The Afghan Hound has been noted for its elegance and hunting abilities for millennia. In fact, distant ancestors of today’s Afghan Hound were mentioned in Egyptian papyruses that are over 4,000 years old. Native to Sinai, this breed is thought to be one of the oldest breeds of sight-hounds (dogs that hunt by sight rather than sound).
This breed earned its keep by helping shepherds with their tasks. They kept sheep in line and guarded them at night. The owner of an Afghan Hound could also expect to be treated to dinner, as these dogs were great hunters of deer, wild goats, and wolves.
The grace and beauty of this breed was greatly prized in its native area. As such, exportation of this breed was strictly prohibited. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that the rest of the world got to enjoy this dog. After being smuggled into Europe, the Afghan Hound became very popular in dog shows.
Afghan Hounds are hard to miss. Their distinctive coat and long, slender frame make them stand out among other breeds. They are tall dogs (standing 61 to 74 cm) and weigh around 23kg. Their heads are small when compared to the rest of their body and are very narrow. They have long necks and tails that end in a slight curl.
Of course, when you’re talking about Afghan Hounds, the main attraction is the coat. This long, luxurious covering can come in any colour, the most common being a sandy shade. White markings do occur, but they are considered a fault in shows.
Grooming this breed can be about as time consuming as you’d imagine, especially if you’re dealing with a show dog. A weekly bath and brushing will go a long way towards preventing the inevitable mat. Try to avoid brushing between baths as this can cause damage to the coat. This breed sheds an average amount, but with such a long coat, dropped hairs are more easily spotted.
The Afghan Hound has been called “a king of dogs” because of their majestic, dignified bearing. Like a king, these dogs may be somewhat aloof. Unlike kings, they do not tend towards dominance. Instead, this breed does best when their owner can gently and clearly lead them.
Afghan Hounds have a bit of a reputation of being hard to train, but a strong, gentle hand will be able to bring out the best in them. They do well in agility tasks and are natural hunters.
This breed is generally quite healthy and has an average lifespan of 12 to 18 years. They do require exercise and stimulation. If kept cooped up for too long, they can become timid and highly strung.
Afghan Hounds are natural hunters. In fact, the instinct to hunt is so deeply ingrained in them that they may have a hard time telling the difference between a small pet and a potential meal. If you’re thinking about bringing one of these dogs into your home, make sure your hamsters, gerbils and mice are kept in a secure place!
Although never aggressive, this breed does tend to be wary of strangers. They’re a very sensitive breed, and should never be approached in an aggressive and forceful manner.