The Azawakh comes from the Sahel region of West Africa. Azawakhs are sighthounds used for hunting and also as a camp guardian.
The nomadic tribes of the Southern Sahara also breed these dogs for companionship. You can see an Azawakh sleeping on the low straw roofs of Mali homes. If hyenas or night predators approach the village, the Azawakh jump off the roof, form a pack, and chase away or kill the intruder.
In 1993, the Azawakh was recognized by the United Kennel Club.
The name Azawakh comes from the Azawakh Valley, which is in the desert between Mali and Niger. The name means “Land of the North”. Their breeding makes the Azawakh well suited for desert living.
A visiting Yugoslavian diplomat was given a male Azawakh by the nomadic people he befriended. He then bargained to receive a female. Hence, he owned the first known Azawakhs to be exported. More Azawakh were exported by French civil servants and military forces in the region.
The dogs began to be spread across other parts of Europe and into the U.S.
The Azawakh has long legs and an elegant demeanor. The bone structure and musculature can be seen beneath fine skin. The Azawakh has short fine hair, and they shed normally. Azawakhs come in fawn with flecking, and you can find Azawakh ranging in color from light sable to dark fawn.
You may see a dark mask on the Azawakh. Watch for a coat with a white bib and a white brush at the tip of the tail. To be a show dog, The Azawakh must have a white stocking or at least a trace of white on their feet.
The Azawakh is about 29 inches at the shoulder for males and 27 inches for females. Azawakhs weigh anywhere from 33 to 55 pounds.
This breed has legs that are longer than their bodies, and their hips are higher than their shoulders. They possess a narrow head with pendant ears and dark almond-shaped eyes. Azawakh has a very deep chest, and their movement is graceful and spectacular to watch.
You can expect your Azawakh to live from 12 to 15 years.
The Azawakh is affectionate and gentle with their human families, but they are also standoffish toward strangers. They do not like being touched by people they do not know. Azawakhs are very protective of their people and property, and they feature a combination of loyalty and independence.
They are attracted by motion since they are sighthounds and often chase animals, people on bikes or skateboards, and even running children. Joggers and runners find the Azawakh a great companion who will run with them.
Keep your Azawakh inside, and you will find that they are content to sit on the couch in a patch of sunlight.
Azawakhs need a large fenced yard where they can run. Give them at least a half-hour a day of physical activity. Azawakhs are desert animals and need a sweater before heading out for walk-in cold weather. They do get chilled easily.
Azawakhs are admirably adapted to apartment living, as long as you exercise them, but are not good for new owners. They are a sensitive breed and tolerate being left alone. They are affectionate with their family but are not good kid dogs.
Azawakh has a strong pull towards other Azawakh. Many Azawakh owners have more than one, Azawakh and these two dogs will have a close bond. They do get along in a multi-dog household, but they will want to be dominant.
Azawakh are normal shedders and have very little drooling potential. They are generally healthy but do have medium potential for weight gain. Since Azawakhs are somewhat rare, they do not have a large gene pool.
These dogs can develop hypothyroidism, idiopathic epilepsy, or sudden and spontaneous seizures. You can manage this problem through medication. Azawakh also suffer from autoimmune diseases. Diseases in this range include a skin condition called demodectic mange, and muscle wasting.
Feed your Azawakh a high quality and portion-controlled diet. The breed is very slim, and you might tend to overfeed them. Be careful if you overfeed the Azawakh; they can be obese, which would be devastating on their joints.
Azawakh are intelligent and affectionate and exceptionally loyal. They have unique personalities, which means they require a great deal of training. Use positive reinforcement training and socialize them early.
Azawakh can be very vocal and may need to be trained not to bark all the time.
You will need to train and introduce them to cats and other dogs carefully. They have high hunting instincts and an exceptional prey drive. Do not let them off-leash in open spaces until you have trained your Azawakh to come when called. Make sure they understand their boundaries.
Look for venues in the U.S that focus on the Azawakh’s hunting skills. You can find open field coursing and lure coursing as well as speed and endurance trials on the oval track.
Azawakh are low maintenance. Their coats only need a rub down once a week to keep It in good condition. Their thin coats, minimal body fat, and origins from the deserts of Africa mean they are sensitive to cold.
Make sure they are warm in the winter months and put a sweater on them when you take them out.
Finding an Azawakh
Since this breed is somewhat rare, you probably will not find them in shelters or rescue homes. If you want to adopt or buy an Azawakh, you will probably need to put your name on a waiting list. You might also need to travel quite a way to secure a puppy.
Start searching for your Azawakh pupping with the American Azawakh Association that is connected with the Amerian Kennel Club.
The Azawakh is an ancient breed with a noble demeanor. Their history is rich in hunting, protecting, and companionship stories. The breed has a unique bond with its owners and is known to be extremely loyal.
If you are looking for a dog that is regal and will love you unconditionally, then look for an Azawakh.