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Is the Azawakh right for you?

Species group:

Other name(s): Sahel Hound; Tuareg Sloughi; Hanshee; Idi; Oska; Rawondu; Bareeru

The basics:
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

Helpful Azawakh Review


From azawakh-idi Oct 9 2012 10:17PM


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