8 Facts About the Azawakh

iStock.com/animalinfo
iStock.com/animalinfo

As of January 1, the Azawakh—one of the most expensive dog breeds in the world, according to The Dog Digest—has gained full recognition within the American Kennel Club (AKC), making it eligible for competition in the organization's dog shows. Here’s what you should know about the breed.

1. The Azawakh is leggy.

These pups are tall and lean—so much so that, according to the AKC, a dog’s “bone structure and musculature can plainly be seen beneath his skin.” Males can stand nearly 2.5 feet tall and weigh up to 55 pounds, while females can grow to 2.25 feet tall and weigh up to 44 pounds. They live 12 to 15 years.

2. The Azawakh is an ancient breed from West Africa.

The sighthound, used for hunting, hails from the Sahel region, which includes Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger (and the Azawakh Valley). “This wonderful breed has been around for thousands of years, and we’re happy to introduce it to dog lovers in this country,” AKC executive secretary Gina DiNardo said in a press release.

3. The breed made its U.S. debut in the 1980s.

According to the American Azawakh Association (AAA), the breed made its way to Europe first, in the 1970s. The first litter was born in the states on October 31, 1987; all the pups were red or fawn and had white markings.

4. Its name is pronounced Oz-a-wok.

It’s also known as the Tuareg Sloughi. The Tuareg nomads—who are among several tribes that traditionally own this breed—call it idii n’ illeli, which means “sighthound of the free people.”

5. It has a short, fine coat.

Unlike with other breeds, no color combinations or markings will disqualify the Azawakh from competition. According to the AKC, its coat “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.” Its short coat means it’s easy to groom; according to the AKC, it needs just a brush once a week. You probably won’t even need to bathe it if it gets muddy; just wait for the mud to dry, then brush it off.

6. It’s a very active breed.

In Africa, these speedy dogs chase down fleet-footed prey like hares and gazelles—so they need a lot of exercise. According to the AAA, “The Azawakh is always on the alert for moving objects; even a leaf in the wind will trigger a chase.”

They’re a good pooch for runners and need at least 30 minutes of playing with another dog or owner every day. The other dog or owner is key, though: Left on its own, the Azawakh won’t exercise.

7. They’re loyal to their owners, but can be standoffish with strangers.

These smart, independent dogs are have a strong bond with their owners. They’re also protective: In addition to hunting, they’re used in Africa to protect encampments and herds of animals. The AAA notes that “when approached on their own turf, they are vocally intimidating. In situations where their duty as guardian isn’t necessary, their reactions may range from friendly, to mildly curious, to arrogantly indifferent. … A well socialized Azawakh is affectionate, gentle, playful, subtle, and very loyal to its owner … Azawakhs are usually cautious with strangers. They typically observe for a while before approaching.”

8. It’s part of the AKC’s hound group.

Also in that group are the greyhound, the saluki, the beagle, and the Rhodesian Ridgeback, among others.

Why Cats Like to Shove Their Butts in Your Face, According to an Animal Behavior Expert

This cat might be happier showing off its butt.
This cat might be happier showing off its butt.
Okssi68/iStock via Getty Images

Cats are full of eccentric behaviors. They hate getting wet. Their tongues sometimes get stuck midway out of their mouths, known as a “blep.” And they’re really happy hanging out in bodegas.

Some of these traits can be explained while others are more mysterious. Case in point: when they stick their rear end in your face for no apparent reason.

Are cats doing this just to humiliate their hapless caregivers? What would possess a cat to greet a person with its butt? Why subject the person who gives you food and shelter to such degradation?

To find out, Inverse spoke with Mikel Delgado, a postdoctoral fellow at the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis. According to Delgado, cats don’t necessarily perceive their rectal flaunting as anything aggressive or domineering. In fact, it might be a cat’s way of saying hello.

“For cats, it’s normal for them to sniff each other’s butts as a way to say hello or confirm another cat’s identity,” Delgado said. “It’s hard for us to relate to, but for them, smell is much more important to cats and how they recognize each other than vision is. So cats may be ‘inviting’ us to check them out, or just giving us a friendly hello.”

For a cat, presenting or inspecting a butt is a kind of fingerprint scan. It’s a biological measure of security.

Other experts agree with this assessment, explaining that cats use their rear end to express friendliness or affection. Raising their tail so you can take a whiff is a sign of trust. If they keep their tail down, it’s possible they might be feeling a little shy.

If you think this situation is eased by the fact you rarely hear cats fart, we have bad news. They do. Because they don’t often gulp air while eating, they just don’t have enough air in their digestive tract to make an audible noise. Rest assured that, statistically speaking, there will be times a cat giving you a friendly greeting is also stealthily farting in your face.

[h/t Inverse]

New York City Falcon Cam Reveals Nest With Four Eggs

BrianEKushner, iStock via Getty Images
BrianEKushner, iStock via Getty Images

The urban jungle of New York City supports a vibrant wildlife population. One animal that calls the city home is the peregrine falcon, once an endangered species, that has been seen around downtown Manhattan for decades. Recently, a livestream of the falcons of 55 Water Street revealed that one of them is about to be a mom.

The camera on top of the skyscraper at 55 Water Street peers into a falcon nesting site, and a female peregrine falcon there has been displaying incubating behaviors since at least late March, according to the Downtown Alliance's blog. It was assumed she had laid eggs, though this wasn't confirmed until she flew away from her nest on the afternoon of March 31. Her absence left four eggs in clear view of the building's bird camera.

It also created some concern among viewers. When female falcons leave the nest to hunt, the father usually takes over incubating duties—something that didn't happen in this case. Fortunately, the mother wasn't gone long enough to put her eggs in any real danger. She returned later that afternoon, and is currently nesting right where the internet can see her.

Peregrine falcon eggs need to be incubated for about 33 days, so expect to see them hatch sometime within the next month. In the meantime, here are some more animal livestreams to check out.

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