Tall and elegant, the Azawakh is a West African sighthound who originates from the countries of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger. The Azawakh has a short, fine coat which may come in any color or color combinations: red, clear sand to fawn, brindled, parti-color (which may be predominantly white), blue, black and brown. The head may have a black mask and there may be white markings on the legs, bib and at the tip of tail. There are no color or marking disqualifications in the breed. Befitting its heritage, the Azawakh excels as a companion, guardian and a lure courser in the United States.
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 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 the “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. The breed 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 dogs 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.
Temperament: Loyal / Deeply Affectionate / Independent
Height: 23-29 inches
Weight: 33-55 pounds
Life expectancy: 12-15 years
Azawakhs are generally healthy 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 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.