The Afghan Hound is one of the most elegant and oldest purebred dogs in the present time. The Afghan dog hails from Afghanistan where it was originally known as Tazi. The dog's unique appearance makes it one of the most beautiful dogs in the world. Its dynamic silky long hair clubbed with the dog's majestic posture makes its appearance an amazing one. It has an elongated head, sharp-pointed muzzle, almond-shaped eyes and long hanging ears covered with silky hair. It is arguably the prettiest dog whose beauty cannot be ignored.
The dog has a cat-like personality which is free-spirited and individualized. This royal looking hound dog is a hunter at heart and was bred to chase down games in the most difficult rough terrains. The dog can be described as a reserved and dignified aristocrat of sublime beauty. The Afghan Hound's grooming requirement is quite high, and it won't be a suitable choice for the first time dog owners.
Afghan Hound Puppies
This beautiful dog has got a rich history behind it. The story of the Afghan Hound dates back to the to the ancient pre-Christian era. Legend has it that this dog was one of the dogs that were rescued in Noah's arc. The Afghan Hound dogs can be seen in paintings and the murals in the ancient Afghan caves which depicts them as hunting dogs. This breed can be seen in the 6th century Century BC Greek tapestries too.
These dogs were used by the local nomadic tribes to hunt down gazelles, foxes, and rabbits in harsh mountain terrain. This improved the dog's agility, pouncing capability and its long silky coat protected it from the cold mountain climate.
The Afghan Hound was unknown to the outside world, and the Afghan tribes were reluctant to sell them to foreign breeders. The breed came into light after an English officer stationed in Kabul Afghanistan showed interest in this breed. The modern Afghan Hounds are the descendants of the dogs brought to Great Britain in 1920. They were given as gifts by King Amanullah of the Royal Aghan Family. Some dogs were kept as hunting dogs and some as guardian dogs.
Afghan Hound Club of America
After being first documented and transported to England in 1925, these dogs made its way to the United States too. A gentleman naming Zeppo Marx was the first person to bring Afghan Hound dogs to the United States. The breed got recognition from the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1926. In 1940, the official application by the Afghan Hound Club was accepted by the American Kennel Club.
The popularity of this dog skyrocketed in the 1970s after Mattel Toys introduced the dog as a pet for Barbie dolls. In the same decade, the development of lure coursing competitions gave more boost to this breed's popularity. In the year 2005, the first cloned dog in history by the name of Snuppy was an Afghan Hound dog.
|Coat||Long, thick, silky with a fine texture|
|Color||Black, white, silver, cream, tan, red, blue, brindle or a combination of these colors|
|Group of breed||Hound|
|Weight||Males: up to 60 lbs; Females: up to 50 lbs|
|Size and height||Large; Tall; Males: 26-29 inches; Females: 23-27 inches|
|Lifespan||11 to 14 years|
|Temperament||Loyal, independent, aloof, shy yet friendly with proper socialization|
|Good with children||Suitable for older children understanding of their needs and temperament|
|Shedding||Moderate, especially when losing the puppy coat|
|Grooming and requirement||High|
|Ease of training||Difficult|
|Litter size||Average 7-8; maximum 15|
|Competitive Registration||APRI, FCI, AKC, UKC, KCGB, CKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, CKC, ACR, DRA, NAPR, ACA|
Afghan Hound Varieties
There are various varieties with the two main types. They are the Afghan Hound of the southern and western desert region of the country and one belongs to the northern mountain regions. The dogs of the southern and western region have a lean body with thin, light-colored coat. The hounds of the northern region have a bulky body with a darker and thicker coat.
Afghan Hound Mixes
Afghan Retriever: Afghan Hound X Golden Retriever
Pooghan: Afghan Hound X Poodle
Afador: Afghan Hound X Labrador retriever
Afghan Sheepdog: Afghan Hound X Belgian Sheepdog
Temperament and intelligence
The dog may have a stunning appearance, handling it is entirely a different story. Many consider the dog as less intelligent or dumb, the breeder finds it to be quite intelligent and smart. The Afghan Hound is typically a one master dog and independent in nature. It might become disobedient and stubborn at times which make it difficult to train.
Most of the Afghan Hounds are aloof by nature. They are not a typical eager to please the master dog, and neither have any interest to give a warm welcome to the guest. This strong independent behavior can prevent the dog from obeying your orders.
These dogs are quite sensitive in nature and won't tolerate any type of shouting or loud noises in the house. It can make the hounds shy and in some cases sick. Do not roughly handle this breed or they might become depressed or antagonistic. Handling this dog with patience and kindness will be the ideal way. The inherent hunting instinct can take over in the most trained dog, and they can sprint or chase the small animals. It will be better to keep these dogs away from small animals and other pets.
These sighthounds might be a bit laid back in the home, they really are not suitable for apartment life. They need their daily dose of exercise like daily long walks. These dogs are quick to run and most importantly they have a great jumping capability. On letting them loose in an open yard, make sure the fence height of the yard is high. Never take the dogs out without a leash, or they might go on a chasing spree behind something. Give them plenty of fresh air exercise right from its puppy days.
The Afghan Hound's trademark silky and lustrous hair need a lot of care and attention to keep it that way. Grooming can be laborious of an Afghan Hound's owner. Bathing the dog is quite a tricky issue. Regular bathing of this dog is necessary for maintaining its glorious coat and prevent tangling and matting of it.
The dog requires weekly bathing if it is a regular participant in the dog shows. Brushing the dog's fine and silky hair could be a time-consuming affair. Taking a professional groomer's help will help you a lot to maintain its coat.
The owners willing to groom the dog themselves should daily brush and comb the coat. Do not brush the coat in a hard way or it may lead to the breakage of the silky hair. Use superior quality shampoo and conditioner for bathing the dog. Adding a rinse cream and de-matting lotion will be great. You should not rub the coat at the time of drying it with a towel.
Check its hanging ears on a regular basis to detect any sign of ear infection. Clean the ears by using a cotton ball moistened by ear cleanser. Brush its teeth 2-3 times in a week to prevent the formation of tartar and bacteria inside the mouth. Trim the dog's nail one or two times in a month if the dog does not wear them down naturally. It will help in keeping their paws healthy too.
The Afghan Hound is a healthy breed with no specific health problems. They may tend to suffer from some common canine problems like allergies, ear infection, and cataract. Few other health problems that you should watch out for are hip and elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand’s disease. Cancer and cardiac issues can trouble this breed too which can result in its fatality.
The trainer should keep in mind the dog's independent, dignified and aloof nature at the time of training this dog. It can make the trainer's task very difficult as the dog might show the unwillingness to follow his orders. The trainer has to be extremely patient and tactful for training the Afghan Hound. He has to understand the dog's disposition fully for succeeding in training the dog.
Obedience training of this dog must start from its early age. Using gentle and positive reinforcement methods will work effectively for training the dog. Start teach the dog basic commands like 'COME' 'SIT' and 'STAY' from its puppy days. Praise the dog everytime it responds to your command. Don't be harsh on them as they are sensitive in nature and will not respond to shouting and yelling.
Leash training is vital for these dogs. They are sighthound dogs and has an inherent tendency to chase down small animals in high speed. This is to keep the dogs under control and to prevent them from going on a sprint run behind anything. Ensure that the dog walks by your side and does not pull you or come in chasing posture.
Give the dogs 2 to 2.5 cups of high-quality dry dog food every day divided into two meals. It should preferably contain vegetable oil supplement which will help to maintain the dog's shiny long coat and skin healthy. The Afghan Hound is an athletic dog, and you should plan its diet according to it. Give them food rich with protein, fiber, and carbohydrate. For that, you can include food like poultry, lamb, and brown rice.
The tribal hunters of Afghanistan referred these dogs as "dog of Noah’s Ark” for their legendary history of existence.
The victims of these sighthound dogs included hare, jackals, marmots, wolves and in a few cases, a snow leopard too.
The breed's popularity grew in America after American toy manufacturing company Mattel, Inc in 1970 introduced an Afghan named Beauty as Barbie's pet.
Afghan Hound Breed Highlights
Grooming is very crucial for the Afghan Hound dogs. Owners who are willing to pay time and attention to its grooming should only keep them as pets.
The dogs have a natural hunting instinct and may tend to chase small animals like cats, squirrels, and rabbits.
The independent nature of the Afghan Hound dogs can make it challenging to train them properly.
House training can pose great difficulty up to six months of their age as they are prone to accidents.
These dogs are intolerant towards pain, and a minor wound can become too bothersome for them.
They are quite sensitive in nature and do not respond to shouting or yelling.
This breed can suffer from deadly health issues like cardiac problem and cancer which can result in a fatality.