Afghan Hound

Afghan Hound originated in the wilds of Afghanistan. When Westerners first saw the breed in the 1800s, they found a fast, sure-footed sighthound who would chase and bring down hare or deer and would corner predators, such as wolves and jackals.

The Afghan has a regal appearance, standing 25 to 27 inches tall and weighing between 50 and 60 pounds, with females smaller than males. The head is held high, and the eyes are dark and almond-shaped. The ears are long. The body is that of a runner with long legs, a strong back, and a deep chest. The tail is long and has a curve at the end. The coat is long and silky and may be of any color. The coat requires daily combing and brushing to maintain it without tangles.

We recommend bathing adult Afghans once a week. Bathing and blow-drying the coat and brushing and combing it as it dries requires two to three hours. Many pet owners choose to keep the coat significantly shorter for ease of care. The Afghan Hound enjoys a chance to stretch his legs at least once each day. The Afghan should always run in a fenced yard because if he is off-leash and happens to flush a rabbit, he will be gone in a heartbeat. Afghans also appreciate comfort and will enjoy a snuggle on the sofa once the exercise is over.

Training the Afghan can be a challenge. Bred to work independently, he prefers his own agenda to someone else’s and can have quite a stubborn streak. In the house, young Afghans are known to be destructive chewers if given too much freedom and not allowed enough exercise. With the right motivation, the Afghan Hound can learn to enjoy training and to go along with household rules. Training should be structured yet fun. This is a fun breed for people who understand it. Afghans are good with children if raised or well-socialized with them. Bred as hunting dogs, they are not good with small pets. Health concerns include hip dysplasia and eye and heart problems.

Afghan Hound at K9 Research Lab


4 replies on “Afghan Hound”

The AKC Standard calls him “an aristocrat, his whole appearance one of dignity and aloofness….eyes gazing into the distance as if in memory of ages past.”
Some Afghan Hounds are indeed dignified (at least some of the time!), while others are altogether silly clowns, and still others alternate gleefully between the two.
Though quiet indoors, the Afghan Hound should not be left unsupervised for long periods of time without personal attention and running exercise, for he bores easily and can become destructive.
Don’t let this breed off-leash, for he is unbelievably fast and can gallop out of sight in seconds. His high hipbones make him one of the most agile of all breeds and one of the best jumpers. Fences must be high.
Standoffish by nature, the Afghan Hound needs extensive exposure to people and unusual sights and sounds so that his caution does not become timidity. He is sociable with other dogs, but has strong hunting/prey instincts and may chase smaller pets.
Obedience training will control his occasional bumptiousness and build his confidence, but you must be patient and persuasive, for sighthounds are extremely sensitive to leash jerking and may respond defensively if frightened. Independent and not particularly eager to please, their stubbornness takes the form of resistance rather than wild disobedience, i.e. they brace their legs and refuse to walk.
Afghans can be finicky eaters and often are a bit slow to catch on to housebreaking.

An independent, strong-willed dog, the Afghan can be downright standoffish, but also quiet and clownish when the mood strikes.

The male Afghan hound stands about 27 inches tall, the female about 25 inches. Afghans generally weigh between 50 and 60 pounds (23 to 27 kilograms).

The Afghan has a regal appearance owing to its proud carriage and long, silky coat. Its strong, arched neck, prominent hips, large paws, seemingly exaggerated bend at the knees and a tail ending in a doughnut bend, give the breed a distinctive profile. The Afghan hound’s head and muzzle are long, narrow and refined, with a slightly convex bend of the muzzle. The ears are long and covered with even longer hair. The head crown, forequarters, chest, flanks, hindquarters and legs are thickly covered with long, fine, silky hair; the coat on the face and back (or saddle) is short and glossy. The most common coat colors are black, black-and-tan, red, cream, blue, brindle, domino or white. The Afghan hound can have a wide range of hues as well, and the creams and reds often, but not always, have black masks. Afghan pups do not resemble the long-haired adults. They have fuzzy hair on their cheeks (called monkey whiskers) and over their saddles. The short, fluffy, puppy coat begins to fall out at about one year of age, giving way to the glossy, steadily lengthening adult coat. In motion, the Afghan hound has a striking appearance, owing to its elastic, powerful stride, smooth pace and sweeping locks.

True to its origins as a hunter bred to think on its feet, the Afghan hound is strong-willed and independent, aloof and self-confident. A study in contradictions, the Afghan hound has been described as fiercely brave but possibly timid, flighty but sometimes quiet and lazy, dignified but clownish. The Afghan persona ranges from loving to downright standoffish, and these dogs can be quite wary of strangers. If not properly socialized, the Afghan is prone to developing a feral disposition.
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The Afghan hound is a “high maintenance” dog for a number of reasons. Though highly intelligent, Afghans can be difficult to train because they are stubborn. They are highly sensitive to harsh correction, which often elicits a refusal to obey. They respond best to gentle guidance and firm discipline. Regular grooming is key to maintaining the Afghan’s coat. Afghans require weekly baths and brushing to remove dead hair and to prevent the tangling and matting to which they are prone. Adult Afghans shed in the spring and fall, and after illnesses; unspayed bitches shed their coats after every season.

Though they can make fine apartment dogs and true “couch potatoes,” Afghans require plenty of exercise to ward off boredom and destructive behaviors such as chewing. At minimum, Afghans should be walked a mile or two daily, and a fenced-in yard for running is essential. The breed is notorious for ignoring pleas to come and death by car is an all too common tragedy. Afghans should never be allowed to roam unsupervised, as their predatory drive can render them a threat to neighborhood pets. With proper training and vigilance on the part of the owner, Afghans can be compatible with both children and other pets.

Afghans are extremely thin under their thick coats, and they eat far less than their size might suggest. A high quality dog food, possibly supplemented with vegetable oil, can help keep the skin and coat healthy. Ear stockings (called snoods) may be used to prevent soiling of the long ears when the Afghan eats.

An ancient member of the sighthound family, the Afghan hound was first bred thousands of years ago by nomadic peoples of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and northern India. Much of the breed’s history has been lost as warlike factions led by leaders like Genghis Khan and Alexander the Great overran the region. The breed was developed and has been shaped by the need to course game across mountainous terrain.

An extremely skilled hunter, the Afghan was used to bring down both large and small game, including antelopes and perhaps even leopards. Although many present day experts doubt that leopards were the Afghan’s traditional prey, eyewitness accounts tell of lone Afghans killing leopards by seizing them by the neck and severing the leopards’ spines in their jaws.

Afghans made their first pilgrimage out of the Middle East with British soldiers, who brought them back to England in the 19th century. The Afghan hound was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1926. It became known for its glamour and reached its greatest popularity in the 1970s. Afghans are now kept as house pets and show dogs rather than hunters, although some adventurous owners take them lure-coursing to simulate a hunt. Their flowing tresses and noble attitude render Afghans perennial winners in the show ring.

Afghan Hounds, in general, are courageous and spirited dogs.traditionally used for hunting, they hunt by sight. I have a female afghan hound named onika. Afghan hound by nature is a wanderer, so be careful when you take them to a park, you can loose the sight of them in matter of minutes.Afghan hound by nature are also restless and can get bored easily. At one point of time I left onika at home alone for entire afternoon, she dug hole in my couch.So beware this is not a dog to be left alone by himself. On the other hand they are very sweet with children, my 5 year old niece just cant stop talking about onika.

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