In the early days of 2019, the American Kennel Club announced that a new dog breed will join their ranks this year – the Azawakh. Before these slim hounds make their debut on the dog show stage, we’ve gathered some fun facts about this unique new breed. Enjoy, and good luck to all the dogs competing next month at the 2019 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City! 


While new to the US and the AKC, the Azawakh (pronounced AH-ZA-WAHK) is actually an ancient dog breed that originated in the Sahelian zone of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso in northwest Africa. It is named after the Azawagh basin, which makes up part of this zone. Azawakhs were bred by the nomadic Tuareg people, and served as guard dogs and hunters. Their trademark speed, endurance and loyalty have endeared these sighthounds to their families for many centuries.

The first Azawakh arrived in the US in the 1980s, and they now number 400-500 across the country. Azawakhs are often confused with Greyhounds or Whippets at first glance. This is based on their similar long legs, thin appearance, long and narrow snout and graceful gait. The Azawakh has a short coat that comes in a variety of colors, including red, brown and brindle, with some white markings at the chest and feet.

Azawakh photo by Franco Vannini

Azawakh are a striking, loyal, affectionate and playful. They are not, however, recommended for first-time dog owners. Azawakhs are intelligent, sensitive and independent, so early training and socialization is extremely important. With proper training and commitment, Azawakh are wonderful companions and a great fit for active families and owners looking for the perfect running buddy.

To learn more about the Azawakh and other dog breeds, visit the American Kennel Club’s website.

Photo Credits
animalinfo via
Franco Vannini via Flickr