Featured Breed : Azawakh
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Life Span: 10 to 13 years

Litter Size: 4-6 puppies

Country of Origin: Sahel, Africa

Size: This aloof, quiet and beautiful dog is from the Sahel region of Africa, a desert area where he traveled with nomads and guarded their tents. Males stand 25 to 29 inches at the shoulder and weigh 44 to 55 pounds. Females are 23.5 to 27.5 inches tall and weigh 33 to 44 pounds.

Coat: The short, smooth Azawakh coat comes in a variety of colors, including clear sand to dark red, white, black, blue, gray, brindle, grizzle, parti-color and all shades of brown, including chocolate. The stomach may be hairless.

Character: The Azawakh bonds strongly to a single person or family. Puppies that are not properly socialized or older dogs that are re-homed often find it difficult to adjust. This is a highly intelligent breed that needs the occasional run for exercise, but is also happy as a house and guard dog. With its reserved, aloof manner and temperament this is not a good dog for play, especially with younger children.

Appearance: The Azawakh is almost a living caricature, with a skeletal structure that is distinguished by straight, architectural lines almost making a rectangular shape. This dog looks taller than its medium size thanks to its long legs and relatively short back. It has a long, narrow, elegant head, dark almond-shaped eyes, pigmented nose, and pendulous ears that together give the impression of great beauty. The tail is thin and set low, and may be curled, with the sickle-shape being preferable. The Azawakh has thin soft skin with short, fine hair that may be absent from the belly, and comes in many colors always with white markings.

History: 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 fit dogs survive and has accentuated the breed's ruggedness and independence. Unlike some other sighthounds, the Azawakh is more of a pack hunter and they bump down the quarry with hindquarters when it has been tired out. In 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.

Health Issues: Azawakh may have atypical blood work and other lab results. Reviewing the known ways in which the Greyhound differs from other dogs may assist your veterinarian in determining if your Azawakh has a health problem or simply an "abnormal normal." The Azawakh may be prone to hypothyrodism and a bleeding disorder called von Willebrand disease.

Temperament: Azawakhs are the edgiest of all sight hound breeds. They are loyal and fiercely protective of their families. However, they usually are indifferent, cautious and guarded around strangers. Sometimes described as being more like cats than dogs, Azawakhs are reserved, observant and extremely independent. They are calm, self-confident and clever, and they definitely like to have things their own way. They should not be aggressive or overly timid. But, Azawakhs that are raised in kennel situations.

Care: The Azawakh's thin coat needs almost no attention. A simple rub down every once in a while should suffice. This breed does need adequate exercise, however. They should have access to long walks and be able to occasionally run off-leash. Exercise should occur every day, as they need a regular to high amount of exercise. They do well with schedules, and can be exercised around the same time each day.

Training: Early socialization and structured obedience are recommended. The Azawakh breed does not respond to harsh or heavy-handed methods. They do best with motivation, respect, fairness, and firmness.

Activity: The Azawakh is a highly active breed that requires a highly active owner. This breed is not recommended for apartment living. They do best with a large securely fenced yard or rural setting with ample opportunity to run. They excel in field hunting, lure coursing, and agility. Azawakh's enjoy free-play, family activities, hiking, jogging, and swimming.

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