The Azawakh temperament makes her an interesting dog. And her appearance is certainly enough to turn heads! One thing's for sure, there's nothing quite like a life with an Azawakh!
The Azawakh Temperament and Personality
The best way to decide whether the Azawakh is the right dog for you and your family is to learn more about the Azawakh temperament.
What follows is a list of some of those traits that make the Azawakh the special dog she is.
The Azawakh temperament can tolerate long periods in the sun, even when the temperature rises above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, this doesn't mean you should leave her outside in extreme temperatures, not by any means.
However, if you need a companion for a long day of jogging in warmer temperatures, the Azawakh is your buddy.
On a related note, some Azawakhs actually dislike cold or rainy weather. This is why they do much better in warmer climates.
The Azawakh is an affectionate animal, but not always right off the bat. She has to accept you first, then she will eventually come around to love.
While she is not typically aggressive with strangers, she may still be a little apprehensive around them. She won’t attack humans or other animals unless she feels threatened.
An Elephant's Memory
The Azawakh has a great memory. She will remember things for a very long time, and she will never forget you once she gets to know you.
Unfortunately, this may also mean that once she learns a bad trait, you'll have to train her for twice as long on what the right thing is to do instead. She'll keep remembering, for instance, that she should climb up on the window to see who's at the door, when you've repeatedly told her to keep off the furniture.
Just be persistent and consistent, and she'll get it…eventually.
The Azawakh's origin is in protecting the herd, and so she is still protective today. However, she prefers to be independent of her owner, which is a trait unlike that of most guard dogs.
She's not aggressive with her protective methods, though. Mostly, she is calm and gentle, so long as no one provokes her.
She's a Trooper
Perhaps because of her background as a hunting dog, the Azawakh has the ability to withstand a lot of pain. Therefore, if you feel like something may be wrong with your dog, you should take her to the vet ASAP.
With this breed, you really have to trust your gut. She may not always tell you something's wrong, but you should know your dog well enough to know when something is off.
Strong Prey Drive
Since the Azawakh has a strong prey drive, she is usually aloof with stranger dogs or other animals with which she is unfamiliar. However, the sooner you can introduce an Azawakh puppy to your children and other pets, the more likely she will be to form a bond with them.
For this reason, in some cases it just doesn't work out to adopt an older Azawakh. She may never grow comfortable with new people and pets unless she met them at a younger age.
Not Ideal for Younger Children
The Azawakh won’t go out of her way to play with children. This isn’t to say that she can't be around children, just that she won't jump and play with them the way a child might expect her to. Otherwise, she makes a good family companion.
No Changes, Please
The Azawakh temperament doesn’t adjust well to changes, so if you're thinking about moving anytime soon, she probably won't be a good match for you.
A Brief History of the Azawakh Breed
Because they originated in the Saharan area in countries such as Algeria and Mali, the Azawakh is still a fairly rare breed elsewhere in the world.
People kept Azawakhs as guard and hunting dogs for centuries, so they still carry these traits. In fact, people didn't even bring Azawakhs to the United States until the 1980s!
Typically, the Azawakh hunted larger animals, like wild boar, hares, and antelope. This is why she still to this day loves the thrill of the hunt.
How Do You Train an Azawakh?
Training an Azawakh is fairly simple, and you should start begin training the pup while she is still very young. In fact, you can start training your Azawakh as young as eight weeks old; waiting until she is, say, two months old may be too late.
In fact, a puppy-training class can be a big help because this will expose the dog to socialization at a very young age. This, in turn, allows her to be a more social butterfly as an adult.
Because the Azawakh's intelligence allows her to learn quickly, you can start training her while she's still just a young puppy.
Use positive reinforcement when she gets it right, rather than punishment when she gets it wrong. Rewards can include treats and praise but go easy on the treats to help maintain her weight.
Heavy-handed training methods will backfire because the Azawakh is a very proud animal. Scolding or spanking this dog will result in disastrous results. You will either break her spirit or create an aggressive and/or otherwise unmanageable dog.
Helpful Dog Training Resource:
For help with training your Azawakh dog, you should take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.
The Azawakh Appearance
The Azawakh is a sleek and beautiful animal with a short, thin coat.
The Azawakh colors include grey, black, white, sand, blue, and various shades of brown. Some also have a black mask or markings on their chests or legs.
The Azawakh height is between roughly 24 to 29 inches at the shoulder. She is one tall dog!
Similar in looks to a Greyhound, the Azawakh is supple and light, and her limber gait is one of her most noticeable characteristics.
The average Azawakh weight is between 33 and 55 lbs. So while she rather tall, she's also pretty skinny, which may look unhealthy but is actually perfectly normal for this breed.
How Do You Groom an Azawakh?
The Azawakh needs a weekly combing and the occasional bath to keep her coat looking its best. Her fur is short and skin thin, so there is very little to do when it comes to her coat.
Don't forget to trim her nails regularly and brush her teeth. The earlier you start doing these things, the easier it will be for her when she's an adult. For example, she'll be more okay with you touching her feet when she's an adult if you get her used to it while she's still a puppy.
Most Azawakh are healthy dogs, but you still need to keep an eye out for certain health issues that commonly affect the breed, such as:
The Azawakh's life expectancy is between 10 and 12 years. This is actually pretty long, considering how tall this dog is. Usually bigger dogs have shorter lifespans, so you can expect to get a decent amount of time with this hound.
Helpful Dog Health Resource:
Note: Don't let the issues above scare you. The best way to approach health problems is to prevent them in the first place. The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health is a great place to start. Get a copy to keep at home. It will help you prevent the painful health issues that can plague your lovely dog from expressing his winning personality and maximizing his life expectancy.
When it comes to exercise, the Azawakh temperament is easy-going enough to allow her to be an apartment dog, so long as she gets some exercise each day. A long daily walk should be enough to sate her appetite for activity.
However, because the Azawakh is so fiercely independent and energetic, it is best not to leave her unsupervised for too long. She has a lot of speed and stamina when she really gets going, and she often uses it to run after animals and children she doesn’t know.
That said, don't just let her out into the yard and close the door, hoping she'll entertain herself, because she simply won’t. If there are no other animals or people around, she simply is not motivated to do things by herself.
And when you take her for a walk, make sure she’s on a leash always. You don't need her taking off after an animal and ending up in traffic or lost.
Finding the Perfect Azawakh
Interested in adding an Azawakh to your family? There are two main ways in which you can do this: adopting one, or buying one from a breeder.
When looking for an Azawakh for adoption, you should be just as cautious as when you're attempting to purchase one from a breeder. Unfortunately, there is no hard-and-fast rule for making sure an organization or breeder is reputable. You just have to trust your gut and ask a lot of questions to get the best results.
How Much are Azawakh Puppies for Sale?
The average Azawakh price ranges from $800 to $1,000. However, the total annual cost for taking care of a dog is a little higher for any breed.
You have to take into consideration such factors as vet bills, flea control, spay/neutering, and food, along with the one-off costs associated with a collar, leash, food dishes, etc. When you add it all up, a dog can easily cost you up to $2,000 for the first year, and hundreds of dollars per year from that point on.
What I'm trying to say is, don't just purchase a dog willy-nilly. Make sure you're ready for not only the initial expense of the purchase, but everything else that comes after as well.
Azawakh Adoption and Rescue
If you are interested in adopting an Azawakh puppy from a shelter or rescue group, here are some of your options:
- Consult with local experts and breed-specific rescue clubs.
- Research the organization you're thinking of adopting from.
- Know the right questions to ask.
Speaking of the right questions, here are some ideas insofar as what you should ask:
- Does the dog respond well to children, other animals, etc.?
- What is her basic personality (of the dog you're interested in)?
- Has the dog ever bitten or otherwise hurt anyone?
- Does the dog have any health issues?
- What is the dog's energy level like?
- How old is the dog?
If the shelter's answer is, “I don’t know” to any of these questions, it may be a red flag, it may not.
Often, shelters pick dogs up off the street and know nothing about their histories. They just want to be able to give a homeless dog a good home. But the more information you can glean from the start, if possible, the better.
You have to be so careful when purchasing an Azawakh puppy for sale. If you decide to buy an Azawakh puppy from a breeder, here are some red flags to look for which will alert you to the fact that the breeder may be unethical:
- She offers puppies “without papers.”
- She claims she “always has puppies available.”
- She has multiple litters on the property.
Remember, the best Azawakh breeders are those who are more interested in placing you with the right puppy then they are in making a quick sale. And a good breeder will ask you just as many questions as you ask her because she wants to make sure her pup is going to a good, loving home.
Conclusion: Why the Azawakh?
The gracious Azawakh temperament makes this breed a remarkably popular one despite being rare. She is a great choice for small families, as well as those with older, less-active children.
She can be a rather aloof dog, so it's best to get her while she's young so that you can introduce her to children, other people and other animals as early as possible. Therefore, if you're thinking about adopting an older Azawakh, this is probably best if you have no other pets or young children in the house.
She needs regular exercise but not a lot of it, so she is relatively low-maintenance. And whatever you do, always keep her on a leash or a securely fenced-in backyard. Her prey drive is strong, and she's likely to take off after anything that catches her fancy.