Azawakh Dog

The Azawakh is a sighthound dog breed from Africa.

Azawakh Appearance

His morphology is very close to that of the Middle Eastern and of the North African sighthounds, all swift, highbred coursing hounds, although at first glance obvious physical singularities present themselves. For example, a short, flat back atop long legs accentuates his lofty bearing, and his hips appear higher than the withers. The dog natural beauty is austere and architectural, sharply contrasting the arabesque loveliness of the Saluki, or the rather somber dignity of the Sloughi. Almond eyed, lean and graceful, his profile is at once sere but harmonious, his presence aristocratic and aloof. The dog moves with a distinctly feline plastique, collected, elastic, and articulate, his demeanor guarded and mysterious, his glance feral, untamed. In his land of ancestry he can be found in a variety of colors as well as varying degrees of refinement, though format is basically constant.

The standards call for a hound from 33 to 55 pounds (15 to 25 kg); its height is 24 to 29 inches (61 to 74 cm). The coat is very short and almost absent on the belly. Its bone structure shows clearly through the skin and musculature. Its muscles are "dry", meaning that they lie quite flat, unlike the Greyhound and Whippet. In this respect it is similar in type to the Saluki.

In Africa, Azawakh are found in a variety of colors such as red, blue fawn (that is, with a lilac cast), grizzle, and, rarely, blue and black. The Azawakh in its native land also comes with various white markings including Irish marked (white collar) and particolour (mostly white). Because of this wide color variation in the native population, the American standard used by the AKC and UKC allows any color combination found in Africa. In the United States, the FCI standard is modified to have no color restrictions at a minimum and there is a strong sentiment that the FCI standard should be heavily edited or replaced.

Colors permitted by the FCI breed standard are clear sand to dark fawn/brown, red and brindle (with or without a dark mask), with white bib, tail tip, and white on all feet (which can be tips of toes to high stockings). Currently, white stockings that go above the elbow joint are considered disqualifying features in France, as is a white collar or half collar (Irish marked).

The Azawakh’s light, supple, lissome gait is a notable dog breed characteristic, as is an upright double-suspension gallop.

Azawakh Health

Azawakhs are an incredibly sound coursing hound. Serious coursing injuries are rare. The dogs heal very quickly from injury.

Azawakh have no known incidence of hip dysplasia. There is a small occurrence of adult-onset idiopathic epilepsy in the dog breed. Wobbler disease or cervical vertebral instability does rarely occur. Some breeders believe this is a largely developmental problem where puppies grow too quickly due to a high-protein western diet.

Like the Basenji, the Azawakh bitch often has a single annual estrus. Unassisted birth of healthy puppies is the norm. Litter sizes are usually from 4 to 6 puppies but litters as small as 1 and as large as 8 occur.

Azawakh need a fairly high level of exercise and should have regular runs off lead in large enclosed areas to run off steam. The dogs are very social and emotional. They need a master that provides firm but fair leadership. Azawakh thrive companionship of other Azawakh.

Azawakh Temperament

Unlike other sighthounds, the primary function of the Azawakh in his native land is that of protector. He develops an intense bond with his owner, yet does not look to his master for instructions. Azawakh are a study in opposing tensions: attentive yet aloof, affectionate yet fierce, refined yet rugged. With those they accept, Azawakh are gentle and extremely affectionate. With strangers many are reserved and prefer not to be touched, but are not inherently aggressive. Although raised to protect livestock, they do not have innate aggression toward canine nor human unless they are threatened.

Azawakh have high energy and tremendous endurance. They are excellent training companions for runners and are nearly impervious to heat. They will happily run in weather over 100 degrees Fahrenheit that would kill a Greyhound. They love to dig holes in the garden, which is great exercise for both dog (digging) and owner (filling).

Many Azawakh detest rain and cold weather.

Azawakh are pack oriented and form complex social hierarchies. They have tremendous memories and are able to recognize each other after long periods of separation. They can often be found sleeping on top of each other for warmth and companionship.

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