The Sloughi resembles a smooth Saluki. Originating in the North African countries of Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Algeria, he is the sighthound of the nomadic Berber people. The Sloughi is a medium-size sighthound with a somewhat aloof attitude and a gentle, melancholy expression. While he is beautiful to look at and quiet to live with, the Sloughi is not suited to every home. Here’s what you should know if you are considering acquiring one.

Traits, Personality and Behavior

The Sloughi is intelligent, sensitive and affectionate. He forms a strong bond with his family, one that is almost unbreakable. He must live indoors with his family, and once he has bonded with them, it is not easy for him to adjust to life with another person or family. Before you get one, be sure you are willing and able to commit to him for life. Puppies need extensive socialization to new people, places and situations, and it should continue throughout the dog's life.

Sighthounds such as the Sloughi are built for speed. His thin skin is stretched over a frame of muscle and bone. He should not be fat. Ignore people who accuse you of underfeeding him. He needs regular exercise to stay conditioned and is an ace competitor in lure coursing, a sport that involves chasing a mechanically operated artificial lure.

Like every sighthound, Sloughis have a strong prey drive. If you have cats or small dogs, they will not be safe around a Sloughi unless he has been brought up with them from an early age. Even so, it's best to supervise them when they're together and to separate them when you're not home. And the Sloughi who gets along with small pets indoors may forget that they are his pals if he sees them running around outside. He certainly won't have any qualms about chasing unknown cats or other small furry animals, so he must always be walked on leash.

Never permit a Sloughi to run free except in a safely enclosed area. An underground electronic fence does not constitute a safe enclosure; the Sloughi will run right through it, heedless of any level of shock.

Sloughis are proud and independent. They respond well to positive reinforcement techniques, but punishment or heavy-handed methods will cause them to shut down.

Looking for a dog with an easy-care coat? The Sloughi has you covered. Weekly brushing of his smooth, shorthaired coat and regular nail trimming and ear cleaning are all he needs to stay clean and in good condition, plus the occasional bath if he rolls in something stinky.

Health Issues Common to the Sloughi

Sloughis are extremely healthy and can live 12 to 15 years. Like all sighthounds, they may be sensitive to anesthesia, and may have atypical blood work and other lab results. Reviewing the known ways in which the Greyhound differs from other dogs may assist your veterinarian in determining if your Sloughi has a health problem or simply an "abnormal normal."

Breeders should be able to show that both parents are DNA-cleared for progressive retinal atrophy, an eye disease linked to a recessively inherited gene.

Like all deep-chested breeds, the Sloughi is at increased risk of bloat, a condition in which the stomach twists on itself, cutting off blood flow. Bloat and torsion strikes very suddenly, and a dog who was fine one minute can be dead a few hours later. Watch for symptoms like restlessness and pacing, drooling, pale gums and lip licking, trying to throw up but without bringing anything up, and signs of pain. Bloat requires immediate veterinary surgery, and most dogs that have bloated once will bloat again. That means it's wise to opt for the procedure known as "stomach tacking," which will keep the stomach from twisting in the future. This procedure can also be done as a preventive measure.

The general good health of the Sloughi is a very strong motivation for good breeders to continue to obtain any available health clearances and make careful, informed breeding decisions. Puppy buyers can do their part by supporting those breeders in their efforts by seeking out their dogs.

A good breeder will be able to discuss how prevalent all health problems, those with and those without genetic screening tests, are in her dogs' lines, and help puppy buyers make an informed decision about health risks to their dog.

Condition Risk Profile Cost to Diagnose and Treat
Bloat Medium $1,500-$7,500

5 Tips to Bring Home a Healthy Sloughi Puppy

To find breeder recommendations, visit the websites of the American Sloughi Association or the Sloughi Fanciers Association of America. The ASA has a breeder directory on its website. Good breeders abide by the ASA's Code of Ethics or the SFAA's Code of Ethics, both of which specifically prohibit selling puppies through retail outlets such as pet stores.

Consider an adult dog from a shelter or a rescue group. Often, health and behavior problems in dogs aren't apparent in puppyhood, but by adopting an older dog, most of them can be ruled out. In addition, Sloughis can live as long as 15 years, so an adult dog will still be a part of your family for a long time to come.

Puppy or adult, take your Sloughi to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot visible problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.

Don't ever, ever, ever buy a puppy from a pet store. You're more likely to get an unhealthy, unsocialized and difficult to housetrain puppy and will be supporting the cruelty of high-volume puppy mills.

Make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with "puppy lemon laws," be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.

Pet Insurance for Sloughis

Pet insurance for Sloughis costs more than for mixed breed dogs. This is because Sloughis are more likely than mixed breed dogs to make claims for hereditary conditions that are expensive to treat.

Embrace dog insurance offers full coverage for all breed-specific conditions (excluding those that are pre-existing) to which Sloughis are susceptible. The best time to get pet insurance for your Sloughi is when he's a healthy puppy. You can't predict what will happen in the future and pet insurance is the one thing you can't get when you need it the most.