The Azawakh originates from the Sahara desert and has been around for thousands of years. They are classed as sighthounds and were developed by the local tribes for use as a guard dog and protector. It was also used to hunt gazelle and hare across the arid desert lands. It is more of a pack hunter and the hierarchy within the group is complex.
The Azawakh is a loyal member of the family. They form incredibly strong bonds with their owners and family and can sometimes get too close. They don't deal well with separation and can often suffer separation anxiety as a result of their close bond to their owners. However, their devotion to you is unquestioning. They love being around you and are affectionate and loving. They don't cope too well with strangers and dislike being touched by them, although they are rarely aggressive. Most get on ok with other dogs and cats if raised with them, but as Sighthounds, they can chase strange cats, bikes and cars, so caution is advised at all times when out walking. They do very well if kept with another Azawakh for companionship.
Azawakhs have tremendous memories and usually only have to learn something once or twice to remember it. Their sense of sight is heightened, so when out walking off lead, it must be done in a secure area with high fencing as they will leap over fences to follow their prey. They make ideal dogs for joggers and have immense stamina over a long distance. Training should be firm, but kind as they don't react well to harsh commands or actions. They want to please you but don't always understand what you are trying to teach them. They like to be the top dog and need fair, consistent training all the time to reinforce your position.
They need to run, so best suited to a very active person who can let them run free (and safely). As mentioned a running partner would be ideal for this breed. A very long walk once a day should be enough for them and they will happily curl up at home in a comfortable bed and sleep. If their bed is not comfortable enough, they will sleep on your bed or sofa. They need a jacket in winter due to their low body fat and thin coat and aren't a fan of the rain/cold; a fair weather dog!
The Azawakh's coat needs brushing once a week to get rid of dead hair.
They are incredibly hardy when it comes to illness and rarely show signs of problems. They heal quickly and with little fuss. Sometimes there is an issue with Adult onset epilepsy, but generally this is rare.
They need to be fed on a low protein diet as is the case in their native country. Supplementing their food with rice and pasta is recommended. A diet that is high in protein, such as shop bought dog food, is too rich and will be detrimental to their health.
Azawakh have a protective and loyal temperament. Different to most sight hounds they were bred as protectors and so whilst the Azawakh is extremely agile and fast it also has strongly protective instincts. They love the compnay of those they consider family (animal or human) but prefer not to be touched by strangers who they are suspicious of. For these reasons it is important to socialise them often and as early as possible.
Health problems that may affect Azawakh include canine hip dysplasia (CHD) and bloat.
- Status: Common
- Life Expectancy: 10 - 12 years
- Weight: 15 - 25 kg
- Height: 24 - 29"
- Rare: No
- Coat: Short
- Grooming Requirements: Once a week
- Town or Country: Country
- Minimum Home Size: Large House
- Minimum Garden Size: Large Garden
- Breed Type: Hound
- Size: Large
- Energy Level: High
- Exercise Required: Over 2 hours
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