Afghan HoundHome » Dog Breeds » Afghan Hound
The Afghan Hound is possibly the oldest sighthound around, it is a medium to large purebred from Afghanistan and really stands out for its unique and elegant appearance. The dog is often described as being both aloof and comics it is one of the oldest breeders around, dating back to ancient times. It is talented in areas such as tracking, racing, hunting, sighting, lure coursing, watchdog and herding.
|The Afghan Hound at A Glance|
|Other names||Baluchi Hound, Tazi, Tazhi Spay, Da Kochyano Spay, Sage Balochi, Ogar Afgan, and Eastern Greyhound/Persian Greyhound|
|Average size||Medium to large|
|Average weight||44 to 75 pounds|
|Average height||24 to 29 inches|
|Life span||12 to 14 years|
|Coat type||Silky, thick, fine, long|
|Color||Cream, red, black, golden, brindle, tricolor|
|Popularity||Not very popular – ranked 100th by the AKC|
|Intelligence||Ranked low for obedience training due to independent nature|
|Tolerance to heat||Excellent – can handle any kind of warm or hot climate|
|Tolerance to cold||Excellent – can also handle any kind of cold climate|
|Shedding||Moderate to above average|
|Drooling||Low – not a dog prone to slobber or drool|
|Obesity||Low – not a dog prone to weight gain|
|Grooming/brushing||High maintenance – needs a lot of care|
|Barking||Rare – not prone to a lot of barking|
|Exercise needs||Fairly active – needs a good amount of daily walks|
|Trainability||Difficult – meant to be one of the hardest to train|
|Friendliness||Very good with socialization|
|Good first dog||Good but best with experienced owner|
|Good family pet||Excellent with socialization|
|Good with children||Very good with socialization|
|Good with other dogs||Very good with socialization|
|Good with other pets||Moderate – socialization is essential, has a high prey drive|
|Good with strangers||Moderate – socialization is needed, wary and reserved|
|Good apartment dog||Moderate – not best suited for apartment living due to size and activity level|
|Handles alone time well||Moderate – does not like being left alone for long periods|
|Health issues||Healthy breed but there are a few issues to watch for such as Cancer, hypothyroidism, eye problems and allergies|
|Medical expenses||$485 a year for pet insurance and basic health care|
|Food expenses||$270 a year for a good quality dry dog food and treats|
|Miscellaneous expenses||$655 a year for license, grooming, basic training, miscellaneous items and toys|
|Average annual expenses||$1410 as a starting figure|
|Cost to purchase||$1,000|
|Rescue organizations||Several including the Afghan Hound Club of America Rescue and the Afghan Hound Club of Canada|
|Biting Statistics||None Reported|
The Afghan Hound's Beginnings
The Afghan Hound is a sighthound that comes from the mountains and deserts in Afghanistan where was called Tazi and was bred to hunt gazelles, wild goats and hares using a coursing method. It is classed as a basal breed meaning it predates modern breeds from the 1800s, as it can be found mentioned in ancient records on Egyptian papyrus and on cave walls from over 4000 years ago. It was bred to be very fast and agile as its prey was also agile and fast. It was also used as a sheep dog, a watchdog and to hunt other more dangerous prey like wolves and snow leopards.
For hundreds of years the breed was kept pure and it was not exported so it was not known anywhere else in the world. It only came to Europe in the early 1900s as contraband. There were two strains that came over that resulted in the modern breed we have today. The first were lowland hounds brought over to Scotland called the Bell-Murray strain. The second strain, Ghazni came over to England with a Mrs Mary Amps and these were the mountainous types. With the arrival of the first world war though breeding dogs slowed down and in some cases actually came to a halt.
New Lease on Life
The dogs from the Ghazni kennels in England are the ones that made their way to the US in the mid 1920s. The AKC recognized the breed in 1926 and the Afghan Hound Club of America joined the AKC in 1940. Zeppo Marx of the Marx brothers was a fan of the dog which brought them some attention, but it was really in the late 1970s they took off when Barbie had a pet Afghan Hound called Beauty. It was at this time too that lure coursing became a popular sport to watch and the Afghan Hound did very well at it. The dog's good looks meant it became a very popular show dog too. Today it is ranked 100th most popular registered breed by the AKC.
The Dog You See Today
The Afghan Hound is a large dog weighing 44 to 75 pounds and standing 24 to 29 inches tall. It has a very proud and aristocratic look with a thick, silky, fine and long coat that comes in colors that include red, golden, black, brindle, cream and tricolor. It is a tall and slender dog with a strong long neck, clear hip bones, strong front legs, large feet and a tail that curls at the tip. On the back of the dog is a saddle that is comprised of shorter hair. The rest of the body is covered in more hair.
Its head is narrow, long and it has a prominent skull. The nose is black, it has a silky topknot on the head and its almond shaped eyes are dark. Ears lie flat on the head and many have a black mask and some have facial hair resembling a mustache.
The Inner Afghan Hound
The Afghan Hound is a great watchdog, it is very alert and will let you know if there is an intruder but it is not observed to be a super protective breed. New owners can own it but ideally it is best with experienced owners. It is a spirited, sweet and brave breed, and loyal to its owners though it may seem standoffish to strangers. That is because they are suspicious of people and situations they are not familiar with so socialization is very important. It is a sensitive dog so should not be kept in a loud or angry home and does not have a high level of dominance. They need a calm and peaceful home.Advertisement
This is not a breed that likes to be left alone and in fact it can suffer from separation anxiety if left too long. They can also become high strung and timid if it is not given enough mental stimulation and physical exercise, it gets bored really easily. It is true some are very dignified and regal like but in fact some can be clown like and some have a mix of the two traits. It is not an overly affectionate dog, some are more loving towards their owners but some are more independent and less physical though it can have its moments of tenderness.
Living with an Afghan Hound
What will training look like?
The Afghan Hound is not an easy dog to train which is part of why it is not best suited to first time owners. It will require patience, consistency, experience and the ability to be firm and clearly in control while still being fair, positive and encouraging. The Afghan Hound comes from a long history of being independent and making its own decisions. It will keep trying to do the same with you and will even to the extent of bracing its legs and refusing to move! Keep things interesting as it gets bored easily and be persuasive but be prepared this is not a breed always motivated by treats! It is also hard or slow when it comes to house training so be prepared for that to take a bit longer than some other breeds.
Because of its natural caution socialization is really important to make sure rather than becoming overly timid and shy, it grows into a confident and trustworthy dog you can introduce to anyone and take anywhere.
How active is the Afghan Hound?
It is not a very adaptable breed, it needs access to a large yard or land so is not a dog best suited to apartment living. It is a fairly active dog so it will need regular daily exercise opportunities, a couple of long walks, joining you for a jog or hike, going to a dog park where it can run off leash safely, or if you have the land on that. Keep in mind you really need to keep it on a leash when not in a secure area as it loves to chase moving things and it is fast. Its hipbones means it is a great jumper too so fencing around your yard needs to high or it will escape. This dog really acts out when it is bored, and it gets bored easily so along with lots of physical exercise make sure it gets mental stimulation too.
Caring for the Afghan Hound
One thing to keep in mind about owning an Afghan Hound is that it will require a lot of work in terms of maintenance and grooming especially if it is being kept to show standards. It will need regular trips to a professional groomer for trimming and care. It sheds an average amount so regular brushing will help with that as well take care of tangles and debris. Only bathe it when it really needs one and avoid brushing the coat when it is dry as that damages it. You can spray with conditioned water in between baths when it needs brushing. It is a thick coat and it mats easily and needs lots of care. If you cannot commit to daily care you should either opt for a different breed or keep it trimmed short. Caring for this breed is time consuming and takes dedication.Advertisement
You should also check its ears once a week for infection signs and then wipe them clean using a cotton ball and a dog ear cleanser. Do not insert anything into its ears. Brush its teeth at least two to three times a week and clip its nails when they get too long, about once every couple of weeks if it is not wearing them down naturally when it is outside. Canine nails are not like ours, bleeding and pain can happen if you cut too low as there are blood vessels and nerves to be avoided. Have a professional groomer do it for you if you are not experienced, or have your vet show you how.
Afghan hounds need to eat about 2 to 3 cups of a good quality dry dog food a day, split into at least two meals. Be prepared for a fussy eater, it is quite common to hear Afghan hound owners struggling to find a food their dog is happy with. How much exactly it will need changes from one dog to another depending on it metabolism, level of activity, size, age, health and build.
How is the Afghan Hound with children and other animals?
The Afghan Hound is good with children with socialization but tends to be better with older children rather than younger. As mentioned it is a very sensitive breed, it will not be happy with young children screaming, grabbing, and making sudden movements. While it is more accepting of older children that is because the children are better able to understand to leave the dog alone when it does not want to play.
It is good with other dogs with socialization, especially other Afghan Hounds! It can tolerate pets in the home with socialization but its strong instinct to chase fleeing animals will mean it will run after strange cats, rabbits, squirrels and so on. It is possible it will injure or even kill them.
What Might Go Wrong?
This breed has a life span of 12 to 14 years and is somewhat healthy though it is prone to a few issues which include cancer, heart problems, allergies, hip and elbow dysplasia, anesthesia sensitivity, chylothorax, hypothyroidism, von Willebrand's disease and eye problems.
When looking at over 30 years of reports covering dog attacks against people in Canada and the US the Afghan Hound is not identified as an instigating dog in any of them. The Afghan Hound though is wary around strangers and if it has not been well trained and socialized and has been mistreated or not cared for properly, it is possible it could become aggressive and snap. The fact is any breed, from the very small to the very big and everyone in between could have a bad day no matter how friendly you think that breed might be. Make sure you supervise your dog, that can give it the right level of physical and metal stimulation and the attention it needs.
Your Pup’s Price Tag
An Afghan Hound puppy is going to cost about $1000 for a pet quality dog from a trustworthy breeder. There are a lot of bad or ignorant breeders out there nowadays aiming to make money, they do not check the lines, or the health of the parents or the puppies, and some are even cruel to the animals. Puppy mills and backyard breeders are to be avoided. If you want a show quality Afghan Hound that will cost several thousand dollars or more from a top show breeder. Alternatively you can look at rescues and shelters and offer a dog a new home. They will be priced lower, $50 to $400 and it will have medical needs taken care of, but it is possible or more likely that dogs needing a new home are adult aged rather than puppies.Advertisement
If those medical needs like deworming, chipping, vaccinations, neutering or spaying are not already taken care of, this is something you will need to do along with having a vet give it a physical and have some blood tests done. These will cost about $290. At home there are other initial costs for items needed like a collar and leash, crate, bowls and bedding for example. These will cost about $200.
Yearly costs for an Afghan Hound come to a starting figure of $1410. That covers a dry dog food of good quality and dog treats for $270. Medical basic care like tick and flea prevention, check ups and shots and pet insurance for $485 a year. Miscellaneous items, toys, grooming, basic training and license will be $655 a year.
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The Afghan Hound attracts a lot of people for its looks, but those looks take a lot of work and time to achieve and maintain. Owners also need to be prepared to give it enough stimulation, mentally and physically as this breed gets easily bored. While some are more reserved and aloof some can actually be quite clown like, so you may be in for some surprise antics from your Afghan. It is a sensitive breed too, not for homes where people yell, young kids darting around and such. The Afghan Hound tends to get rated low for its intelligence but in fact it is just not obedient or easy to train. It is smart but it is willful and very much tries to follow its own path, be ready for some frustrating training sessions! Saying all that it is a very loyal dog, it will certainly entertain you and it could be a great companion in the right home.