The Sloughi is a large sighthound which are somewhat closely related to the Azawakh rather than the Saluki. The distinctive feature of the Sloughi is its long legs which provides for a slightly taller appearance than long. The topline is nearly horizontal with moderate angulations and tucked up underline. It has a long, wedge-shaped head with slight stop and black nose, and obliquely set eyes which are large, dark and oval that gives a sad expression. It also has drooping ears that are triangular in shape and carried close to the head. Its upper teeth closely overlap the lower teeth and are set square to the jaws. A moderately long neck carries the head proudly. The front legs are long; flat boned and well muscled while the hind legs are strongly muscled, also long and well-boned. The lean feet are elongated and hare-like which, when in full speed acts as superb shock absorbers that cushions the body. The tail of the Sloughi has a strong curve at the end without fringes or long hair and is usually carried low when the dog is at rest but never carried higher than the level of the back. The coat of the Sloughi is fine and short with an undercoat that grows during winter to help protect the breed from extreme cold. Coat colour ranges from light sand to red sand (fawn), with or without black mask, black mantle, black brindling or black overlay.
The origin of the Sloughi is rather obscure, although it is known to be an ancient breed as recent DNA analysis has shown. Nevertheless, its exact origin dates too far back to be accurately described. However, ancient writings and representations of African sighthound-type dogs go as far back as the 8th to 7th millennium B.C. These straight-eared and lop-eared hounds were an important part of the everyday lives of ancient Egyptians as archaeological evidences have shown. The lop-eared sighthound probably has an Asiatic origin and was also part of tributes to the Egyptian Pharaohs from the ancient Kingdom of Nubia (located along the border of present-day Sudan and southern Egypt.) This ancient sighthound is very similar to the modern Sloughi, Azawakh, smooth Saluki and smooth Afghan hound. However, the absence of concrete genetic proof makes it hard to claim if this breed is identical to any of the mentioned breeds or a distinct breed in its own right, or whether it is the ancestor of all lop-eared sighthound. In the 13th century, the Sloughi was also mentioned in a book written by a Moroccan writer named Al Mansur. Although the breed is sometimes referred to as the Arabian Sighthound (which is historically incorrect), it was the nomadic Berber tribes called Amazigh (free people) who developed the Sloughi in the northern Saharan region of Maghreb, long before the Arabs invaded their land. Locally, the breed is known as Sloughi Moghrebi (sighthound of the Maghreb) and is the only dog treated as family and allowed into the tent. It holds an elevated position as a noble animal compared to the other impure local dogs which are called “kelb.” For the Arab people, the Sloughi is the only canine breed prized and given the same care as an Arabian horse, sometimes mourned like a family when lost and often adorned with jewelry and amulets. When the French occupied the Arab lands, they introduced new laws which prohibited hunting with sighthounds and those remaining were either killed because of epidemic rabies or brought to other regions which greatly affected the population of the Sloughi. Today, in spite of dedicated breeding efforts, the Sloughi remains to be an uncommon breed.
The Sloughi is an alert and intelligent breed of sighthound, although it has a sensitive nature. This is an intelligent breed which responds well to fair and gentle training although sometimes, it lacks enthusiasm towards obedience training. It is quiet for a hound breed but has the same endurance and stamina as any other hounds.
Training should be consistent, fair and gentle as this breed is very intelligent but sensitive.
Grooming the double coat is quite easy; use a rubber brush or a soft bristle brush to remove loose or dead hairs. An average shedder, the Sloughi has no “doggy” odour except when wet, and will clean itself like a cat.
Being a rare and a pure breed dog has made the Sloughi perfectly healthy with no known hereditary problems. This dog can live between the age of 11 to 13 years.
It is a very active breed that needs a lot of exercise. Running alongside a bicycle or jogging will provide the right amount of exercise for the Sloughi, although it would be very happy if it gets its daily dose of exercise off leash, particularly in a well-secured open space, such as a highly fenced yard. Never leave the Sloughi off leash in a public place as it will chase other animals. Protection against cold and wet weather must be provided since it is a breed that is used to arid and hot climates.
Early socialization is of utmost importance, especially with other animals around the house. Generally, if the Sloughi is raised together with other pets it will generally get along with them very well. A strong prey drive dominates this hunting sighthound and may chase other pets, particularly small animals. In contrast, the Sloughi is very affectionate and gentle to its family and gets along well with children. It is generally reserved towards strangers but will typically welcome familiar faces.