so some form of intensive running is a daily essential. They are playful pooches too and will enjoy playing games of fetch with their owners and will love the exercise associated with agility and obedience training.

Sloughi jump on a race Track
Image By: Stefan Schawo, Shutterstock

Training 🦮

Training a Sloughi can be a challenge due to their independent and stubborn nature, especially for inexperienced dog owners. The most important point to take into consideration with this breed is their placid and sensitive nature. These dogs do not do well with harsh training methods and need a gentle, patient, and calm hand in the training process. They are shy and aloof dogs and can be easily startled by sudden loud noises or strange faces, making early socialization essential. Getting them accustomed to other dogs and people regularly as early on as possible will make training them infinitely easier.

That being said, Sloughis are highly intelligent dogs that learn quickly under the correct circumstances and are usually easy to train for experienced dog trainers. We recommend positive reinforcement training for these sensitive dogs, as they will respond well to the praise and respect from their owners. Harsh methods of training will quickly shut these dogs down to the learning process and make them fearful and nervous about the world around them.

Teaching basic recall commands to these dogs as early as possible is essential. While they will love a brisk walk or run in any form, they will really love running off the leash at times, and basic recall will make sure they do not go off running after prey. With a top speed of 45 mph, you will surely lose trying to catch up with a Sloughi on the run!

Grooming ✂️

The Sloughi has a smooth, short coat that is a breeze to maintain. A short brushing once a week is all that is needed to remove any dead hair, and these dogs are low-shedding and do not go through the typical seasonal molts like other breeds. This short coat does not attract much dirt or mud, so the occasional rinse with clean water will keep them sufficiently clean.

Oral hygiene is important, and they’ll need regular tooth brushing to avoid tartar buildup and prevent bad breath. The regular activity should be enough to keep their claws short, but we recommend keeping an eye on them nonetheless.

Health and Conditions ❤️

With a lifespan of up to 16 years, the Sloughi is a relatively healthy breed that suffers from a few genetic disorders. Their slender body is fairly prone to injuries when running, so training is essential to make sure they are obedient in harsh terrain.

One particular disorder to watch out for is progressive retinal atrophy, which is characterized by the gradual degeneration of the retina and can eventually lead to blindness. A reputable breeder will usually have their dogs tested to make sure they are not carrying the gene responsible for the condition, however, so it is fairly rare among pedigree animals.

Large dogs like Sloughis are prone to gastric torsion, and this is another reason to feed them two or three small meals a day rather than a large meal in the evening. Like Greyhounds and other Hound breeds, the Sloughi is known to be sensitive to anesthesia, vaccines, and other medications. Most vets will be aware of this unique sensitivity, however.

More rarely but still a possibility is Addison’s disease.

Minor Conditions
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Allergies
  • Anesthesia sensitivity
Serious Conditions
  • Cancer
  • Obesity
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Addison’s disease

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Male vs. Female

Is the Sloughi the breed for you? The final point to consider is whether to bring home a male or female. There is little difference between males and females, other than size. Males can reach up to 29 inches in height and weigh up to 65 pounds, while females generally top out at around 27 inches and 50 pounds.

Remember that all dogs, male or female, are unique individuals, and their upbringing, environment, and training have more to do with their personality than gender.

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Final Thoughts: Sloughi

The Sloughi is well suited to owners who lead an active lifestyle, as their high energy and exercise needs will fit in perfectly with outdoor enthusiasts. They are great for families, although they can be a bit too boisterous for small children at times, and they usually strongly attach themselves to one owner. They do have a strong prey drive that you may need to take into consideration if you have cats or other smaller pets around. While they can be aloof and wary of strangers, they are loyal and loving among their families. They can also be a challenge to train, so they may not be ideally suited for novice owners.

If you are looking for a buddy to join you on the trails, the Sloughi has more than enough energy and stamina to keep up and will make the perfect outdoor companion.

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Featured Image Credit: Liliya Kulianionak, Shutterstock

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