Azawakh Dog Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Information

Azawakh Dog Breed Facts, Traits, Character and Look

The Azawakh is a leggy, tall, and elegant West African sighthound with a lean physique and a regal presence. Standing at 25 – 29 inches for males and 23.5d – 27.5 inches for females, this medium-sized dog features a slender frame with a rectangular shape, long legs, and large expressive eyes. Named for the Azawakh Valley in the Sahara desert, where they originate from, these dogs originally served as guardians, hunters, and companions in the region.

The Azawakh is a lively, independent, and fast dog known for its strong love and commitment to its human family. In addition to being affectionate and gentle, these dogs are also fiercely loyal and protective of family and property, making a perfect mix of loyal and independent. With their lean and muscular bodies plus their immense love for running, the Azawakh dogs make excellent jogging and running mates. However, they are aloof and standoffish towards strangers and loathe their touch or close presence.

With its origins in Africa, this dog is best suited for hot climates and may not be the best fit if you live in wet or cold climates. The Azawakh dog tolerates other dogs well but does not do well with cats and other small pets due to its strong prey drive.

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What is the History of Azawakh Dog? 

The Azawakh is a sighthound native to the arid areas of Africa’s South Sahara and Sahil. This covers sections of the West African nations of Mali and Niger and the Azawakh Valley. It’s believed that the nomadic Touareg people bred these dogs. This group migrated from a southern region of the Sahara called the Sahel and served as hunting and guard dogs and treasured companions. 

The Azawakh descended from the Saluki and Sloughi and wild jackals and wolves. They were often utilized as community and flock guardians and game hunters for rabbits, gazelles, and jackals. Azawakhs were also employed to herd sheep, goats, and zebu cattle flocks.

This dog was bred to Europe in early 1970 by Dr. Pecar, a Yugoslavian diplomat stationed in Burkina Faso. He was given a male and female Azawakh as a present by the nomads. It later found its way to the U.S in the mid-1980s.

Generally, the population of Azawakh dogs in the world is still low and is most likely in few thousand, with only about 300 in North America. American Kennel Club recognized this dog breed in 2019.

What are the Breed Traits and Characteristics of Azawakh Dog?

The Azawakh is a lean and swift hunter with a muscular body and noticeably long legs. Standing between 25-29 inches tall with a weight of 44-55 pounds for males and females at 23.5-27.5 inches and weighing 33-44, this dog is considered a medium-size dog. This dog is built for speed with long legs; thin skin stretched over a frame of muscle and bone, and a light gait that makes it appear to float on the ground.

This tall and elegant dog is gentle, affectionate, and extremely loyal to its family members. It is known for making legendary and unbreakable bonds with its owner and is fiercely loyal to them. Although it’s independent, it has a protective streak and is aloof with strangers with tendencies of barking in their presence. It thus needs early socialization; else, it may never accept strangers.

Even though the Azawakh dog is playful, it is not suitable for very young children looking for playmates but does well with older kids who know how to keep themselves busy. While the dog can get along with other dogs, it does tolerate cats and other small pets, making it unsuitable for owners with multiple pets.

The following table summarizes the breed characteristics of the  Awazakh dog:

Awazakh Dog breed Features

 

Size

Medium size

Weight Range 

Males 44-55 pounds

Females  33-44 pounds

Height at the Withers 

Males – 25-29 inches

Females 23.5-27.5 inches

Temperament

Independent, loyal, protective, affectionate, and gentle

Adaptability level

Moderate – can adjust moderately to changes in lifestyle and environment. However, it cant tolerate cold and wet climates

Sensitivity level

is Moderate, does not respond well to harsh treatment and cruel training techniques.

Affection level

High, the Awazakh is extremely affectionate to its owner and family members.

Friendliness

Moderate, friendly to family and other dogs but aloof with strangers

kid-friendly

Low, these dogs do not do well with very young children

Pet-friendly

Low, they don’t tolerate cats and other small pets 

Exercise needs

High, they need adequate exercise to stay healthy

Playfulness

High, they love running around

Energy Level

High, they are working dogs are at their best when involved in activities

Trainability

High, they are easy to train but require a firm owner 

Intelligence

High, these dogs are highly intelligent

Tendency to bark

Low, they only bark at strangers

Amount of shedding

Low, they don’t shed much

What are the Azawakh Dog Physical Traits?

Described as exotic and elegant, the Azawakh dog is a tall, medium-size dog with long legs and a slender rectangular-shaped body frame. This antique hunter’s bone structure and musculature are visible beneath his skin as it’s extremely slender and rangy. 

This dog has a narrow aerodynamic head and large, almond-shaped expressive eyes. Azawakh dog has a short, ultrafine coat that comes in various colors: sandy, white, black, fawn, deep red, brindle, grizzle, parti-color, gray, cream, and all shades of brown, chocolate included.

What are the Social Traits of Azawakh Dog Breed?

This dog bonds with its family very strongly, with tendencies of becoming powerfully attached to one specific individual in the family. However, it does not relate well with young children and other pets, small dogs and cats included, but it does well with older children and other dogs. The dog is also not accommodative to strangers and loathes their closeness and touch.

What are the Personality Traits of Azawakh Dog?

The Azawakh dog is affectionate, fiercely loyal, gentle, and protective of its family. It’s an independent dog with a strong character; hence requires proper and early socialization for a well-rounded companion. The dog also has high endurance and energy levels, requiring sufficient exercise and interaction. Due to its hunting background, the Azawakh dog is highly intelligent.

What is the Average Lifespan of Azawakh Dog?

Generally, the average lifespan of a dog is dependent on factors such as the kind of diet it feeds on and its general health status. A healthy dog with no existing health conditions can live for many years. Similarly, a well-maintained dog that’s fed on a balanced diet, well-groomed, and provided with sufficient exercise can lead a long, happy life.

Thanks to its active lifestyle, the Azawakh dog is generally a healthy dog breed. If well taken care of, this dog can live for 12-15 years. Although just as any other dog, the Azawakh is prone to a few health issues, with proper evaluation and maintenance, this dog can live well past its expected lifespan.

Therefore, proper diet, adequate exercise, good hygiene, and regular medical examination are essential for an Azawakh dog to live long.

What is the Average Maintenance Cost for Azawakh Dog? 

The Azawakh breed is extremely rare, and finding a breeder might be challenging. The average cost of an Azawakh puppy, excluding delivery, is expected to be between $2000-$2500 per puppy. The cost of maintaining an Azawakh dog is likely to be very high in the first year due to the various needs of puppies including vaccination, vet, spaying, and neutering costs. It will hence cost you up to $3500 during this first year after which it will go down to about $1800 annually.

Other costs to consider include food, training, and medical expenses which range between $550-$650 for these medium-size dogs. 

Thanks to its short, smooth, ultra-fine coat, grooming an Azawakh dog is a breeze. A good combing session or a wipe-down using a damp cloth is sufficient to keep your dog looking its best. This dog has very low shedding levels; thus, you won’t need to keep sweeping to keep loose hairs at bay. Your Azawakh’s coat will benefit greatly from once-over with a hound glove. 

The Azawakh dog does not need frequent baths as it does not have a doggy stench. However, you give it a good bath once in a while and use a gentle, hypoallergenic shampoo because they have sensitive skin. You’ll also need to check your dog’s ears to avoid infections. Regular trimming of nails will also do your dog good. With their low drooling levels, it’s easy to maintain good hygiene for these dogs. You can keep a dry towel in hand to wipe your dog’s drool when it happens.

Besides hygiene reasons, regular grooming provides an excellent interaction opportunity that Azawakh dogs need. Generally, these dogs are low maintenance and do not require any special care making them great for busy owners.

What is the best diet for Azawakh Dog? 

The Azawakh is a naturally slender and athletic dog. It is hence necessary to maintain its sleek shape with a definite waistline. Traditionally, this dog thrived on a low-protein diet consisting primarily of millet and goat milk. Since their digestive systems are adapted to the harsh environment in their homeland, these dogs are not fussy eaters and can eat any type of food. However, the Azawakhs are moderately prone to obesity; hence it’s important to check their health.

Ideally, an Azawakh needs a high-quality diet appropriate for its age, health, and physical activity. Compared to the average dog breed, these dogs’ protein intake should be reduced. As such, these dogs shouldn’t be fed on an excessively protein-rich diet. Veterinarians recommend a completely balanced, low-protein kibble for Azawakh dogs.

 Azawakh dogs should consume up to 3 cups of food split into 2-3 meals per day. This is important in ensuring that the dog doesn’t take too much in one sitting, which can cause gastrointestinal issues. 

Azawakh puppies need good food for sustained growth to avoid problems. Hence, a diet specifically tailored for medium-size puppies is the best for these dogs. On the other hand, Azawakh puppies require up to 2 cups of food daily divided into 3-4 meals to keep up with their energy requirements and fuel their rapid growth. It’s preferable to train the puppy to eat at specific times rather than leave the food out for him to eat at any time as this could lead to overfeeding.

On average, feeding this dog will cost around $0.8-$1.4 daily or $24-$42 monthly, depending on the food type, unique dietary requirements, and your dog’s size.

What are the common health problems of Azawakh Dog?

Azawakh dogs are generally healthy. However, like other dog breeds, these dogs are prone to certain health conditions. These include

  • Bloating: Due to their deep chest structure, the Azawakh dogs are prone to bloating. This is a condition in which the stomach gets filled with air causing it to twist and cut off the blood supply. This consequently leads to gastric torsion, which is a deadly condition to dogs.
  • Hypothyroidism: This is a disorder in dogs that causes a decrease in thyroid hormone production. These hormones are produced by the thyroid glands, which are positioned on both sides of the neck close to the throat and play a vital role in metabolism. Insufficient hormone production leads to slowing down the body functions of dogs. Some symptoms of hypothyroidism include increased skin pigmentation, lethargy, laziness, weight gain, repeated skin, ear infections, etc. Hypothyroidism leads to glad inflammation or degeneration in dogs.
  • Seizures and convulsions: This is a nervous system condition marked by rapid, uncontrollable, and recurrent shaking in dogs. This can be caused by many factors, including trauma, brain injury, tumors, problems in the blood or organs, ingestion of the poison, among others. This condition may be accompanied by loss of consciousness or not.
  • Spondylosis: This is a degenerative, non-inflammatory condition of the spinal column marked by the formation of bone spurs along the bottom, sides, and upper portions of the spine vertebrae.

Other minor issues that face the Awazakhan dogs include sensitivity to anesthesia and cold as they are native to Africa.

What are the Nutritional Needs of an Azawakh Dog? 

Like other dogs, the Azawakh dogs need a high-quality diet containing all the essential nutrients, including proteins, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and other micronutrients, for optimal growth.

The food for these dogs should include the following nutrients:

  • Proteins: All dogs, Awazakhs included, require proteins for optimal functioning. These dogs need high-quality protein from sources such as beef, chicken, lamb, poultry, pork, or fish to supply amino acids necessary for cell and tissue construction. Proteins can help Azawakhs build and maintain lean body muscles. However, the protein needed for this dog breed is much less compared to other average dog breeds.
  • Minerals: As hunting and working dogs, Azawakh dogs need all the essential minerals for proper functioning and optimal health. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, phosphorus can help these dogs build strong and healthy bones. Other important minerals include magnesium, manganese, folate, selenium, and zinc, which ensure proper organ functioning, healthy heart, kidney, and skin, among other crucial roles.
  • Vitamins: These act as great antioxidants that these dogs need to build their immunity and improve overall health. Antioxidants are essential in helping dogs fight the detrimental effects of free radicals, which cause cell damage. Additionally, vitamins help promote the health of the skin and slow down the aging process in dogs
  • Fats: Moderate amounts of fat are necessary for the Azawakh dogs to provide the extra energy they need to fuel their activity and promote their metabolism. Fats are also essential for the healthy skin and coat of these dogs. However, too many fats can lead to obesity.
  • Carbohydrates: These make crucial energy sources needed by the Azawakh dogs in their everyday activity, despite not being part of their nutritional requirement. Carbs also help these dogs develop strong muscles and give extra protein.
  • Micronutrients: The Azawakh dogs need micronutrients such as chondroitin, glucosamine, and taurine to help strengthen their bones and enhance their heart health.

Where to Buy or Adopt Azawakh Dogs? 

While buying or adopting an Azawakh dog, it’s essential to be cautious and go for only reputable breeders. This ensures that you will have a healthy dog free of any potential health issues in the future. The best breeders must have proof of successful, healthy litters that come with all the necessary documentation.

After successfully identifying a reputable Azawakh breeder, you should ensure you schedule an appointment to visit the facility to meet the puppy’s parents. This will enable you to get a feel of their disposition.

Given this dog’s rarity, you should stay clear of breeders who advertise big numbers of these dogs at unrealistically low prices or offer ridiculous discounts for buying or adopting them.

It’s equally important to find out as much information about these dogs as possible before acquiring one. This will acquaint you with important information regarding their physical, dietary, energy, and training needs.

That being said, Azawakh dogs are very rare; hence it’s difficult to find breeders outside their homeland. However, you can find them in rescue centers or shelter homes. The best way to get a healthy Azawakh puppy is by contacting the registered kennel clubs including United Kennel Club (UCK), American Kennel Club ( ACK), Federation Cynologique International (FCI), and American Canine Association( ACA) among others.

What are the Rescue Clubs for Azawakh Dogs? 

Rescue clubs are non-profit groups dedicated to assisting dogs in finding new homes. These groups seek mistreated, abandoned, stray, or unwanted dogs and find them a suitable home.

The Azawakh is very popular in its native land but remains extremely rare in other parts of the world. As a result of their rarity, it may be challenging to find many rescue organizations. It’s best to contact the American Kennel Club to help find reputable rescue clubs near you. 

Despite being registered in the American Kennel Club, finding Azawakh rescue centers within the United States is difficult. However, you can reach out to the American Azawakh Association for a list of the available rescue centers.

How to Name an Azawakh Dog? 

Naming an Azawakh dog does not appear challenging; it’s not as straightforward as many prospective or new owners imagine. Aside from the name, the way and sound in which it’s pronounced are crucial in provoking a response from the dog. The names for Azawakh dogs may be inspired by different things including favorite films, nature, the reason for adopting, or some interesting history. While the name may carry a lot of meaning to the owner, only the sound matters to the dog. 

As a result, it’s critical to be selective while naming your Azawakh dog. Being a West African breed, getting local names from the region may be a good start. Some of the necessary building components while naming these dogs including the tone and syllable that may be helpful include;

Two syllable names are preferred over the single-syllable names by Azawakh dogs as they are neither too short to be confused with command words such as come, sit, or stop, nor too long to be perplexing.

As reported by owners, many Azawakh dogs seem to respond better to names called in a sing-songy manner.

While sticking to single-syllable names, owners ought to find ways to stretch the names and make them sound like two names. E.g., Zee-Heena instead of Zena.

The Azawakh prefer high-pitched, energetic, and happy sides while calling them soothing, silent sounds when anxious or afraid.

Some of the most popular names for Azawakh dogs include:

Male Azawakh dog names

Meaning of the name

Kellan

Powerful, slender

Shaka

Zulu tribal leader

Zane

Noble

Tau

Fierce like a lion 

Jabir

Comforter

Mosi

Firstborn

 

Female Azawakh dog names

Meaning of the name

Maha

Born with beautiful eyes

Reta

Speaker

Sabra

Having patience

Alika

Beautiful

Tayla

She has been seen

Malika

Noble

What are the Similar Dog Breeds for Azawakh Dog? 

The following dog breeds compare to Azawakh dogs in various aspects, including size, energy levels, training needs, intelligence levels, and playfulness.

  • Sloughi: Besides its sleek structure, this dog is a sighthound, just like an Azawakh dog. The dog is similarly very friendly and loyal to its family but reserved in the presence of strangers. Both dogs also originate from Africa. With a height of between 24-29 inches and a weight of 45-65 pounds, these dogs are almost similar in size to Azawakhs.
  • Saluki: Like the Azawakh dogs, these dogs are ideal for active families with older children. They also make loyal companions as well as formidable hunters. Like Azawakh dogs, Salukis are extremely intelligent and sensitive and thus do well with positive training methods and not punitive techniques. 
  • Greyhound: Similar to the Azawakh dog, the Greyhound dog comes with a slender body and long legs tailored for speed. It’s also independent but loyal and affectionate to its family. Greyhounds, just like Azawakhs, are very reserved in the presence of strangers.

Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is an animal lover and the proud dog-mom of a Golden Retriever named Brody and an Italian Greyhound named Jessup. Unfortunately, Jessup developed serious allergies to many different types of dog foods and ingredients when she was just a puppy. Meanwhile, Brody could eat seemingly anything and carry on as healthy as could be. Sarah spent hours of time researching and testing different foods and brands before finding something that worked for little Jessup. She wants Dog Food Care to simplify this experience for future dog-parents who face food allergy or tolerance issues of their own.