Love the Breeds: Salukis with Caroline Coile
Author and Saluki breeder Caroline Coile joins host Laura Reeves for the kick-off of our Love the Breeds feature.
Some of Coile’s tongue-in-cheek descriptions of the ancient breed include “breathing furniture,” “arm candy” and “they don’t like to show their feelings.”
“We have a lot of artwork that does indicate that there were saluki-like dogs … all over the Middle East,” Coile said. “But not just the Middle East, but everywhere the Silk Road went. We see them in China and obviously, it’s pretty easy to take this dog and bring it with you to trade or hunt or whatever.
“We know that some of the first Salukis that came to the western part of the world, to England, were there by the 1700s because there was a famous painting of Zilla … she was, if we can judge from this painting, a gorgeous black and tan, very refined, long feathering… she would have won in the show ring today.
“I think that there were two different families (of Salukis), those that went with the Bedouin and they probably hunted hare and rabbit and helped fill their pot with that whatever they could catch. And then I think there were some that the royalty took out on the giant Gazelle Hunts, which would have been a great King Tut and all that sort of thing. A great sport, but probably not a cost efficient one in terms of, you know, calories per what you can bring back.
“An advantage to the Saluki is how peaceful they are. When they’re not going, they’re peaceful and they’re not fighting with each other. They’re not fighters. They get along. This is the norm. They like to sleep in your bed. They won’t stay off your furniture. They are climbers. I have one that can get on the refrigerator. Oh well, she doesn’t just jump up from the floor, she gets on the counter beforehand and won’t stay off that though so I put stuff on the refrigerator to keep it away from her.
“I know one of the things that I think is really important to get across to folks that want to live with what I sort of jokingly, to my friends, refer to as dog arm candy. They’re really beautiful. (But) the important part to remember is they’re dogs and their long developed natural instincts are to chase and kill things and do that very independently.
“The whole motto is that saying ‘if looks could kill’ … you look at their breed standard and that basically defines the saluki breed standard in four words. I get a lot of inquiries from new pet owners saying, ‘We’re marathon runners and we heard that Salukis are long distance runners.’ And I have to say, ‘Yeah, they’re long distance sprinters, if that makes any sense? They can run at full double suspension gallop longer than any other breed, but I guarantee you that if you try to trot with it for any length of time, it’s like dragging an anchor behind you. They’re not into that. They like to go full speed.
“And then the other thing I would say is that I don’t know about other breeds, but Salukis are the biggest complainers of the dog world. Oh, it’s too hot. It’s too cold. Because they act like they’re royalty.”