Can the Protector of the Nomads Live in Germany?

In its African homeland around the so-called Sahel zone between the Sahara and the savannah areas on the equator, the Azawakh is simply called “dog” because in many regions only this breed is widespread. To this day they are loyal companions of nomadic tribes and can be found in every settlement and village. Only a few German breeders are dedicated to the breed, but in this country, it is not impossible to buy a puppy.

Distinguishing Characteristics of the Azawakh: Strong Runner with Thin Skin

Bone and muscle are more visible in the Azawakh than in other sighthound breeds. This is due to the nutritional conditions in its African homeland. The meager the food, the drier the connective tissue. Measured at the withers, the body is slightly higher than long. Males reach a height between 64 and 74 cm, females reach a maximum of 70 cm. Despite being one of the largest breeds in the world, male dogs never weigh more than 50 pounds (45 pounds minimum). According to the FCI, bitches weigh between 15 and 20 kilograms.

The breed standard from head to tail

  • The long and narrow head has a dry build. A furrow runs from the tip of the nose to the occiput, but this characteristic is not mentioned in the breed standard. Stop and eyebrow arches are barely defined and the forehead is flat.
  • The muzzle tapers slightly towards the tip, the thin lips are taut. According to the breed standard, the nose must always be black or dark brown, with the nostrils well open.
  • The eyes are large and almond-shaped, the lids form a slightly sloping opening and should be darkly pigmented at the rim. The iris is dark-colored, in some animals also amber.
  • Triangular lop ears are set high and fall to the cheeks. The skin is very thin and the shape should always be flat and wide, rose ears never appear.
  • The neck is long and narrow, slightly curved at the top. The hip humps stand out clearly on the back, and the withers are very pronounced. The loins are short and lean and the croup should be sloping (at a 45-degree angle).
  • The legs are straight at the front and slightly angled at the back. The angles between the hip bone and thigh bone as well as the thigh bone and tibia are open. When viewed from below, the pads are pigmented, the toes are thin, and form rounded paws. A striking feature is a springy gait.
  • The long tail is set low and is very slim and long.

Coat and colors: A hint of Fauve

The fur grows rather thin and sparse all over the body, and the Azawakh is even hairless in places on the belly. According to some sources, dogs of the breed come in all colors, but the official breed standard only mentions Fauve in all shades. All colorings have white spots, which are distributed in a characteristic way:

  • A white patch on the chest at the base of the neck is desirable, but it must not extend over the neck and shoulders. However, a thin white stripe is tolerated.
  • White boots can be seen on all four paws, which should not reach over the elbows but at least over the entire paws.

Origins of the Azawakh – Companions of the Nomads Between Desert and Savannah

Many traditional nomadic peoples still live in the African Sahel zone between the Sahara desert and the savannah areas of Africa. Local and nomadic groups have always kept greyhounds, which perform various tasks in the villages. The dog of the nomads (Idii n’illeli) is the noblest of the greyhounds of the Sahel and is called Azawakh in Europe, after the Azawakh valley between Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso.

Widespread in Africa, exotic in Europe

The Azawakh has only been recognized by its own FCI standard since 2019. In the USA and Asia, he is an absolute rarity, in this country the breeding community has been growing steadily for years. Most European Azawakhs descend from a few specimens exported to France and Belgium in 1968. Only a few dogs are exported from their homeland to Europe to keep the breed healthy and expand the gene pool.

Historical tasks of the Tuareg greyhounds

The four-legged friends, also known as Osca in their homeland, are useful in many ways. They are allowed to spend the night with the Tuareg nomads in the sleeping tents, where they keep vermin and intruders away. Although they are more watchdogs than hunting dogs, they also help feed the whole family by hunting during the day.

Typical hunting targets

  • gazelles
  • wild boars
  • antelopes
  • Rabbits

Close relatives

  • Dogs of the greyhound type are among the original breeds and have accompanied humans since the dawn of ancient culture. As early as 6000 years ago, Sumerians worshiped greyhounds in the form of art objects and pottery.
  • The Azawakh probably arose later than other oriental breeds such as the Sloughi and the Central Asian Tazi. It is most closely related to the Sloughi.
  • In the Sahel, nomadic tribes and their domestic dogs are slowly dying out. As the area is relatively untouched by tourism, imported Azawakhs are very rare.

The Character of the Azawakh: A Greyhound as House Guard

Because the breed is used universally in its homeland, temperament is highly dependent on upbringing. They are more human-oriented than other sighthounds and not fixated on hunting. However, they are not one-man dogs but prefer to live in families and households with many residents or children. They are friendly in packs and adhere to strict hierarchical structures.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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