Saluki origin is thought to begin even before recorded history itself. Carvings of animals believed to be Salukies date from about 6,000 B.C., during the Sumerian Empire in southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq). Historians further contend that the Saluki, once known as the Gazelle Hound or the Persian Greyhound, had a long, involved association with the Egyptians, as Greyhound-like dogs with ear- and tail-feathering were depicted in numerous Egyptian tomb paintings.
Saluki dogs, the historians believe, often accompanied Egyptian pharaohs on hunts for animals like gazelles and hares; the dogs were considered godlike, and many were mummified along with human royalty. Salukis were also revered by later peoples in Persia (present-day Iran), Syra, Saudi Arabia, and other Middle Eastern countries; nomadic Muslims used these dogs to hunt as well, and referred to Salukies as El Hor ("The Noble").
Subsequent Saluki history remained unchanged for centuries, until British soldiers returning from the Middle East after World War I brought a few breed members with them back to England. The breed quickly became established in Great Britain, and in the U.S. soon thereafter; the breed was officially recognized by the U.K.'s Kennel Club in 1923, the Saluki Club of America was established in 1927, and the American Kennel Club added the Saluki to its registry in 1929.
Today, Salukies are beloved (but relatively few in number) worldwide. The breed ranks 125th out of 202 breeds officially recognized by the AKC.