The Afghan often described as "a King of Dogs” is elegance personified.
This unique, ancient breed has an appearance quite unlike any other: exotic, fashion-model build with a dramatic flowing silky coat this breed catches your eye immediately.
Believed to have originated in Sinai, the Afghan Hound is one of the oldest documented breeds, dating back more than 4,000, pre-Christian era, years as evidenced on the cave walls in the Middle East.
Afghans originally were called “Tazi”.
The purity of this noble breed was kept up for centuries, and its exportation was always prohibited until the 1900’s when Afghans were finally introduced to societies thousands of miles away from the Middle East.
An extremely fast and agile runner ~ Afghan Hounds hunt by sight and therefore this breed is categorized as a Sight Hound [vs. Scent Hounds].
The Afghan Hound was originally used for hunting large prey in both the deserts and in the mountains of Afghanistan, where his abundant, flowing coat was needed for warmth.
The Afghan was highly valued for his ability to run--fast and over great distances--courageously holding dangerous animals, such as leopards, wolves and wild goats at bay until his huntsman on horseback caught up. The Afghan was also valued for his ability to think and hunt independently, without human direction.
Afghans were also developed to do more than hunt. They proved themselves in the field, helping shepherds herd and watch their flocks. Afghans also entertained man racing and in the sport of lure coursing.
The first documentation of a Western Afghan breeder/owner of an Afghan Hound was an English officer who was stationed near Kabul, Afghanistan.
He made a hobby of breeding this elegant dog and then exporting them to his friends back in England beginning in 1925. From the United Kingdom Afghans gained popularity and many were purchased and brought to the United States.
It is documented that Zeppo Marx, of the Marx Brothers, was one of the first to bring Afghan Hounds to America.
Afghan’s popularity soared in the USA when Mattel chose this Breed to be the pet their Barbie Doll groomed and loved……consequently finding their way into the homes and hearts of countless little American girls.
Around this same time Afghan owners began entering their Afghans in the sport of lure coursing competitions ~ adding to the breed's appeal.
Today throughout Europe and America Afghans have become a luxurious pet to own and care for and competitive in the Show Dog arena with their aristocratic beauty.
• Generally known to be Independent, suspicious of strangers and tend to be shy.
• Affectionate, sensitive and playful with their owners.
• Best suited as a one-person, one-family dog.
• Good with older children, not recommended for household with young toddlers.
• Great with other Afghans, this Breed is not recommended to live with other smaller pets,
as they will chase anything that runs, which is what they were developed to do.
OK with cats if introduced from puppyhood.
• Need lots of daily exercise.
• Not big shedders.
• Not known to be a playful breed, but often demonstrate a ‘goofy’ side of themselves.
• Not watchdogs, not known for being a 'barker'.
The Afghan Hound, despite it is aristocratic physical appearance is actually a very sweet, loving and playful dog that enjoys human interaction and companionship. They will bond with one or two people in the family and will typically choose to attend to these people rather than responding to commands from everyone. The Afghan Hound is very much like a cat in some aspects of its personality. They need to be able to pick and choose when they want attention and companionship, although this trait will vary greatly between dogs, and males are more aloof typically than females.
The Afghan Hound typically is not a good dog in a house with very small children. Despite their large size they can be timid and are often nervous of sudden movements and loud, unpredictable sounds, both of which are traits of most small children. They do enjoy interacting with older kids and are very patient with kids in general. The Afghan Hound is usually good with household pets once they have been socialized and properly introduced, however they will chase strange animals that may come into the yard.
Afghan Hounds will have a wide variety of temperaments from timid and high strung if not socialized to a well adjusted family pet with proper training and socialization. While not a dominant breed of dog they are very sensitive to any type of correction and will typically respond to a simple "no" and then ignoring. The Afghan Hound is a good companion dog although some are not excessively playful once they are out of their puppy stage. There are also some Afghan Hound that continue to love to play, chase and be a clown well into their adulthood.
The breed is known for an independent streak which is usually noted by the dog seeming to not hear commands, especially a call to come back when they are out running and playing. Consistent, regular positive interactions and lots of time with the family is the best way to enhance the Afghan Hounds sweet and gentle personality.
The most commonly seen Health Problems noted with the Afghan Hound are typically the heart, eyes and injuries to the tail. Overall the Afghan Hound has a low pain tolerance and they seem to need a bit of special attention should they have any type of minor injury. The most common Health conditions with the Afghan Hound are:
Ear Mites and Ear infections - this is common with any breed with folded over ears.
Allergies - Milk Allergies as well as certain food and environmental contaminants and items can result in allergies that will result in hair loss and possible skin infections if there is scratching and licking.
In addition it is important for owners and vets to be aware that the Afghan Hound is very sensitive to many different types of medications as well as to anesthesia. This is an important consideration when deciding on specific surgical procedures and drug therapies.
The long, silky beautiful hair of the Afghan Hound requires regular, daily grooming to keep it in top shape and free from knots and tangles. To keep an Afghan Hounds coat in good shape it will usually take a commitment of several hours of grooming time per week. The breed is never clipped or trimmed on the body or head for show, although the leg cuffs may occasionally be trimmed for show.
The coat should always be groomed from the area closest to the skin to the ends of the coat, not from the ends to the roots. Most owners will use a hairdryer to blow the thick coat aside to get to the area next to the skin. Other people choose to simply take their Afghan Hound to the groomer every two weeks for a complete bath and grooming. In addition a "snood" or hood can be used to protect the long hair on the Afghan Hounds ear's from getting into their food and keeping the hair around the head clean.
The commitment to grooming is essential for families or individuals thinking about choosing an Afghan Hound as a pet. These dogs cannot maintain their beautiful coats without regular, time consuming brushing and grooming. Understanding the commitment to grooming and the ongoing requirement is critical.
The Afghan Hound is a breed that needs at least two 30-minute blocks of time per day to get out and run in a safe, fenced area. They will run just for the sheer enjoyment of it, with or without companionship. They do, of course, make terrific jogging companions but it is important to remember that jogging is not full out running for these dogs. They need to be able to gallop free and to stretch their muscles. Most breeders recommend at least two hours of exercise per day, with one hour being the absolute minimum the breed can tolerate.
The Afghan Hound needs to be exercised in a fenced area, as they will often simply refuse to return while they are running. They will also chase and are often used for lure coursing events. They will chase cars, cats, squirrels and anything else that catches their eye. However, they are also very obedient when trained on the lead, making them simple to walk and exercise on a regular basis.
Many Afghan Hounds will let down their aristocratic bearing and join the family in games and romps around the yard. They are not a natural retriever but can be taught to fetch and this can be a good source of exercise.
When the Afghan Hound is growing and developing they will often go through growth spurts at which time they are uncoordinated and awkward. It is very important to monitor exercise at this time and not overstress these puppies to prevent muscle and bone development issues.
The Afghan Hound is a very intelligent dog but it does have an independent streak that requires patience and understanding. They need consistent and firm training but should never be treated harshly either in voice or correction as they will quickly become timid and may exhibit signs of becoming very nervous, anxious and high strung. Calm, gentle training as well as an understanding of the breeds needs to run and exercise on a daily basis is essential.
The Afghan Hound will often become bored of the same types of routines and training activities. Try to provide as much of a variety as possible. Never punish the dog for being itself, remember they are a hunting breed and have been bred for centuries to chase, manage the environment and always have the dog in a fence or on a leash to prevent run aways.
The Afghan Hound is often very difficult to housebreak and because of their large physical size crate training is usually not an option if the dog is beyond his or her puppy stage. Avoid punishing or harshly correcting the dog for accidents in the house, instead work on getting the dog or puppy outside faster and rewarding them for going to the bathroom in the right area.
An obedience class is an ideal option for an Afghan Hound. These classes provide both socialization as well as a way to learn to work with the nature of the dog. Be sure to look for a trainer that has experience in working with this beautiful breed of dog to make the most out of the class.