- Lifespan: 12-14 years
- Group: AKC Hound
- Best Suited For: Families with children, active singles, houses with yards
- Temperament: Aloof, dignified, happy, playful
One of the oldest dog breeds and certainly one of the more “aristocratic” breeds, the Afghan Hound has become known as a sort of “king of dogs” for its appearance, general demeanor, and general nobility as a breed. Very well-suited for dog showing, these dogs are gentle and respond well to that type of attention. The Afghan Hound’s coat is remarkable, although it requires plenty of grooming. When an Afghan Hound walks in the room, people certainly take notice.
There is a lot to learn about the Afghan Hound, as it has a particularly rich and ancient history and have several aspects of its personality that make it a unique dog. Considered better-suited for older children who understand how to interact with dogs, it will not be a dog for everyone. People who need a versatile working dog, for example, can probably find a better breed in the Bouvier des Flandres than they can in the Afghan Hound. Let’s learn more about this dog and what makes it part of dog breed royalty.
One of the oldest dog breeds and certainly one of the more “aristocratic” breeds, the Afghan Hound has become known as a sort of “king of dogs” for its appearance, general demeanor, and general nobility as a breed.
Originally hailing from areas like the Sinai Peninsula (the Afghan Hound was even mentioned/portrayed in ancient Egyptian papyrus and were painted in Afghan caves as far back as 4,000 years ago), there’s no denying the ancient origins of the Afghan Hound. Despite this long history, the breed has remained relatively pure, which means the modern deviations are not far off of the historical Afghan Hounds.
As a sighthound (a dog that hunts by sight rather than necessarily using scents or the nose), the Afghan Hound has a rich history of working that its appearance might not convey. It has been both used as a shepherd and hunter, hunting down game such as deer and goats. With a thick coat, they were able to function in extreme seasons, which gives them a general outdoor versatility one would not necessarily expect.
the Afghan Hound is generally considered an original without much of a pedigree to speak of… or, rather, it is one of those rare breeds that can be considered its own pedigree.
Because the Afghan Hound is such an old breed of dog, its pedigree is essentially zilch – there’s not a lot known about it. Historians can discern some hypothesis, knowing the areas where the Afghan Hound probably originated. But beyond that, the Afghan Hound is generally considered an original without much of a pedigree to speak of… or, rather, it is one of those rare breeds that can be considered its own pedigree.
Food / Diet
The food you give to your Afghan Hound will not be untypical for that of most dog breeds, but many people try different foods in order to “treat” the Afghan Hound’s coat – people who show their Afghan Hound, in particular. You don’t have to take any special precautions in your dog’s diet beyond assuring essential nutrition and a general food level that keeps the dog at a healthy weight.
These dogs respond best to calm training. They can seem distant and aloof at times, which helps create that famous “aristocratic” air, but if you are able to demonstrate effective leadership there’s no reason the Afghan Hound can’t be a perfectly obedient and eager-to-please dog. Just be sure not to treat it too harshly, as it can be a little sensitive to over training and prefers a patient leader.
Running in the area around 60 pounds, there isn’t a lot of variance in this dog’s weight, including from gender to gender. You’ll want to make sure your dog is regularly weighed, especially if you’re raising an Afghan Hound for dog shows. A good adherence to this general size outline will be important if you want your dog to succeed in these shows.
Temperament / Behavior
The aristocratic air of the Afghan Hound is obvious, but before you chalk it off as an aloof breed, it’s important to realize this breed also can be very loyal and affectionate. One advantage of this more laid-back personality is that the Afghan Hound won’t try to challenge you for dominance, making them better-suited for the less-assertive types who simply want a nice companion that won’t try to run things.
They are generally peaceful dogs, though they can be a little suspicious of strangers if not properly socialized and used to the presence of strangers as well as other dogs.
The aristocratic air of the Afghan Hound is obvious, but before you chalk it off as an aloof breed, it’s important to realize this breed also can be very loyal and affectionate.
Common Health Problems
These dogs are considered generally healthy, which means your veterinarian probably won’t need to be consulted too much, though the normal precautions should always be taken.
Living about 14 years or so, which is what one can expect from a healthier breed of this size.
A good routine for your Afghan Hound is to take them out – making sure you go through the door first – and give them a good, long walk and even a jog, as they’ll be able to handle the speed with their relatively medium-to-large strides. Exercising should be considered a part of any dog’s normal routine, but the Afghan Hound should respond well to exercise with a little more edge to it than smaller breeds.
When it comes to play time, Afghan Hounds like to play games. They don’t usually like playing fetch, but if you have the patience, they can be taught.
The American Kennel Club sums up the breed: “Referred to as an aristocrat, the Afghan Hound’s appearance is one of dignity and aloofness. Well covered with thick, silky hair, very fine in texture, the Afghan hound’s coat is a sort found among animals native to high altitudes.” The AKC first recognized this breed in 1926.
One of the most distinctive features of the Afghan Hound, the coat will require great care and regular grooming. Paying attention to grooming is especially important if you want to adhere to the standards of the American Kennel Club and the standards of dog shows, which will expect a dog to be properly clipped and its coat to have the proper length in the proper areas.
Puppies should be raised, like many other breeds, to be properly socialized and to understand their boundaries – but generally the personality of Afghan Hounds will not be an overly aggressive or dominant one.