Meet the AKC’s Newest Breed: The Azawakh

The ‘puparazzi’ are all buzzing about the latest dog news: the AKC has just welcomed another new breed into their ranks. The Azawakh (pronounced Oz-a-wok) was formally inducted on January 1, 2019. This brings the total number of AKC-recognized breeds to 193, including the 2018 inductees: the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje and the Grand Basset Griffon Vandeen. In this article, a local vet discusses the Azawakh.


The Azawakh is actually an ancient breed, having originated in West Africa. They were first bred as guard dogs, companions, and hunters by the blue-clad Tuareg nomads, who cherish and love their canine friends. Long-legged and elegant, the Azawakh is a sighthound, hunting by sight rather than scent. In fact, their name means ‘Sighthound of the free people’ in the Tuareg language. Quick and hardy, these fast pooches are renowned at hunting antelope, wild boars, hares, and other game.


The Azawakh has a unique, elegant appearance. They have long legs and a short, fine coat, which only needs occasional grooming. These lovable pooches come in all colors and color combinations, from black and brown to fawn to brindle. Sometimes, they have a black ‘mask’ on their faces, and/or white markings on their legs, chest, or tails.


Azawakhs are both smart and independent, so proper training is a must. Socialization is also very important. It’s worth noting that they are quite proud, and don’t do well with negative reinforcement. To keep things positive–and keep that tail wagging–focus on rewarding Fido for being good.


The Azawakh doesn’t have any specific dietary needs, so a good, high-quality dog food will do fine. You do have to be careful not to overfeed Fido, however. These friendly pups do tend to gain weight easily, and are at risk of becoming obese. Ask your vet for specific nutritional advice, including portion sizes.


Azawakhs are quite affectionate and lovable, and become very attached to their owners. Though they have a sweet, calm, demeanor, they are quite energetic, and need regular exercise to stay healthy. These dogs make great pets for joggers! However, you may need to urge Fido to keep moving: left alone, your canine buddy will probably opt to just take a nap.

Our Advice on the AKC’s Newest Breed – the Azawakh

What is the Azawakh, and when was it officially recognized by the AKC?

The Azawakh is a sighthound breed originally from West Africa, known for its elegant, long-legged physique. It was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) on January 1, 2019. This breed is admired for its speed, agility, and affectionate nature, making it a unique addition to the AKC’s roster of breeds. The Azawakh’s distinct characteristics and history enrich the diversity of the AKC’s recognized breeds.

What is the history and origin of the Azawakh breed?

The Azawakh is an ancient breed originating from West Africa, specifically the Sahara and Sahel zones. They were bred by the Tuareg nomads as guard dogs, companions, and hunters. Known for their speed and agility, Azawakhs have a rich history as sighthounds, traditionally used for hunting game like antelope and hare. Their deep bond with the Tuareg people highlights their importance as both working dogs and cherished companions in their native culture.

How do Azawakhs typically look, and what are their grooming needs?

Azawakhs are elegant and slender, with long legs and a fine coat that comes in various colors, including brindle and fawn, often with white markings and a black mask. Their grooming needs are minimal due to their short coat; occasional brushing is sufficient to keep it clean and healthy. These graceful dogs are low-maintenance in terms of grooming, making them a good choice for those seeking a sleek, easy-to-care-for breed.

What are the training requirements for an Azawakh?

Azawakhs require consistent, positive reinforcement-based training. They are intelligent but independent, so patience and understanding are key. Early socialization is crucial to develop their confidence and adaptability. Avoid negative reinforcement; instead, use rewards and praise to encourage good behavior. This breed thrives on gentle, yet firm guidance. Regular training sessions that are engaging and varied will help keep an Azawakh mentally stimulated and obedient.

What is the best way to care for an Azawakh’s health and wellbeing?

Caring for an Azawakh’s health involves regular exercise to satisfy their high energy levels, a nutritious diet to maintain their lean physique, and routine veterinary check-ups. Mental stimulation is also crucial for this intelligent breed. Ensure they have ample social interaction and positive reinforcement-based training. Grooming is minimal, with occasional brushing sufficing. It’s important to understand their independent nature and provide a loving, patient environment that caters to their unique needs.

Please feel free to contact us, your local vet clinic in Easley, SC, for all of your furry friend’s veterinary care needs. We are dedicated to offering great care!

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