The ancient Afghan hound is believed to have originated in the mountains of Afghanistan. This regal hound was allowed to freely chase their prey without restraint or interruptions. Considered by many to be aloof, the Afghan has an air of elegance and glamour like no other dog. The Afghan hound was introduced into the United States in 1926.
History & Origin
The Afghan hound is an ancient breed that is sketchily traced back to the ancient Middle East. Then, as now, Afghanistan was an expansive land of deserts, valleys and mountains and was home to both nomads and high pharaohs. The Afghan hound has an aristocratic appearance, and his ability to traverse great distances and adverse terrains while chasing game by sight made them popular with both lifestyles.
The ancient Middle Eastern nomads employed this breed as a coursing dog that was allowed to pursue game freely and without directions or interruptions from anyone. Using keen sight and swiftness, they chased until the prey was theirs. The breed reputedly hunted wolves, snow leopards, birds and more. A fascinating animal, the Afghan hound possesses grace, agility, sure-footedness and seemingly endless stamina. This breed can even outrun horses that trail them in the hunt.
By the late 1800s, Afghan hounds were introduced in Europe and England. America enjoyed the arrival of the breed in the early 20th century. Today the Afghan hound is a popular show dog and is still appreciated as a sight hound and less commonly as a racing dog. The Afghan hound was first registered by the American Kennel Club in 1926.
The Afghan hound has an exotic appearance. The coat is thick, long and silky with the exceptions of hair on the face and along the back. Coats are any color and the body coat is often different from that of the face. The ears are long and eyes dark. Afghan hounds have large paws relative to the body when compared to other similar-sized breeds.
Adult Afghan hounds average 25 to 27 inches in height at the shoulder and weigh approximately 50 to 60 pounds.
Given the history of a nomadic, coursing dog, it is easy to understand why Afghan hounds today are reported to behave and think independently. They are loving, affectionate pets that are not known to lick and jump on owners or guests in order to seek attention. They are energetic pets that requires daily exercise – they can “run for hours” according to some owners. They are good watchdogs, a characteristic derived from ancient times when they guarded the palace and the nomadic camp. While not excessive barkers, this breed may howl in discontent when confined to small areas for a considerable length of time.
Home & Family Relations
Afghan hounds are good pets in households with children as long as the pet’s independent nature is understood and respected. Owners have described their Afghan hounds as being “aloof” to the point of indifferent at times. Other pets in the house are generally tolerated by Afghan hounds but smaller, fast-moving pets such as ferrets and cats may be considered fair game. Adult male Afghan hounds may exhibit dominant behavior.
Afghan hounds are trainable; however their aloofness may be frustrating for some owners, especially during obedience training. They are readily trained for lure racing, a sport at which they can excel.
Afghan hounds have long, thick hair that must be groomed daily. Daily brushing is essential to remove mats and prevent tangles.
The thickness of the Afghan hound’s coat can make activity in hot, humid climates dangerous, even life threatening. Ancient Afghan hounds spent most of their time in cool mountain areas. Their thick coat provided ample protection against cold nights. Today, many Afghan hounds live in conditions for which they were not originally bred. Limit the time that your Afghan spends outdoors in hot, harsh weather. Exercise during early morning or late evening hours is safer and more comfortable.
Afghans are also known for their inability to tolerate any pain, real or imagined.
The following are health concerns and diseases that can be seen in some afghanhound dog:
- Gastric torsion, also known as bloat, is a life-threatening sudden illness associated with the stomach filling with air and twisting.
- Corneal dystrophy causes the appearance of spots on the surface (cornea) of the eye. This condition usually occurs in both eyes and does not affect vision.
- Cataracts cause a loss of the normal transparency of the lens of the eye. The problem can occur in one or both eyes and can lead to blindness.
- Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a serious heart condition that results in a large, thin walled heart muscle.
- Demodectic mange is a parasitic skin disease caused by a mite. Hair loss and itchiness are common.
- Congenital chylothorax is a rare disease of Afghan hounds that can cause fluid to accumulate in the chest around the lungs.
- Hereditary Afghan myelopathy is a degeneration of certain parts of nerves in the brain and spinal cord, causing pelvic limb ataxia.
- Hypothyroidism results when the thyroid gland does not function adequately.
- Nasal Depigmentation is a seasonal depigmentation of the hair over the nose area that can occur in this breed.
The average life span for the Afghan hound is approximately 10 to 12 years.
We realize that each dog is unique and may display other characteristics. This profile provides generally accepted breed information only.