Showsight Presents The Azawakh

THE AZAWAKH

owners for Azawakh. With such treat- ment, dogs would become withdrawn, mistrustful, aggressive, and unpredictable. Properly socialized and trained, the Aza- wakh will live harmoniously within the family and community. Azawakh raised in kennel situations, with little socialization, are typically shy and distrustful. They are frequently pan- icky, frightened, and may freeze in a new situation. They may snap or bite. With a lot of time and patience, many Azawakh can learn to adjust to life as a house pet, though some never recover suf- ficiently to be a good pet. Well-socialized Azawakh can also be frightened, but will adjust more quickly to the new situa- tion, and they often watch and trust their

and heart to protect. When approached in their own territory, they may bark loudly and can be quite intimidating. The Aza- wakh “territory” may include the home, the car, or simply their owner’s body space. In situations where their duty as guardian isn’t necessary, their reactions may range from friendly to mildly curious—to arro- gantly indifferent. Although generally not outgoing, several in the US have found the opportunity to make social contributions as therapy dogs in nursing homes and reha- bilitation centers. The Azawakh seem to possess an uncanny combination of total loyalty and independence. Each new situation presents the potential for the struggle between the dog’s natural desire to please his owner and his prideful desire to do things his own way. A firm, fair hand is called for. A well-socialized Azawakh is affectionate, gentle, playful, subtle, and very loyal to its owner. Some Azawakh, having bonded with one particular person, do not change ownership easily. Azawakh are usually cautious with strangers. Typically, they observe for a while before approaching. One needs much patience and empathy, along with considerable time and per- sonal interaction, to raise this proud and independent breed. At the same time, rough and aggres- sive handling is not recommended for any dog. Therefore, people who cannot con- trol their tempers would not make good

Regular exercise and living as an inte- gral part of the family are prerequisites for a well-balanced Azawakh. Azawakh gener- ally love to travel and go to different places with their owner. The Azawakh is a hound of the des- ert. However, their delicate appearing physique can be misleading. Azawakh are strong and durable dogs, well-adjusted to living in the challenging conditions of the Sahel. They can live on small portions of food, though they always act hungry. They hate wet and cold weather. The breed should not be left outside for long periods of time in cold weather. Azawakh enjoy a quick race in the snow, but they need to come back in the house to warm up. This breed will become fat and lethargic or hyper and destructive without an outlet for their energy. Azawakh can be very reliable off-lead if taught a strong recall. This is a bonus for people who take pleasure in the company of Sighthounds, but may have difficulty enjoying them because they can- not be trusted off-lead. TEMPERAMENT When discussing the temperament of an Azawakh, consideration should be given to individual personalities and contribut- ing backgrounds, both genetic and envi- ronmental. However, there are several gen- eral characteristics common to the breed. Described in a Dog World article as a “war- rior class dog,” they have the intelligence

Approach with extreme caution!

owner’s reaction to a given event. It is important not to “protect” the Azawakh puppy from different experiences. From the youngest age, it is essential that the dog is taken downtown, to your friend’s house, in a car, and to walk on leash and to come when called. Teaching the puppy to recognize that new and unfamiliar situ- ations do not present a threat is the best way to help the Azawakh feel at home in our stressful society. Puppy obedience and socialization classes are important for the social development of a young Azawakh. The raising of an Azawakh puppy, because of the intensity of the effort and commit- ment, can be very rewarding. Azawakh owners find that the strength of the bond created during this process often dramati- cally exceeds their previous experience with the love of “normal, civilized” dogs. Quick, attentive, distant, reserved with strangers and can even be aggressive, the Azawakh is gentle and affectionate with those he is willing to accept. However, it is a fault to be excessively timid, panicky or aggressive to the point of attack. This part of the standard is at odds with many breeders in the US and Europe who are trying to breed Azawakh that are more approachable, maybe even friendly, and less apt to be outwardly aggressive. In the Sahel, the hound prefers not to be touched,

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