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.
|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.
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.
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.
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.