An ancient breed, native to Afghanistan with thousands of years worth of history. Find out everything you need to know on the Afghan Hound in our guide.
Height: 25-27 inches
Weight: 23-27 kilos
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Pedigree? (registered with the KC?): Yes, this breed is registered with the Kennel Club.
Positives and Negatives
Below are the pros and cons of the Afghan Hound:
- Child and dog friendly
- Independent can be left alone
- Hypoallergenic, low shedder
- Can tolerate both hot and cold climates
- High grooming maintenance
- Strong prey drive
- Not easy to train
- Not ideal for first-time owners
The Afghan Hound is instantly recognisable thanks to its unique coat, curly tail, and long ears! The breed is elegant, graceful, and will turn the heads of every passer-by!
Afghan Hounds were greatly loved by aristocracy worldwide, but it wasn’t just for their looks, they were also fantastic sighthounds.
The long, silky coat is hypoallergenic, making them a better breed choice for those with allergies. Coat colours can be found in black, red, and cream.
Combinations of these colours are also seen. Their fur tolerates both hot and cold temperatures. In the Middle East, they are known as ‘Tazi’. An ancient name carried by hunting dogs.
Afghan Hounds have been participating in TV shows and movies for years now although they haven’t yet earned a lead role.
This could be down to the breed being harder to train. TV advertisements, books, and magazines have also featured this canine.
The first-ever cloned dog was Snuppyy, an Afghan Hound.
A scientist from Korea named Hwang Soo-Suk was responsible for leading the team at Seoul National University.
Snuppy was born on April 24th 2005 and was made by a cell from the ear of an Afghan Hound.
The Bakhmull is the long-haired Russian version of the Afghan Hound. Breeding began in the 1970s, after those from the Russian Army returned home with the breed.
The name Bakhull translates to velvet, relating to the Afghan Hounds silky smooth coat.
Afghan Hounds are an ancient breed dating back between 8000 BC-3000BC. It is believed they were produced by the Saluki who travelled from Persia into Afghanistan.
Be it in the deserts or the cold mountains, the Afghan Hound was devoted to their owners, a trait that is still around today.
Royals, chieftains, and aristocrats across the mountains of Asia were mesmerized by the dog’s sight and speed when it came to hunting.
Afghan Hounds can reach up to speeds of 40 mph making them one of the fastest breeds in the world. Today, they are commonly seen in dog racing.
The Afghan Hounds history started in the UK in the 1800s. Members of the army came home from British India, accompanied by the breed.
They were called ‘Persian Greyhounds’ due to their similarity with the UK’s own sighthound.
Upon their arrival, they quickly became popular at dog shows. In Crufts, the breed won Best in Show in 1928 and 1930.
They also won this title at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 1957-1983. There are two known strains of the breed in the UK.
The first based on Zardin’s breed standards were Major Bell Murray’s Afghan Hounds in Scotland. The second being Major and Mrs Amps Ghazni hounds.
The Afghan Hound Association was founded by Mary Amps in 1927 and became the sole Afghan Hound club in 1931.
Over the years, despite the decline in breed numbers, the club is still dedicated to promoting the breed.
Shows are organised regularly. Education and training support is provided, and research is still being conducted into the breed’s health.
Afghan Hounds are athletic and will require an outdoorsy owner. Their strong prey drive can be a hindrance which explains their ignorance of being recalled, so they are best kept on a leash.
This breed has an independent mind and can be left alone. Afghan Hounds are better suited to those with experience and first-time owners should avoid them.
These canines can be sensitive, especially when being told off! They’re kind, gentle, devoted, loyal, and aren’t known to hold aggressive traits, despite their hunting background.
This breed will need early socialization to prevent timid behaviour in their adult years.
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Are Afghan Hounds Good with Strangers?
Afghan Hounds are described as reserved and aloof when around strangers. They won’t be excited or quick to introduce themselves to those they don’t know.
The breed is relatively quiet and some may not even bark at the knock of the door. They don’t make very good watchdogs!
Are Afghan Hounds Good with Children?
Yes, this canine is an excellent companion for children. Their playful side is a joy to be around, and their energetic nature can keep a child busy for hours!
They will never intentionally harm a child although smaller children could accidentally injure due to their large size.
Are Afghan Hounds Ok with Other Dogs?
Yes, given the right socialization this breed will be happy around other dogs. They are known to be rather sociable and love meeting different canines at the park.
Due to its strong prey drive, smaller dogs could be viewed as prey. Afghan Hounds are not cat friendly but can live with other dogs.
The Afghanistan Hound will need more than two hours of exercise each day. They love being outdoors and are better suited to the country lifestyle.
Big open spaces for running is exactly what this breed needs. In the summer, they may take a swim. A great form of vigorous exercise.
Dog sports such as lure coursing and agility are categories the Afghan Hound excels in. Although their stubborn personality has caused embarrassment in the show ring!
This breed isn’t famous for its recall, so always keep them on a leash when in the park.
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This canine is known to be sensitive to anaesthesia. Check out the breed-related health conditions of the Afghan Hound below:
- Hypothyroidism- The thyroid gland is underactive, thus reducing the affected dog’s metabolic state. Weight gain, coat changes, skin changes, and tiredness are all symptoms.
- Gastric Dilatation Volvulus- The stomach twists trapping gases and food inside. This is a potentially fatal condition and emergency veterinary attention will be needed. One of the causes is fast eating.
- Panosteitis- The long bones in the leg is affected by inflammation which will cause limping and lameness. The condition is painful commonly seen in dogs aged 5-18 months.
- Laryngeal Paralysis- The larynx (voice-box) doesn’t open the vocal cords when inhaling. If untreated this health issue could be life-threatening.
- Necrotic Myelopathy- This inherited condition has been observed in Afghan Hounds. The loss of myelin within the spinal cord will lead to paralysis.
Intelligence & Training
Afghan Hounds aren’t known for their intelligence and are rated as the lowest dog breed for intelligence. This makes training difficult from the offset.
Factor in their stubborn side and sensitive personality and an inexperienced owner can quickly feel out of their depths.
Afghan Hound puppies will need extensive socialization to prevent shyness in their older years. The breed can become frightened of sounds and sights they aren’t familiar with.
Unlike other dogs, this canine isn’t eager to please so positive reinforcement, particularly food rewards are best to use.
No matter the amount of time spent, this breed will not suppress its prey drive. Owners will need to learn how to manage this behaviour.
Thanks to their loyalty and devotion to their leader, housetraining won’t be too difficult. Harsh training techniques should be avoided and will cause this canine to withdraw.
It is moderately easy to teach an Afghan Hound puppy potty training, provided they have a garden.
As soon as they arrive in their new home, the Afghan Hound should be taken outdoors every 2 hours, and every 15 minutes after eating.
Be consistent or you will end up with a dog that is only half potty trained.
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One look at this dog and you know grooming isn’t going to be easy! Not to mention those that are show dogs!
Yet, their silky smooth coat is hypoallergenic and low shedding so that is a plus. Unlike other double-coated breeds, this canine has only one layer of fur.
Daily brushing will be needed to prevent tangles in the coat. Owners will need to dedicate hours each week to this process.
A pin brush is best to use. Brush softly to prevent damage to their skin or coat. Baths will be needed every fortnight although some owners do this weekly.
Always brush through the coat before getting it wet as knots will be incredibly difficult to remove. Blow-dry the fur and part it into sections, ensuring the coat is dried to the root.
Avoid rubbing with a towel in different directions as this can cause tangles.
Their long ears can be a breeding ground for bacteria in the ear canal. Ensure these are being cleaned weekly to reduce infection.
Nails will need to be trimmed fortnightly if they haven’t been filed down naturally. Teeth should be brushed at least three times a week although vets recommend daily brushing.