“An aza-what?” Azawakh! That’s a question you’ll likely get if you ever own an Azawakh. And be ready for it because this is not the “type” of dog you’re going to be able to visit the dog park with and not get asked a million questions! And then once folks meet you’re Azawakh and finally learn how to pronounce their name, the next question will usually be…
“Where can I get one?”
Not only are the Azawakhs beautiful to look at, but they’re also a lot of fun to be with and EXTREMELY loyal, so why wouldn’t everyone want to own one?
But like every dog breeds out there, sure “owners” will be better suited than others to own such a unique dog. This is why, in this article, we want to take a moment and discuss some of the pros and cons of owning an Azawakh puppy; you won’t be disappointed six months later in your little guy! So, without further ado, let’s dive right into it!
Azawakh Fast Facts
Country of Origin: Mali
Original Purpose: Hunting and personal protection
Height: 23 to 29 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight: 33 to 55 pounds
Lifespan: 10 to 13 years
Dog Breed Classification: Hound group; however, the American Kennel Club has not officially recognized the Azawakh (as of yet!)
Origin of the Azawakh Hound
The Azawakh hound is a dog breed originating within the Sahara Desert. And while its “official” country of origin is Mali, these hounds were used by the nomadic people of the area and frequently traveled to other locations within the general area, including Burkina, Faso, and Niger. Valued for their hunting abilities, these sighthounds quickly proved to be much more than just hunters, as they would often bond very closely to their “owners,” unlike many other “hounds,” which generally increased their value to their owners and made them excellent guard dogs.
Aside from that…
Little else is known about the origin of the Azawakh dog breed because, unlike other “ancient” species where there might be archeological evidence available in the literature and art of the time, the nomadic tribes that used Azawakh often relied on “verbal” traditions leaving little for us to examine about the history of these animals. However, it is believed that the Azawakh share ancestors with the Saluki and the Sloughi dog breeds, but beyond that, everything else is just conjecture.
Because this dog has only recently been introduced to the United States (1980), he is still a relatively uncommon breed here in the US, another reason not much is known about him. Even though the Azawakh is “probably” an ancient breed, he is not yet “officially” recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). However, They have been “officially” recognized by the Federation Cynologique (FCI) and United Kennel Club, so it’s probably a matter of time until the AKC similarly recognizes the breed.
This sighthound from the Sahel region is elegant. Relatively tall and lean, Azawakhs have long legs that give them their speed (up to 40 mph!). But please don’t mistake the word “lean” for skinny and frail – Azawakhs are pretty strong and have a great muscular build. As a sighthound, they share characteristics with Greyhounds and Salukis, but of course, they also have their distinctions. One of the things that sets them apart is their adorable little triangular ears that lie down flat. They’ll also have a short hair coat that can be either brown or black, typically paired with a white bib on the chest.
Personality and Temperament
Unlike many other “sighthound” dog breeds primarily bred to be hunters, the Azawakh were bred within a traveling community of nomadic people. For this reason, the Azawakh was also produced to act as a guard dog and a hunter. This is why, unlike many other sighthound breeds, which may tend to be a bit “aloof,” the Azawakh dog breed will demonstrate extreme loyalty to their master.
Depending on your expectations from a dog-owner relationship, the loyalty of an Azawakh can be a fantastic gift or suffocating! But remember, these dogs bond for life, so if you’re not prepared to be this dog owner for the next 10 to 13 years, please don’t choose to adopt an Azawakh puppy because it’s not going to be easy to hand them off to another person because they bond for life!
Azawakh’s with other Dogs/Pets
Azawakh dogs innately know how to hunt even from the time they’re puppies. That said, it’s not the best dog to put in a room with other pets, especially toy dogs or cats. They can get along if they are raised together from the time you get an Azawakh puppy, but even then, it’s not a foolproof plan. They might go berserk one day!
The same can be…
You were right about choosing to adopt an Azawakh with small children around. Since these dogs are naturally “hunters,” having small children run around them probably isn’t a good idea. While socializing your Azawakh early on as a puppy will help minimize the risk that your Azawakh may chase and “nip” your kid, do you want to take that risk? We here at IndulgeYourPet don’t think so, but that’s just us.
Potential Health Concerns
One thing that should be noted is that an Azawakh dog has a higher pain tolerance than most dogs. Since dogs can’t talk, this can compound the difficulty of knowing when something’s wrong. So… you’ll want to pay attention to details regarding the health of the Azawakh hound and not take any “changes” in their behavior for granted. Those “changes” could be the only clue you get that your Azawakh isn’t feeling so good.
On the plus side…
The Azawakh hound is one of the few dog breeds with almost no risk of hip dysplasia. However, they do run a risk of problems related to the bone structure, such as neck problems or other musculoskeletal problems. If you see some unusual movement in your Azawakh, you’ll want to have your vet check it out immediately. This way, you might be able to avoid having to visit an orthopedic vet surgeon later on down the road!
Another common problem among Azawakhs is Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus, aka “bloating.”. And while this may not “seem” like a severe condition, it can be life-threatening, so it’s something you don’t want to fool around with! We mention these issues not because we want to scare you; we want to let you know what you want to be on the lookout for if you decide to adopt an Azawakh puppy. The Azawakh breed is a pretty healthy dog breed!
But not so healthy that it might not make sense to consider purchasing a pet insurance policy for your new pet.
Now, will a pet insurance policy be right for you?
Who knows? But you owe it to yourself to at least see what it might cost to insure your pet so that if your dog becomes, you won’t be on the “hook” for 100% of the cost to have them treated!
For more information about pet insurance policies, we recommend you check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article, discussing some pros and cons of getting insured.