Sloughi: Dog Breed Profile

Characteristics, History, Care Tips, and Helpful Information for Pet Owners

Sloughi outside smiling.

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The Sloughi is fast, leggy, and quite self-assured. Similar in appearance to a Greyhound (hence the breed's nickname as “Arabian Greyhounds”), Sloughis are notoriously affectionate toward their human family members and nobody else, which is why this breed has gained a bit of a reputation for being aloof. But there’s a lot of love inside that sleek exterior for the right people. 

Breed Overview

Group: Hound

Height: 26 to 29 inches (males); 24 to 27 inches (females)

Weight: 35 to 50 pounds

Coat: Smooth and fine

Coat Color: Fawn, Black, Sandy, Brindle

Life Expectancy: 10 to 15 years

Characteristics of the Sloughi

Affection Level High
Friendliness Medium
Kid-Friendly High
Pet-Friendly Medium-High
Exercise Needs Medium-High
Playfulness Medium
Energy Level High
Trainability Medium
Intelligence Medium-High
Tendency to Bark Low
Amount of Shedding Medium

History of the Sloughi

The Sloughi is native to North Africa, and is only a relatively new addition to the American breed scene (they were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2016). Their origins date back many centuries—so far back in fact that nobody really knows when Sloughis first made their appearance. However, what is known is that the breed was one of two prized Sighthound breeds of the Berbers, an indigenous population of Africa. Recorded reports of Sighthounds in the region date as far back as the 8th-7th millennium BC, and it is also well documented that Sighthounds were celebrated among the Ancient Egyptians.

Sloughi’s long-standing popularity in the African region is thanks in large part to their hound abilities, including assisting people in hunting wild pigs, foxes, and hares in harsh North African conditions. The breed is highly athletic, and like other similarly breeds, swift and sly when they need to be. Today, Sloughi’s are found mainly in Morocco, as well as in smaller numbers throughout the rest of North Africa. You’ll find them in the U.S. too, though not very many of them. The first Sloughi—a dog named Tagiurie el Sian—made her way across the Atlantic with her owners Kaethe and Carl Rodarty in 1973, and the American Sloughi Association (ASLA) was founded in 1989. 

Sloughi Care

Sloughis are an active breed, but so long as they get adequate exercise they’re more than happy to snuggle up on the couch with you at the end of the day (or at any time of day really). Long daily walks are definitely recommended, and it’s even better if you can take a Sloughi somewhere that they can run off leash—this breed loves to zip around on those long legs and show off how fast they are. Make sure it’s fenced in though, since the Sloughi’s prey drive is very strong and they cannot always be distracted in the moment. Sports like agility and lure coursing are another good way to help a Sloughi get out her energy, and provide a lot of beneficial mental stimulation as well.

As far as training, Sloughis respond well to positive reinforcement, though they do have a stubborn streak that sometimes stands in the way. This shy breed needs a bit of encouragement to come out of their shell, especially when it comes to strangers and other dogs. For that reason, it's strongly encouraged to engage in socialization and training classes early on with a Sloughi so they have an opportunity to learn good behaviors in a social setting.

Grooming a Sloughi is relatively easy, thanks to their short, smooth coat. Gentle brushings and an occasional bath are really all that’s needed, plus other general grooming maintenance like regular teeth brushings, ear cleanings, and nail trims. 

Brindle Sloughi leashed and standing in the grass.
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Black Sloughi laying down on top of sand dune.
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Sloughi standing on top of rock and smiling at camera.
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Common Health Problems

All pure bred dogs may be prone to certain genetic illnesses. While Sloughis are regarded as generally healthy dogs, be aware of the following genetic ailments which are known to affect the breed:

A disease like Addison’s Disease doesn’t tend to appear in a breed until middle age, meaning it’s possible for a Sloughi with these genetic defects to be bred before the diseases are detected (and unfortunately, gene marker tests for the breed are not yet available). If purchasing a Sloughi puppy, ask whether any illnesses have been detected in the line. A good breeder will not knowingly breed a dog who will propagate these illnesses. And while it is not possible to prevent all instances of the health conditions above or other health conditions, proper care should be taken to mitigate the risk. 

Diet and Nutrition

The nutritional needs of Sloughis is the same as it is for most dogs, with the breed doing best on a high-quality diet with plenty of protein. Do accommodate certain dietary needs if necessary, such as if your Sloughi is a puppy or senior. Feel free to give your Sloughi plenty of healthy treats (remember: they respond well to positive reinforcement!), and talk to your veterinarian if you have any questions or notice that your dog is gaining too much weight, though the breed is not prone to weight gain.

Pros
  • Calm and relaxing

  • Family and kid friendly

  • Doesn't bark much

Cons
  • Aloof and stubborn

  • Shy around strangers

  • High prey drive

Where to Adopt or Buy a Sloughi

We always recommend looking at adoption first. Start your search via sites like Petfinder, Adopt-a-Pet, and Overstock Pet Adoptions, and check out designated Sloughi breed rescues like Sloughi Rescue and the Sloughi Fanciers Association of America’s rescue page. If you do choose to purchase through a breeder, be sure to do your research and only work with someone who is reputable and takes excellent care of their dogs.

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

There is a perfect dog out there for everybody. Continue researching our dog profiles to learn about other popular breeds and how to care for them, or just go to a shelter and see who you connect with.

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