The Brief Overview
|Medium / 23 - 27kg
|Daily 1-2 hours
The Afgan Hound - The dog with the gorgeous hair and 100 names!
Ok, we are exaggerating a little with the 100 names but the Afgan Hound does have a few including Tazi, Tazhi Spay, Da Kochyano Spay, Sage Balochi, Ogar Afgan, Barakzai Hound, Eastern Greyhound & Persian Greyhound. Phew, no wonder we were confused.
Anyway, name confusion apart we have to say that for a large proportion of dog lovers this is one which should be on the shortlist, not only for its looks but for its gentle temperament (where its owners are concerned) and its home-loving nature. Despite their size, they can adapt pretty well to city living, are long-lived for bigger dogs, are fairly healthy and don't shed too much; which is surprising given the length of their coat. They do need a lot of exercise and grooming and love the outdoors, however, they are equally at home being loving family pets - if you have plenty of space that is and enjoy long walks.
No dog is perfect and if you decide to own one then be prepared to spend a lot of your day on walks, play and grooming. Exercise is key as they will soon put on weight without it so if you are a bit of a couch potato then an Afghan is a no, no otherwise though they have a lot to offer and could be your dream dog!
Read on and let's see if we can convince you further (one way or the other)...
Name: Afghan Hound or one of its alter ego names (not the African Hound though as is occasionally used)
Size: 25-27 inches 64 to 69 cm
Weight: 50-60 lbs for a healthy weighted dog
Grooming: Extensive… like… every ten minutes - seriously it's a daily task
Training: Difficult unless you are a farmer in the Afghan mountains
Exercise: Being a Basal Breed requires a lot of exercise - daily as a minimum
Temperament: Dignified, almost regal not really a yapper or barker
Origins: The Afghani Mountains
Lifespan: 12-15 years (good for a big dog)
Colourwise they are usually tan, black, or cream. Other colours are known but are less common. They need lots of grooming so if that's not your thing or you don't want to pay someone to do it then this is not the dog for you!
Tell me more...
Originally from Afghanistan, they were selectively bred there for generations as a working dog that could withstand the cold and rigour of life in the Afghani mountains. You might not think it from their slightly glamourous appearance, but they were fearless hunting dogs used to pursue and even take on Leopards. To this day they still have that hunting instinct which could be a problem if you have a pet big cat or more likely a normal one.
They are easily recognisable by their long, silken fur which curls slightly at the end and this can make a good conversation starter when out and about. We have already mentioned the list of alter ego names above and we have found three more to add to the list Kabul Hound, the Shalgar Hound, and the Galanday Hound.
The Afghan is a Basal dog breed, which means it has been used by humans since before we started writing things down, in order to perform tasks and make our lives easier. In a nutshell, it’s a working dog used to a full day of activity… although you would never think it by the hair. This is why exercise and play are so important, when you were bred to fight Leopards then activity-wise a short stroll around the block and chucking a ball a couple of times is not going to cut it. They will put weight on quickly and become unhealthy if their exercise needs are not met.
We know where they were bred, and we know why – to help mountain farmers survive – but we don’t know when the breed first appeared. Although a more recent addition the Afghan is becoming very popular in the USA according to the American Kennel Club and first appeared in Britain around the 1800s. Asides from a supposed origin in Afghanistan, there isn’t much known about the early genetics of this breed. You can read about the Afghan Hound at the UK Kennel Club website if you need more information.
Afghan Hound Facts!
Although this is an entirely serious article, you can never be too serious about a dog breed that looks like they should all be named Sharon (which would cure the confusion). The Afghan has been selectively bred for the lush hairstyles we know and love, but there are plenty of other interesting things about them. Here are the Five Minutes Spare favourite facts about Sharon the Afghan Hound:
- Modern Afghan Hounds as they are known in the UK was bred from a strain brought to England in the 1920s.
- The Afghan Royal Family used to give purebred Afghan Hounds as gifts and rewards.
- The ‘Tazi’ name suggests they might be connected to a similar breed that originates in the Caspian Sea area.
- They are sighthounds meaning they hunt primarily by sight and speed unlike many other members of the group who are more dependant on scent and stamina when it comes to the chase.
- The Afghan is now the 113th in popularity according to the American Kennel Club
- An Afghan hound was featured on the cover of Life Magazine, November 26, 1945.
In addition to all of this, there is no denying the astounding beauty of these pooches. They are royal dogs, bred for nobility. There is a certain social stance portrayed when you own one. They are a dog that represents the canine equivalent of the status symbol. Genteel and noble, who wouldn’t want such a cutie welcoming them home each day?
Afghan Hound - Temperament and Nature
If we could describe the temperament of this natural-born beauty in one word, we would choose ‘aloof’. They are dignified by default, unable to be goofy even if they try really hard. It would be like watching the queen try to crack a joke. They may be a noble breed, however, they do bond well with their immediate family and are good with children.
Training and Maintaining your Hound
The Afghan Hound is entirely stubborn. As much as they love to run and will play fetch until your arm falls off, they love the attention of training… but whether or not they respond to your commands will be entirely up to them.
The top tip for training the Afghan Hound is to make it interesting and fun. If the dog gets bored, you have had it. Train them in short, sharp stints with lots of exercise, play and rewards. Be persistent and you will eventually have the most loyal pet in the world, regardless of whether it agrees to sit or not.
Maintaining your Afghan Hound will be more difficult. You need to assign several hours a week for brushing or keep them trimmed short. They’re a high maintenance dog – but that’s plenty of bonding time.
Health Problems With The Afghan Dog Breed
The Afghan Hound breed is a healthy breed however, the American Kennel Club and National Breeding Club of America suggest you have three tests run on your pooch to ensure the pup is healthy. Other than that, the Afghan Hound is a long-lived breed for a large dog. The three tests are for:
- Thyroid problems
- Eyesight issues
- Hip investigation as hip dysplasia is a common complaint
The breed seems to be quite prone to cancer and this is listed as the most common cause of death in a 2004 UK Kennel Club survey. Life humans the risk of this can be lessened by lifestyle choices so please don't own one if you cant meet its exercise needs.
Where To Buy An Afghan Hound?
Afghan Hounds are a very specialised breed, meaning there aren’t that many of them around. The best place to buy one, therefore, is to go through your nearest Kennel Club. They will have a list of registered breeders on their website for you to choose from. Going through the Kennel Clubs guarantees a pup whose lineage can be traced back several generations. This gives you plenty of knowledge about their genetics and therefore medical conditions.
Before buying your pup, visit the parents. If you can’t meet at least one of the parents, there is a high chance of a puppy farm breeder in play. In which case contact your local animal protection agency and report them.
So there we have it not the dog for everyone, but one that will make you look good when out for a walk, a loyal friend and a protector against Leopards - not that there should've too much call for the latter nowadays. If you have the time and commitment needed to exercise and groom them an Afghan Hound will pay you back in spades, in terms of the love it will give.
Five Minutes Spare
If you are in the middle of deciding on which four-legged companion will be right for your lifestyle, there are so many options it would burst your head. To help make it a little easier, Five Minutes Spare have put together some guides to dog breeds. Visit us, find your perfect furry best pal, and live the dog’s life you’ve always dreamed of!