Azavak is a rare and rare species of greyhounds in Russia and the CIS countries. These graceful and graceful animals, whose true mission is to race for game at the speed of the wind, are natives of sultry Africa. Azawakhs are strong, hardy and freedom-loving. These are great working dogs bred for both hunting and security. They are highly valued in their homeland - in Mali and in Nigeria, but in Europe this breed became known only in the 20th century.
The history of the Azawahs is related to Nigerian civilization.. It is difficult to say exactly when these dogs appeared, which became faithful companions of the nomads and their assistants in the hunt. However, it is known that already at the beginning of the Middle Ages dogs, similar to the modern Azawahs, accompanied the Tuaregs during their wanderings along the tropical savannahs.
The peculiarities of the local climate, rather dry and hot, made the Azawakhs undemanding to the conditions of detention. And hunting for gazelles and hares in the semi-deserts of North Africa led to the formation of the exterior of these dogs and developed their incredible running speed and endurance. Azawak is really able to race against the wind and their speed reaches 65 km / h. However, they do not get tired at all even after hours of pursuit of game.
Despite the fact that in the Sahel, where these dogs have long lived, many states are currently located, including such as Algeria, Sudan, Nigeria, Chad and Mali, only the latter country was recognized as the homeland of the Azawahs. And the breed itself is under the patronage of France, since it was she who registered these dogs at the IFF.
It is interesting! These greyhounds got their name from the name of the valley located on the border of Mali and Nigeria. Also, the Azawaks are also called African or Tuareg greyhounds.
The world learned about these dogs in the 60-70s of the 20th century, when French soldiers, returning to their homeland from the Sahel, brought in France seven African greyhounds, who became the ancestors of the French line of these dogs. Around the same time, a diplomat from Yugoslavia sent two Azawakhs to their homeland, and thus the foundation for Yugoslav breeding was laid.
The breed was officially recognized by FCI in 1981, after which they began to breed Tuareg greyhounds in other European countries: in Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland. However, despite this, the export of indigenous dogs from North Africa is still ongoing, since, due to the small number of European livestock, the inbreeding is very likely, which does not always positively affect the quality of the offspring.
True enthusiasts involved in the breeding of the Azawakhs do not want the descendants of their pets to turn from stately and strong animals into a parody of themselves: they become excessively refined or, conversely, acquire an addition strength unusual for the original breed. And, even more so, the Azawak breeders do not want these dogs to lose their unsurpassed working qualities and character, which is their same pedigree feature as their unique appearance.
Description of the Azawac
Azawak is a tall and slender short-haired Afro-Asian type greyhound, bred many centuries ago by the nomads of Southern Sahara and Sahel. According to the IFF classification, the Azawakhs belong to the section of the Shorthair greyhounds.
Distinctive external features of the azawakh are harmony and dryness of addition, as well as open corners of joints and almost architectural straightness of the lines.
Due to the fact that he has long legs and a rather short back, he looks large, although, in fact, most azawaks can be attributed to medium-sized greyhounds. The height of the azawakh is from 55 to 71 cm at the withers, and the weight is 13.5-25 kg.
It is interesting! Currently, among the Tuareg greyhounds of European origin, two types of animals predominate: French and Yugoslav, differing in physique and partly in color.
Azawakhs of French origin look sophisticated, they are fast and elegant, they have a passionate temperament and developed self-esteem. These dogs are proud, but also noble. Their heads look somewhat short, and their faces look lighter. In the color of dogs of French breeding, white marks are often found.
Yugoslav azavaks are more bony, they have strong legs and strong jaws. Among them, more often than among French dogs, there are individuals with a solid color.
Nevertheless, both breed varieties combine the following exterior features:
- The head is narrow and long with a moderately wide skull.
- The ears are hanging, wide at the base, fairly flat and thin.
- The eyes are large enough, slightly slanting, almond-shaped. Their color is any shade of brown. The look is smart, alert and expressive.
- The nose is black, or to match the color.
- The teeth are large and snow-white, the bite is scissor-like.
- The neck is rather thin, tall and graceful.
- The withers are well defined.
- The back is short, located in line with the withers. The back line is slightly curved.
- The croup is badly slanted.
- The chest is short and not too wide, does not reach the elbows a bit, with flat ribs and a sharp bend of the sternum.
- The abdomen is tightened, which, visually, further increases the bend.
- The forelimbs are vertical and elongated, visually thin, but not weak.
- The hind limbs are dry, fairly muscular and strong. The knee joints are high, and the hocks are lowered closer to the ground.
- The tail is thin, tapering towards the end, low set. It can either have a crescent shape, or be twisted at the end into a loop.
- The coat is rather thin and very short; there is no undercoat.
- The movements are harmonious, balanced and in no way constrained: the azawakh must move completely freely.
In the historical homeland of these dogs, you can find azawakhs with absolutely any coat color, while in Europe only brownish-sand hues are recognized.
Azawaki are quite complex in nature, which is why they can not be recommended as a pet to people who first decided to get a dog. These are proud and independent animals, which also tend to dominate. Tuareg greyhounds are restrained and not too affectionate with their masters. This is one of the pedigree features: after all, the Tuaregs value their sense of pride and independence in their dogs, while the excessive tenderness and sociability of dogs is a serious flaw for them, if not vice.
Important ! Azawak is attached to all members of the family, but he has only one true owner: the one whom he himself chose. This often leads to problems, since the greyhound, having chosen one person as its real owner, is very difficult to experience separation from him, even if only temporarily.
These dogs hate noise, screaming, and rude treatment. And for them, an intolerable invasion of their personal space is unbearable. With other dogs of large and medium sizes, not prone to domination, the azawakh can live quite peacefully in the same house. But only after their social statuses are finally determined. Before that, quarrels and fights between pets are inevitable in the house.
But small dogs and cats, not to mention other domestic animals, are perceived by African greyhounds as potential prey. If you keep several Azawakhs in the same house, they will create a dog flock with a pronounced hierarchy, as their relatives in the historical homeland do. These dogs are extremely negative towards foreign dogs and other animals, because of which it is necessary to limit the contacts of the Azawaks with neighbors or street animals.
Because of the independence inherent in them by nature, the Azawakhs are not suitable as a companion for children's games: these greyhounds are not particularly playful, moreover, they rarely listen to anyone other than their main master. They generally tend to distrust children, unless they have grown up with them in the same house. At the same time, the protective instinct inherent in them makes the Azawakhs good watchmen: sensitive, watchful and rather evil.
Like most other large and medium breeds, Azawakhs live, on average, 10-12 years.
Due to the short coat and dry physique, which prevents the accumulation of subcutaneous fat, Tuareg greyhounds can not live on the street. In general, caring for these dogs is simple and affordable even for very busy people.
Care and hygiene
To keep the azawack in good shape, he must move a lot.. But this does not mean that you can’t keep him in the apartment. In order for him to release energy and run into the necessary exercise, it is enough to give the dog the opportunity to run in a closed area or in the courtyard of a private house for 30-60 minutes. Like the true natives of semi-arid savannahs, the Azawakhs do not like water, which is why they reluctantly bathe and almost never swim in open water.
Important! This greyhound is not afraid of even the strongest heat, but the cold for the azawakh can be fatal, since this dog can freeze and catch a cold even at a temperature of +5 degrees.
For this reason, African greyhounds need seasonal clothing that will protect them from both cold and damp. Caring for them is very simple. They need to be combed from time to time with a soft brush or mitten to clean smooth-haired dogs. Bathing is best replaced by rubbing dusty or soiled wool with a damp towel, since getting an azawac to wash is not an easy task.
The ears and eyes of the pet should be inspected daily, cleaned as they become soiled. You also need to monitor the teeth and claws of the azawac: if plaque forms, brush with teeth and cut claws with claw cutter. In addition, it is very important to vaccinate on time, anthelmintic and treat the dog with flea and tick remedies.
The habit is the same as the owners, made the Azawakhs more adapted to a low-protein diet, which mainly includes cereals and goat milk. In modern realities, there is no need to feed a pet like that, but the dog’s diet in this case should mainly consist of cereals (millet or wild rice), fruits and vegetables, sour-milk products of low fat content and greens.
Important ! Most Tuareg greyhounds feel comfortable getting industrial premium low-protein food or higher.
Meat and fish are also included in the diet of pets of this breed, but their share should be insignificant. In any case, whether the dog eats natural or industrial food, clean water should always be in his bowl.
Diseases and birth defects
For health, azavas are considered to be a completely safe breed, but they are also prone to a number of diseases, such as:
- Eosinophilic myositis.
- Von Willebrand disease.
- Cardiovascular diseases.
In addition, in dogs of Yugoslav origin, epilepsy is more common than in other azawaks. And greyhounds of the French breeding sometimes have problems due to the improper structure of the front legs. The main danger for the Azawakhs, as well as for any other large and medium dogs with a similar body structure, is their predisposition to stomach twisting. That is why it is very important to feed the pet correctly and not allow it to actively move after eating.
To breed defects include:
- Unrecognized IFF colors.
- Too coarse, or, conversely, exaggerated graceful addition.
- The head is irregular in shape.
- Overshot or undershot.
- Temperament and character unusual for the breed, for example, cowardice or increased aggression.
Training and education
Azavak is a stubborn and masterful dog, which can only be managed by a person who already has experience in keeping greyhounds, is quite authoritative and imperious, but at the same time does not allow rough treatment of a pet. The sooner the upbringing and socialization of such a dog begins, the better. In this case, it is very important from the first days to make it clear to the puppy that the owner is a leader whom he must obey.
Important! Due to the fact that representatives of this breed tend to decide for themselves what to do, it is very important to train the dog not so much in impeccable execution of commands as in correct behavior in a given situation.
It is unlikely to be ideal to train the Tuareg greyhound: these dogs are not prone to thoughtless execution of commands and, if they contradict their goals, pretend that they have not heard the master's order. But, with proper upbringing, you can teach your dog to respect the owner and fulfill his requests. Rough handling of the azawakh will only lead to the fact that the animal will grow up closed, embittered and aggressive.
The main difficulty in acquiring an azawakh is that in Russia and the CIS countries these dogs are very rare, and therefore, most likely, you will have to go to get a pet to another country. However, there is a plus in this: due to the low popularity of the breed, there is less chance of acquiring a mestizo or just looking like a mongrel.
What to look for
It makes sense for people who want to get a good puppy a Tuareg greyhound to look at German or French kennels. But in the USA, where the Azawakhs are not recognized, it is better not to buy a dog, since in this case it will be without documents of origin. In Russia, there are also several dogs of this breed. But, due to the fact that there are very few Azavaks in our country, a puppy may have to wait more than one month.
Important! Early socialization and communication with other dogs is very important for the growing Azawakh, and therefore, it is not recommended to pick up a puppy earlier than it is used for 3 months.
At the same time, it is very important to find a kennel where attention is paid not only to the exterior of the dogs, but also to their character, temperament and health, and if they are acquired for hunting, then also to working qualities. At 2-3 months, when most litters are sold out, individual characteristics of puppies are already clearly visible, in particular, their proportions, type of addition and color. Also, the character characteristic of each of them is already beginning to manifest.
The price of a thoroughbred puppy
Azawak is a specific breed and clearly not designed for a wide range of dog breeders, therefore, puppy prices are rarely too high. Thoroughbred Azawakh, translated into Russian rubles, can be purchased for 35 thousand or higher. True, if the dog is bought abroad, then to this amount you need to add also the cost of the trip for him.
Owners of the Azawakhs note the extraordinary stateness and grace inherent in their pets. These dogs seem to have been created for show rings and victories at the most prestigious world exhibitions. Excellent working qualities make the African greyhound an excellent hunting dog and people who use these dogs for their original purpose highly appreciated their speed and tirelessness in the pursuit of game. Azawakhs are also good as a watchman: many owners appreciated their pets in this capacity. Caring for these dogs is uncomplicated, however, the need to keep the Azawaks warm in cold weather can create some difficulties.
Along with positive traits, Tuareg greyhounds also have disadvantages inherent in these animals: the Azawakhs are independent, awkward in nature, although they are loyal and loyal to their owners. The owners also note that these dogs very negatively perceive the invasion of their personal space.In addition, the intolerance of the Azawakhs to smaller animals can create certain problems, which was also noted by the owners of these dogs.
It is interesting!The owners also note that when training the Azawahs, there may be difficulties associated with the fact that these dogs do not tolerate forceful methods of influence, and they have to look for an individual approach.
In general, the owners of the Tuareg greyhounds are sure that most problems can be avoided if, from the first days of the appearance of the dog in the house, it is correct to educate him. In this case, a bold, strong and noble animal grows out of the azawakh: a tireless hunting assistant, an exhibition handsome man and just a smart and devoted friend and companion. Azawak is one of the most amazing dog breeds in the world, having an ancient, if not ancient, origin.
Centuries-old isolation contributed to the fact that the zavaki retained their pristine type and characteristic breed features. Currently, the Azawakhs are considered extremely rare and their popularity is low. However, in Europe, and in Russia, professional breeders have already paid attention to these dogs, so, perhaps, later on the azawakh will become as popular as the greyhound or saluki similar to it.