A 52 minute natural history documentary - National Geographic


These are the coursing dogs of Arabia and North Africa. Born to run.... to run with the wind.

One of the oldest domesticated breeds in the world, and living representatives of the first dogs trained to assist man in the hunt.

This documentary traverses the Middle East and North Africa to bring their story to the screen From the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Jordan's fabulous Wadi Rum, to the temples and tombs of ancient Egypt. From here we go west to Morocco, and then the desolation of the Sahel in Burkina Faso.

The Saluki is the hound of the desert wind, the companion of the Bedouin and is to be found throughout the arid lands, unfortunately in ever decreasing numbers. It has evolved purely as a speed merchant, a hound that relies on itz 'desert eyes' rather than scent in the chase.

In Egypt, paintings and reliefs at Saqqara and Luxor bring alive the cultures of an ancient civilization with detailed scenes of hunting and everyday life. The pharaohs are known to jhave had extensive breeding programmes particularly between Jackal and the Tesam hunting dog to create a look alike of the God Anubis, the results of which can be seen in the beautiful Pharaoh hound.

Of Interest is the impact sight hounds have had on the Muslim faith. Dogs are generally seen as reviled and unclean, in fact at one time they were the target of unpreceedented slaughter, but the Saluki through his ability to hunt for his master rose from very early times above other dogs and was even accorded the stature of being allowed inside the tent.

As Islam and trade spread across North Africa so did Saluki. Today in Morocco we find its close relative the Sloughi - the hunting hound of the Berber.

In many countries of the Middle East and North Africa, hunting with dogs is technically banned, however it is still practiced amongst the farming and nomadic communities, not so much as sport, as a way of supplementing meagre diets. The advent of firearms has decimated prey species and this, and changing lifestyles, has sadly impacted on sight hounds as their traditional lessens.

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