Afghan hound, one of the most elegant and independent purebred dogs of the present time, is highly regarded for its loyalty and courage. The confident, graceful posture, along with the elongated head, a natural silky topknot, long muzzle, almond-shaped eyes, and of course the long, thick textured coat make it arguably the prettiest among all purebreds. But, its free-spirited nature and individualized personality often makes it an unsuitable choice for first time dog owners. The amount of grooming and care required for the breed also makes it advisable to have some experience in dog care before you consider adopting an Afghan hound.
Afghan Hound Pictures
|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: upto 60 lbs; Females: upto 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|
The Afghans are among the oldest breeds with their roots dating back to the ancient pre-Christian era. The present breed comes from Afghanistan, where they were simply known as ‘Tazi’. Their stamina and agility improved due to being used over generations as a coursing hound by the local nomadic tribes of the Middle East. The characteristic long, smooth coat protected them from the cold mountain climate during these hunting expeditions.
English breeders situated near Kabul took interest in the breed and introduced it in England in 1925, before they reached America in the following year. The introduction of lure coursing competitions in America boosted the popularity of the breed in the country. Although there are different theories and speculations regarding their origin, not much evidence has been found about their existence before this time.
There are multiple intermediate varieties with two main types of the breed – The Afghan hounds of the western and southern dessert regions of the country and those of the northern mountain regions. The former tends to have a lanky build with relatively thin, light colored coat, while the latter is characterized by their bulkier body and darker, thicker coat.
- 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
Despite often being counted among the less intelligent dogs, experienced breeders and owners claim them to be quite clever and smart. However, their independent, wild nature often contributes to making them disobedient and difficult to train.
They are known to be quite aloof when it comes to their temperament. Unlike dogs like golden retriever, the Afghans are independent thinkers and do not care about pleasing their master, cuddling up or greeting guests. Their individual personality may even prevent them from following orders unless they want to.
Sighthounds are peaceful and sensitive by nature, so shouting and loud arguments in the house may make them shy and even sick. Although they are not naturally aggressive, it is important to handle them with patience and kindness; otherwise, they may become depressed or antagonistic. Even the trained pets keep their natural instinct of chasing small, fleeing animals; so take care it does not hunt your neighbor’s pets. The Afghan hound also has a gay and funny side with lots of socializing.
Although they prefer to live and sleep in the house, they are not well-suited for an apartment life. The dogs tend to remain pretty inactive indoors, but require regular outdoor exercise such as a daily long walk. Being a sighthound, they would also love a free run within a fenced area. Ample amount of fresh air exercise is recommended from their puppy days.
That characteristic long, silky coat requires a lot of care and attention to remain that way. Weekly bathing may be avoided unless your dog is a regular participant in dog shows. However, giving a weekly bath can save you much trouble later, preventing a tangled and matted coat. Brushing the dry coat is not recommended as it may damage the fine hairs, causing it to break.
Regular application of a quality dog shampoo, conditioner, a cream rinse or de-matting lotion is necessary to prevent your dog from having a dirty, matted coat. Make sure not to rub the coat when drying with a towel.
When caring for an already matted dog, make sure to manually work on the matted hair after bathing and thorough conditioning. The dog should also be bathed and conditioned for the following two days to regain the health of its coat by proper grooming. Brushing its teeth daily (or at least three times per week) and clipping the nails at least once every month is necessary to avoid any gum problems and keep the paws healthy.
They are usually a healthy breed with no special concerns and diseases. However they may sometimes be affected by allergies, ear infections and cataract with the symptoms being the same as in other dogs. Other health concerns may include hip and elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, von Willebrand’s disease and Afghan hound hereditary myelopathy (an autosomal-recessive disorder of the breed).
Their independent nature along with their unwillingness to follow orders usually makes them quite difficult to train. The trainer should be patient and understanding of the dog’s disposition in order to succeed. Indoor training may be difficult or impossible as this breed is especially prone to having accidents while training. Praising and encouragement are often ineffective; direct orders and persistence on the strainer’s side is necessary.
They require 2 to 2.5 cups of nutritious dry dog food per day (separated into two meals), preferably containing a vegetable oil supplement to maintain their skin and coat health. However, experts recommend providing them with protein, fiber and carbohydrate rich foods (e.g. poultry, lamb, brown rice) rather than sticking to an all commercial dog food diet.
You may make your dog wear an ear wrap or snood to prevent its long ears from touching it food while feeding.
- They were referred to as the “dog of Noah’s Ark” by the tribal hunters of Afghanistan due to their long history of existence.
- When used as a sighthound in hunting, the quarry of these dogs included hare, jackals, marmots, wolves and even snow leopards.
- The breed gained widespread recognition in America in the 1970s, following the popularity of Barbie and her pet Afghan named Beauty, introduced by the American toy manufacturing company Mattel, Inc.