8 Facts About the Azawakh

iStock.com/animalinfo
iStock.com/animalinfo

As of January 1, the Azawakh—one of the most expensive dog breeds in the world, according to The Dog Digest—has gained full recognition within the American Kennel Club (AKC), making it eligible for competition in the organization's dog shows. Here’s what you should know about the breed.

1. The Azawakh is leggy.

These pups are tall and lean—so much so that, according to the AKC, a dog’s “bone structure and musculature can plainly be seen beneath his skin.” Males can stand nearly 2.5 feet tall and weigh up to 55 pounds, while females can grow to 2.25 feet tall and weigh up to 44 pounds. They live 12 to 15 years.

2. The Azawakh is an ancient breed from West Africa.

The sighthound, used for hunting, hails from the Sahel region, which includes Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger (and the Azawakh Valley). “This wonderful breed has been around for thousands of years, and we’re happy to introduce it to dog lovers in this country,” AKC executive secretary Gina DiNardo said in a press release.

3. The breed made its U.S. debut in the 1980s.

According to the American Azawakh Association (AAA), the breed made its way to Europe first, in the 1970s. The first litter was born in the states on October 31, 1987; all the pups were red or fawn and had white markings.

4. Its name is pronounced Oz-a-wok.

It’s also known as the Tuareg Sloughi. The Tuareg nomads—who are among several tribes that traditionally own this breed—call it idii n’ illeli, which means “sighthound of the free people.”

5. It has a short, fine coat.

Unlike with other breeds, no color combinations or markings will disqualify the Azawakh from competition. According to the AKC, its coat “may come in any color or color combinations: red, clear sand to fawn, brindled, parti-color (which may be predominantly white), blue, black, and brown. The head may have a black mask and there may be white markings on the legs, bib, and at the tip of tail.” Its short coat means it’s easy to groom; according to the AKC, it needs just a brush once a week. You probably won’t even need to bathe it if it gets muddy; just wait for the mud to dry, then brush it off.

6. It’s a very active breed.

In Africa, these speedy dogs chase down fleet-footed prey like hares and gazelles—so they need a lot of exercise. According to the AAA, “The Azawakh is always on the alert for moving objects; even a leaf in the wind will trigger a chase.”

They’re a good pooch for runners and need at least 30 minutes of playing with another dog or owner every day. The other dog or owner is key, though: Left on its own, the Azawakh won’t exercise.

7. They’re loyal to their owners, but can be standoffish with strangers.

These smart, independent dogs are have a strong bond with their owners. They’re also protective: In addition to hunting, they’re used in Africa to protect encampments and herds of animals. The AAA notes that “when approached on their own turf, they are vocally intimidating. In situations where their duty as guardian isn’t necessary, their reactions may range from friendly, to mildly curious, to arrogantly indifferent. … A well socialized Azawakh is affectionate, gentle, playful, subtle, and very loyal to its owner … Azawakhs are usually cautious with strangers. They typically observe for a while before approaching.”

8. It’s part of the AKC’s hound group.

Also in that group are the greyhound, the saluki, the beagle, and the Rhodesian Ridgeback, among others.

FDA Recalls Several Dry Dog Foods That Could Cause Toxic Levels of Vitamin D

iStock.com/Chalabala
iStock.com/Chalabala

The FDA has recalled several brands of dry dog food that contain potentially toxic levels of vitamin D, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. While vitamin D is essential for dogs, too much of the nutrient can result in kidney failure and other serious health problems.

The FDA has already received reports of vitamin D toxicity in dogs that consumed certain dry foods. Pet owners are advised to stop using the following products:

Old Glory Hearty Turkey and Cheese Flavor Dog Food (manufactured by Sunshine Mills, Inc.)

Evolve Chicken & Rice Puppy Dry Dog Food (Sunshine Mills, Inc.)

Sportsman's Pride Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food (Sunshine Mills, Inc.)

Triumph Chicken & Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food (Sunshine Mills, Inc.)

Nature's Promise Chicken & Brown Rice Dog Food (Ahold Delhaize)

Nature's Place Real Country Chicken and Brown Rice Dog Food (Ahold Delhaize)

Abound Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe Dog Food (sold at Kroger in Louisville, Kentucky, as well as King Soopers and City Market stores in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Wyoming)

ELM Chicken and Chickpea Recipe (ELM Pet Foods, Inc.)

ELM K9 Naturals Chicken Recipe (ELM Pet Foods, Inc.)

ANF Lamb and Rice Dry Dog Food (ANF, Inc.)

Orlando Grain-Free Chicken & Chickpea Superfood Recipe (sold at Lidl stores)

Natural Life Pet Products Chicken & Potato Dry Dog Food

Nutrisca Chicken and Chickpea Dry Dog Food

For the full list of UPC and lot numbers involved in the recall, visit the FDA's website.

Symptoms of vitamin D poisoning usually develop 12 to 36 hours after pets consume a suspect food, according to PetMD. The FDA says those symptoms include vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling, and weight loss. "Customers with dogs who have consumed this product and are exhibiting these symptoms should contact their veterinarian as soon as possible," the FDA writes.

The agency says the situation is still developing, and it will update the list of recalled brands as more information becomes available. According to WKRN News, veterinary professionals recommend sticking to dog foods that have an AAFCO label (from the Association of American Feed Control Officials) on them.

[h/t The Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

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