The Saluki has two coat varieties, feathered and smooth. In both cases, the coat on the body is a single coat (no undercoat), shortish and smooth. Feathering is silky, but length or profusion is not relevant. A Saluki may, for example, have profuse feathering behind the front legs, but not on the hind legs, very thin feathering on the ears and plenty on the tail. A Saluki is never ‘out of coat’. Puppies and some adults may grow woolly fluff on the sides of their legs (not to be confused with feathering), which exhibitors normally trim to present a neat appearance.
A Saluki has a broad range of base colours which can range between the palest cream that appears almost white, through many shades of cream, fawn, gold, red, mahogany, chocolate, silver, agouti, blue, to a combination of black-based colours including shades of black and cream, black and tan, and tricolour (black, tan and cream).
On top of these base colours, A Saluki may also present a pattern type:
Sable: Puppies are born a solid dark colour at birth and lighten into their base colour with sable pattern. The most typical are sabled fawn and sabled red. They show black-fringed ears and a dark overlay over the base colour.
Grizzle: A common pattern in Alaskan Malamutes, Siberian Huskies and Chihuahuas. A black or dark grey overlay covers the top parts of the base colour, which can be silver, fawn, red or any shade in between. Hair shafts are typically banded and the intensity of colour often changes with the seasons. Some grizzles carry a ‘Kiss of Allah’ on their foreheads (like the lozenge on a Blenheim Cavalier).
Photo Left: Pale cream feathered pup.
Parti-colour: Imagine a Saluki wearing torn white pyjamas over its base colour, which can be any solid colour or a base colour with grizzle pattern. The base colour shows through as patches through the ‘holes’ in the white pyjamas.
Irish-marked: A full or partial white collar will be present in addition to white flashing usually on the chest, feet and face.
Ticking: The ticking gene may or may not be present in any of the colour combinations and patterns. It presents as small dots of colour showing through the base colour.
Photo Right: Silver grizzled part-coloured feathered pup.
The numerous colours and patterns have no significance whatsoever and no colour or pattern should take preference; except brindle, which is not permitted at all in South Africa according to our breed standard.
The development of colours is not well documented because colour was not really considered important. Legend has it that certain Bedouin tribes apparently preferred darker hounds to hunt in mountainous areas in the Middle East, while lighter dogs were preferred in more arid areas.
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Article presented for All About Dogs.