Species group: Hound Group dogs
Other name(s): Sahel Hound; Tuareg Sloughi; Hanshee; Idi; Oska; Rawondu; Bareeru
The Azawakh is a rare hound indigenous to the West African countries of Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and the southern part of Algeria. They were developed by the Tamasheq-speaking nomads to serve as watch dogs in the harsh climate of their Sahelian desert home. As a result they're very intelligent, obedient, and loyal to their family or pack-- but highly suspicious of strangers.
The Azawakh population in North America is very small, fewer than 300 in 2012. Indeed, all the Azawakh outside of West Africa are believed to be descended from only 13 specimens exported in the 1970s. As a result, lack of genetic diversity could be an issue. It is recommended to the expert with the interest and the ability to preserve rare breeds.
Appearance / health:
The Azawakh is very leggy and slim and has a bone structure and flat type musculature that is transparent beneath the skin. The skin is very thin and covers tightly over its entire body. The Azawakh has a distinctive body format which is a vertical rectangle, being about 10% taller than longer. Its chest line is uniquely shaped like the keel of a ship. Its hipbones are prominent.
The eyes are large, almond-shaped; the triangular ears have rounded tips and are set high and drooping; the long, whiplike tail can be carried low or curled over the back, especially when the dog is excited.
The Azawakh is an average shedder. The very fine and short coat is easy to groom. Combing and brushing with a firm bristle brush should suffice.
Azawakh require a lot of space to run around. Hence, owners may allow them to run off-leash in an adequately fenced yard. Dogs of this breed require good amounts of exercise to stay fit, which may be in the form of jogs, long walks, sprints, treks, and other outdoor activities.
The Azawakh is generally very hardy and disease resistant. However, its body systems are different. For example, the Azawakh has a glucose isomerase allele (GPIB) that occurs only in foxes, jackals, Italian wolves, and a handful of other rare dogs some of which can be found in Japan. This suggests other internal components in the breed may also be unlike the normal domestic dog. Another example: the Azawakh female only comes in season about once a year, more like a wild dog and unlike a domestic dog.
The Azawakh may be sensitive to anesthesia and several insecticides common in flea and tick preparations. Your veterinarian must be advised to be conservative and take all precautions when administering any kind of modern chemicals to an Azawakh.
Behavior / temperament:
The Azawakh are social pack animals, highly intelligent with complex thinking patterns, and hence are not suitable for inexperienced or insensitive owners that do not understand them.They have an ingrained suspicion of strangers due to their long and primitive heritage of guarding the camps and livestock of the nomads in their country of origin, although they are loving and loyal to their family or pack.
After you have learned to read and interpret the Azawakh's behavior, you will find them very obedient and easy to train, with a fantastic natural recall. But, keeping your mind open, and not using another breed as a model to interpret the Azawakh, is key to your successful relationship with this wonderful creature.
The Azawakh is often catlike in its body movements. It pounces on its prey like a cat, washes its face with its front paws, and will bury or cover its waste like a cat. They have a high sense of self-preservation and are protective of their territory.
The Azawakh demands respect and must be treated with dignity. Early obedience training and socialization are essential for this breed. The breed is easy to train, after you have learned to read and interpret them properly. They respond well to consistent, firm corrections. Harsh treatment or unfair treatment are unproductive.
The Azawakh are not noisy. They bark only when they sense a danger to themselves or their pack. They communicate by making hound noises called "rooing".
With thanks to Mimi Drake for her assistance in writing this description.
elegant, keen hearing, affectionate, good guardians, elegant breed
strangers, new person
great fineness, azawakh sighthound, African bush dog, West African breed, sahel region tuareg
Azawakh: The Desert Sun Dog
A rare hound from the Sahel of West Africa, the Azawakh are like living art to me. Primarily a working dog trainer (for protection or police work, herding and field trial retriever), I live with a rather large population of these beautiful hounds.
The Azawakh hound fascinates me because they are complex. Physically, they are classified as belonging to the sight hound category, for show purposes. They are equipped with excellent running gear, which actually is evolved for heat dissipation - but can be useful for hunting and coursing. At heart the Azawakh are hounds, and they roo like one, too. The Azawakh are super intelligent, very loving and loyal to their family (or pack), but at the same time, can be highly suspicious of strangers. The Azawakh are extremely obedient, but you have to learn to read and interpret them accurately. You don't have to live with one to love one - you can enjoy their beauty depicted in abundant images accessible everywhere.
In their country of origin in West Africa, the Azawakh hounds live with the Tamasheq speaking nomads, who use them primarily as watch dogs for their camp, and have done so for millennium. The Azawakh have keen hearing and will also bark-alert at any threats to the livestock. They are prized by the nomads as companions. With the decrease of nomadism and the increased use of firearms, the Azawakh is not used much for hunting today, although historically, they were used for hunting gazelle..
From azawakh-idi Oct 9 2012 10:17PM
Azawakhs as Compound Guard Dogs
The Azawakh is a a traditional breed of hound from the eastern region of West Africa that looks like a lanky greyhound. Though found worldwide today, this is a native West African breed with a long ancestry. Traditionally, in Nigeria, dogs are either used as guardians or raised for meat. The Azawakh is a sight-hound descended originally from the breeds of India (which arrived in Africa over 8 0000 years ago) and they were bred as guardians for flocks and for royal compounds. This is classed as a native African breed.
Being good guardians they are used by the nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes of the Sahel region (Tuareg and Fulani mainly) as guardians for their flocks, as hunting dogs and as camp guards at night. Their long, leggy, natures means that they have a loping gait that is very energy efficient meaning that they can easily keep up with the tribe as it moves.
These dogs are much prized and are hardly ever sold. Rather they are given as gifts to honoured guests and are used as guardians for the compounds of village and tribal leaders. My father in law has several of these dogs.
They are incredibly affectionate and loyal to those who they know or to whom they have been introduced and they play well with other dogs and other animals. They do bark quite a lot and this is their main warning. In the compound you will see that they are always on the look out and as soon as someone they do not know comes along they bark a warning. Indeed, they are known for being intensely suspicious of the unfamiliar and the unknown.
Azawakhs also have semi-domesticated African bush dog heritage in their genetics as well as some jackal ancestry early in the breed's history, though their appearance was fixed thousands of years ago. This is a large and very active dog, so you will need plenty of feed for them and you will need to exercise them regularly and hard. If there are more than one together they delight in digging games and chase games. This behaviour may well be part of their early ancestry as pack hunting dogs.
They are excellent and very fast runners and can run even in the extremes of mid-day heat. Indeed, they enjoy hot conditions but dislike the cold and rain. They are very social and have complex hierarchies and should really not be kept singly. In West Africa they tend to sleep on top of one another at night to preserve heat.
Though they are naturally suspicious of anything new and unusual and will bark a warning, they are not naturally aggressive to humans unless they have been trained to be so. Unusually for dogs in West Africa, the Azawakh are treated as members of the family and are even given names. They are very affectionate to those whom they know and treat humans as part of their pack. However, they are very stand-offish to anyone they have not encountered before and do not like to be touched by strangers, shying away from them instead..
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