Salukis are “sight” hounds, which means they hunt by sight, run the quarry down, catch it, and kill or retrieve it. The Saluki’s head is long and narrow with large eyes and drop ears. The tail of the breed is long and curved. It has the typical deep-chested, long legged body of the sighthounds.
The overall appearance of the Saluki is one of grace and symmetry. There are two coat types evident in the Saluki gene pool, smooth and feathered. The feathered variety has light feathering on the back of the legs and thighs. The fur on both varieties is silky to the touch, and is low shedding compared to other breeds.
While the Greyhound is credited as being the fastest dog breed up to distances of around 800 metres (2,600 ft), both the Saluki and Whippet breeds are thought to be faster over longer distances. The 1996 edition of the Guinness Book of Records lists a Saluki as being the fastest dog, reaching a speed of 68.8 kilometres (42.8 mi) per hour. Due to its heavily padded feet being able to absorb the impact on its body, it has remarkable stamina when running.
Their coats come in a variety of colors, including white, cream, fawn, red, grizzle and tan, black and tan, and tricolor (white, black and tan).
A true modern Saluki retains the qualities of hunting hounds and may seem reserved to strangers. An independent and aloof breed, but gentle and affectionate, they can be difficult to train and any such training should be gentle and patient. They can get bored easily, and should not be left at home unattended for long periods. Sensitive and intelligent, the Saluki should never be trained using force or harsh methods, and typically does not enjoy rough games or typical dog games such as retrieving balls. Early socialization is required to prevent timidity and shyness in later life. Given their hunting instincts, they are prone to chasing moving objects.
Salukis are a healthy breed, hip dysplasia is uncommon. The three most common causes of death are cancer, heart failure and old age.