What To Know About a Sloughi

Medically Reviewed by Kathleen Claussen, DVM on July 18, 2022
7 min read

Sloughis are graceful dogs in the hound group. They’re lean hunters that originated in Northern Africa. 

Sloughi pronunciation can be difficult to guess for those not familiar with the breed. The breed name is two syllables and is pronounced SLOO-ghee. They’re also commonly referred to as Arabian Greyhounds. 

Body size. The Sloughi dog breed consists of medium-to-large-sized dogs. The males tend to be slightly taller than the females. 

Males have an average height of 26 to 29 inches at the shoulder. Females average 24 to 27 inches. Healthy dogs can weigh anywhere from 35 to 50 pounds depending on the size of their frame. Make sure to talk to your veterinarian if you’re concerned that your dog is too far underweight or overweight

This large size means that these dogs aren’t always easy to transport. You’ll need to keep your pet in mind whenever you’re making travel plans. 

Body shape. Sloughis have athletic bodies. They’re slightly taller than they are long and have bony frames covered by strong, lean muscles. Their overall appearance is that of a sturdy but graceful dog. 

The dogs’ chests aren’t too wide but should reach almost to their elbows. Their forelegs are long and straight, and their hindquarters are often muscular. Their feet are shaped like elongated ovals. 

Sloughis have long heads that look wedge-shaped when viewed from above. Their muzzles are also wedge-shaped and should take up half of the total length of the head. Their heads are topped by medium-sized, triangle-shaped ears. Their ears droop close to their heads when at rest and are rounded at the tips. 

These dogs’ tails should be long enough to reach their hocks. They’re thin and carried low with a slight upward curve at the tip. 

Lifespan. The Sloughi lifespan is normal for their size. These dogs can live anywhere from 10 to 15 years on average. This means that you should be prepared for at least a decade with your pet, especially if you choose to adopt one as a puppy. 

Coat. Sloughis have smooth, short coats. They should be thin and fine all over their bodies. 

The coats only come in four colors: 

  • Cream
  • Mahogany
  • Red
  • Sandy

They have more possible markings than colors. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes seven standard markings for the breed, including: 

  • Black masks
  • Darker overlays
  • Mantles
  • Black brindles

Eyes. Sloughis have big eyes that oftentimes look expressive and sad. They can be oval or almond in shape and are set deep in their sockets. They’re always dark in color. 

Personality. The Sloughi personality can be rather reserved, especially when they don’t know you very well. However, they’re noble, loving dogs once they’ve had a chance to get to know you. 

The AKC rates them a four out of five in terms of their affection for their families. They score a three out of five in terms of their playfulness. 

Overall, the Sloughi temperament is an embodiment of class and grace.

Grooming. Sloughis have very simple grooming needs. You can brush them about once a week with a bristle brush or grooming glove to keep their coats looking their best. 

They can develop that typical doggy smell, so you’ll need to give them a bath every so often. You should give them a bath whenever they get into something particularly dirty or become too smelly for your liking. 

Trim their nails regularly so they don’t pain your dog during walking. Inspect their ears frequently for signs of dirt and debris. Brush their teeth on a daily basis with a dog-safe toothpaste to complete their grooming routine.  

Feeding. Make sure that your pet has access to clean water at all times. 

Your Sloughi needs high-quality dog food. Try to find a brand that your pet enjoys. Make sure that the nutritional requirements are specific to their stage of life, like puppy and senior-specific varieties. 

You absolutely must consult your veterinarian before choosing to make an at-home blend for your dog. Making your own food can be a time-consuming and complicated process. You need to make sure that you’re meeting all of your dog’s nutritional needs. 

Additionally, make sure that you know what human foods are safe for your dog to eat before feeding them anything from your kitchen. 

Exercise and mental stimulation. Your Sloughi will need lots of exercise to stay happy and healthy. The best thing is to give them space to run around at top speed. A fenced-in yard is perfect, or you can take them out on a run. 

Just make sure to keep your Sloughi on a leash when you’re out and about. They have strong prey instincts and will run off in pursuit of most small animals. 

They also have a moderate need for mental stimulation. You can play with them or engage them in dog-based sports to engage them both mentally and physically. They’re particularly good at sports like lure coursing. 

Veterinary visits, medications, and immunizations. Your veterinarian is the best person to determine all of the vaccinations that your pet needs, but all dogs should get a core set. 

This includes vaccinations for:

These can begin as early as six weeks of age. There are also other, non-core vaccinations that you can discuss with your veterinarian. 

Dosages for flea and tick medications are based on your dog's weight and used as needed. Oral and skin-based applications are available from your veterinarian or other distributors.

Many of these medications can be effective against a variety of pests and parasites, so talk to your veterinarian to figure out the best one for you. 

Heartworm medication is also recommended year-round in all parts of the U.S.

The Sloughi breed is generally quite healthy, but there are still a number of problems that your pet could be born with or develop throughout their lifetime. 

Examples of Sloughi health issues include: 

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). With PRA, you may start to notice your dog struggling to see at first, particularly at dusk and dawn. At present, there isn’t a treatment for this condition. Your vet should perform annual eye exams to look for any issues. 
  • Gastric torsion or bloat. Gastric-dilation volvulus occurs when there is twisting in your dog’s gastrointestinal tract — specifically in the stomach. Your dog’s stomach fills up with gas, food, or liquid (a condition called bloat) and then twists, creating an often sudden and life-threatening situation. Signs include an enlarged abdomen, retching, and drooling. This condition is typically treated with emergency surgery.
  • Wobbler syndrome. This is a neurological condition that can affect how your dog walks. In rare cases, they can become completely paralyzed in all four of their legs. The condition can be managed with either medication or surgery. You should use a body harness, not a collar, if your dog has this condition.
  • Addison’s disease. Addison’s disease is rare in the Sloughi breed, but cases have been reported. It’s a condition where your dog’s adrenal gland can’t make enough hormones. It can appear similar to other conditions, so your veterinarian will need to do a blood test to confirm the diagnosis. It can be fatal if left untreated, so have your veterinarian regularly screen for this problem.  

Sloughis are also particularly sensitive to anesthesia. These dogs can have unique laboratory results and reactions to medications. Your veterinarian should be familiar with the Sloughi breed or sighthounds in general before working with your animal. 

There are a few things you should keep in mind before choosing to bring a Sloughi home with you. They’re only moderately good with young children and other dogs. The AKC rates them a three out of five for both traits. They’re even worse with strangers.

This means that early training and socialization are key when it comes to bringing out the best in your dog. Note, though, that these dogs don’t respond well to harsh training methods and prefer gentle owners. 

You should also make sure that you have enough space to care for your pet. They were bred to work in the large deserts of northern Africa and will feel confined in a small apartment. 

In terms of physical characteristics, these dogs shed a moderate amount but almost never drool. They also bark infrequently. The AKC rates them a two out of five for their barking frequency, which means that it can take a real disturbance to cause them to bark.  

Sloughis are an ancient dog breed, and they’ve remained relatively unchanged for the past few centuries. Pieces of earthenware pottery from 3,000 B.C. depict dogs that closely resemble the Sloughi. 

The exact origin of the breed was lost to time. They were likely originally bred by the Berbers and Beduins living in Northern Africa. 

They are one of two breeds of sighthounds to come out of Africa. The other is the Azawakh, which is from central Africa. The dogs’ main purpose was to chase game across vast stretches of African desert. They’re a type of hound that hunts by sight. Examples of game that they hunted include: 

  • Hare
  • Fox
  • Jackal
  • Gazelle
  • Wild pigs

They were so good at their job that they were the favored hunting companion of Berber kings and ancient Egyptian nobles. 

The Sloughis living in Europe and America were imported from or can trace their lineages back to: 

  • Tunisia
  • Libya
  • Morocco
  • Algeria

The official breed standard was developed in Morocco. Sloughis were approved to compete in companion events by the AKC in 2004.