Azawakh Breed Standard
Official American Kennel Club Standard of the Azawakh
About the Breed
Tall and elegant, the Azawakh is a West African sighthound who originates from the countries of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger. The Azawakh has a short, fine coat which 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. There are no color or marking disqualifications in the breed. Befitting its heritage, the Azawakh excels as a companion, guardian and a lure courser in the United States.
This ancient hunting hound is so lean and rangy that his bone structure and musculature can plainly be seen beneath his skin. The smooth S-shaped contours, deep chest, and aerodynamic head mark the Azwakh as a member of the sighthound family, canine sprinters that rely on keen vision and blazing speed to fix and course their prey. The ultrafine coat comes in several colors and patterns. The overall look of this leggy hound is one of elegance and fineness, but don't be fooled: This is a tough, durable hunter who's been chasing gazelle across the scorching sands of the Sahara for more than a thousand years.
General Appearance: The Azawakh is an African sighthound of Afro-Asiatic type, which appeared in Europe towards 1970 and, comes from the Nigerian middle basin, among others, from the Valley of the Azawakh. For hundreds of years, he has been the companion of the nomads of the southern Sahara. Particularly leggy and elegant, the Azawakh gives a general impression of great fineness. His bone structure and musculature are transparent beneath fine and lean skin. This sighthound presents itself as a rangy dog whose body fits into a rectangle with its longer sides in a vertical position. Faults - Heavy general appearance.
Size, Weight, Proportion: Height at withers - Males 25 to 29 inches, females 23 to 27 inches. Serious Fault - Size deviating more than an inch from the norms of the standard. Weight - Males 44 to 55 pounds, females 33 to 44 pounds; in correct weight a minimum of three to five ribs and hip bones should be visible. Body Proportion - Length of body/height at withers - 9:10. Length of body is 90 percent height of hound. This ratio may be slightly higher in bitches.
Head: Eyes - Almond shaped, quite large. Their color is in keeping with the coat color. Eye rims are pigmented.
Ears - Set quite high. They are fine, always drooping and flat, quite wide at the base, close to the skull, never a rose ear. Their shape is that of a triangle with a slightly rounded tip. Their base rises when the hound is attentive.
Skull: The skull is almost flat, rather elongated. The width of the skull must definitely be inferior to half the length of the head. The width of the skull is 40 percent the length of the head. The superciliary arches and the frontal furrow are slightly marked. The occipital protuberance is clearly pronounced. Stop – Very slight. Faults - Wide back skull, prominent stop, rose ear.
Muzzle: Long, straight, fine, lean and chiseled, rather narrow, without excess. Length of muzzle/length of head equals 1:2. Length of back skull is 50 percent length of head. Planes – Parallel, however sometimes the line of the skull and the bridge of the muzzle are slightly divergent. Nose - Nostrils well opened. The nose color is in keeping with the coat color. Lips and Jaw - Lips are fine and tight. Jaw is long and strong. Cheeks are flat.
Bite: A scissor bite is preferable; a level bite is allowed. Serious Fault - An overshot or undershot jaw. Teeth - Full dentition; the teeth are healthy and strong.
Neck, Topline, Body: Neck - Good reach of neck which is long, fine and muscular, slightly arched. The skin is fine and does not form a dewlap.
Topline: Nearly straight, horizontal or rising toward the hips. Withers are quite prominent.
Body - Length of body/height at withers - 9:10. Length of body is 90 percent height of hound. This ratio may be slightly higher in bitches. Fault - Body too long. Chest - Depth of chest is 40 percent of height at withers. Well developed in length, deep but without reaching elbow level. It is not very wide, but must have enough space for the heart, so the sternal region of the chest must not abruptly become narrow. Forechest is not very wide. Ribs - Long, visible, slightly and evenly curved down to the sternum. Underline - The chest is curved like a keel consisting of dry muscle and visible skeleton. The brisket is well defined with the underline rising very high into the lumbar arch without interruption. Back - Nearly straight, horizontal or rising toward the hips. Hipbones are distinctly protruding and always placed at an equal or superior height to the height at the withers. Serious Fault - Hip bones placed lower than withers. Loin - The lumbar section is usually flat (horizontal), but a slight curve is common. Croup - Oblique without accentuated slant.
Tail: The tail is set low, thin, lean, and tapered. Length should reach the hock. It is covered with the same type of hair as that of the body. It is carried hanging with the tip raised or when the hound is excited, it can be carried in a sickle, ring, or saber above the horizontal.
Forequarters: Forequarters are seen as a whole: long, fine, almost entirely vertical. Shoulders - Long, lean and muscular and only slightly slanting seen in profile. The scapulohumeral angle is very open (about 130 degrees). Dewclaws - may or may not be removed. Feet - Rounded shape, with fine and tightly closed toes. Pads may be pigmented.
Hindquarters: Hindquarters are seen as a whole: long and lean; legs perfectly vertical. Thighs - Long and prominent with lean muscles. The coxo-femoral angle is very open (about 130 degrees). Stifle - The femoro-tibial angle is very open (about 140 degrees). Hock - Hock joint and hock are straight and lean. Dewclaws – may or may not be removed. Feet - round shaped,
with fine and tightly closed toes. Pads may be pigmented.
Skin and Coat: Skin - Fine, tight over the whole body. Hair - Short, fine, down to none on the belly. Color - Color and markings are immaterial. Serious Fault - Harsh or semi-long coat. Coat not identical to the standard.
Gait: The Azawakh's movement is agile and light, without hackney action or pounding. He has particularly graceful, elastic movement at the walk. The trot gives the appearance of floating effortlessly over the ground. At the trot, the front foot should not extend past the end of the nose. The gallop is leaping. The movement is an essential point of the breed. Fault - To move with exaggerated reach and drive or heaviness.