The Afghan hound is a proud “socialite” who cannot stand familiarity but loves pleasant communication and outdoor games. This is one of the most intelligent breeds that you do not see arguing with other dogs over a bone or fighting with their own owner for the status of head of the house. At the same time, one has only to point the Afghan hound to the game, as it immediately forgets about its own high position, turning it into a swift and ruthless position, from which not a single animal will hide.
- Breed name: Afghan Hound
- Country of origin: Afghanistan
- Weight: males 20-25 kg, females 15-20 kg
- Height (height at the withers): males 64-74 cm, females 60-70 cm
- Life Expectancy: 11-13 Years
- In the countries of Central Asia, the ancestors of the Afghan hounds were used as hunters and shepherds. Modern representatives of the breed are gradually losing their working qualifications, becoming more and more decorative pets.
- Caring for a dog’s coat is laborious and requires primary grooming skills, or serious financial costs if you entrust the matter to a professional.
- Compared to other hunting breeds, Afghan Hounds are difficult to train. Their natural stubbornness and constant striving for independence prevent them from becoming “excellent students”.
- In everyday life, Afghan hounds are affectionate and playful creatures, but their pride is easily offended. In addition, they quickly become attached to their own owner, jealous of other pets.
- Both young and mature “Afghans” love to chase after some small animal. At the same time, cats raised on the same territory as a dog are not threatened with such “repression”.
- Afghan hounds are excellent runners, capable of covering enormous distances in minutes, so coursing is their element.
- Today’s greyhounds are very different from their counterparts living in Afghanistan. For example, dogs of the Western world have lost some of their breed characteristics, including the “saddle” on the back, which has become less pronounced, and prominent brows. At the same time, they acquired a more stylish “outfit”, which the aboriginal Afghan hounds never had.
- In the homeland of Afghan hounds, in Central Asia, they are called tazi, which translates as “fast-rushing.”
- Afghan hounds have low pain tolerance, due to which even a minor wound causes suffering to the animal.
The official homeland of the breed is Afghanistan, from where it first came to England and then to the rest of Europe. However, initially, the habitat of animals was not so limited, therefore, greyhounds quite happily lived in the territories of other Asian states, in particular, in Iran, India, and Pakistan.
It is not entirely clear how the ancestors of the Afghan hounds got into Central Asia, but experts tend to believe that the animals were brought here by nomads. As an argument, the researchers refer to the ancient name of the breed Tāžī Spay, which is consonant with the word “lazy”, which was once called Kazakh (Turkmen) greyhounds. At one time, this dog clan traveled extensively across Central and South Asia, so it could well spread its genes among Afghans. The Afghan hounds are also credited with kinship with the Saluki, one of the oldest breeds that settled in the lands of the Middle East several millennia BC. It is believed that it is the Saluki who is “to blame” for the division of greyhounds into two main types: steppe – with relatively short hair, and shaggy – mountainous.
In Great Britain, Afghan hounds were spotted at the end of the 19th century, having arrived there with the military who had returned from service in India. At first, animals were imported as exotic curiosities, with which one could attract attention at all kinds of exhibitions and competitions. So, for example, in 1907, an Afghan dog named Zardin bypassed the contenders and literally snatched victory at the British Crystal Palace Show. However, the number of dogs grew, and the breeders’ interest in them became more professional. As a result: at the beginning of the 20th century, the Afghan Hound breed had its first standard, the standard for which was the well-known Jardin.
In the 1920s, two elite kennels for Afghan greyhounds were opened in England: Major Bell-Murray’s establishment and the Ghazni kennel, which belonged to the wife of one of the British military, Mary Emps. In the first, animals brought from Pakistan lived and bred, while in the second, only “long-haired” Kabul greyhounds were bred. As is often the case, the establishments competed with each other, but soon the shaggy natives of “Ghazni” began to be in greater demand than the wards of Bell-Murray. By the way, later it was the greyhounds from the Mary Emps nursery that were chosen by American breeders for further breeding of the breed in the USA.
As for the modern appearance of the “Afghans”, they acquired it only by the middle of the 20th century, after the tribal lines of Bell-Murray and Mrs. Emps were crossed. This led to the fact that in 1948 the breed standard for the Afghan Hound was radically revised and approved in the form in which we know it today.
The Afghan hound is a long-legged aristocrat, dressed in a soft “cloak” of light satin wool and stylish “bell-bottomed trousers”. They add sophistication to the appearance of the animal and a proud seat of the head, coupled with a regal bearing, creating the feeling that in front of you is not just a dog, but a refined person of royal blood. But, of course, the Afghan hound looks especially impressive in running: its thick, shiny coat flutters under the gusts of wind, like a mantle, emphasizing the amazing gracefulness of the dog’s silhouette.
Coat and Color
The coat of an Afghan Hound is the awn that covers the face, shoulders, back, and undercoat. The tail on the muzzle is rather short, but, starting from the forehead, it gradually lengthens and forms a top-knot (a bunch of hair) on the dog’s head. The rest of the animal’s body is covered with long, soft hair, which is, in fact, nothing more than an abundant undercoat.
Any type of color is regarded as having the right to exist. The most common types of colors of the Afghan Hound are: golden, silver, red, white fawn, blue, brindle. The presence of a contrasting mask on the head is also encouraged (exceptions are individuals of white, black, and black, and tan suits).
An Afghan Hound puppy and an adult dog are two completely different personalities. If the baby is ready for games, hugs, and bouncing at any time of the day or night, then the mature individual is not capable of such feats. Yes, she also needs a portion of attention and affection from the owner, but only when the dog wants it, and not when the owner gets into the head.
In general, the character of “Afghans” is similar to that of a feline: they are cute, charming, sociable, but they will not allow anyone to control their own lives. However, every Afghan hound is a bright personality, and it is extremely difficult to fit all animals to the same characteristics. For example, among the representatives of this dog family, there are a lot of both shy quiet ones and wayward whims, so buying an Afghan puppy is always a guessing game. Moreover, not a single psychic is able to predict what type of temperament and mindset a pet will have since even babies from the same litter can have absolutely dissimilar characters.
Afghanis touchy. No not like this. The Afghan is oo-very touchy, and if you risked unfairly punishing him, expect universal discontent from the shaggy touchy. But there are also cases when the dog does not show that it is upset about something, although its soul boils with indignation. It’s quite normal. Afghan hounds, like typical people from the East, are able to mask their own emotions, misleading even the most experienced owners. So if you dream of a dog with a mysterious Asian soul, this breed is definitely on your way.
Afghan hounds are not prone to leadership and will never compete with the owner for the “throne and crown.” They already know their worth, and therefore do not see the point in proving something to someone. In dealing with strangers, animals are reserved, but not at all aggressive. But ill-mannered children can bring a dog to a nervous breakdown: to endure violence and annoying pranks of kids for Afghan hounds is akin to a disaster. In addition, they do not tolerate pain well, so that a tailor paw, inadvertently pinched by a child’s foot, can become a significant reason for a dog’s dislike.
Among lovers of this species, a reputation for stubbornness has been entrenched, and there is some truth in this. Afghan hounds are not at all stupid and learn new material once or twice, while it is very difficult for them to execute a command accurately. However, it is wrong to blame only other animals for this. The Afghan Hound is a breed that was originally created not for the execution of orders, but for the corral of game. Accordingly, no one obliged the ancestors of today’s dogs to ask the owner’s permission before attacking the beast.
And yet it is necessary to train the Afghan hound at least for its own safety. Usually, dog handlers recommend going with the animal OKD, the basic set of commands of which the city dog is enough for the eyes. At the baiting stations “Afghans” have recently been infrequent guests: caring for a dog’s coat is not so cheap as to sacrifice its purity while hunting with a light heart. However, it is always interesting and quite realistic to practice ejecting (walking on a leash in a group of other greyhounds) with a representative of this breed.
If you have a show-class Afghan hound, you will also have to learn the intricacies of her training in the exhibition stand, which should go at a slow pace with alternate use of the “Stop!” and praise “Good!” While the desired position is being formed, the animal needs to be encouraged and stimulated more often. Keep in mind that a young dog must like the way you control his body, otherwise, he will interrupt his studies and go about his business.
The principles of raising an Afghan Hound puppy remain the same as for other breeds. Do not postpone the process of training and socializing your dog on the back burner, starting to instill in him norms of behavior immediately after moving to a new home. Introduce the baby to the personal area (the place where the bed is), cover the floor with newspapers and diapers in the place where the animal prefers to go to the toilet. In general, do whatever you would do for any other puppy.
Care and Maintenance
The question of ideal housing for Afghan greyhounds still remains unresolved, so while one-half of the breeders criticizes the living conditions, the other calmly places the “Afghans” in standard “kopeck pieces” and “trash”. However, it should be said that the comfort of a pet living in an apartment largely depends on its temperament. Some greyhounds are comfortable with the lack of space, provided they are well-walked. Others, on the contrary, need country apartments with an extensive backyard area, where you can chase rodents or neighboring cats to your heart’s content.
Once upon a time, the Afghan Hound was an unpretentious hunting dog that required almost no maintenance. However, after the breeders bred its decorative variety with a hypertrophied undercoat, the owners’ work increased. Do not forget that Afghan hounds do not shed on their own, they need help by combing out dead hairs with a comb and plucking out the undercoat. In addition, a dog’s coat that is devoid of natural grease tends to tangle. Therefore, if you do not bother with systematic combing, the animal quickly turns into an untidy “felt boot”.
The Afghan hound’s coat is combed in layers, starting from the bottom and after preliminary moistening, since dry hair is extremely fragile and highly electrified. Be sure to work out the tufts of hair between the paws, which often fall off. By the way, “Afghans” treat their feet with trepidation and do not like being touched, so the sooner you start scratching the puppy’s paws, the easier it is for you. The tail of the Afghan Hound also needs styling: comb it so that the hair hangs down strictly vertically, forming a straight parting in the upper part of the tail.
Up to one year old, the puppies’ hair grows intensively and practically does not fall out, so the usual brushing with a natural bristle brush is enough for babies about once every 1-2 days. 12-month-old individuals boast a fully formed coat: a parting appears on the head, the awn on the back becomes stiffer and shorter, and the undercoat on the legs and sides is longer. During this period, a trimming knife is added to the already existing arsenal of combs and combs to treat the back and sagging areas on the sides of the neck. According to the breed standard, the classic haircut for Afghan hounds is contraindicated, but if you shorten the hair under the tail and armpits, where 90% of mats are formed, it will be easier to take care of the dog, and it will look neater (not suitable for show animals).
Too frequent bathing is not good for Afghan hounds, so one bathing day in several months is enough for an ordinary pet. The animals are washed with diluted veterinary shampoo, after which they apply conditioner to the wool, wipe it with a towel and dry it with a hairdryer. The ears are washed separately, alternately lowering them into a bowl of warm soapy water so that moisture does not get into the ear canal.
An important nuance: do not let the Afghan hound go to bed right after the bath, otherwise the wet coat will crumble and lose its airiness. Dry your dog completely first and then let him do what he wants.
The preparation of the Afghan Hound for the exhibition differs from the standard care mainly in the set of cosmetics that give the pet’s coat a special gloss. Usually, the animal is washed on the eve of the event, after which the dried dog is dressed in protective overalls to keep the hair clean for longer. It is better to protect the strands on the ears with a net and pull on protective dog shoe covers on the paws since the skin on them is sensitive and can change shade from contact with room dust.
Like any hunting breed, Afghan hounds need daily emotional and physical relaxation, that is, a good run. Moreover, it is better if it is not easy jogging in squares, but a full-fledged two-hour workout with playing catch-up, doing exercises and communicating with other representatives of the dog tribe. If possible, register your pet for coursing: both instincts are pleasant for him to amuse, and it is easier for you. In addition, classes will help the animal do its best and no longer bother you in the apartment with claims for attention.
When taking the Afghan hound outside and off the leash, do not lose your vigilance. These oriental beauties love to chase cars and small animals and lose sight of them is a matter of minutes. If there is neither time nor energy for total control, walk your pet in quiet wastelands or fenced areas, from where it cannot escape. By the way, Afghan hounds are quite jumpy, so make sure that the fence behind which the dog is training is of a suitable height – it will jump over low fences in no time. Consider the physiological characteristics of the breed: Afghan hounds normally tolerate chilly autumn weather, but suffer in the heat. Accordingly, in the summer heat, it is better to postpone walks to early morning and late evening.
The end of summer and the beginning of autumn is a difficult period for the owners of exhibition specimens since this is the season for the ripening of the seeds of burdock, string, and other thorns. All this “splendor” is perfectly collected by the soft, airy undercoat of the “Afghan” on a walk and rushes into the house. If you do not want to spend your free time removing garbage from the dog’s “mantle”, it is better to refuse excursions to autumn meadows and forests, or, alternatively, to take the pet out on a leash and make a safe route on your own.
Despite the fact that Afghan hounds are selective in food and have an ascetic body type, they will do the standard for hunting dogs ration, which consists of 20% animal protein. The main meats on the dog’s menu are beef, lamb, and chicken, and these can be unclaimed waste and trimmings. By-products such as heart and liver are absorbed no less actively by Afghan hounds, but since they contain almost no fat, it is not recommended to switch to them completely. “Afghans” will not refuse from chicken broth with wild rice, boiled fish fillets, low-fat cottage cheese, and hard-boiled eggs, so spoil them periodically with such delicacies.
To maintain the health and beauty of the coat, Afghan hounds need fat. Of course, pork meat will not work here, but a piece of fresh lard will be very useful. Brain bones are usually not given to show individuals, since holding the treat with a paw and gnawing at it, the dog stains and pulls out the hair on the so-called “slippers”. But so that the animal does not feel deprived, the bone can be replaced with a raw carrot, which at the same time will satisfy the body’s need for fiber. Mineral feeding is also necessary for greyhounds who eat natural food. Usually “Afghans” are mixed with kelp, fish oil, and during the period of active growth – dicalcium phosphate and pharmacy vitamin complexes.
If desired, the Afghan hound can be transferred to a high-quality and balanced “drying” – premium and super-premium class. But it is not recommended to abuse canned food for dogs. The dog will still not be able to eat them, because all wet food consists of more than half of water and, in fact, is low in calories, and at the same time costs the same as normal “drying”.
Afghan hounds, of course, are not healthy, but not frail sissies, whose health can be shaken by the slightest draft. The diseases most commonly seen in this breed are volvulus, myelopathy, hypothyroidism, and chylothorax. Various kinds of eczema and dermatitis diagnosed in greyhounds are mainly due to poor grooming, so be careful with your pet. The eyes of the Afghans are also relatively weak, so there are relatively many individuals diagnosed with cataracts and retinal degeneration.
How to Choose a Puppy
- Get ready for a surprise: Afghan Hound puppies are much inferior in appearance to adults, moreover, the breed is completely invisible in them. Going to the nursery for a four-legged friend, take a club specialist with you, or at least ask for reviews of other buyers about this institution.
- Take a closer look at curious, high-spirited kids who, upon seeing a new person, will definitely try to get to know him by sniffing their boots.
- If possible, inspect all droppings. Usually, it always has one or two puppies, inferior in size and fatness to their fellows. This, of course, is not a marriage, but to grow up worthy Afghan hounds from weak toddlers, you will have to spend many times more effort and time.
- If you are afraid of the manifestation of genetic diseases in a puppy, carefully study the pedigrees of both parents. Usually, the risk of hereditary ailments arises in individuals whose owner practices inbreeding.
- It is better to buy puppies with whom you are planning to visit exhibitions in adolescence when the main breed characteristics are more clearly visible. If the baby is bought exclusively for home maintenance, then he is ready to move to the house of the new owner in 2-3 months.