Afghan Hound

Afghan Hound

Temperament: Affectionate, Independent, Intelligent

Size: Large

Life span: 14

Weight: 34 kg

Breed Group: Hound Dogs

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Overview

Afghan Hounds are definitely a large breed of dog, with height that ranges from 24 to 29 inches, and a weight that ranges from 45 to 60 pounds. This dog is a tall breed with a lead build, they have a reasonable lifespan of 11 to 13 years.

The Afghan Hound is a majestic looking large breed of dog characterized by an exotic appearance distinct from the other dogs. Most notable to the Afghan Hound is the elongated head with a long nozzle paired with almond-shaped eyes and long, silky topknot supported to the body by a strong and arched neck. It has long ears, set approximately on level with the outer corner of the eyes, covered with long silky hair. It has a short back and a high pelvis with prominent hipbones supported by large feet. The hind quarters are somewhat bent in the stifle supported by large paws with thick pads which help cushion the body in rough mountainous terrains where the breed originated. The body is notably covered in a long, thick, silky coat which comes in a variety of colours, most notable of which are white, black, cream, red and silver. The prominent tail is curved on the end. Male Afghan Hounds typically stands between 68 to 71 cm while females measures between 61 to 64 cm. The average weight of the dog is between 23 to 28 kg.

History & Origin

 The Afghan Hound most probably originated in Afghanistan where it was locally known as the Tazi, although there is no verifiable record that can tie the modern breed to these ancient desert-coursing hounds. The breed is thought to have dated back to the pre-Christian era and is considered one of the oldest breed of dogs. One theory suggest that the breed might have originated in the Sinai region of the Middle East where they were used by locals as coursing hounds and found its way to Afghanistan via Persia. Today's modern Afghan Hounds owe their ancestry to the various dogs brought to Great Britain in the 1800s by military personnel returning from service from Afghanistan and Persia (then part of British India) and during the early 1900s by Malik Amanullah Khan of Afghanistan where they were known as Persian greyhounds or Barukhzy hounds. Renowned painter Pablo Picasso owned an Afghan Hound named Kabul which appeared in several of his paintings.

Temperament

Afghan Hounds are aloof, clownish, happy, dignified and independent, with excellent reasoning skills. They are also courageous, dignified, spirited, smart, affectionate, and sensitive. Though they may have faithful and endearing personalities, grooming, running, high prey drive, and training may prove to be challenges. Their independence can lead to extreme shyness, making them somewhat difficult to live with. It is important to train and socialize Afghan Hounds, as they have natural prey instincts that may not be suitable for smaller animals.

Afghans are sometimes characterized as one of the less clever and friendly breed of dogs because of their aloofness and independence. An Afghan puppy will typically seek affection from family members but once it matures, this affectionate attitude will diminish. A mature Afghan Hound has an independent disposition, aloof and dignified. It does not crave for attention even from family members and is sometimes reluctant to follow orders unless it wants to. However, the Afghan Hound also has a gay and humorous side if it's socialized properly.

Training

The Afghan Hound is a naturally independent breed owing to its natural hunter instinct and a runner at heart. Its wild nature often adds to making them quite defiant and difficult to train. Early socialization with other people and animals is required to lessen the development of fear-based aggression. The pet owner or trainer should be relentless and have a lot of patience and understanding of the dogs temperament in order to raise a lovable dog. Afghans are moderately hard to train in obedience. Praising and encouragement are most often unsuccessful but a persistent trainer should have a positive result.

Grooming

Grooming should be meticulously done and requires hours of care and attention at least twice a week to maintain the elegance of its thick coat of long silky hair. Use a soft-bristled brush to comb to avoid damaging or breaking the fine hairs. Weekly bathing is not required. Use quality dog shampoo with conditioner to make the long hair easy to brush. Avoid rubbing the towel to the dog's coat to avoid tangling and matting. Use of blow dryer is recommended while brushing the coat instead. Brush the teeth at least three times a week and clip the nails once a month.

Health

Afghan Hounds are generally healthy, but like other breeds, they are also prone to certain ailments including:

  • Allergies. Symptoms include sneezing, nasal discharge, hair loss, itching and exhaustion. Food allergy is one of the main culprit so it is best to restrict your dog's diet when showing one of these symptoms.
  • Canine Cancer, usually indicated by a lump or abnormal swelling as well as bleeding not caused by any trauma and characterized by difficulty in breathing.
  • Cataract
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism, caused by the improper functioning of the thyroid gland. This disease causes coat and skin problems but can usually be controlled with medication.

Feed the Afghan Hound with dry dog food, preferably with vegetable oil supplement to keep the long silky hair shiny and healthy. Ideal diet for this breed include foods rich in protein, fiber and carbohydrates such as poultry, lamb and brown rice.

Exercise

Afghan Hounds are high maintenance dogs. They require many walks and exercise to exhaust their high energy. They are known to be agile runners and jumpers, so exercise is needed to keep them happy and healthy. Leaving them without any form of exercise can lead them to develop destructive behaviors like excessive chewing.  Training Afghan Hounds is notoriously difficult, as they do not care to please others or listen to others do to their high independence. They would rather be catered to, like the true aristocrats that they are. Training requires plenty of time and effort. They shed year round, and frequent brushing and grooming is needed to maintain their upkeep. They are naturally healthy dogs.

Afghans are not well-suited for an apartment life and should have plenty of exercise outdoors such as daily long walks. Biking with your dog on leash is an ideal exercise for this breed. An ideal home should have a well-fenced backyard with a large space where it can frolic and run full-speed each day.

Children and other pets

Well-socialized Afghan Hounds get along great with kids and families, so long as the humans understand how to become a gentle pack leader. They should never be left unsupervised, as they ca become bored very easily.

Afghan Hounds have very high prey drives owing to their hunter instinct and may not get along very well with small animals such as smaller breed of dogs and cats. It's large size makes it an ideal adult pet but not highly recommended with children as it is an aloof breed and may not want to play with small kids. However, proper and early socialization should make the Afghan well-adopted to a family life with small children.

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