The Azawakh (pronounced Ahz-a-wok) is a sight hound closely related to the wild dogs of Africa.


The Azawakh is a leggy, elegant breed of dog. In fact, the legs are generally longer than the body. Traditionally, it is a tall dog and slender to the point of being skeletal. Its bone structure is fine and clearly visible through its thin skin. The coat comes in a large range of colors, mainly shades of fawn and black, sometimes with black or white spots or stripes. All colors are admitted in show dogs by the UKC (United Kennel Club).

In keeping with the narrow appearance, the neck of the Azawakh is long and graceful, and its head is lean. It has long, droopy ears that are unusually alert; its hearing is excellent and it makes a good watch dog. The eyes are almond shaped and comically large compared to the rest of the body. The Azawakh has flat cheeks and long, sturdy jaws.

It is noted for its close resemblance to the Saluki and the Sloughi.


The temperament of the Azawakh is as a rule aloof. It rarely enjoys handling, though with careful training some Azawakhs have become successful therapy dogs and family pets. It is a dog that will choose several people to protect, and be timid or even vicious around others. It is extremely loud and barks often. The Azawakh is alternately described as independent and totally loyal, and it is both. It does not do well in homes with children due to its tendency to get annoyed quickly and to protect "its" people from others.

The Azawakh is best suited for:
  • Shows
  • Guarding or as a watch dog
  • Companion to a single person
  • Being a therapy dog, depending on the dog and with good training
  • Racing
  • Lure coursing


The Azawakh originated in Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, and the Sahel region of the Sahara Desert. Its wild ancestors are the desert dogs of Africa. Originally, the Azawakh was bred as a companion to nomadsand ethnic tribes in the South Sahara, who valued it both as a show dog and as a companion. In the wild, Azawakhs hunted hyenas and other prey in packs.

The breed was imported to Yugoslavia in the 1970s by a Yugoslavian diplomat from Burkina Faso. The first dog was given as a gift in exchange for the diplomat's skills as a hunter. It was then exported to France and then to the rest of Europe. The first Azawakhs in America were born in 1987, and were all red and fawn colored. Throughout the 90s, additional Azawakhs in varying colors were imported to America. However, there is still a much greater selection of colors in Africa and Europe than in America.


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