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Let's talk Afghan Hounds

Dignified and slightly aloof are among the words that are often used to describe the long-haired and fiercely loyal Afghan Hound. Distinctive for their elegant and flowy coat and hunter’s spirit, the Afghan Hound is a calm and loving companion if certain needs are met. This is a breed that requires a high amount of exercise and attentive grooming, prefers soft spots to rest, and maintains their independence. Though they may be a bit cat-like, the Afghan Hound bonds with experienced dog-owners in truly special ways.

Official name: Afghan Hound

Origins: Afghanistan

Side view of Afgan Hound in black and white
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Illustration of beige Afgan Hound
オス
64 - 69 cm 高さ
22.6 - 27 kg 体重
メス
64 - 69 cm 高さ
22.6 - 27 kg 体重

 Baby age  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2 to 12 months
 Adult age 1 to 7 years
 Mature age  7 to 10 years
 Senior age  From 10 years

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Get to know the Afghan Hound

All you need to know about the breed

From their runway-ready mane and innate grace to their piercing gaze, the Afghan Hound has a host of qualities that have earned them admirers across the world. Originally bred as hunting dogs across mountains and deserts, the Afghan Hound possesses impressive speed, stamina and agility -in other words, you should plan to engage in athletic activities, such as lure coursing (a sport for dogs in which they chase after a mechanically operated lure), to channel their need for speed. 

Although they tend to be reserved with strangers, the Afghan Hound is affectionate, loyal and playful with their human family. That being said, Afghan Hounds are known to have a relatively independent mind and are less demonstrably cuddly than other dogs. They also don’t respond well to strict training methods. They are best suited to owners with experience and time to commit to grooming that luxurious coat and exercising with them (short strolls won’t do the trick!). 

With the ability to reach speeds of up to 64 km/ph, the Afghan Hound needs enough room to run and jump. That may be in your backyard, where you will need to ensure the space is enclosed to prevent the dog from running off (their hunting drive is strong!), or a spacious apartment. If socialised early, they can adapt well to life with children and medium-sized dogs. One other piece of advice: use indoor voices, the breed is easily overwhelmed by yelling! Key to a healthy and thriving Afghan Hound is a sensitive tone and tender loving care.

Afgan Hound looking away from with mouth open

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2 facts about Afghan Hounds

1.Protective fur and feet

All that silky, Hollywood-esque hair that the Afghan Hound sports is more than an elegant aesthetic characteristic, it serves a real purpose. The long coat keeps their lean body warm in cold weather today, just like it did when they were bred as hunters in the mountains of Afghanistan. And those voluminous, furry feet? The Afghan Hound’s paw pads protect them from rough and rocky terrain. 

2. Famous fan club 

The regal Afghan Hound has won over more than one famous face. There’s Salvador Dali, fashion designer Givenchy, and even Barbie who gave these dogs a home. But their big claim to fame was with Pablo Picasso. The surrealist artist owned two, one named Kabul and another named Kasbac, who frequently appeared in his work. The 1962 painting “Femme au Chien”, featuring an Afghan Hound, eventually sold for $10 million.

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History of the breed

As their name suggests, the Afghan Hound originated in the mountainous region we know today as Afghanistan several thousand years ago and is among the most ancient purebred dogs in the world. Bred as hunting dogs by aristocrats, royals, and tribal chieftains, the breed are sighthounds, a category describing dogs that rely on their sight and speed to hunt their prey rather than scent. 

In the late 1800s, the breed made its way west to Europe with the help of English soldiers returning from duty who exported the Afghan Hound to the United Kingdom. It’s no surprise that the breed became popular among the upper echelons of British society, thanks to the dog’s good looks and demeanor. 

Whilst the breed vanished around World War I, largely due to food shortages, it resurfaced in 1920 in Scotland where they had yet again been imported. Once the breed circulated again, including landing in America, it earned official recognition. The American Kennel Club recognised the Afghan Hound in 1927 and by the 1930s, the breed was a showstopper among American owners and breeders alike.


Afgan Hound lying down facing camera in black and white

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Afghan Hounds

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Afghan Hound
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The sassy side to the Afghan Hound

There’s no doubt about it, Afghan Hounds have a mischievous side and may cause trouble if they aren’t socialised and trained from a young age. It isn’t uncommon for the breed to snatch objects, even large ones such as pieces of clothing, from right under their owner’s noses, open drawers, and, given their height, pull food off the kitchen counter with great ease. Gentle but firm training will be necessary to keep the Afghan Hound’s diva moments (we all have them!) at bay.  

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May be prone illness 

Among the health issues that may appear in Afghan Hounds are dilated cardiomyopathy and corneal dystrophy, for which a visual deficit may appear with advanced or diffuse disease. Reputable breeders can ensure that your Afghan Hound puppy and their parents have been screened for this condition. 

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Caring for your Afghan Hound

Grooming, training and exercise tips

With a coat like that, it should come as little surprise that the Afghan Hound needs several hours per week of brushing to keep their fur free of tangles and debris such as twigs which could cause skin lesions (the good news: the breed sheds only moderately). By extension, regular baths using a vet-recommended shampoo and conditioner will keep the coat looking healthy and shiny. When it comes to exercise, you will need to do more than take casual strolls with your Afghan Hound; this breed needs to expel a lot of energy. Let them run around enclosed spaces, take them for long walks, hikes, or engage them in lure coursing to keep them healthy and active. Training the independent and occasionally stubborn Afghan Hound will require patience, a gentle touch, and lots of positive reinforcement. Be sure to start training when they’re a puppy to maximise learning and ensure you and your dog get off on the right… paw.

All about Afghan Hounds

Don’t confuse a tendency toward stubbornness and independence with unintelligence. The Afghan Hound is, in fact, very intelligent and free-spirited as well, requiring an experienced dog owner. 

The Afghan Hound may be independent and have a strong prey drive but the breed is far from dangerous. They are known to express timidness and behave in a standoffish manner with strangers, but loyal, loving, and affectionate with their owners. 

Sources

1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/