History of the Afghan Hound Breed
The Afghan hound is an ancient breed derived from the group of Middle Eastern sighthounds with roots that date back to ancient Egypt. The Afghan hound was used by nomadic tribes as a coursing hound to capture hare and gazelle for food. Generations of hunting in the harsh mountainous terrain of Afghanistan produced a fast dog that also has a good deal of stamina and with incredible leaping ability and nimbleness. The Afghan hound’s long coat protected it from the cold mountainous climate. Hidden in the impenetrable Afghanistan mountains, Afghan hounds remained isolated for centuries. The Afghan hound first arrived in England in the early 1900s where they were known as Persian greyhounds or Barukhzy hounds. At that time, Afghan hounds had diverse appearances, so a standard of perfection was eventually modeled on Zardin, a well-known and striking Afghan hound. Popularity of Afghan hounds grew slowly, with the dog appealing mostly to the social elite. However, the Afghan quickly became one of the most competitive and glamorous dogs in the show rings. The Afghan hound first appeared in the United States in 1926. In the 1970s, the Afghan was a fad breed among the pet owners, but it has since dwindled in popularity.
Size and Appearance of the Afghan Hound
The Afghan appears dignified and aloof, with an exotic expression and proud carriage. When running free, the Afghan hound moves at a gallop with a gait that shows great elasticity and spring. Typically, the Afghan moves with its head and tail high. The Afghan hound has greyhound-like lines, enabling it to gallop and run-down fleet game. The Afghan’s short back and steep pelvis evolved from its need to leap to great heights and to turn virtually in place, attributes necessary for coursing in mountainous terrain. Their large feet assured the Afghan hound a better foothold on the rocky mountainsides and were more resistant to injury on rough ground. The silky coat evolved as a means to protect the Afghan hound from cold nights at high altitudes. Afghan hounds can vary in color from black to nearly white and when of mixed colors, the markings only serve to make the Afghan hound more appealing.
Afghan Hound Temperament
The Afghan hound is a hunter at heart, bred to chase game over rugged terrain. While it maintains its regal bearings inside, the Afghan hound needs to stretch its legs in a safe area every day. The Afghan hound needs room to run in a fenced area under supervision. The Afghan’s worst trait is a reluctance to come when called. The Afghan hound will chase small animals outside, but, inside, it will coexist peacefully with other animals. Though gentle with children, it may not be playful and interactive enough with them. Described by some as “catlike,” it is independent yet sensitive and not overly demonstrative. Typically, Afghan hounds are reserved, almost aloof, around strangers; some Afghans can be considered timid. Notably, Afghans can be very destructive when bored. The Afghan hound's independent disposition often makes it appear as though the Afghan does not acknowledge its owners displeasure with his destructive behaviors. The Afghan hound is well suited for families with time and dedication to maintain its luxurious coat, sufficient space to allow it to romp and run full-speed each day and the patience to provide consistent discipline despite the Afghan’s aloof nature.
Afghan Hound Recommended Maintenance
The Afghan hound is noted for its thick coat of long silky hair, but that coat requires hours of grooming each week to maintain its beautiful appearance. Brushing and combing is recommended at least every two to three days. Although the Afghan hound’s coat may allow it survive living outdoors in temperate areas, the aristocratic Afghan prefers a warm, soft bed and is better suited as a house dog.
Afghan Hound Health
• Life span: 12 – 14 years
• Major concerns: none
• Minor concerns: cataract
• Occasionally seen: necrotic myelopathy, CHD
• Suggested tests: (eye)
• Note: sensitive to anesthesia; prone to tail injuries