Upon seeing the afghan hound, one cannot stop admiring the elegance of this breed. Don’t be fooled though by this breed’s sophisticated, fashion-model looks; this is quite an ancient breed with a history as a hunter.
As the name implies, this breed originated from the cold mountains of Afghanistan and dates back to the pre-Christian era.Legend has it, that the dog rescued from Noah’s Ar was an afghan hound. As a sight hound, this breed’s main purpose was to spot, hunt and even kill, prey as large as deer, gazelle and leopards in the deserts of Afghanistan. Prized for its ability to run over great distance, the Afghan hound was an independent thinker who would hunt on its own without much human guidance. The first specimens were exported from a kennel in Kabul to England in 1925. This breed was first registered with the AKC in 1926 and today is categorized under the hound group. During WWI, the breed became very scarce and literally disappeared from the Western world.The breed became quite popular in the 1970s’ when Barbie’s dog, an afghan known as Beauty was released in the household of many American families.
Due to its ancient roots as an independent hunter, it’s normal for the afghan hound to be quite aloof as an adult. Yes, as a puppy he may look affectionate, but as he matures he’ll start becoming more and more a free-thinker. Expect affection on his own terms. If you do not like cats, this breed isn’t for you as they have a cat-like personality. Because of his dignity and aloofness, he won’t likely greet your guests, but he surely develops a deep attachment to their owners. Overall, this breed can be very playful and a joy to watch, even though it loves to steal items right under your nose. Make sure you make a note of this as they seem to have extendable paws that can catch things off the counter! Like cats, this breed doesn’t do too well with changes; frequent moves or owner changes are stressful. Overall, this pampered breed may be quite sensitive to pain. A needle prick may elicit a yelp so you’ll to handle this breed very gently.
You can’t ignore this breed’s elegance and sophisticated look courtesy of its long, flowing coat and dolicocephalic head. This breed is gifted with eyes capable of seeing farther distances courtesy of its 270 degree field of vision. Several specimens may have a black facial mask and some may have a mustache called mandarins. Typically, the bite is level, but a scissor bite isn’t penalized. The nose is slightly Roman. The head is crowned with a topknot made of silky hairs. His joints are also designed to cover ground quickly. The conformation of the hips, set high and wide apart, allow this breed to change directions fast and be sure-footed on the terrain of the Afghan mountains.
This breed stands about 27 inches tall and can weigh about 50-60 pounds. It also has a characteristic tail with a ring curl at the end.According to AKC, the tail should never should never curl over, rest on the back, or be carried sideways. The coat can be any color. Its consistency is typical of animals living at high altitudes. The coat is overall long, but is short over the back, forming a smooth back.
When moving with its high head and tail, this breed gives an impression of great style. At a fast trot, it appears as if placing the hind feet directly in the foot prints of the front feet.
Training this independent breed poses some challenges due to its stubborn nature. Harsh training methods won’t work because this breed is also quite sensitive. He also may not be as food motivated as other breeds and may have a very poor recall when he’s busy chasing something that captured his attention.You’ll need to be very patient and invest in gentle training methods. Also, potty training will pose more challenges. Don’t be surprised if you are still picking up accidents after 6 months of age. This breed thrives in the sport of lure coursing something he is naturally drawn because of his history as a hunter.
Coat Care and Grooming
Yes, the coat is beautiful, so silky and long, but it does require special care. You can groom this dog at home or enroll the help of a groomer, but you cannot cut corners with this breed. Forget to brush for a while, and you’ll be stuck with mats that are difficult and painful to untangle. Plan to brush at least once a day to keep that coat healthy and flowing.
The Ideal Household
How is this breed with children? The Afghan may get along well with children, but the child must be respectful and avoid rough handling. Afghans do best if introduced to children from a young age and socialized properly. Young, boisterous children who like to roughhouse may trigger defensive behaviors. They do best with older children and should be always supervised when around them. And what about with other pets? You must remember that this breed was selectively bred for hunting, so you can’t just put him with your cat, hamster or pet rabbit hoping they will get along. Afghans make poor watch dogs, they may alert bark once or twice and that should be about it.
Ideally, an Afghan owner should spend a lot of time in the house as this breed loves to spend time inside with his family. Whether he’s lounging on the couch or his favorite bed, this breed seems to be aware of its good looks. They still need a good amount of exercise though either through walks and romps at full speed in a large, safely fenced area. Dedicate at least an hour a day. Fences will need to high for this breed as it has a reputation for being an escape artist given the chance. They shouldn’t be allowed off leash or to take off in an un-fenced area; they are very fast and hard to catch (can reach 40mph, the speed of a thoroughbred horse!), and they tend to have a poor recall. And make sure that fence is high enough, aim for at least six-feet; these dogs tend to jump as if they have springs on their legs!
Where to find one
Interested in this independent breed? Look for a reputable breeder who health tests his afghans or look for a rescue with an afghan looking for a home.
This breed is overall healthy, but they can still be prone to problems. Hip and elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, cataracts and von Willebrand’s disease are a few. Sensitivity to anesthesia is common among sight hounds. They may also be susceptible to a rare condition known as chylothorax. The average lifespan is 11 to 13 years old.