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Azawakh Dog Breed

About the Azawakh

The Azawakh is a noble and ancient sighthound originating in West Africa, specifically the Sahel region. Valued for its uncommon loyalty and unusual elegance, as well as its keen hunting abilities, this unique purebred has traditionally been used by the nomadic Tuareg people to hunt game and guard their encampments. With its long, slender physique and regal stance, the Azawakh not only excels in its functional capabilities but also exudes an aura of grace and dignity.

AKC Group

AKC Group

Hound

Dog Breed Height

Height

23,5 – 29 Inches

Dog Breed Weight

Weight

33 – 55 Pounds

Dog Breed Lifespan

Lifespan

12 – 15 Years

Highlights

Country of Origin Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger
Bred For Hunting, Guarding
Known For Great Fineness, Vertical Proportions, Floating Gait
Popularity Low
Temperament Quick, Attentive, Distant
Activities Hunting, Running, Guarding, Conformation Shows, Dog Sports

History of the Azawakh

The story of the Azawakh begins in the unforgiving landscape of North Africa, particularly within the Sahel regions of Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso. The tall and lanky sighthound has been a companion to the nomadic Tuareg people for centuries, serving a variety of roles, from hunter to protector, and even became a symbol of prestige.

The name “Azawakh” is derived from the Azawagh Valley, an arid region in the Sahel. Historically, the breed was prized for its hunting abilities, especially in pursuit of fast game, such as hare and gazelle, over vast distances. The hounds’ exceptional agility and speed made the dogs perfect for the task, and their keen senses proved invaluable in the sparsely vegetated terrain of their homelands.

Beyond hunting, the bond between the Azawakh and the Tuareg was deeply intimate. The hounds weren’t merely tools but also cherished family members. They shared the tents with their human counterparts, providing warmth on cold nights, and they stood as vigilant guards, ever watchful for unseen threats.

It wasn’t until the 1970s that the Azawakh made its way to Europe, captivating dog enthusiasts in France and Yugoslavia. The hound’s elegance and unique appearance quickly garnered attention, and efforts began to both preserve and promote the breed outside of Africa. The United States welcomed its first Azawakhs in 1987, further expanding the breed’s global footprint.

In terms of official recognition, the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) was one of the first major kennel organizations to acknowledge the Azawakh in 1981. It took a while longer for The Royal Kennel Club (UK) to do the same in the early 2000s. The American Kennel Club (AKC), recognizing the breed’s uniqueness as well as several dedicated breeding programs, granted the Azawakh full recognition in 2019.

General Appearance

Height & Weight

Adult male Azawakhs typically stand between 25 and 29 inches tall at the shoulder, while mature females usually range from 23 to 27 inches in height.

In terms of weight, males generally weigh between 44 and 55 pounds, while females weigh slightly less, usually from 33 to 44 pounds.

Proportion & Substance

The Azawakh is defined by specific proportions that underscore its decidedly unique frame. The length of the body compared to the height at the withers follows a 9:10 ratio. It’s worth noting that this ratio may be slightly higher in females. The breed’s light bone structure and lean musculature, coupled with its deep chest, are designed for swift, enduring pursuits in a harsh desert environment. The Azawakh’s bones are refined but strong, enhancing this sighthound’s affinity for both speed and endurance.

Coat Texture, Colors & Markings

Texture: The Azawakh’s coat is short and fine, fitting tightly over the entire body. This sleek covering provides unequalled protection against the intense heat of its native desert environments while also allowing for efficient cooling. A harsh texture or semi-long coat is therefore unacceptable.

Azawakh Colors

Standard Color
Fawn ee
Red ee
Brindle ee
Sandy ee
White ee
Black ee
Blue ee
Brown ee
Gray ee
Cream ee

Azawakh Markings

Standard Marking
White Markings ee
Black Mask ee
Piebald ee
Brindle Markings ee
Grizzle Markings ee
Parti-Color ee

A Note About Color: Color is immaterial according to the AKC Standard; however, the FCI Standard allows only fawn, with or without brindling, and/or white patching that is limited to the extremities. White hairs may be present on the forechest, base of the neck and nape of the neck as a small spot, and as stockings on all four legs from the feet to the elbows and thighs. A white blaze is not desired, but a black mask may appear on a brindle-colored Azawakh.

Head

  • Skull: Fine and elongated, the skull of the Azawakh is almost flat but has a slight curve. The width between the ears is notably less than half the total length of the head.
  • Expression: The expression is regal and alert, showcasing a vigilant nature and aristocratic demeanor.
  • Eyes: Almond-shaped and set slightly oblique, the eyes can range from dark to amber in color, depending on the color of the coat. They offer a gaze that’s simultaneously penetrating and gentle.
  • Ears: The ears are of medium size, hanging, and set high. They are thin and tapered, with a slightly rounded tip, typically falling close to the head.
  • Muzzle: The muzzle is chiseled and refined, ending in a straight nose bridge. It blends seamlessly with the rest of the head, giving the breed its distinctive profile.
  • Nose: Typically black in color or a shade that matches the coat’s color, the nose is well-defined and complements the breed’s keen sense of smell.
  • Bite: The Azawakh possesses a scissor bite, where the upper incisors closely overlap the lower incisors. Full dentition is required, and undershot or overshot teeth are unacceptable

A close up photo of an Azawakh's head.

Tail

The Azawakh’s tail is another distinctive feature that complements the breed’s elegant physique. Set low, the tail is slender and tapered, extending to the hock joint. In its natural state, it hangs with a slight upward curve towards the end, resembling a sickle shape. When the Azawakh is in motion or alert, the tail may rise but does not curl over the back.

The tail is sparsely covered with short, fine hair, becoming only slightly bushier towards the tip. This feature not only contributes to the breed’s aesthetic appeal, it also provides a clear indication of this sighthound’s mood and intentions.

The Azawakh – What to Consider?

Owning an Azawakh is a commitment to understanding and appreciating the unique qualities of this breeds. While these hounds are revered for their elegance and grace, there’s more to the breed than meets the eye. This hound, deeply rooted in Sahelian culture, requires a special kind of understanding and care.

Family Life

Affectionate With Family

How affectionate a breed is likely to be with family members, or other people he knows well. Some breeds can be aloof with everyone but their owner, while other breeds treat everyone they know like their best friend.
Independent Lovey-Dovey

Good With Other Dogs

How generally friendly a breed is towards other dogs. Dogs should always be supervised for interactions and introductions with other dogs, but some breeds are innately more likely to get along with other dogs, both at home and in public.
Not Recommended Good With Other Dogs

Good With Young Children

A breed’s level of tolerance and patience with childrens’ behavior, and overall family-friendly nature. Dogs should always be supervised around young children, or children of any age who have little exposure to dogs.
Not Recommended Good With Children

Physical

Shedding Level

How much fur and hair you can expect the breed to leave behind. Breeds with high shedding will need to be brushed more frequently, are more likely to trigger certain types of allergies, and are more likely to require more consistent vacuuming and lint-rolling.
No Shedding Hair Everywhere

Coat Grooming Frequency

How frequently a breed requires bathing, brushing, trimming, or other kinds of coat maintenance. Consider how much time, patience, and budget you have for this type of care when looking at the grooming effort needed. All breeds require regular nail trimming.
Monthly Daily

Drooling Level

How drool-prone a breed tends to be. If you’re a neat freak, dogs that can leave ropes of slobber on your arm or big wet spots on your clothes may not be the right choice for you.
Less Likely to Drool Always Have a Towel

Coat Type

smooth
wiry
hairless
rough
corded
double
curly
wavy
sikly

Coat Length

short
medium
long

Social Attributes

Personality

Trainability Level

How easy it will be to train your dog, and how willing your dog will be to learn new things. Some breeds just want to make their owner proud, while others prefer to do what they want, when they want to, wherever they want!.
Self-Willed Eager to Please

Barking Level

How often this breed vocalizes, whether its with barks or howls. While some breeds will bark at every passer-by or bird in the window, others will only bark in particular situations. Some barkless breeds can still be vocal, using other sounds to express themselves.
Only To Alert Very Vocal

Energy Level

The amount of exercise and mental stimulation a breed needs. High energy breeds are ready to go and eager for their next adventure. They will spend their time running, jumping, and playing throughout the day. Low energy breeds are like couch potatoes – they are happy to simply lay around and snooze.
Couch Potato High Energy

Mental Stimulation Needs

How much mental stimulation a breed needs to stay happy and healthy. Purpose-bred dogs can have jobs that require decision-making, problem-solving, concentration, or other qualities, and without the brain exercise they need, they will create their own projects to keep their minds busy — and they probably wont be the kind of projects you would like..
Happy to Lounge Needs a Job or Activity

Azawakh Health

Generally, the Azawakh is a robust breed, owing much of its resilience to its ancestral lineage that has allowed it to survive in the harsh Sahel regions. Like all breeds and mixed breeds, some individuals can have specific health considerations that prospective owners should be aware of.

Lifespan: On average, the Azawakh can expect a lifespan of 12 to 15 years. With proper care, regular check-ups, and a healthy lifestyle, these hounds can happily lead fulfilling and active lives.

Potential Health Risks

While the Azawakh is typically a healthy and resilient breed, there are some health risks that should be kept in mind:

  • Hip Dysplasia: This is a condition where the thigh bone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint. While it can be present without any clinical signs, some dogs may show pain or lameness in one or both rear legs.
  • Autoimmune Disorders: Individuals may be susceptible to a variety of autoimmune disorders. Regular veterinary checks-ups, and awareness of any unusual symptoms, can aid in early detection and management.
  • Cardiac Issues: Given the breed’s slender build and high activity levels, heart health is essential. It’s therefore prudent to have regular cardiac evaluations to detect any potential issues.
  • Bloat: Also known as gastric torsion, this life-threatening condition can affect deep-chested breeds. It is crucial to know the signs and seek immediate medical attention if bloat is suspected.
  • Ectropion and Entropion: These conditions pertain to malformations of the eyelids, leading them to roll outward or inward respectively. They can irritate the eye and may require surgery to correct.

Regular veterinary check-ups are invaluable for the early detection and management of potential health issues. Additionally, working closely with a vet will ensure that the Azawakh receives the preventative care it needs, from vaccinations to regular health screenings. An informed and proactive approach to any dog’s health will optimize its chances for a long and healthy life.

Azawakh Personality

The Azawakh is a beacon of elegance and grace, but its personality is as captivating as its appearance. When considering owning an Azawakh, it’s crucial to understand the breed’s temperament to provide a happy and fulfilling relationship.

Azawakhs are intelligent and independent thinkers. This independence, however, can sometimes pose a challenge, especially for novice dog owners. Their intelligence demands consistent training and a handler who comprehends canine behaviors. Coupled with their brains is their deeply sensitive nature. These hounds have a penchant for forming strong bonds with their families, often becoming incredibly protective. This protective streak extends to an innate wariness of strangers. An Azawakh may display a reserved demeanor around unfamiliar faces, so early and consistent socialization is paramount to help these dogs become more at ease in a variety of social situations.

The breed’s sense of companionship is strong, making the typical Azawakh not particularly fond of long periods of solitude. These hounds thrive best when they’re involved in regular family activities. When it comes to relationships with other animals, they generally get along with other dogs, especially if they’ve been raised together from a young age. However, potential owners should be mindful of their pronounced prey drive, which might entice them to chase after smaller pets.

Children in the family will find a gentle and affectionate companion in an Azawakh, but the breed’s inherent reservation means they might be more cautious around kids they aren’t familiar with. As always, it’s essential to supervise any interactions between dogs and young children.

In the company of other dogs, especially those they are meeting for the first time, the breed’s territorial nature might surface. Proper introductions and monitored interactions are beneficial in these situations.

To truly appreciate the Azawakh is to understand and respect the nuances of its personality. With the right approach and understanding, the breed’s loyalty and deep affection for its family shines through, making all the effort invested in the dog truly rewarding.

Azawakh Feeding & Nutrition

Feeding an Azawakh appropriately is crucial to ensuring its health and vitality. The breed’s lean and athletic build necessitates a diet that provides all the essential nutrients without contributing to unnecessary weight gain.

When feeding an Azawakh puppy, it’s essential to provide a diet specifically formulated for large breed puppies. Puppies have different nutritional needs than adult dogs, and because they’re growing rapidly, they require food that supports their bone and muscle development.

As they transition to adulthood, the dietary needs of an Azawakh change. Adult hounds need a balanced diet that caters to their energy levels. It’s always recommended to choose high-quality dog food that lists real meat as the primary ingredient. Depending on a hound’s weight, activity level, and age, the average Azawakh might consume between 2 to 3 cups of food daily. However, this can vary, and it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian or a canine nutritionist to determine the ideal amount.

When considering how often to feed an Azawakh, dividing daily food intake into two meals – one in the morning and another in the evening – can help in maintaining steady energy levels and preventing the risk of bloat, a condition to which deep-chested breeds can be prone.

It’s worth noting that Azawakhs can have a fast metabolism, thanks to their sighthound lineage. This means they can burn through calories quite rapidly, especially when active. Monitoring their weight and body condition regularly and adjusting their food intake accordingly is a prudent approach.

Lastly, fresh water should always be available to the Azawakh. Hydration is as crucial as nutrition in maintaining the well-being of this desert breed.

Azawakh Training

Training an Azawakh can be a unique experience, given the breed’s distinctive temperament and historical background. While these hounds are intelligent and quick learners, their independent nature can sometimes present challenges, especially for those not familiar with the breed.

Azawakhs are often described as having a cat-like demeanor. They’re independent thinkers, and while they’re eager to please, they also have a streak of stubbornness. This combination means that while they can pick up commands and cues rapidly, they might choose to follow them on their own terms. Positive reinforcement, patience, and consistency are key when working with an Azawakh. Harsh training methods or punishments are not recommended and can damage the bond between dog and handler.

One aspect that potential owners should be prepared for is the breed’s vocal nature. Azawakhs can be quite vocal, especially if they detect something unusual in their environment or if they’re left alone for extended periods. Early training can help in moderating excessive barking, but understanding that some level of vocalization is natural for them is important.

Another noteworthy trait is the breed’s strong prey drive, a remnant of its hunting origins in the Sahel region. This means that these hounds might be inclined to chase after smaller animals, making a reliable recall command essential. Regular training sessions, even short ones, can help to reinforce this and other essential commands.

As for their wandering tendencies, while Azawakhs are loyal to their families, their curiosity may sometimes get the better of them. Proper socialization, exposure to varied environments, and boundary training can help with ensuring they don’t wander off too far.

When it comes to intelligence, the Azawakh ranks highly. This hound is an astute observer and can often anticipate its owner’s actions. This intelligence, combined with the breed’s independent nature, means that the Azawakh can sometimes be a bit mischievous, but it’s all in good spirit.

Azawakh Exercise

Exercise is an integral aspect of an Azawakh’s life. These dogs are a blend of regal elegance and athleticism, a testament to their Sahelian origins where they evolved to cover vast distances in pursuit of prey.

Exercise Expectations

Energy Level Moderate to High
Exercise Requirements 1 Hour/Day (Minimum), Daily Walks, Vigorous Running, Regular Exercise, Playing with Another Dog, Mental Stimulation

The Azawakh is a sighthound, and as with many sighthounds, they have bursts of high energy interspersed with periods of rest and relaxation. While they love to sprint and run, they’re equally content lounging by your side. Regular exercise sessions, which can include brisk walks, play sessions in a secure area, or even organized canine sports, can help in keeping an Azawakh mentally and physically stimulated.

The hound’s lean and muscular build gives it the capability for high-intensity activities, but it doesn’t mean Azawakhs require strenuous exercise all the time. In fact, a few good runs in a secure, fenced area a couple of times a week, coupled with daily walks, can suffice for many Azawakhs.

Energy levels in Azawakhs can vary from one individual to another. Some might be more laid-back, while others can be a bundle of energy. Observing an Azawakh and understanding its unique energy level is vital. Over-exercising, especially in puppies, can lead to joint and bone issues, while under-exercising can result in pent-up energy, leading to undesirable behaviors.

The breed’s playfulness is another aspect that Azawakh owners cherish. These hounds can be quite playful, especially when engaged in activities they love. Their long legs and agile bodies make them adept at games that involve running and chasing.

However, when engaging an Azawakh in exercise, especially in warmer climates, it’s essential to be aware of any intolerance to extreme heat. Early morning or late evening exercise sessions are ideal in such conditions.

Azawakh Grooming

Taking care of an Azawakh’s coat and overall grooming is relatively straightforward due to the breed’s short and fine coat, but there are still essential points to consider ensuring the skin and coat remain in optimal condition.

Grooming Expectations

Coat Type Short, Fine, Tight
Grooming Requirements Weekly Brushing, Occasional Bathing, Routine Ear Cleaning, Periodic Nail Trimming, Regular Tooth Brushing

The Azawakh’s coat lies close to the skin, highlighting the breed’s elegant contours. This short coat sheds minimally, which means frequent vacuuming or lint-rolling isn’t a significant concern for most Azawakh owners. However, even with minimal shedding, regular brushing is beneficial. A weekly brush-down using a soft-bristle brush or a grooming mitt can help in removing loose hair, promoting skin health, and giving the coat a healthy shine.

One notable aspect of grooming Azawakhs is the skin’s sensitivity. The thin coat of these hounds means that their skin can be more prone to cuts, scrapes, or irritations. Regularly checking their skin during grooming sessions can help in spotting any issues early on. If any abrasions or signs of skin irritations are noticed, it’s advisable to consult a veterinarian.

Bathing an Azawakh doesn’t need to be a frequent routine. Due to the Azawakh’s short coat, these hounds don’t tend to carry a doggy odor. A bath every couple of months (or when they get particularly dirty) is often enough. It’s important to use a mild dog-specific shampoo to ensure the skin doesn’t get irritated.

Other grooming tasks include trimming the nails if they don’t wear down naturally, cleaning the ears to prevent infections, and brushing the teeth to promote good dental health.

Living with an Azawakh

When envisioning life with an Azawakh, one should be prepared for a unique and fulfilling experience. This breed, with its roots in the Sahel region, has adapted to various living conditions, but there are some considerations to ensure the comfort and well-being of this unique hound.

For starters, Azawakhs are well-suited for apartment living provided their exercise needs are met. Their calm and composed demeanor indoors, coupled with their affinity for lounging, makes them good candidates for apartment life. However, they appreciate having some open space to stretch their legs, so proximity to a dog park or a spacious yard can be a plus.

Temperature sensitivity is another key consideration. Azawakhs have a thin coat and minimal body fat, which means they are not built for extreme cold. In an area with colder climates, it’s essential to ensure the Azawakh has protective clothing during winter walks. A snug-fitting sweater or a dog jacket can help to keep these desert hounds warm. Conversely, they’re also not fans of excessive heat. While they’re accustomed to the warmer Sahelian climate, it’s a dry heat, so high humidity combined with high temperatures can be uncomfortable for them. On particularly hot days, it’s best to limit their outdoor activities to cooler parts of the day, such as early mornings or late evenings.

Their sensitive nature means they thrive in a stable and calm environment. Sudden loud noises or chaotic situations can be stressful for an Azawakh. Ensuring a peaceful home atmosphere, coupled with regular routines, can help in making this hound feel secure and content.

When it comes to cohabitating with other pets, it’s worth noting the Azawakh’s inherent prey drive. While these hounds can coexist peacefully with other dogs, especially if socialized early, smaller pets like cats or rabbits might trigger their chasing instinct. Each Azawakh is an individual, though, so interactions vary based on their personal temperament and experiences.

Azawakh Puppies

The arrival of Azawakh puppies is an exciting time, filled with curiosity, playfulness, and the promise of a deep bond between hound and human. These slender and elegant sighthounds, even in their youth, show glimpses of the grace and poise they’ll fully embody as adults. But like all puppies, Azawakhs have specific needs during this formative phase, and understanding these needs can set the foundation for a healthy and happy life.

Caring for an Azawakh Puppy

Azawakh puppies are somewhat delicate beings. Their lean structure and fine coat mean they don’t have much to shield them from physical harm or drastic changes in temperature. Therefore, making sure they have a comfortable environment, free from hazards and temperature extremes, is essential.

Nutrition plays a pivotal role during this growth phase. A balanced diet, tailored to the needs of large breed puppies, can support a puppy’s rapid growth and supports the development of strong bones and muscles. It’s always wise to consult with a veterinarian to determine a recommended diet plan based on the puppy’s specific needs and growth rate.

Socialization is another crucial aspect of an Azawakh puppy’s development. Exposing youngsters to various people, pets, sounds, and experiences can help to shape their temperament and ensure they grow up to be well-adjusted adults. Early positive interactions with other dogs and animals can also reduce the chances of aggressive or overly timid behavior later in life.

Training should start early, as Azawakhs are intelligent and eager to learn. However, their sensitive nature means they respond best to positive reinforcement techniques. Harsh training methods can be counterproductive and may instill fear or mistrust.

Lastly, regular health check-ups are essential. Puppies, in general, are more susceptible to certain illnesses, so it’s important to be sure young Azawakhs are up-to-date with vaccinations and regularly examined to identify any physical or behavioral concerns.

Azawakh Activities & Dog Sports

The elegant build and innate agility of the Azawakh make this astonishing breed suitable for a variety of adventures and dog sports. Engaging in these activities can provide both physical and mental stimulation for these hounds.

  • Lure Coursing: This sport capitalizes on a dog’s natural prey drive, allowing it to chase a mechanically operated lure across a field, mimicking the unpredictability of hunting live prey.
  • Fast CAT: This is a timed 100-yard dash where the breed’s speed is put to the test.
  • Agility: Navigating through a timed obstacle course, Azawakhs can display their speed and finesse with proper training.
  • Obedience: In this precision-based event, Azawakhs can demonstrate their ability to follow a series of commands in a structured environment.
  • Rally Obedience: This is a more “freestyle” form of Obedience in which dogs and their handlers navigate a course consisting of a series of exercises that showcase the pair’s versatility and trainability.
  • Conformation Shows: “Dog shows” are competitive events in which Azawakhs are evaluated on how closely they conform to the Breed Standard, showcasing their unique appearance and graceful movement.

Engaging in these sports and activities provides ample opportunity for Azawakh owners to bond with their pets in social settings, ensuring that both hound and handler enjoy a fulfilling and active life.

Group Classification & Standards

The Azawakh is recognized by the world’s leading registries and kennel organizations, which categorize the breed into a specific Group based on its unique characteristics. This breed is recognized worldwide under the following Group designations.

International Organizations

Organization Group Classification
AKC (American Kennel Club) Hound
UKC (United Kennel Club) Sighthound and Pariah Dog
CKC (Canadian Kennel Club) Hounds
ANKC (Australian National Kennel Council) Hounds
RKC (The Royal Kennel Club) Hound
FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale) Group 10: Sighthounds; Section 3: Short-Haired Sighthounds

The ideal Azawakh is described by a Breed Standard that is approved by each of the world’s leading registries and kennel organizations. The Breed Standards for this breed may be found in the following links.

Breed Standards

Organization Breed Standard
American Kennel Club AKC Azawakh Breed Standard
United Kennel Club UKC Azawakh Breed Standard
Canadian Kennel Club CKC Azawakh Breed Standard
Australian National Kennel Council ANKC Azawakh Breed Standard
The Royal Kennel Club RKC Azawakh Breed Standard
Fédération Cynologique Internationale FCI Azawakh Breed Standard

Azawakh Clubs

The Azawakh has a dedicated community of enthusiasts and breeders who are passionate about preserving the unique heritage and characteristics of this African sighthound. Breed clubs play a vital role in fostering the Azawakh community, offering resources, hosting events, and setting Breed Standards around the world. For those interested in getting involved or learning more about the Azawakh, joining a breed club can be an excellent way to connect with other enthusiasts and experts.

In the United States, the American Azawakh Association (AAA) stands as the primary organization in the US dedicated to the breed. Founded on February 7, 1988, the AAA remains committed to the Azawakh, focusing on the preservation of its health, temperament, and physical conformation. Beyond setting standards for breeding and exhibition, the association hosts events, champions education, and acts as a reservoir of resources for Azawakh owners and admirers.

In Canada, the Azawakh Club of Canada stands as a central organization dedicated to the breed. It plays a pivotal role in promoting the Azawakh, upholding the Breed Standard, and educating the public about its distinct attributes.

The Azawakh was introduced to the United Kingdom in 2001, leading to the formation of the Azawakh Association of the United Kingdom a year later. The Royal Kennel Club recognized the breed in 2003, with the association gaining full recognition by 2015. This milestone allowed Azawakhs to participate in notable UK shows.

Azawakh Rescue Groups

Rescue organizations play a vital role in the canine world, offering refuge, care, and new beginnings for dogs in need.

In the United States, Azawakh-Rescue stands out as a community-driven organization dedicated to the breed. This collective comprises individuals and associated groups committed to providing aid to any Azawakh in need of rehoming. Additionally, the American Azawakh Association also steps in to assist in rescue and rehoming efforts, providing forever homes to every member of this distinctive and distinguished breed.

In Canada, those interested in adopting or rehoming an Azawakh can contact regional sighthound or rare breed rescue groups, as a dedicated Azawakh-specific organization might not always be readily available. It’s worth noting that breed clubs often have rescue liaisons or contacts who can assist in this endeavor.

In the United Kingdom, potential adopters and those looking to rehome an Azawakh are advised to consult the Azawakh Association of the United Kingdom for guidance on rescue and rehoming opportunities within the country.

Azawakh Facts

  • Origins in the Sahara: The Azawakh hails from the Sahara Desert and the Sahel region, predominantly from countries like Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso. They were traditionally kept by the Tuareg, Fula, and various other nomadic peoples.
  • Purpose: Primarily known as a sighthound, the Azawakh was also used for guarding and as a loyal companion. The breed’s slender and elongated build allows it to reach high speeds in short bursts, making it effective in hunting game in its native lands.
  • Physical Distinctiveness: Unlike other sighthounds, the Azawakh’s build is more upright, with a deep chest and well-defined keel. Its skin is tight over its muscular body, showcasing its defined musculature.
  • Bonding: Azawakhs are known for their deep loyalty and bond with their owners. They can be reserved with strangers but are intensely affectionate with their families.
  • Endurance: Adapted to the harsh climates of the Sahel and Sahara, the Azawakh possesses an incredible level of endurance. These hounds are capable of covering large distances in the punishing desert terrain of the Sahara.
  • Health: The breed has a relatively low rate of genetic disorders compared to other breeds. However, like all dogs, individual hounds can have specific health considerations.
  • Rarity: The Azawakh is still considered a rare breed outside of its native Africa. Even within the world of purebred dogs, these extraordinary hounds remain unique and are less commonly seen at events.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How fast can Azawakhs run?

Azawakhs can reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. They are known for their incredible agility and endurance, two qualities that made them prized hunting dogs in their native lands.

How many Azawakhs are there in the world?

It’s challenging to determine the exact number of Azawakhs worldwide; however, they are considered a rare breed outside Northern Africa.

Where do Azawakhs come from?

Azawakhs originate from the Sahel region of Africa. Specifically, they come from countries like Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso. They’ve been bred by nomadic clans for centuries.

Can an Azawakh be left home alone all day?

Like many dogs, an Azawakh can be left home alone, but not for extended periods. These hounds thrive on human companionship and can become anxious if isolated. Therefore, it’s essential to provide them with stimulation and comfort when left alone.

Are Azawakhs high or low maintenance?

Azawakhs are relatively low maintenance in terms of grooming. However, they require regular exercise and plenty of mental stimulation. Their short coat is easy to care for, but they are characteristically sensitive both emotionally and physically.

Do Azawakhs bark a lot?

Azawakhs are generally quiet dogs and don’t make excessive vocalizations. They might bark, however, if there’s a specific reason, such as an intruder or if they’re alarmed. Thankfully, they are not known to be nuisance barkers.

Do Azawakhs shed?

Azawakhs do shed, but their shedding is minimal compared to many other breeds. Typically, their short and fine coats mean less hair will be found around the house. But as with any dog, regular brushing can help to manage the minimal shedding these hounds do experience.

Is the Azawakh a good hunting dog?

The Azawakh is an excellent hunting dog, since they were traditionally used to hunt gazelle and other fleet-footed prey in the desert. Their speed and endurance make them adept hunters in similar environments today.

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Dan Sayers

Dan Sayers

Dan Sayers is the Editor-in-Chief of SHOWSIGHT digital and print publications. He received a B.S. from Drexel University where he studied interior architectural design. His professional career has allowed him to develop his planning, problem-solving, and project management skills, which were employed in the office, educational, and financial sectors. While working as a project manager, he earned a Graphic Design Certificate from the University of the Arts and began creating ads for many of America’s top-winning show dogs. Through this work, Dan became Editor-in-Chief of the nation’s first online-only dog show publication. His current role expands on this experience and broadly extends to cover the sport of dogs in Companion and Performance events as well as all aspects of Conformation.

Dan is a long-time member of the Irish Water Spaniel Club of America and is the organization’s current AKC Delegate and Archivist/Historian, as well as a club-approved Breed Mentor. From 2000-2010, he was the club’s AKC Gazette Columnist. He breeds Irish Water Spaniels under the Quiet Storm prefix and has judged the IWSCA National Specialty Sweepstakes twice. Dan is a member of the Morris and Essex Kennel Club as well as the Dog Writers Association of America, which recognized his illustrations in the award-winning canine compendium, the Encyclopedia of K-9 Terminology.

Find a Breeder or Rescue

The best way to ensure a long and happy relationship with a purebred dog is to purchase one from a responsible breeder. Not sure where to begin?

Contact the National Parent Club’s Breeder Referral Program, which is listed on the AKC Breeder Referral Contacts page.

Find an Azawakh Puppy
Find a Breeder or Rescue