Afghan Hounds are an odd mixture of feminine grace and masculine strength. Their external appearance as well as their bearing and personality make them unique. Very quick and agile, they can run at great speed, and leap far with surprising ease.
Afghan Hounds as a breed were discovered by the Western world and the show business only in the 20th century. But they were around as sight dogs and hunters for a long, long time. In fact, Afghan Hounds are one of the oldest breeds of dogs, originating in the Middle Eastern countries. Modern genetic studies have traced their ancestry to the Egyptian civilization. They were bred to hunt down large prey in the rough mountainous terrain of Afghanistan. In their native lands they were known as Tazi.
When they made their first appearance in England they were called Persian Greyhounds or Barukhy Hounds. The breed characteristics of modern Afghan Hound dog breed is modeled on a dog named Zardin. Their success in dog show circles spawned interest in the breed initially, but constraints in grooming and training have reduced their popularity since then.
Afghan Hound dog breed is characterized by its distinctive appearance. The elegance of its flowing silky coat and the narrow, intelligent face and overall elegant figure have no match in the dog kingdom. It cleverly masks the athletic ability of this ancient breed, long cherished as a sight dog an accomplished hunter.
The silky coat varying in color from black, brown, tan and grey to nearly white is complemented by the hanging ears and tail. Standing tall at over 2ft at the shoulders, and weighing under 60 ponds, its thin and tall stature is accentuated by the majestic way it carries itself.
The imperial looking unique breed has an aloof and reserved nature to match. A born hunter, it is not very tolerant of small animals, especially cats and rabbits. Loyal to its master and surprisingly gentle with children, it is a mixed pot. Afghan Hounds are not very sociable around strangers; they may not always appreciate cuddling from its own family members.
They are extremely loving and cuddly as puppies, but a major shift in temperament takes place as they mature. Fearless and fiercely independent, this hunter takes some effort to train. They need expert trainers who are also very patient and use only positive reinforcements to discipline the dog.
Grooming and exercise
As is to be expected, its distinctive coat should be brushed to a soft sheen at least on alternate days. This can be quite a labor of love. The dog is today used mainly as a show dog, a far cry from its forefathers enjoying a wild hunt in the rough terrain of Afghanistan. But this is no pet for cramped city apartments. Wide open spaces may tempt the dog to roam at will, hence they need a large yard, fenced in and secure.
Vigorous exercise and physical and mental stimulation not only brings out the best in this breed, but also necessary to keep it happy. Even though they love to live indoors with their human pack, they belong in the open. Their ability to chase a prey and run it down with exacting speed and precision is put in to good use when the dog is entered into lure and obstacle courses as part of competitions.
Common health issues of Afghan Hound dog breed
Afghan Hounds are one of the dog breeds known to have extremely robust health. They are known to live anywhere from 12 to 15 years, without any serious breed-specific ailments. Occasional incidence of necrotic myelopathy and coronary heart disease is known among this breed. Cataract may trouble older dogs.