Let’s find out the answer to What Is An Azawakh?
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Today, we are looking at a truly beautiful looking dog, the Azawakh. These dogs primarily originate from West Africa and may well be an unfamiliar breed with many people in the Western World so we are going to ask the question:
What Is An Azawakh?
These dogs are from the group we refer to as Hounds of which Sighthounds are a subcategory. These include Whippets, Deerhounds, Saluki’s, and my very own favorite breed, the Greyhound.
Azawakhs are an ancient dog breed that originates from a region of Africa that today has countries like Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso occupying the area.
The Azawakh can trace its history back thousands of years to the early Nigerian civilizations when they were living with the nomadic tribes and migrated them across this hill. We are not sure about the origin of the certain breed but it’s believed that they have similar ancestry as the Saluki and that they originated from the ancient area of sub-Saharan Africa.
During their history, they might be also crossed with some wild animals, for example, with Jackals
This breed albeit somewhat unfamiliar in the west has many recognizable traits that we see in other sighthounds and hopefully, we can learn a bit more about them here.
Character Of An Azawakh
Similar in terms of character to other sighthounds, the Azawakh has a very high prey drive. This essentially means that they can be generally not trusted off the lead in unfamiliar or un-secure areas. If they see a smaller animal, dog, cat, squirrel then no matter how hard you shout they won’t stop.
This obviously has a substantial detrimental impact on owning one and because of this drive, they can not be the best dog to introduce to a home that already has small pets living there.
It’s not their fault, of course, it’s in their DNA and is very much like the way my dogs, my Greyhounds have been with smaller furry animals. They simply see them as fair game.
For this reason alone, trainability can be an issue as well as exercising too. I tend to always make sure my Greyhound Wilson is always exercised on the lead and only gets let off in controlled and secure pens along with no contact with cats or smaller animals. This has served me well and would be my recommendation if you got an Azawakh.
That aspect aside, the character of these dogs towards humans is amazing but again with one caveat.
Small children can be seen as “cattle” that need to be herded and these dogs can be fairly bossy towards little ones so again, supervise, instruct and monitor interactions until your children are old enough or big enough for this not to be an issue.
Again, it’s in the DNA of the breed and is not sinister in any way, it’s just something they do.
These dogs were highly valued by the nomadic tribes for their versatility. Not only that, but they are also extraordinary Hare and Antelope hunters and they are also exceptional livestock and personal protectors too.
And they were trained to guard camps as well…so they are really a multi-purpose dog!
Because of this fierce and loyal protection instinct they can be wary of strangers coming to your home so again, this is something that can de-trained from them somewhat, but it is difficult to do.
This is an extremely loyal dog and tends to create a very strong bond with its owner and family. Azawakh dogs are very social and emotional, and they thrive for attention from other dogs or people. Because of their loyalty. It’s hard to rehome them just because they become so attached to their people.
Life Expectancy Of An Azawakh
This is a breed that has very few underlying health concerns and because of this 10-12 years with good ownership and care is the time frame you can be looking at
Weight Of An Azawakh
As with all sighthounds, they love their food and can easily be prone to eating too much. Ideal weight of 15 to 25kg is perfectly normal for these dogs that stand 60-74cm high.
The females are naturally a little bit smaller than males.
They are quite a “skinny-looking” dog and can appear to the untrained eye as malnourished as they have highly visible rib and pin bones, but again this normal as they are an extremely athletic breed.
Coat Care Of An Azawakh
These dogs do shed, but not a lot. They have a tight short coat that is easy to care for by brushing regularly to get rid of dead skin follicles and hair, but it really isn’t difficult.
They tend to come in three popular colors, deep fawn, brindle, and darker brown almost black. Another bonus with this breed is they also do not have much of the typical doggy odor so bathing should be done only if it’s really necessary.
Health Of An Azawakh
As stated before they have little to no common ailments other than just like all the sighthounds, they are sensitive to anesthesia and they can suffer from epilepsy, bloating, and warblers syndrome.
Luxating Patella is also common and this can because of the huge speeds these dogs run at…40mph!
Regular 6 monthly checks with the Vet and a diet of good quality food and exercise will ensure that your Azawakh really gets the best in terms of care and conditioning.
Price Of An Azawakh
They are a pedigree breed but also quite a rare breed too in the Western world and this commands a considerable price tag.
$2000 to $2500 is common and in UK £ this is around £1500 to £1900 which is a lot of money.
Please check out our article on getting a puppy from a breeder and make sure you always do your due diligence around this particular aspect of dog ownership.
Trainability Of An Azawakh
As we have already touched upon, the trainability of these dogs can be difficult considering their DNA and inherent conditioning of their breed. But, not impossible and early socialization from a puppy is key.
Consistent and positive reward-based training as always is essential here as they are a smart dog who knows how to work and protect so they will respect good quality and firm but fair training.
Exercise Requirements Of An Azawakh
The Azawakh loves to live in a pack which might not sound that surprising, but in reality, a lot of other sighthounds prefer to hunt alone, but not this guy! They are real team players!
This is a pack orientated oriented dog that forms complex social hierarchies. And for example, if others see or hear a danger, they will first bark to alert other members of the pack and then they will all face the danger together.
It is a very active dog. This is a highly energetic fast and a breed that is used to hunt Hare and Gazelles and they are using their speed to hunt them so you should not be surprised that they want to properly stretch their long legs even if they are living the typical companion dog life.
A home with land or access to safe exercising is essential for them. Paddocks that are owned by Kennels are becoming more popular these days and for around $15 an hour, a dog like this can have a good safe run.
Daily longer walks of at least 2 hours per day are best for this athletic breed and farming jobs (if you live on a farm!) are necessary for this breed to really feel at home.