Azawakh is a sighthounddog breed from Africa.In Africa, Azawakh are found in a variety of colors such as red, blue fawn (that is, with a lilac cast), grizzle, and, rarely, blue and black. The Azawakh in its native land also comes with various white markings including Irish marked (white collar) and particolour (mostly white).
Because of this wide color variation in the native population, the American standard used by the AKC and UKC allows any color combination found in Africa. In the United States, the FCI standard is modified to have no color restrictions at a minimum and there is a strong sentiment that the FCI standard should be heavily edited or replaced.
Morphology is very similar to that of the Middle Eastern and South Indian sight hounds, all swift, high-bred coursing hounds, although there are several obvious differences. For example, a short, flat back combined with long legs place the hips higher than the withers.
The Azawakh is almond eyed and thin.Unlike other sight hounds, the primary function of the Azawakh in its native land is that of protector. It develops an intense bond with its owner, yet can perform independently from its master.
With those they accept, Azawakh are gentle and extremely affectionate. With strangers many are reserved and prefer not to be touched, but are not inherently aggressive. Although raised to protect livestock, they do not have innate aggression toward canines or humans unless they are threatened.
Bred by the Tuareg, Fula and various other nomads of the Sahara and sub-Saharan Sahel in the countries of Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, and southern Algeria, the breed is used there as a guard dog and to hunt gazelle and hare at speeds up to 40 miles per hour.
The austerity of the Sahel environment has ensured that only the most fit dogs survive and has accentuated the breed’s ruggedness and independence. Unlike some other sight hounds, the Azawakh is more of a pack hunter and they bump down the quarry with hindquarters when it has been tired out.
In the role of a guard dog, if an Azawakh senses danger it will bark to alert the other members of the pack, and they will gather together as a pack under the lead of the alpha dog, then chase off or attack the predator. The Sloughi, by comparison, is more of an independent lone hunter and has a high hunting instinct.
They’re best suited to a home with a large fenced yard or a nearby fenced park where they can run flat out. They need at least a half hour a day of active exercise or play and, although it may seem like a slight to their dignity, you’ll need to outfit your Azawakh in a sweater before heading out in cold weather. With their short hair and low body fat, they get chilled easily.