Talk: how the Saluki hunting dog became a “companion of Kings’ and a part of Middle East culture

A former senior British diplomat who served in the Middle East will give a special talk at the Yunus Emre Institute, tracing through history how a hunting hound known as the Saluki came to feature in the cultural heritage of the Middle East.

Sir Terence Clark, who served in many parts of the Middle East and North Africa, including as Ambassador in Iraq and Oman, will present this illustrated talk about the Saluki, a hunting hound also known as the Persian greyhound or the Tazy/Tazi in Iran and Central Asia.

The talk will start with archaeological records, which indicate the existence of a Saluki-like hunting hound in Mesopotamia from at least the 6th millennium BCE.

From there, the dog’s popularity spread across the region, manifesting itself increasingly in representational art forms, as well as in poetry and prose, with the Saluki described as the ‘Companion of Kings’.

The dog was accorded special recognition by implication in the Qur’an and the Hadith, so that among Muslims it has always enjoyed a special status.

The Saluki has therefore managed to survive the many upheavals that have beset the region over the centuries and today is even experiencing an extraordinary revival in some parts, so that its unique place in the region’s cultural heritage remains assured.

About Sir Terence Clark

Sir Terence Clark graduated from the Royal Air Force as a Pilot Officer Russian linguist. He then entered the British Diplomatic Service and was sent for training in Arabic to the Middle East Centre for Arab Studies in Lebanon.

His career took him all over the Middle East and North Africa, with service in Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco, the Trucial States (later United Arab Emirates), Oman, and Libya and culminated with his appointment as Ambassador first to Iraq and then to Oman.

Sir Terence Clark and his book on salukis

He acquired his first Salukis in Iraq but went on to breed them and course with them in Europe. In retirement he has travelled extensively in the region and wider afield in Central Asia to keep in touch with exponents of the breed there.

He is the author of several books and many articles on the history and development of Salukis in their countries of origin.


Title: A talk by Sir Terence Clark

Date: Thursday 8 December 2022

Time:  7pm to 9pm

Venue: Yunus Emre Institute, 10 Maple Street, London W1T 5HA

Admission: this event is free to attend, but prior registration*** is required via Eventbrite – click here

*** Organisers say that as not everyone registering for free events turn up, they tend to over-book places to compensate for these ‘no-shows’, and to ensure a full audience.

Due to this, entrance is subject to capacity and operates on a first-come, first-served basis. As such, the registration and an e-ticket does not guarantee entrance.


Main image, top, a picture of a Saluki by Sir Terence Clark created through calligraphy, which featured in the 2017 exhibition ‘Art in Letters