The Sloughi is an ancient dog breed of sighthound developed in the North African area that includes Algeria, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia. The exact origins of the breed are unknown, but it may date back as far as 8000 – 7000 B.C. Sloughis were used to hunt large and small game, such as gazelle, wild pigs, jackal, fox, ostrich, and hare, over harsh terrain, including brush, mountains, and desert sand.
The Berber and Bedouin people of North Africa cherish the Sloughi for its amazing hunting skills. It has great speed and agility and shows endurance over long distances with a supple, long-strided, and effortless gait. This member of the Hound Group is also treasured for its loyalty to its owner and its elegant beauty. Although they share some characteristics with the Saluki, the Sloughi is a distinctly separate breed.
This is a medium-large dog with an athletic build. It is robust, yet graceful, and according to the breed standard has no exaggerations in its physique. Males are generally larger than females and stand between 26 and 29 inches high at the top of the shoulder. Females stand between 24 and 27 inches high. The male’s body is very slightly taller, from the top of the withers to the ground, than it is long, from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttocks, whereas a female’s body may have slightly longer proportions than the male.
The Sloughi has a short coat that is always smooth, with short, tight, and fine hair. Any feathering on the ears, tail, or legs is considered a disqualification in the Conformation ring. The coat colors of the Sloughi are all shades of light sand (cream) to mahogany red fawn. The coat can be with or without brindling or black markings such as a black mask or black ears, and there shouldn’t be any invasive white markings, although small-to-medium white marks on the chest or toes are allowed.
One of this noble and somewhat aloof breed’s unique and identifying characteristics is its long and elegant wedge-shaped head. It tapers from a broad skull at the back to long and refined strong jaws at the front. The Sloughi’s eyes are large, oval-to-almond-shaped, and dark in color, with a gentle, slightly sad, expression.
The first Sloughi to enter the United States was Tagiurie el Sian in 1973. By 1981, the first American litter of Sloughis was born. It wasn’t until 1997 that the American Kennel Club (AKC) accepted the Sloughi into its Foundation Stock Service. Then in 2004, the AKC made Sloughis eligible to compete in agility, obedience, tracking, and lure coursing events. In 2016, the AKC officially recognized the breed.