Afghan Hound: Breed Facts & Temperaments
The different types of dog breeds make it very easy to find one that will fit your preferences and lifestyle as there is such a wide variety. The Afghan hound breed is famous for its long hair and elegant looks. The long hair does not shed much and produces very little, making the Afghan hound hypoallergenic. There are different colors of coats so you can have a black Afghan hound and a white Afghan hound. They are typically large with a height of 25 to 27 inches, weigh 50 to 60 pounds, and have a thin nuzzle. This exotic breed has other names like Tazi, Balochi hound, and Persian greyhound, and has its origin tied to Afghanistan. If you are considering getting this breed for a pet, then the information in this article will be useful in your decision-making.
History of the Afghan Hound
The Afghan Hound is considered a basal breed, being that it was explicitly bred by humans to perform specific tasks. It is one of the ancient kinds that exist and is closely related to the Saluki, a breed of dog created from sighthounds for hunting. The modern Afghan Hound we know today is a descendant of dogs brought to Great Britain during the 1920s. They were reared for mostly hunting and guarding and were given out as gifts by the King of the Afghan Royal Family called Amanullah. There aren’t any authentic written and visual records that can be used to like the modern Afghan Hound to owners and places in Afghan. The ties are made based on the closeness of other breeds that have origins from the Afghan area. In Afghanistan, at least 13 types of the breed are known, and through breeding and record keeping are being developed into modern purebreds. First dog shows saw the most of the sighthounds, which were brought from Afghanistan by army officers during the 1800s. It was at the time that dog shows were becoming popular in the UK, and they were given all sorts of names, including ‘Persian Greyhound.’ In 1912, a particular dog named ‘Zardin’ became the benchmark at which the ‘Persian Greyhounds’ were bred. However, World War I halted the breeding of the dogs. The modern Afghan Hound is mostly made up of two strains out of the known types of Afghanistan longhaired sighthounds. These are the Bell-Murray strain that was brought from Balochistan to Scotland in 1920 and the Ghazni strain that was shipped to England in 1925. In 1948, a mixture of these two breeds became the standard breed, which is still used for breeding the modern Afghan Hound we know today.
Quick Facts About the Afghan Hound
- They have an ancient heritage: It is assumed that it is because these dogs are so old that their exact origin cannot be established. There are stories of their rescue on Noah’s Ark and their arrival as part of Alexander the Great’s army. However, with the second story, there are carvings of them in rocks in Afghanistan caves to show as evidence. Many look to the Saluki as its ancestor because it resembles the Persian Greyhound.
- They are for hunting: The Afghan Hounds are known for being bred as hunters. Even though they look too prim and proper, they know how to get dirty and are not afraid to. They were brilliant at it, helping hunters to catch their animals by cornering them. They are intelligent, too, and so they need little to no direction on what to do when it comes to hunting.
- They are swift: Afghan Hounds are often compared to racehorses because they can run as fast as 40mph while a horse’s speed is 43.97mph. This speed and agility can be attributed to their unusual hip placement, which also allows then to turn and maneuver around obstacles quickly. Their hips are wider apart and higher than any other breeds, making them have this quality over them.
- They are Sighthounds: These are slender dogs that use their sight and speed for their hunting as opposed to using scents. Their heads are dolichocephalic, giving them a 270 degrees field of vision.
- Their coat not just for style: You can easily be fooled into thinking their coat is just for aesthetics, but actually, it does more. The fur keeps the dogs warm in the cold weather, giving them an advantage.
Things You Should Know
UK surveys showed that Afghan Hounds live an average of 12 years, like other dog breeds that are their size. A small number of them live up to 14 years, with old age, cardiac issues, cancer, and urologic problems being the leading causes of death. Other major health issues they may encounter during their life include hip dysplasia and allergies. Sighthounds are known to experience sensitivity to anesthesia because of their low body fat. Afghan hounds also suffer from chylothorax, the result of when lymphatic fluid accumulates in the space around the lungs. The condition is rare and characterized by leakage of the thoracic duct, releasing chyle fluid into the chest cavity of the dog. When this happens, the lungs get twisted, and the dog will need surgery to fix it. Another illness Afghan hounds experience is dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition that more male dogs face than females. It is where the heart enlarges and cannot pump blood efficiently, leading to shortness of breath, tiredness, and overall weakness. Castrated male Afghan hounds suffer from testosterone-responsive dermatosis, a cutaneous medical condition that affects the organs that protects them from the external environment like skin. The breed also suffers from ocular diseases, including cataract and corneal dystrophy.
Generally, Afghan hounds are challenging to train since they are intelligent and fast, but with overtime, they will get the hang of it. Training can start at seven to eight weeks, but it will only be useful around six months old. While training an Afghan hound puppy, use simple words like sit, stay, and down, with some rewards to reinforce the behavior. To help them to socialize, you can enroll them in puppy school to learn obedience and also learn new things. A big yard with a fence will also be a great place to train the dog. Train your Afghan hound using the Alpha Dog method that teaches them that the family is their pack, and you are the alpha. With this training model, don’t do things like getting down to their eye level or let them into bed. Another training method is using positive reinforcement in the form of treats and other things they like. Punishment only makes them more stubborn and more independent, making them difficult to control. Clicker training is similar to positive reinforcement, which comprises using an object which makes sharp noises, like a whistle, to indicate when the aims are achieved. The sound should also tell the dog that a reward is coming, so it associates the behavior with the prize. Another training to give your Afghan hound is on relationship building, which is to help them understand the bond between them and their owner. Training should be a gradual process so that the dog can learn everything satisfactorily.
If you’re a very busy person, then the Afghan hound breed is not for you. This breed is very active since they were bred for hunting and so they need regular activity to put their energy into. Daily walks or jogs are essential to keep them healthy and happy. A fenced area will do the dog some good since it is recommended that it be allowed to run off-leash at least twice a week. A lack of exercise can make the dog overweight, which is not good for their health. You must keep a close eye on this breed because they love to run free and are the perfect escape artists. Also, because they are fast, you might not be able to catch up with them. Make sure your hold on the leash is tight, and your fencing is secure so that your dog doesn’t take advantage of the exercise to leave the house.
Afghan hounds are part of the active dog breeds, and so they need a diet that can match their energy. You should pay attention to what you feed your dog since it plays a significant role in their wellbeing. Whatever meal you give your dog should contain the right amount of water, protein, and fat. Water is a vital part of existence as a whole, and a dog’s bodies are 70% water. Give your dog fresh, clean water from time to time, and also include moisture foods in their meals. These include carrots and curds, which can contribute to the diversion of illnesses. Dogs are natural carnivores, and so their diets should mainly contain lots of meats that contain protein. Your dog can live on only meats, but you can also get creative with their food by including protein plants like beans and some vegetables. Fats are an energy source for dogs, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They help in the protection of internal organs, maintaining a healthy nervous system, and regulating body temperature. Too much fat can be harmful, so be careful about the amount you feed your pet. Afghan hounds have a naturally slender build, so do not overfeed them thinking they are too skinny. Two to three cups of dry food twice a day are enough to keep your dog healthy throughout its lifetime. Foods like chocolates, garlic, onion, and fried foods are a total no-no for your dog because they are toxic and can do some severe damage. You can also give your dog vitamin and mineral supplements if they need them.
The presence of long hair on this breed makes it necessary to groom them to prevent tangles and mats. The elegant, silky coat requires multiple brushing a week, whereas bathing should be done when necessary. The brushing helps maintain the shine on the skin and also reduces shedding. Other parts of the Afghan hound like the nails, teeth, and ears also need grooming. When it comes to the nails, you have to be very careful because these creatures are extremely sensitive to pain. They will whimper at the least injury, so you have to be gentle with it. Always use the appropriate tools like dog nail clippers to get the job done. The same applies to dental care for the Afghan hound: use toothpaste and toothbrushes that are safe for them to keep their teeth clean. This breed’s ears are more susceptible to infections because of the hair surrounding them. It is easy for bacteria, food, or dirt to get trapped in there to cause all sorts of problems. Due to this, you’ll have to check and clean their ears regularly to prevent any of those problems from occurring. Anytime you are unsure about the way to go with your cat’s grooming, consult a professional to help.
Afghan hounds are not so friendly with visitors or strangers. They are a one-person or one-family dog, so don’t expect them to greet your guests with excitement. Even though they may lat out a few barks at the sight of a stranger, they are not great watchdogs. This breed is very independent and self-motivated and has to desire whatsoever to please, and so do things by their own will. This personality trait forms part of the reasons why they are tough to train. They like to be shown affection and thrive on you being kind and loving towards them. If you rough-handle an Afghan hound, it is likely to either withdraw from you or become hostile towards you.
For dog lover that prefer elegance, the Afghan hound is a perfect choice. This breed, though pretty on the outside, has outstanding speed and agility. They are independent, strong-willed creatures, but little training can teach them to be obedient. The Afghan hound price starts from about $1000.00 if you’re buying from a breeder. They are considered one of the most expensive dog breeds, and rooming and visits to the vet also contribute to the high cost of maintenance.