The Saluki dog, although unfamiliar to many, has been a very popular member of the Sighthound family. Very few dogs come in so wide a variety of styles and colors as the Saluki.
The Saluki dog was used by different tribes to assist them in their hunting as well as being the dog of choice for the nobility. The Saluki not only come in different colors, but they also come in different types and have done since they were first developed as hunting dogs. There are smooth-coated Saluki and feathered Saluki. The smooth coated Saluki has short hair that is like silk all over its body. The smooth type is used a lot by the Bedouin tribes. The feathered Saluki has long and very silky hair that is like fringes on the ears of the dog as well as the rear and limbs. They actually have short coats, but have the longer silky hair on their body parts in addition to between their coats.
Each tribe had a different type of dog. The lighter colored fawn and blond dogs were used in the golden desert. The Fertile Crescent deserts were home of the black Saluki. The feathered version of the Saluki, bred and raised in the northern sections of Iran, Iraq, and Syria were referred to as the northern strain. The hunting they provided in the terrains of the freezing rough mountainous regions made them develop a very thick coat with feathering.
The other type of Saluki, called the southern strain, was bred in the Arabian Peninsula and Egypt and was used in the desert. They were taller with much longer legs and did not have the feathering of the northern strain. Being in the hot deserts, they did not need the heavy thick coat, so were smooth-coated. It is believed that the smooth coated variety is more genetically dominant than the feathered.
The feathered varieties of Saluki are most common in Canada, although both varieties are equally popular in the countries where the Saluki first came from. They were equally popular as well as equally bred. In the areas where they are used mainly for hunting, the dog is chosen for their hunting abilities, stamina, and endurance more than by the style of their coats. In the United States, it is the feathered variety of Saluki that we see most often at dog shows.
The Saluki is a very popular dog due to its intelligence, hunting ability, and personality. Many people aren't aware that there are two different types of coat in the Saluki. Because of this, they often mistake this dog for other breeds of dog. Many have described this dog as beautiful and strikingly similar to the Arabian horse with its long graceful neck and elegant, graceful appearance.