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.
The Afghan Hound is a “sighthound” (it hunts by sight, as opposed to a “scenthound” who hunts by scent) and comes from the ancient family of Persian (or Oriental) Greyhounds.
Originally found in Afghanistan and Persia, the Afghan Hound was primarily bred and used as a hunter of gazelles, leopards and small game (such as rabbits) in those areas.
There were two basic physical appearance types of Afghans, the Mountain type and the Desert type, which 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). This type 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, and was bred to be able to run longer distances on flatter terrain.
His “hunting instincts” run deep (the Afghan is not a “man made” breed, nor a breed that has been domesticated for hundreds of years), so Afghans must be supervised around small animals in case the “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.
The Afghan’s unique coat is profuse enough to protect him from extremes of heat and cold, with short saddle hair on the back, neck, and extending down the hips to help diffuse the heat.
- People who are experienced with sighthound breeds;
- People who enjoy the closeness and “bonding” of grooming time;
- People who enjoy jogging or who have ample, securely fenced property of moderate size;
- People who appreciate independence and free thinking in a dog;
- People who can devote adequate time to proper socialization and training;
- People who appreciate cats… Afghans are very “cat like” in their attitudes.
- 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;
- Apartment dwellers who cannot commit to exercising the dog on a daily basis;
- People who want to, or must keep the dog outside (Afghans are INDOOR dogs).
- People who are “heavy handed” or overly coddling/protective;
- People who will not/can not properly train and socialize the dog;
- Families with overzealous youngsters;
- Households or farms with small animals (bunnies, chinchillas, ferrets, ducks and/or chickens) that allow these animals (and the dog) free run of the property;
- People who feel that dogs should “run free” (as in loose / off leash)—Afghan Hounds tend to bolt and chase after small animals, and have a tendency to “come” ONLY after they have finished their run (which could take them many, many miles away).
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.”
Will bolt and run long distances chasing after perceived prey if not kept on leash or in a securely fenced yard (with a 6’ plus fence—they are athletic and can leap very high in a single bound). Afghan Hounds 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!). Afghan Hounds require significant amounts of grooming to keep their tresses from becoming matted.
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.
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”).
Indoors, “couch potatoes”. Outdoors, activity level is very high. They require sufficient amounts of exercise to maintain adequate mental and physical condition.
On average, 10-14 years, though reports of some dying younger as well as some living much longer are not uncommon.
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.
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).
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.
To maintain an Afghan in its 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.
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).