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Sloughis: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em

Sloughi temperament, personality, training, behavior, pros and cons, advice, and information, by Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Behavioral Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

Sloughi dog breed

Possessed of a noble, melancholic expression, this elegant, graceful aristocrat is known for his quiet dignity and loyalty. The Sloughi bonds closely (in a subtle way) with his owner and doesn't change that allegiance easily.

Aloof and cautious with strangers, he tends to hang back to observe and to avoid being touched. However, he is more territorial than most sighthounds. Some Sloughis should not be taken lightly if truly threatened.

Indoors, he is a creature of comfort who prefers soft beds on which he can lounge and survey his domain. However, this composure assumes that he has had a good daily run, for he is a consummate athlete who needs a good deal of exercise.

You'll need a large fenced area -- and Sloughis are agile jumpers, so fences should be six feet high -- because he is too fast to be allowed off-leash. Another reason for leashes and fences is his deeply ingrained chasing instinct, which is triggered by the slightest movement, such as leaves blowing or little creatures scurrying.

Sloughis are independent thinkers who need firm boundaries or they will take advantage, but they are very sensitive to correction. Train calmly, and coax with food and games. A verbal correction is more effective than a physical one.

Many sighthounds are touch-sensitive, startling when touched unexpectedly and uncomfortable when cuddled excessively.

If you want a dog who...

  • Is tall, slender, and elegant
  • Has a sleek easy-care coat in earthone shades
  • Is extremely athletic and graceful -- can run swiftly and jump great heights
  • Carries himself in a calm, dignified manner
  • Is polite with strangers, yet more alert and more territorial than other sighthounds

A Sloughi may be right for you.

If you don't want to deal with...

  • Providing a safe enclosed area where he can gallop
  • Shyness or suspiciousness when not socialized enough
  • Emotional sensitivity to stress and abrupt changes in schedule
  • Strong instincts to chase other living creatures that run
  • Slowness to learn and an independent "what's in it for me?" attitude toward training -- can be very stubborn

A Sloughi may not be right for you.

Keep in mind that the inheritance of temperament is less predictable than the inheritance of physical traits such as size or shedding. Temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.

  • You can avoid some negative traits by choosing an ADULT dog from an animal shelter or rescue group. With an adult dog, you can easily see what you're getting, and plenty of adult Sloughis have already proven themselves not to have negative characteristics.
  • If you want a puppy, you can avoid some negative traits by choosing the right breeder and the right puppy. Unfortunately, you usually can't tell whether a puppy has inherited temperament or health problems until he grows up.
  • Finally, you can avoid some negative traits by training your Sloughi to respect you and by following the 11-step care program in my book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy.

More traits and characteristics of the Sloughi

If I was considering a Sloughi, I would be most concerned about...

  1. Providing enough running exercise in a safe area. Sloughis don't need miles of running, but they do need regular opportunities to vent their energy through all-out galloping a few times a week. Otherwise they will become bored, which they usually express by destructive chewing.

    Sloughis need access to a large fenced area – fenced because these independent dogs are likely to take off and not come back. If there is a dog club in your area, get your Sloughi involved in lure coursing (chasing a mechanized lure around a track or across an open field). This is an appropriate outlet for the full-speed galloping behaviors that are "hardwired" into his genes.

  2. Providing enough socialization. Standoffish by nature, Sloughis need extensive exposure to people and to unusual sights and sounds. Otherwise their natural caution can become skittishness and timidity, which are difficult to live with.
  3. Chasing other animals. Most people do not realize just how fast and agile sighthounds are, or how strong their instincts are to chase and seize other creatures that run. A Sloughi can seriously injure or kill your neighbor's cat or toy dog. You must take great care to supervise and control your sighthound around smaller animals.
  4. Emotional sensitivity. Be honest.... is there tension in your home? Are people loud or angry or emotional? Sloughis are extremely sensitive to stress and can end up literally sick to their stomachs if the people in their home are having family problems. Sighthounds are peaceful, sensitive dogs who need a peaceful, harmonious home.
  5. The independent temperament. Like all sighthounds, Sloughis are not eager to please you. They are independent thinkers who look out for their own best interests. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.

    In other words, you must teach your Sloughi to respect you. A dog who respects you will do what you say and will stop what he's doing when you tell him "No." Read more about Sloughi Training.

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

To help you train and care for your dog

dog training videos Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.

The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy. For puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
If your dog is over 18 months, you'll want book coverRespect Training For Adult Dogs: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved dog. Again your dog will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life.
book coverDog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams will help you find a good-tempered, healthy family companion.

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