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Afghan Hound

Afghan

Size:

Males 26-28” at the withers (shoulders), and approximately 60 pounds in weight. Females 24-26” at the withers (shoulders), and approximately 50 pounds in weight.

Color:

Red, Black, Cream, Blue (grey/silver), Black & Tan, Black & Silver (a light to white cream), Brindle (“striped” in a combination of colors). Some with a “black mask”, some referred to as “Domino” (a “reverse mask”, dark “widows peak” on the head; light colored coat with dark “saddle”). The picture above is an example of a “Black Masked Red”.

Energy Level:

Indoors, “couch potatoes”. Outdoors, activity level is very high. They require sufficient amounts of exercise to maintain adequate mental and physical condition.

Life expectancy:

On average, 10-14 years, though reports of some dying younger as well as some living much longer are not uncommon.

Children:

Afghans can and do live harmoniously with children, but are not generally considered to be “good with children” as a whole, especially very young children who tend to pull tails and coat. Afghans raised with “respectful” children and conscientious, supervising adults do fine. Note: No dog of ANY breed should be left unsupervised with very young children.

Other animals:

The Afghan is a hunting dog who kills, versus the hunting dog who locates game for the owner to kill (as in retrievers, setters and pointers) so great care must be taken to ensure that the Afghan doesn’t mistake the family kitty as “prey”. Early socialization and training is a MUST if the owner has other small pets. In any case, care must be taken to never leave an Afghan unsupervised/unattended with such critters as hamsters, gerbils, etc. Though not generally “dog aggressive”, they can, on occasion be “same sex aggressive” with other dogs if not properly socialized. Most Afghans can and do live quite harmoniously with other pets such as birds, cats and other dogs. Only on rare occasions will they need to be the “only pet in the household” (usually from lack of early training and socialization in adult dogs).

Abilities:

Though not commonly thought of as an “intelligent” breed they are! (and wickedly clever!) Afghans can, and do excel at just about anything their owners are willing to do with them as long as the activity and the training are fun and non-punitive (Afghans respond best to “positive/motivational” training methods). Such activities include Obedience, Agility, Herding, Lure Coursing, Tracking and Therapy work.

Shedding/Grooming:

To maintain an Afghan in it’s signature “long, flowing, silky coat” requires a MINIMUM of weekly (every 7 days) bathing and blow drying which will take approximately 2-4 hours each time. Many pet owners choose to keep their hounds “clipped down or clipped short” to make the Afghan slightly easier to maintain. Afghans also have a trademark “saddle” (short, close hair along the back) that is evident in “intact” (non-neutered/spayed) males and females, which requires plucking or “stripping”. This “saddle” is often non-evident in neutered/spayed animals.

Health:

Though not rampant in the breed, health concerns can include: Bloat/Torsion, Cancer, Cardiomyopathy, Cataracts, Ear infections, Elbow & Hip Dysplasia, Hyper/Hypo Thyroidism and PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy).

Best with:

Experienced sighthound owners, people who enjoy the closeness and “bonding” of grooming time, owners who enjoy jogging or who have ample, securely fenced property of moderate size. People who appreciate “independence” and “free thinking” in a dog and who can devote adequate time to proper socialization and training. Afghans are very “cat like” in their attitudes so if you appreciate cats, you’ll appreciate the Afghan Hound!

Not for:

First time dog owners, homes with no fence or fencing shorter than 6 feet. Homes where the dog will be left alone all day/night, or apartment dwellers who cannot commit to exercising the dog on a daily basis. Owners who desire to, or must keep the dog outside (Afghans are INDOOR dogs). “Heavy handed” or overly coddling/protective owners who will not/can not properly train and socialize the dog. Families with overly zealous youngsters, or who raise/farm small animals (such as bunnies, chinchillas, ferrets, ducks and/or chickens) and allow these animals (and the dog) free run of the property. Definitely NOT for people who feel that dogs should “run free” (as in loose, off leash) as they tend to “bolt” and “course small animals” and have a tendency to “come”, ONLY after they have finished their “run” (which could take them many, many miles away).

Pros:

Extremely beautiful, elegant, affectionate, loyal, clever, and wickedly humorous dogs who are not merely “pets” but rather “members of the family”. Clean and “cat like”.

Cons:

Will “bolt” or “course” if not kept on leash or in securely fenced 6’ plus (they can leap tall buildings in a single bound) yards and have a tendency to NOT come when called. Because of their size, they often “counter surf” and jump up on furniture (including the kitchen table!) and require significant amounts of grooming to keep them in their tresses.

General info:

The Afghan Hound is a “Sighthound” (meaning hunts by sight) as opposed to a “Scenthound” (who hunts by scent) and is from the ancient family of Persian (or Oriental) Greyhounds. His origin is from Afghanistan and Persia, and primarily used as a hunter of gazelles, leopards and small game (such as rabbits) in those areas. There were two basic “types” (in physical appearance) of Afghans, the Mountain type and the Desert type, that were “blended” together to produce the Afghans we see today. The “Mountain type” was primarily found in the mountainous regions and had a squarer, slightly stockier body with more “coat” than his desert brothers (to keep him warmer in the colder climes) and had to be an exceptional athlete who could maneuver over rocks, boulders and rough terrain. The “Desert type” of Afghan was primarily found in the desert regions and had a slightly longer, finer bone with a sparser “coat” than the Mountain type, able to run longer distances on flatter terrain. The peculiar coat pattern in the Afghan is such that the profuseness of it protects him from extremes of heat and cold, whereas the short saddle hair on the back, neck, and extending down the hips diffused the heat. The Afghan Hound is extremely affectionate, comical and loyal with family members, makes an excellent “watch dog” and is rather “standoffish” and aloof with strangers. His “hunting instincts” run deep (the Afghan is not a “man made” breed, nor a breed who has been domesticated for hundreds of years) so must be supervised around small animals in case his “prey drive” kicks into gear. Afghans are notorious for “plucking birds out of the sky” and/or “hunting the interloping squirrel” as favorite games in your backyard!

Further Information:

The Afghan Hound Club of America
The Afghan Hound Club of America Rescue
Afghans Online (Virtual Breed Magazine)
Breed Details

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