The Arabian Saluki Center is one of those places I’ve heard about, and always planned to go and have a look but never quite managed to get round to until now. It’s on the same site as the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, situated round the back of the hospital and is a separate facility in its own right.
I didn’t know an awful lot about the Arabian Saluki before my visit I have to say, except that they look like greyhounds. And that’s owing to the fact that that’s exactly what they are – Arabian Greyhounds.
I’ve never been much of a fan of the greyhound I have to admit, they always looked a bit skinny and bony to me, but after a wander around the Saluki Center it’s fair to say I was converted – these dogs are not only beautiful, they have the friendliest, sweetest personalities too!
The Saluki Centre is basically just a big kennel, but the dogs are very well cared for, with an air-conditioned indoor space and an outdoor area they have access to at all times also. And although their space may look pretty basic in the photos, it’s immediately evident that these are incredibly happy and well cared for dogs. Little wonder really, since they are very highly prized and worth a lot of money.
The Arabian Saluki Greyhound is a favourite amongst UAE locals because of the traditional heritage with the dog, as Bedouins have been breeding and training the dogs for thousands of years. They trained them historically mostly for hunting, to hunt for rabbits and other small animals in the desert, and although they are still trained to hunt they now also take part in races and beauty contests.
There were numerous pens at the kennels each containing different dogs and puppies. The puppies in the picture below were just 25 days old, and the two pictures following show dogs that are just a few months old.
At just three months old, these were the dogs that really captured my heart. Just look at that little face! Although they look like they have very sad eyes they were actually really playful and friendly in person (can you say ‘in person’ when talking about dogs?!). I like dogs, though I’ve never been what you’d call a ‘dog person’, but I have to say these guys could actually convince me otherwise, they were really so loveable! Apparently the Arabian Saluki is well-known for its loyalty and patience so I’m sure they’d make excellent companions.
The dogs have a training run out twice a day and they have a pretty amazing field to make use of with all kinds of ramps and obstacles. They even have their own swimming pool – seriously, these dogs live a better life than many humans!
It’s a small site but one worth visiting, especially if you love dogs or are just curious about this side of Arab Heritage. If you want to see the dogs in action though, you’ll need to catch them at the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (ADIHEX) or at the Al Dhafrah Festival each year.
The Arabian Saluki Center is located near the backside of Abu Dhabi airport along the Abu Dhabi-Sweihan road, right behind the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital which isn’t that far from the city though the drive does feel like a bit of a trek. Just a very small and basic road leads straight off the highway so it’s pretty easy to miss if you don’t keep your wits about you. It is well signposted, but the turning is literally right behind that last sign so if you see that and don’t turn immediately, you’ll miss it and have to go all the way around the one way highway system for 14 kilometres or so to get back there again (not that I’d know, cough).
The centre is open from Sunday to Thursday from 9am to 1pm, and unlike at the neighbouring Falcon Hospital, you don’t need to call and book your visit in advance.