(aka: Tazi, Baluchi Hound)
Afghan Hound Description
The Afghan Hound is a very ancient breed of dog with a regal and elegant bearing and carriage. They are highly recognizable with their narrow tall body, and long thick coat. In general shape the Afghan Hound appears like a very tall and long haired Greyhound, and like the Greyhound they are capable of great speed and the ability to cover long distances without effort. They also have the amazing ability to change direction on a dime. When they move, their front and hind feet seem to move at the same spacing, making their feet fall in the same tracks.
The Afghan coat is long, and there is a lot of it. On the top of the head is a naturally silky topknot. The coat can be of any color or pattern (except spotted), but mixed colors are often favored over solid colors. There is no white allowed on the head, and in all other areas white is highly undesirable.
According to the breed standard, the head is long and refined, the ears are also long, and the eyes are almond shaped. Though the hair is long, the Afghan has a short haired saddle. The hipbones are pronounced, and the feet are large. At the end of the long, thin tail there is a small curve (called a ring). However, the tail should not curl around and touch the body.
In recent decades the Afghan has become a rather glamorous breed, but at the heart of it he is a hunter, bred originally to chase down game over the rugged Afghanistan terrain. Many outgrow their playful streak once out of puppyhood, but others are described as being rather "clownish" most of their lives. Many Afghans usually bond with one or two people, and will respond to them much better than to others.
Sometimes the Afghan has been referred to as "catlike". This is due to their generally aloof personality, and their wanting to choose when they want attention, and from whom. This trait obviously varies from dog to dog, but generally, the males are more aloof than females.
Afghan Hounds enjoy interacting with older children and are often very patient. They do not do as well around younger children primarily because they do not like sudden movements or loud and unpredictable sounds. They do well with other household pets, but will give chase to strange animals that enter their yard.
Probably the most frustrating trait of the Afghan is an independent streak which is most often encountered when they refuse to come when called. Sometimes they will ignore you and just pretend not to hear your call at all.
One look at an Afghan Hound and you know that you have a dog that requires regular grooming. Brushing every day is best, though every two to three days will usually suffice. A pin brush and a wide toothed grooming comb work best, and a misting bottle filled with water or water with a few drops of dog hair conditioner or detangler mixed in is a great way to help detangle the coat.
If your Afghan gets really dirty, it is best to bathe him before brushing very dirty or matted hair. Otherwise you will only get more tangles and hair breakage that will significantly damage the appearance of the coat. Some owners will use a hood (called a snood) to protect the long hair on the Afghan Hounds ear's from getting into their food and keeping the hair around the head clean during feeding time.
Before getting an Afghan, make sure you are willing to put in the hours each week to keep this beautiful dog groomed, these dogs cannot maintain their beautiful coats on their own. Look at this time as quality and therapeutic time with your dog, and not a chore.
The Afghan Hound is an ancient breed that dates back to the Egyptian Pharaohs. Despite their illustrious roots, most of their development was a result of their use by nomadic tribes who worked their way over time from Egypt into Afghanistan. The hounds were primarily used as coursing hounds, being heavily relied on to provide hare and gazelle meat for the cooking pot. The dogs had to be able to chase prey and turn instantaneously in harsh terrain and in the mountains. The long heavy thick coat of the Afghan Hound has been developed over centuries to allow them to live in the high mountains in extreme winter conditions.
Not much was known about these dogs until they were introduced into England in the early 1900's. These dogs were a diverse lot, so a standard was developed based up a particularly striking dog (named Zardin) who was elegant and racy. Though the Afghan Hound is quite recognizable, and are quite competitive and glamorous in the dog ring, they were a bit of a "fad" dog in the 1970's and have since dwindled in popularity.
The Afghan Hound is a very intelligent dog but they do have an independent streak that requires patience and understanding. Calm and gentle training works best, but this does not mean you should be a push over. It is important to be consist and firm. Understanding the breeds need to run and exercise on a daily basis is essential.
Their stubbornness and seeming to only understand "no" only when they feel like it is most frustrating. Do not mistake this with a lack of intelligence. It is quite the opposite, your Afghan Hound just knows that YOU will give up before he does! Just remember to never train in anger and never lose your temper - it is counterproductive.
A variety of training experiences works best to keep your Afghan engaged and not bored. Never punish the dog for being itself, they are a hunting breed and have been bred for centuries to chase. Always train your dog on a leash or in a fenced in area.
The Afghan Hound can be difficult to housebreak. Avoid punishing or harshly correcting the dog for accidents in the house, instead work on getting him outside faster and rewarding him for going to the bathroom in the right area.
There are no major health concerns seen regularly in Afghan Hounds, but one minor concern is with cataracts. Also, as with other dogs with folded over ears, you need to watch out for ear mites and ear infections. They can also be prone to tail injuries.
It is important to be aware that Afghan Hounds tend to be sensitive to anesthesia, which is common of other dogs in the sighthound group because these dogs have relatively low levels of body fat. If your Afghan needs to be anesthetized, make sure that your vet has experience with sighthounds.