Afghan Hounds are prized in the dog racing industry. Hailing from Afghanistan, these canines can reach speeds of up to 40mph! Today, we are going to look into the background of this magnificent breed!
Afghan Hound Breed Standards:
Kennel Club Member: Yes
Afghan Hound Lifespan: 12-14 years
Afghan Hound Exercise: Over 2 hours per day
Height: 24-29 inches
Weight: 26-34 kilograms
Afghan Hounds are deeply loyal and will form exceptionally strong bonds with their owners. These sighthounds are known to be aloof and will need intense socialization with people. Different noises can be frightening so it’s important they are introduced to a variety of places.
Naturally, the Afghan Hound will be suspicious of those they don’t know. Whilst they will be alert and wary of strangers, they make poor guard and watchdogs. They will bark at those knocking on the door which is enough to scare away unwanted visitors!
Afghan Hounds can live in a family environment with older children. A loud and busy household can be overwhelming for this sensitive canine. It is always best to raise an Afghan Hound puppy with a family so they can better adapt to a busy lifestyle.
These long-haired canines will socialize with other dogs. Due to their strong prey drive, they will view smaller dogs and animals as prey. Afghan Hounds don’t get along well with cats and because of their hunting background, it’s still a risk, even if they’ve been raised together.
Loyal and affectionate, yet also independent, the Afghan Hound certainly has a mind of its own! Noble, dignified, and elegant are just some of the words that can be used to describe these canines.
Take a look at the pros and cons of the Afghan Hound dog
- One of the fastest dog breeds
- They are hypoallergenic, a better choice for those suffering from allergies
- Tolerant to being left alone thanks to their independence
- Hardly drools so you won’t be covered in slobber
- Sensitive and emotional
- Can be fearful, timid, and suspicious in everyday scenarios without socialization
- Their long, regal coat will need lots of grooming attention
- Listening to your recall isn’t their strong point
- Not a great guard or watchdog
Afghan Hounds are a medium-large breed with a long, extravagant coat. This pooch will turn the heads of any passer-by! They are typically found in black, red, and cream, but the Kennel Club does accept all colours. White markings on the head are considered ‘undesirable’.
Afghan Hound dogs are estimated to pre-date 8,000 BC, making them one of the oldest pure breeds still alive today! They originate from Afghanistan but it’s impossible to pinpoint the exact development of the Afghan Hound breed. Here they are called ‘Tazi’.
Cave paintings have been found in the Balkh Province of Afghanistan. Images of dogs were found which strongly resemble the Afghan Hound. It provides some indication of how enriched and far back the Afghan Hound’s history goes.
The closest relative of this sighthound is the Saluki. Another breed that shares similar features to the Afghan Hound is the Taigan from Kyrgyzstan.
Eventually, Afghan Hounds were introduced to England in the 1800s. Soldiers returning from British India brought home a variety of sighthounds. They referred to the Afghan Hound as the Persian Greyhound due to their similarities.
Zardin, an Afghan Hound imported to the UK in 1907 became a key figure for the breed. Standards were drawn up based on Zardin in 1912, although breeding came to a halt by World War I.
There are two main strains of the modern-day Afghan Hound. The lighter coated Bell-Murray strain was introduced to Scotland by Miss Jean Manson, Major and Mrs G-Bell Murray. The Ghazni strain was imported from Kabul by Mrs Mary Amps.
The Ghazni strain had a heavy influence in America. Most of the Afghan Hounds descended from this strain! Mrs Amps’ dog Sirdar won the Best in Show title at Crufts in 1928 and 1930. At Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show the title was given to the breed in 1957 and 1983.
Exercise & Care
If you want to bring an Afghan Hound into you’re home, you must be able to provide over 2 hours of daily exercise. Whilst this breed is no longer used for hunting, they still have a strong prey drive. Exercise them off-leash in enclosed spaces.
The Afghan Hound intelligence doesn’t rank very high. But they will still need mental stimulation to prevent boredom. This can be through interactive games and other activities that make the brain think.
Be prepared to dedicate a couple of hours each week to grooming. Their coat should never be trimmed or clipped. To avoid knots and tangles brush through the long silky fur every 1-3 days.
Baths will be needed monthly. Blow-dry their fur whilst brushing through with a pin brush to prevent any tangling. Remember to cleanse their ears weekly as debris will form within the canal. Nails should be trimmed fortnightly.
Show dogs are typically bathed weekly. Owners spend considerable amounts of time ensuring they have the best looking Afghan Hound dog in the ring! Stick to a grooming routine as this will be key to keeping your canine’s coat in tip-top condition!
Some dogs are more predisposed to specific health issues than others. Below are the conditions that affect the Afghan Hound dog breed.
- Medial Canthal Pocket Syndrome: The Afghan Hound’s eye shape could cause this conjunctival condition.
- Hypothyroidism: An underactive thyroid will affect the dog’s metabolic rate. This will lead to symptoms such as hair loss, weight gain, and low energy.
- Gastric Dilatation Volvulus: This condition is commonly seen in large breed dogs. It is life-threatening and usually caused by fast eating.
- Panosteitis: Also referred to as growing pains, Panosteitis is the inflammation of the long bones within the legs.
- Laryngeal Paralysis: Paralysis prevents the Larynx from expanding thus restricting the dog’s breathing.
- Necrotic Myelopathy: This condition will progressively cause spinal degeneration. Paralysis will affect the rear legs first.
Afghan Hounds are sensitive to anaesthesia. Consult with your veterinary for other solutions.
Afghan Hound Training
Afghan Hounds aren’t the easiest to housetrain but with perseverance, you will achieve results! Some Afghan Hound puppies struggle to control their bladders so ensure they are taken outdoors more regularly.
This canine doesn’t have very high intelligence levels, so training will need to be consistent. They are sensitive and need intense socialization to prevent anxiety and fear in adulthood. Despite this, Afghan Hounds are highly independent which may bring a sense of stubbornness.
One of the toughest commands to teach is recall. Many Afghan Hound owners struggle to perfect this. Due to the breed’s background, it’s important they have time off-leash to really let loose. This must be in a sectioned off area where they can’t escape.
Harsh correction won’t work with this canine. A firm, calm approach is better suited. Training can begin as early as 8 weeks. Ensure this energetic pooch has been exercised before getting them to concentrate!
Afghan Hound Breed Facts
- Afghan Hounds are also known as ‘the dog of Noah’s Ark’. Legend states that two Afghan Hounds were saved from the Great Flood by Noah!
- Did you know Afghan Hound can reach speeds of 40mph, making them as fast as some racehorses!
- Picasso was the proud owner of several Afghan Hounds. One of which, Kabul, was a companion to his infamous Dachshund Lump!
- Afghan Hounds have Dolichocephalic heads which gives them 270 degrees of vision! Unfortunately, their head shape does make them prone to Medial Canthal Pocket Syndrome.
- In the past, Afghan Hounds were used to hunt large prey! This would consist of antelopes, falcons, hares, and even wolves! The Pashtun Tribes and the Afghan Royal Family would use these sighthounds for wolf hunting.