Female saluki is top dog at Abu Dhabi’s Al Dhafra Festival

Fazaah, a grey saluki, was crowned winner of the Saluki Race Challenge at Al Dhafra Festival, which takes place in the Western Region.
Some of the fastest Arabian saluki dogs gathered at Al Dhafra Festival, on December 30, for one of the last races at this year’s event. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Festivals
Some of the fastest Arabian saluki dogs gathered at Al Dhafra Festival, on December 30, for one of the last races at this year’s event. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Festivals

ABU DHABI // A female saluki has been crowned the winner of the Saluki Race Challenge, even outpacing male competitors.

The race took place at the 10-day Al Dhafra Festival, which ended on January 1 in the emirate’s Western Region.

After qualification races on December 23, five winners in the male and female categories emerged yesterday after the final races.

In strong winds, 15 male salukis lined up at the two-kilometre track, which is usually used for camel racing.

The race was completed in just over two minutes; the fastest male, a black saluki called Takhteet, crossed the finish line in two minutes and 18.6 seconds.

But the winner of the following race, for female salukis, beat Takhteet’s record.

Fazaah, a grey saluki, crossed the finish line in two minutes and 13.3 seconds.

Only pure-bred Arabian salukis that are at least a year old were allowed to compete.

The owners of the winner in each category drove away with a new 4x4 car.

The prize money for second place was Dh30,000, Dh20,000 for third, and Dh5,000 each for fourth and fifth.

Salukis are known to be the fastest of all dog breeds over long distances.

In 1996, the Guinness Book of World Records listed the fastest saluki as having reached a speed of 68.8km/h.

The saluki, believed to have its origins in China, was among the first dog breeds to be domesticated.

In the Arab world, the Bedouin have been using salukis to hunt for thousands of years.

newsdesk@thenational.ae

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Published: December 31, 2014 04:00 AM

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