Afghan Hound

Last updated February 26, 2019

Afghan Hounds are categorized under the UKC (United Kennel Club) category of sighthound and pariah, as well as the AKC (American Kennel Club) category of the hound. They are an ancient breed, and are considered to be highly elegant dogs. As a result of their appearance, the Afghan Hounds is a popular show dog breed.

Afghan Hounds have a general height range of 2 to 4 feet (61 – 122 centimeters), with measurements dependent on gender, and an average weight range of 50 to 60 pounds (22 – 27 kilograms). They have an average lifespan of 12 years.

History/Origin

Afghan Hounds can be traced back to the 1800s; originating in Afghanistan, the Afghan Hound was bred to be a hunting dog, chasing prey in mountainous and desert regions. In addition to their hunting duties, Afghan Hounds also acted as guard dogs and watchdogs for tribes and their livestock. Possessing great speed and the ability to navigate through dangerous terrain, Afghan Hounds fought predators such as wolves, jackals, deer, wild dogs and even snow leopards. Even now, Afghan Hounds possess high agility and great stamina.

Physical Appearance

The coat of an Afghan Hound is considered to be highly elegant, with thick, silky and long hairs. The hairs are very fine, and apart from the dog’s back, the entire body is covered with hair. Their coats are most commonly a sandy color, although colors do differ depending on the breeder. Afghan Hounds have a long and narrow head along with strong jaws, and their necks are long.

Personality/Temperament

Despite their aristocratic appearance, Afghan Hounds are very playful and active, and are highly intelligent dogs. Affectionate and sensitive, they are dogs with a low dominance level. Afghan Hounds will get along best with older children and adults, although they are perfectly able to get along well with young children with proper training.

Afghan Hounds are known to be tough to housebreak, and will require training sessions in order to keep it obedient. Without established rules/boundaries, Afghan Hounds may end up being disobedient as well as timid and high-strung if lacking in exercise. They are high-spirited, and do not respond well to rough handling.

Afghan Hounds are indoor pets due to their laid-back personality, but do require daily exercise as a result of their active nature. Yards should be fenced in as the Afghan Hound is skilled at escaping and is difficult to catch because of their exceptional speed and agility; in addition, Afghan Hounds are also prone to chase prey.

General Care & Health

The coats of Afghan Hounds should be brushed regularly (preferably daily) and then combed with a metal comb. Due to fine hairs, the Afghan’s coat is prone to tangles, and a detangler spray can be used on the coat before grooming. If grooming turns out to be too tough of a chore, a groomer can be hired to take care of the task. As a result of their hanging ears, Afghan Hounds do have issues with ear infections. Their ears should be checked weekly and cleaned with a cotton ball and a cleanser obtained through a vet. Cotton swabs should not be stuck into the ear as it may lead to damage in the ear canal. Teeth should be brushed two to three times a week at the very least, and nails should be trimmed once or twice a month. Check for signs of infection whenever the Afghan is groomed, keeping an eye out for redness and inflammation of the skin, eyes, nose and mouth.

The recommended daily amount of food an Afghan Hound should be getting is 2 to 2½ cups of dry food, divided into two meals throughout the day. Despite the presence of a guideline, the amounts can be altered if the dog is highly active or otherwise.

Afghan Hounds are prone to the following diseases:
• Allergies – symptoms of allergies are the common symptoms that humans experience; sneezing, eye/nasal discharge, itching, and lethargy. Treatment will depend on the cause of the allergy(ies).
• Cancer – symptoms of canine cancer may include abnormal swelling, bleeding, and difficulty breathing.
• Juvenile Cataracts – cataracts are a partial or complete opacity of the lens in the eye, and are the leading cause of vision loss in dogs.
• Hypothyroidism – this disorder of the thyroid gland carries symptoms such as chronic ear infections, bacterial skin infections, lethargy, and depression.

Summary

The Afghan Hound boasts a stunning appearance, and are known to be one of the most elegant breeds. As a breed that is best as an individual’s pet or a one family pet, Afghan Hounds are usually indifferent to strangers and may be suspicious of people they are not familiar with. Unmotivated by food and lacking a strong desire to please, Afghan Hounds are challenging to train, but when done correctly, they can make great companions.


Image Credit

Photo by Rafa Mora Arévalo - CC BY-SA 2.0

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