Saluki Breed Magazine - Showsight


And Salukis didn’t just hunt gazelle (which have different sizes). The “other quarry” includ- ed hare, wild ass or onager, Arabian fox and wolf, golden jackal, and even the houbara (a low- flying bustard). Saluki hunting style depends entirely on the quarry; long, straight runs to exhaust gazelle and onager; rapid turns and navigation through brush for hare; and nasty, running fights with jackals and wolves. A Saluki (or indeed, any sighthound) is bred to have the trifecta of speed, strength, and agility for suc- cessfully pursuing and catching running game. To do this, its movement must be efficient with no wasted effort. GAIT MAY PREDICT GALLOP Without being able to actually take Salukis out to the open field to see which one excels, the grace and symmetry seen in a ring stack and gait may be our only predictors of that ability to course and catch game on difficult ground.

A stacked Saluki displays the dog’s symmetry, balance, proportion, topline, front and rear angulation, feet, hocks, and depth and breadth of chest. All of these are indi- cators of the ability to move soundly at speed. Conditions such as cow or sickle hocks, bowlegs, toe-in or “East-West” feet, sloping or dipping topline, extreme angulation, etc., may play a part in un-sound movement (although we must allow for a good dog misbehaving or the handler’s poor stacking). The ring trot further assesses the Saluki’s “… grace and symmetry… speed and endurance… strength and activity… to kill gazelle or other quarry over deep sand or rocky mountains.” All the dog’s motion should be directed forward in single-tracking, with no deviations of crabbing, prancing, flipping, paddling, or moving too close in the rear. Saluki movement is not pounding or the Tremendous Reach And Drive (TRAD) desired in other breeds. If we see ideal movement in the ring, this is a sign of breed type and a potential predictor of the ability to efficiently pursue game. But Saluki hunting is not just running fast. It is turns, leaps, and reaching their necks over to bite quarry—and all this over uneven terrain. The ring trot, no matter how excellent indoors or on grass, cannot predict the mental and physical ability needed to navigate obstacles at speed. As an aside, the hunting Saluki only spends a comparatively small percentage of his/her day at a full gallop. In their centuries-old, desert lifestyle, when outside of camp, they trot alongside camels and horses for hours at a time. This is not the ring gait, but rather, a head-down, energy-saving trot along the easiest part of the track. THE FINISH LINE Whether we look at Olympic runners or Salukis, it is impossible to select the best without the test of speed. But since we can’t lure course or hunt in the ring, the conformation and movement we observe is an important indicator of a good Saluki. Grace, symmetry, speed, endurance, strength, and nimbleness. left: As illustrated here and in the headline photo, the double-suspension gallop is hunting speed for the Saluki. © Evergreen Films, Inc ; right : Athletic Salukis should be able to expeditiously navigate obstacles at speed. Efficient movement is grace and symmetry. photo by Brian Patrick Duggan

The Saluki side gait is effortless, lilting, and sound— ready to move into ‘high gear’ if needed. photo courtesy of Diane Divin

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Brian Patrick Duggan is an AKC judge, canine historian, and the award-winning author of Saluki: The Desert Hound and the English Travelers Who Brought It to the West . He and his wife, Wendy, have owned, bred, shown, and coursed Salukis for over forty years. Brian is also the editor for McFarland Publishers’ Dogs in Our World series. His new book, Horror Dogs: Man’s Best Friend as Movie Monster , is due out in 2023.

This smooth Saluki has moved from walk to trot, and her legs are now converging into single-tracking—the efficient gait that leads to galloping. photo by Brian Patrick Duggan

photo courtesy Cathy Chapman


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