The Afghan Hound is one of the oldest dog breeds that has been around for hundreds of years. This beautiful noble breed is truly the King of dogs – it is elegant, graceful and lightning fast! They have beautiful long coats that require tons of grooming so only buy one if you are willing to commit to a grooming schedule. The Afghan is probably the first sighthound –meaning that it hunts by sight and not by scent as the Bloodhounds do. So if you are looking to love and raise an Afghan hound puppy, this brief guide might help you.
Facts and characteristics
- It is said that the Afghan Hound is so unique in its physical and mental capabilities that once you have lived with one, you will find it nearly impossible to be with another dog breed.
- Occasionally, you might find this beautiful creature staring out at the horizon with an intent stare. They are actually capable of seeing objects that are beyond the realm of a human’s vision.
- Also known as the Persian Greyhound or the Barukhzy, the Afghan has a bit of ‘Saluki’ blood in it. Both the Afghan and Saluki are very similar physically though the Afghan is actually larger and stronger and with a heavier coat.
- Afghan hounds were first bred in Afghanistan.
- This is one of the most popular breeds today in show rings. Life Magazine has actually featured an Afghan Champion named Rudiki of Prides Hill on their 1945 edition cover. Thanks to their elegance and beauty, this breed has been the star of many shows and movies. Movies such as the Lady and the Tramp II and Prissy as well as 101 Dalmatians 1 and 2 have all featured Afghans.
- This is a physically beautiful and elegant dog having a gorgeous, silky coat. The length of their skull is thrice the width giving them 270 degree field of vision. Their height is between 25 and 29 inches and weight should be ideally between 45 to 60 lbs. Color- Afghan hounds comes in different shades like white, black, dark brown, reddish or partly colored. Some dogs have black noses or dark masks. The Mandarin variety actually has facial hair that resembles a Manchu moustache.
- This is a fast breed-they can run up to speeds of 40 miles per hour-which is almost the speed of a race horse. So always keep your pet on leash as they are prone to running. An apartment is not a good dwelling as this breed needs space.
Earlier versions of the breed were known to be very shy; they were actually reputed as being nervous around people and places that they were unfamiliar with. Today however, these traits have more or less been removed. The Afghan is a loyal, bold, faithful companion who is strong and protective of its owner. Though considered almost aloof and non-demonstrative, the Afghan Hound will not hesitate in showing his owner how much s/he loves them. Here is a summary of Afghan hound temperament features:
- Afghans form an unbreakable bond with their owners.
- They are sensitive, affectionate and intelligent.
- This breed gets along with older kids and small pets. However, they have a high prey drive and will not hesitate to chase small animals like kittens.
- Your Afghan will need daily exercise as boredom and excess energy could drive them to indulge in destructive behavior.
- They make great watch dogs but are not aggressive enough to become guard dogs.
- Some experts believe that their independent nature makes them difficult to train.
- Avoid leaving your Afghan alone for prolonged periods of time.
Where to find an Afghan Hound
If you are convinced that an Afghan hound puppy is just the pet for you, you should start looking for reputed Afghan hound breeders in your area. Do not be overly impressed by breeders who present brag advertisements in newspapers. Always look for ones with an outstanding reputation and strong commitment to good breeding ethics. Visit the Afghan Hound Club of America to find top breeders in your area. It is important that you find out as much as you can about your puppy’s pedigree. A good breeder will be able to explain to you about this and will also give you reasons why they chose to breed from those particular dogs. Alternatively, you can go in for an adult Afghan hound rescue from a shelter or dog pound. There are some disadvantages in doing that though. First of all, you might never know of the health issues and the pedigree of the dog. Also, an adult Afghan might have already formed impressions about humans and could be harder to house train. Reputed breeders can charge anywhere between $1000 and $3500 for this beautiful breed.
This breed is slow to learn and often difficult to train owing to their independent streak. However, you need to be consistent and committed to training them from an early age. Early socialization is also a must to avoid behavioral issues with people and other animals. Use positive reinforcement during training as your Afghan is eager to please and loves praise and rewards. Show your dog what to do-if he does it, praise him with a reward.
The average life span of the Afghan is about 13-14 years. Common health issues in this breed include cancer, allergies, hip dysplasia, and even sensitivity to anesthesia. You must keep your Afghan in great shape and be aware of his dietary and grooming needs. Regular vet checkups can catch and treat minor issues and keep you dog healthy for years. Note that this breed does not do well in hot, over heated or very humid climates.
Your Afghan hound puppy’s first food will be his dam’s milk. In case this is not available, a formula will work. Always get a detailed feeding sheet and schedule from your breeder and follow this for the first few days/months of your puppy’s arrival. Later on, discuss with your vet what to feed him/her. With the myriad types of dog food available in the market, much of the guesswork as to what to feed your puppy or adult Afghan has been taken out.
Please read this section before you buy your Afghan! Your Afghan hound is royalty and needs to be treated as such. This is a breed with extensive grooming needs even if you decide to keep your Afghan hound shaved all the time. Lack of grooming will show in form of mats and tangles. Puppies tend to ‘blow’ their coat and go through massive coat changes so you will have a lot of hair all over each time. Bathe your pet with a gentle, vet approved shampoo once a month. Combing is a daily necessity if you want to keep your pet’s coat shiny and silky.