The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.
This ancient hunting hound is so lean and rangy that his bone structure and musculature can plainly be seen beneath his skin. The smooth S-shaped contours, deep chest, and aerodynamic head mark the Azwakh as a member of the sighthound family, canine sprinters that rely on keen vision and blazing speed to fix and course their prey. The ultrafine coat comes in several colors and patterns. The overall look of this leggy hound is one of elegance and fineness, but don’t be fooled: This is a tough, durable hunter who’s been chasing gazelle across the scorching sands of the Sahara for more than a thousand years.
The Azawakh should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
The Azawakh’s short, fine coat requires minimal upkeep. A weekly once-over with a soft bristle brush, a rubber grooming mitt or tool, or a hound glove is usually all that’s needed to keep the coat in good condition. Azawakhs don’t have a doggy odor, so frequent bathing isn’t necessary. Even if the hound does find his way into a mud puddle, a bath may not be required—waiting for the mud to dry and then brushing it away may do the trick. As with all breeds, the Azawakh’s nails should be trimmed regularly, as overly long nails are painful and can impede the dog’s gait.
The Azawakh is an active breed, requiring daily exercise to keep both mind and body healthy. Adult Azawakhs can make great running companions. Failing that, a daily half-hour play session in a well-fenced field, park, or yard will keep the hound happy and healthy. However, an Azawakh left alone in the yard will not self-exercise. He is more likely to get the activity he needs in the presence of the owner or another dog.
Because the Azawakh is both highly intelligent and fiercely independent, training needs to be started early. Early socialization and puppy training classes with a trainer who has a positive approach are recommended. The Azawakh possesses an amazing amount of dignity and does not respond well to harsh or punishment-based training, which can produce a hound who is either broken in spirit, or aggressive and unmanageable. Positive, reward-based training with gentle but firm corrections can result in a hound who is obedient, affectionate, and loyal.
Azawakhs are generally health dogs, and a responsible breeder will screen breeding stock for health issues such as hypothyroidism, seizures, cardiac problems, and autoimmune-mediated disease. Azawakhs are slender, elegant dogs whose thin skin naturally allows their bone structure and muscle to show through; owners should learn what an Azawakh in good weight and condition looks like.
The original homeland of the Azawakh, are the endless arid regions of the south Sahara and the Sahel zone. Geographically encompassing the border region of Mali and Niger, lies the center of the Azawakh Valley. Found here are most of the types of examples of the breed. Traditionally owned by the blue-clad Tuareg nomads, they are called, “idii n’ illeli” (Translated from the native tongue, this means, “sighthound of the free people.”). The Azawakh enjoy a special appreciation from the nomads. They live under the same roof and are fully accepted members of the family. They assume the duty of protecting the encampment and flocks from invaders. They are passionate hunters and provide the family with meat, however, the diminishing of game and usage of firearms, lessens the utilization of the dogs. The preferred prey is hare, antelope, and wild boar. It is here the dog can utilize their agility and stamina. The rough and broken terrain is no hindrance. In spite of their fine-limbness, they are not prone to injury.
Particularly leggy and elegant, the Azawakh gives a general impression of great fineness. His bone structure and musculature are transparent beneath fine and lean skin. This sighthound presents itself as a rangy dog whose body fits into a rectangle with its longer sides in a vertical position. Faults – Heavy general appearance.
Size, Weight, Proportion: Height at withers – Males 25 to 29 inches, females 23 to 27 inches. Serious Fault – Size deviating more than an inch from the norms of the standard. Weight – Males 44 to 55 pounds, females 33 to 44 pounds; in correct weight a minimum of three to five ribs and hip bones should be visible. Body Proportion – Length of body/height at withers – 9:10. Length of body is 90 percent height of hound. This ratio may be slightly higher in bitches.
Eyes – Almond shaped, quite large. Their color is in keeping with the coat color. Eye rims are pigmented. Ears – Set quite high. They are fine, always drooping and flat, quite wide at the base, close to the skull, never a rose ear. Their shape is that of a triangle with a slightly rounded tip. Their base rises when the hound is attentive. Skull – The skull is almost flat, rather elongated. The width of the skull must definitely be inferior to half the length of the head. The width of the skull is 40 percent the length of the head. The superciliary arches and the frontal furrow are slightly marked. The occipital protuberance is clearly pronounced. Stop – Very slight. Faults – Wide back skull, prominent stop, rose ear. Muzzle – Long, straight, fine, lean and chiseled, rather narrow, without excess. Length of muzzle/length of head equals 1:2. Length of back skull is 50 percent length of head. Planes – Parallel, however sometimes the line of the skull and the bridge of the muzzle are slightly divergent. Nose – Nostrils well opened. The nose color is in keeping with the coat color. Lips and Jaw – Lips are fine and tight. Jaw is long and strong. Cheeks are flat. Bite – A scissor bite is preferable; a level bite is allowed. Serious Fault – An overshot or undershot jaw. Teeth – Full dentition; the teeth are healthy and strong.
Neck – Good reach of neck which is long, fine and muscular, slightly arched. The skin is fine and does not form a dewlap. Topline – Nearly straight, horizontal or rising toward the hips. Withers are quite prominent. Body – Length of body/height at withers – 9:10. Length of body is 90 percent height of hound. This ratio may be slightly higher in bitches. Fault – Body too long. Chest – Depth of chest is 40 percent of height at withers. Well developed in length, deep but without reaching elbow level. It is not very wide, but must have enough space for the heart, so the sternal region of the chest must not abruptly become narrow. Forechest is not very wide. Ribs – Long, visible, slightly and evenly curved down to the sternum. Underline – The chest is curved like a keel consisting of dry muscle and visible skeleton. The brisket is well defined with the underline rising very high into the lumbar arch without interruption. Back – Nearly straight, horizontal or rising toward the hips. Hipbones are distinctly protruding and always placed at an equal or superior height to the height at the withers. Serious Fault – Hip bones placed lower than withers. Loin – The lumbar section is usually flat (horizontal), but a slight curve is common. Croup – Oblique without accentuated slant. Tail – The tail is set low, thin, lean, and tapered. Length should reach the hock. It is covered with the same type of hair as that of the body. It is carried hanging with the tip raised or when the hound is excited, it can be carried in a sickle, ring, or saber above the horizontal.
Forequarters are seen as a whole: long, fine, almost entirely vertical. Shoulders – Long, lean and muscular and only slightly slanting seen in profile. The scapulohumeral angle is very open (about 130 degrees). Dewclaws – may or may not be removed. Feet – Rounded shape, with fine and tightly closed toes. Pads may be pigmented.
Hindquarters are seen as a whole: long and lean; legs perfectly vertical. Thighs – Long and prominent with lean muscles. The coxo-femoral angle is very open (about 130 degrees). Stifle – The femoro-tibial angle is very open (about 140 degrees). Hock – Hock joint and hock are straight and lean. Dewclaws – may or may not be removed. Feet – round shaped, with fine and tightly closed toes. Pads may be pigmented.
Skin – Fine, tight over the whole body. Hair – Short, fine, down to none on the belly. Color – Color and markings are immaterial. Serious Fault – Harsh or semi-long coat. Coat not identical to the standard.
|Description||Standard Colors||Registration Code|
|Black||Check Mark For Standard Color||007|
|Blue||Check Mark For Standard Color||037|
|Brindle||Check Mark For Standard Color||057|
|Brown||Check Mark For Standard Color||061|
|Cream||Check Mark For Standard Color||076|
|Fawn||Check Mark For Standard Color||082|
|Gray||Check Mark For Standard Color||100|
|Red||Check Mark For Standard Color||140|
|Sandy||Check Mark For Standard Color||168|
|White||Check Mark For Standard Color|
|Description||Standard Markings||Registration Code|
|Black Mask||Check Mark For Standard Mark||004|
|Brindle Markings||Check Mark For Standard Mark||007|
|White Markings||Check Mark For Standard Mark||014|
|Piebald||Check Mark For Standard Mark||025|
|Parti-Color||Check Mark For Standard Mark||038|
|Grizzle Markings||Check Mark For Standard Mark||064|