The American Kennel Club (AKC), the world’s largest purebred dog registry and leading advocate for dogs, recently announced that the Azawakh (pronounced Oz-a-wok) has gained full AKC recognition. This new addition to the AKC registry became eligible to compete in its group on January 1.
“We’re excited to have the Azawakh join the AKC family,” said Gina DiNardo, executive secretary of the AKC. “This wonderful breed has been around for thousands of years, and we’re happy to introduce it to dog lovers in this country. As with any breed, it’s important to do research and find the right one to fit your lifestyle.”
The breed has very distinct physical characteristics. It is so lean and rangy that its bone structure and musculature can plainly be seen beneath its skin. The smooth S-shaped contours, deep chest, and aerodynamic head mark the Azawakh as a member of the sighthound family, canine sprinters that rely on keen vision and blazing speed to fix and course their prey. The breed’s ultrafine coat comes in several colors and patterns, and the overall look of this leggy hound is one of elegance and fineness. However, this is a tough, durable hunter that has been chasing gazelle across the scorching sands of the Sahara for more than a thousand years.
The breed originated as a guardian, hunter, and companion to nomads. They would hunt hare, antelope and wild boar, and are tough, durable and very fast. Due to this history, the Azawakh joins the Hound Group.
In terms of the Azawakh being a family pet, the dog is leggy and elegant-looking, with a short, fine coat that needs occasional brushing. These are relatively calm dogs indoors but have tremendous energy and endurance outside and must have regular exercise.
According to DogTime – which provides breed education to help dogs live long, happy and healthy lives – Azawakhs bond strongly with their owners and are affectionate, playful companions. They can be standoffish toward strangers and dislike being touched by people they don't know. They're also protective of their people and property. DogTime reports that fans describe these dogs as a wonderful combination of loyal and independent.
Because they're sighthounds, these dogs are attracted by motion and are likely to chase animals, people on bicycles or skateboards, or even running children. On the other hand, these lean, muscular dogs make excellent companions for joggers and runners. Indoors, they're fairly inactive and are content to snooze on the couch.
They're best suited to a home with a large fenced yard or a nearby fenced park where they can run flat out. They need at least a half hour a day of active exercise or play and, although it may seem like a slight to their dignity, you'll need to outfit your Azawakh in a sweater before heading out in cold weather. With their short hair and low body fat, they get chilled easily.
To become an AKC recognized breed, there must be a minimum number of dogs geographically distributed throughout the U.S., as well as an established breed club of responsible owners and breeders. Founded in 1884, the American Kennel Club is a not-for-profit organization which maintains the largest registry of purebred dogs in the world and oversees the sport of purebred dogs in the United States. The AKC is dedicated to upholding the integrity of its registry, promoting the sport of purebred dogs and breeding for type and function.
Along with its more than 5,000 licensed and member clubs and its affiliated organizations, the AKC advocates for the purebred dog as a family companion, advances canine health and well-being, works to protect the rights of all dog owners and promotes responsible dog ownership. More than 22,000 competitions for AKC-registered purebred dogs are held under AKC rules and regulations each year including conformation, agility, obedience, rally, tracking, herding, lure coursing, coonhound events, hunt tests, field and earthdog tests. Affiliate AKC organizations include the AKC Humane Fund, AKC Canine Health Foundation, AKC Reunite and the AKC Museum of the Dog.