average of 8 puppies per litter but may be up to 15
Southern, AKC Hound
CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR
all colors and patterns acceptable but white on the face or body is considered very undesirable.
27 to 29 inches (68.58-73.66cm)
27 to 29 inches (68.58-73.66cm)
The Afghan Hound needs large spaces to be able to run and exercise. They can tolerate apartments provided they have lots of exercise but do best in a house with a large fenced yard.
The Afghan Hound is a very ancient breed of dog with a regal and elegant bearing and carriage. They are highly recognizable with their narrow and tall body and long, thick and profuse coat. In general shape the Afghan Hound appears like a very tall and long haired Greyhound and like the Greyhound, they are capable of great speed and the ability to cover long distances without effort.
The head of the Afghan Hound, like the body, is long and narrow. They are often described as having a very aloof appearance since they tend to carry their head high at all times. The profile of the head is rather straight from the top of the skull through to the slight stop and then the nose actually curves outwards in a slightly convex shape, referred to as a Roman nose. The muzzle is very tapered and refined and ends in a black nose on all coat colors. The eyes are always very dark in color and almond to triangular in shape, set into the head and not bulging or sunken in appearance. The eyes should give the look of calm intelligence. The ears are long and set across from the eyes. When pulled forwards the ears should almost reach the end of the long muzzle. The lips are tight to the teeth and the bite is even, with no underbite or overbite.
The neck is long and arched, blending nicely into the long, sloping shoulders and the narrow but deep chest. The neck is set high into the shoulders adding to the proud carriage typical of the breed. The back is straight from the withers to the hips and the appearance should be of lean power and muscles. The brisket is deep but not thick or heavy, with a definite cut-up to the abdomen. The hips are well developed and pronounced with powerful and long hind legs. The front and hind legs should be well boned but not heavy and should not appear slight or lacking in development. The legs will all be held close to the body as well as straight forward in orientation with the body. The pads of the feet are large and thick to allow these dogs to run over sand and through mountainous terrain.
The coat is long and profuse and the breed has a natural silky topknot. The coat can be of any color or pattern and color combinations are often more favored than solid colors. There is no white allowed on the head and all other areas white is highly undesirable. The tail is long, thin and very tapered and has a curve or a ring in the end but should never curl around and touch the body.
The Afghan Hound has a very flowing gait but also has the amazing ability to change directions almost instantaneously. They tend to have a very elastic and jaunty step with the front and hind feet seeming to move at the same spacing, making their footfalls in the same tracks.
The coat of the Afghan Hound is thick, long and very silky in texture. The hair is uniformly long across the body although adults will have a shorter smoother saddle area that extends along the back and ribs. The legs, chest and flanks and neck have long feathered hair and there is noticeable feathering on the ears. The head has a long and silky topknot that typically parts and falls to both sides of the head. For show the coat is left natural although cuffs may be clipped in long hair above the feet to accentual the size of the feet.
Most breeders prefer some pattern or color combination rather than solid colors.
The Afghan Hound is an ancient breed that originated in what is now Egypt. There are records of the Afghan Hound going back approximately 4000 years when they were used for hunting as sight hounds. The dogs had to be able to chase prey and turn instantaneously in harsh terrain and in the mountains. The Afghan Hound moved with nomadic tribes from Egypt into the area now known as Afghanistan where they were used to hunt gazelles and other nimble and fast prey. The long, heavy and thick coat of the Afghan Hound has been developed over centuries to allow this breed to live in the high mountains in the extreme winter conditions found throughout the areas of the Middle East.
These dogs remained fairly isolated in with the native tribes of the Afghanistan mountains. They were not brought out of the country until the early 1900's when they were illegally exported from their native country to England. Still a relatively rare and exotic breed the Afghan Hound has been used for hunting, herding, watching, racing and as a show dog.
The Afghan Hound, despite it is aristocratic physical appearance is actually a very sweet, loving and playful dog that enjoys human interaction and companionship. They will bond with one or two people in the family and will typically choose to attend to these people rather than responding to commands from everyone. The Afghan Hound is very much like a cat in some aspects of its personality. They need to be able to pick and choose when they want attention and companionship, although this trait will vary greatly between dogs, and males are more aloof typically than females.
The Afghan Hound typically is not a good dog in a house with very small children. Despite their large size they can be timid and are often nervous of sudden movements and loud, unpredictable sounds, both of which are traits of most small children. They do enjoy interacting with older kids and are very patient with kids in general. The Afghan Hound is usually good with household pets once they have been socialized and properly introduced, however they will chase strange animals that may come into the yard.
Afghan Hounds will have a wide variety of temperaments from timid and high strung if not socialized to a well adjusted family pet with proper training and socialization. While not a dominant breed of dog they are very sensitive to any type of correction and will typically respond to a simple "no" and then ignoring. The Afghan Hound is a good companion dog although some are not excessively playful once they are out of their puppy stage. There are also some Afghan Hound that continue to love to play, chase and be a clown well into their adulthood.
The breed is known for an independent streak which is usually noted by the dog seeming to not hear commands, especially a call to come back when they are out running and playing. Consistent, regular positive interactions and lots of time with the family is the best way to enhance the Afghan Hounds sweet and gentle personality.
The most commonly seen Health Problems noted with the Afghan Hound are typically the heart, eyes and injuries to the tail. Overall the Afghan Hound has a low pain tolerance and they seem to need a bit of special attention should they have any type of minor injury. The most common Health conditions with the Afghan Hound are:
Necrotic myelopathy - a respiratory paralysis that typically occurs at 3 to 6 months of age and will result in death.
Ear Mites and Ear infections - this is common with any breed with folded over ears.
Allergies - milk Allergies as well as certain food and environmental contaminants and items can result in allergies that will result in hair loss and possible skin infections if there is scratching and licking.
Cataracts - eye conditions that may be corrected by surgery and drug therapies.
CHD - canine hip dysplasia can be mild to severe and will be gradually degenerative.
In addition it is important for owners and vets to be aware that the Afghan Hound is very sensitive to many different types of medications as well as to anesthesia. This is an important consideration when deciding on specific surgical procedures and drug therapies.
The long, silky beautiful hair of the Afghan Hound requires regular, daily grooming to keep it in top shape and free from knots and tangles. To keep an Afghan Hounds coat in good shape it will usually take a commitment of several hours of grooming time per week. The breed is never clipped or trimmed on the body or head for show, although the leg cuffs may occasionally be trimmed for show.
Typically an Afghan Hound being used as a show dog will be bathed at least once a week, however those that are used as pets will not require bathing this frequently. When grooming a pin brush and a wide toothed grooming comb is usually all that is required. A misting bottle filled with water or water with a few drops of dog hair conditioner or detangler mixed in is a great way to help detangle the coat and stop the coat from tangling back up after brushing. Unlike many breeds the Afghan Hound should be fully bathed before grooming if the coat is soiled, dirty or very matted. Trying to dry groom a coat will lead to more tangles and hair breakage that will significantly damage the appearance of the coat.
The coat should always be groomed from the area closest to the skin to the ends of the coat, not from the ends to the roots. Most owners will use a hairdryer to blow the thick coat aside to get to the area next to the skin. Other people choose to simply take their Afghan Hound to the groomer every two weeks for a complete bath and grooming. In addition a "snood" or hood can be used to protect the long hair on the Afghan Hounds ear's from getting into their food and keeping the hair around the head clean.
The commitment to grooming is essential for families or individuals thinking about choosing an Afghan Hound as a pet. These dogs cannot maintain their beautiful coats without regular, time consuming brushing and grooming. Understanding the commitment to grooming and the ongoing requirement is critical.
The Afghan Hound is a breed that needs at least two 30-minute blocks of time per day to get out and run in a safe, fenced area. They will run just for the sheer enjoyment of it, with or without companionship. They do, of course, make terrific jogging companions but it is important to remember that jogging is not full out running for these dogs. They need to be able to gallop free and to stretch their muscles. Most breeders recommend at least two hours of exercise per day, with one hour being the absolute minimum the breed can tolerate.
The Afghan Hound needs to be exercised in a fenced area, as they will often simply refuse to return while they are running. They will also chase and are often used for lure coursing events. They will chase cars, cats, squirrels and anything else that catches their eye. However, they are also very obedient when trained on the lead, making them simple to walk and exercise on a regular basis. Many Afghan Hounds will let down their aristocratic bearing and join the family in games and romps around the yard. They are not a natural retriever but can be taught to fetch and this can be a good source of exercise.
When the Afghan Hound is growing and developing they will often go through growth spurts at which time they are uncoordinated and awkward. It is very important to monitor exercise at this time and not overstress these puppies to prevent muscle and bone development issues.
The Afghan Hound is a very intelligent dog but it does have an independent streak that requires patience and understanding. They need consistent and firm training but should never be treated harshly either in voice or correction as they will quickly become timid and may exhibit signs of becoming very nervous, anxious and high strung. Calm, gentle training as well as an understanding of the breeds needs to run and exercise on a daily basis is essential.
The Afghan Hound will often become bored of the same types of routines and training activities. Try to provide as much of a variety as possible. Never punish the dog for being itself, remember they are a hunting breed and have been bred for centuries to chase, manage the environment and always have the dog in a fence or on a leash to prevent run aways.
The Afghan Hound is often very difficult to housebreak and because of their large physical size crate training is usually not an option if the dog is beyond his or her puppy stage. Avoid punishing or harshly correcting the dog for accidents in the house, instead work on getting the dog or puppy outside faster and rewarding them for going to the bathroom in the right area.
An obedience class is an ideal option for an Afghan Hound. These classes provide both socialization as well as a way to learn to work with the nature of the dog. Be sure to look for a trainer that has experience in working with this beautiful breed of dog to make the most out of the class.