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A Comparison of African and Middle Eastern Sighthounds

Updated: Nov 30, 2020


Countries of Origin: Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso

Purpose: Livestock guardian (goats, cattle) primarily, secondarily used to hunt in packs

Temperament: Bonds to household/village, extremely loyal and bonded, difficult to rehome – can be aloof or guarded with strangers, should not be aggressive toward them – Pack oriented

Proportions: Taller than long

Top Line: Marked withers, straight, hips level or higher than withers, boney croup – prominent hips

Under Line: Doesn’t reach elbows – falls, then rises to high tuck

Head: Muzzle is half head length – head is narrower than half the length of head – ears high set, moderately sized, limited stop

Gait: Springy, prancing, limited extension since body is taller than long, upright – tail may be carried above the horizon

Coat/Coloration: Extremely short – Red most common, all others allowed under the AKC standard


Countries of Origin: Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya

Purpose: Hunting game frequently hunted with eagles/hawks

Temperament: Loyal, faithful to a household – reserved or aloof with strangers but shouldn’t be aggressive

Proportions: Males slightly taller than long, females may be slightly longer than tall

Top Line: Withers apparent but not marked, straight topline

Under Line: Straight, long sternum, moderately rising

Head: Wedge shaped from above, melancholy expression

Gait: Long strides, covers ground – moderate reach – carries tail low

Coat/Color: Smooth – Sand, Cream, Mahogany, Red, Masks/Overlay common

Saluki (Smooth)

Countries of Origin: Egypt, Iraq, UAE, Qatar, Syria, Lebanon, Israel

Purpose: Hunting game over long distances

Temperament: Independent, sensitive, affectionate with loved ones

Proportions: Square proportions or longer than tall

Top Line: Withers apparent – reasonably straight topline but curved at loin/croup

Under Line: Moderate to high tuck – rises evenly – ribs meet elbows

Head: Large ears with tip reaching under jaw – head moderately wide between ears – stop not pronounced

Gait: Long, elastic, gliding strides – long reach – tail carried low or high

Coat/Color: Feathered or Smooth (both allowable by AKC)– White, cream, fawn, golden, tan, red, grizzle, tri, black and tan

Afghan (Smooth)

Country of Origin: Afghanistan

Purpose: Hunting game

Temperament: Refined, independent, loyal, silly

Proportions: Close to square but not considered important in AKC breed standard

Top Line: Almost perfectly straight topline – prominent hips

Under Line: Moderate tuck (more pronounced than sloughi)

Head: Prominent nasal and occipital bones –Regal, chiseled head, almost Roman looking – level bite preferred

Gait: Long elastic strides, back legs should land where the front legs were previously at a trot – tail should be carrier in ring above horizon

Coat/Coloration: Coated, Feathered, and Smooth Varieties exist – only the coated version is permissible under the AKC breed standard –any color allowed but white marking on head undesirable

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