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Fast facts about the Saluki or Greyhound dog race in the UAE


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Saluki dog race is an annual dog race launched to safeguard the cultural heritage of the UAE.

Salukis are dogs that participate in this dog race. The Saluki breed belongs to the Greyhounds class of dogs. The Saluki has been a guard dog and hunting dog for the desert people living in the Arabian Peninsula for over 5000 years.

Name origin: The name Saluki is believed to have come from Saluk, a city in Yemen. Some say that the name comes from “Bani Saluk” a tribe in Yemen who are thought to be the first to have domesticated the breed.

Only purebred Salukis are allowed to participate in the event.

Images from Flickr

The Arabian Saluki is perhaps considered as the world’s oldest dog, appearing first nearly 3000 years ago in the Arabian Peninsula. It is characterized by loyalty and special intelligence besides its potential to hunt even during diverse climatic conditions. Salukis are called ‘Bedouin’s friend’ as they are well known for escorting the Bedouin families during travel.  Saluki dogs can run up to a whopping 75km per hour that makes them ideal for racing!

Controversy: The Arabian Saluki Center of Dubai states that prize money is not involved with greyhound racing. But, there are several news reports indicating prize money is involved in Saluki races. (Note: All forms of gambling (that include dog races) is considered illegal in the UAE.)

The Saluki dog race is held every year in the outskirts of Dubai. The jaw-dropping lightning speed of the Salukis creates an electrifying atmosphere. The race is generally held during UAE’s heritage festivals as well as other sports events.


The Arabian Saluki Centre organizes the Arabian Saluki Beauty Competition as well. It is a unique dog show wherein the competition focuses not on the dog’s looks, but tests its skills and intelligence in areas like guarding and hunting.

If you ever visit the UAE, add value to your trip by watching this amazing event. Plan your trip accordingly and watch the speed of the Salukis.  

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