Are you thinking of getting a dog and are on the fence about what breed to get? Well, don’t despair, because this blog post is here to help! In today's post, we'll be discussing the pros and cons of owning an Afghan Hound. Not really the usual dog you catch running around in the woodlands. If you ever had the special joy of meeting one or being granted an audience, you’ll be probably taken aback by their dramatically long coat and almost royal attitude. So without further ado, let's jump right in!
History of the Afghan Hound
The Afghan Hound is known to be one of the oldest breeds in the world and are genetically similar to the Saluki. They are referred to as basal breeds. This means they have had the highest percentage influence over modern-day dog breeds and their genetics.
These are resistant dogs that are characteristically often intelligent, active and independent. Their instincts can be stronger to protect or hunt in what they consider their territory. In Afghanistan they have been known as a Tazi.
It is estimated that Afghan Hounds have been around for 8000 years and as the name suggests their origin are the high mountains and deserts in Afghanistan. They’re sighthounds meaning they hunt with sight and speed rather than scent and endurance like other dog friends. Have you ever tried sneaking up on a sight hound? Its almost impawsible! Whilst humans have a vision field of 180 degrees, sight hounds have an impressive 270-degrees. They were bred to hunt gazelle, deer or smaller game.
Sighthounds are also very fast, build to run and survive in extreme conditions. An Afghan Hound should never be overweight, as it would be detrimental to their health.
These very beautiful dogs have been brought to England in the late 1800s for the first time and caught the eye of people straight away. They were almost seen as dog aristocrats with their long, dignified neck, their long coat and their all-knowingly expression. No wonder they started to become popular pets which were bred for their long silky coat. Back then they were called Barukhzy Hounds. Unfortunately, the strain of this dog became extinct during the first world war when all breeding came to a sudden halt.
The modern Afghan Hound came from the so known Ghazni strain from Kabul after the First World War and was imported into the UK.
The British Kennel Club recognises 22 colours of Afghan Hounds. Some of them are the following: Black, white, black and tan, blue, brindle, gold or cream. An outstanding feature is their long neck which is long, strong with a proud carriage of the head. Their coat is also outstanding. In terms of the breed standard, the coat should develop naturally. We would require a whole blog post just to describe the grooming process of the Afghan Hound. Its hard work to keep the coat silky and shiny. Once the coat has been neglected, it will take a long time to re-grow it and bring it back to certain standards. Lets leave this to the pros!
Average weight is 56lbs which requires a sufficient amount of food to keep a healthy weight.
The average life span is 10-12 years although 15 is not unusual.
What is it like to live with an Afghan Hound?
On the first glance, the Afghan Hound is nothing but impressive. He or She is like a king or queen looking down at their kingdom. But there is so much more than meets the eye with these ones. The Afghan Hound is definitely not for the uncommitted dog lover.
Lets begin with the fact that Afghan hounds are sighthounds. Regular exercise is essential to maintain good health. This dog is an athlete after all, build to hunt in the deserts of Afghanistan. According to the BKC, they require at least 2 hours exercise a day. They have an instinct to hunt, so if you have a garden make sure its properly fenced. Recall should be trained, but bear in mind you cannot take the sight hound out of the Afghan Hound. Sighthounds will have the instinct to chase after small animals and you might end up searching for your dog in random woodlands or worse. It is recommended to let your Afghan Hound roam free in a fenced area.
Early training and a certain firmness are crucial for a healthy relationship with your Afghan Hound. They can be independent characters at times and wary of strangers. Often described as aloof at first. You need to gain your Afghans Hound trust. Early socialisation is important to have a socialised dog in the future. That said, they can be stubborn, so training is a challenge.
As many dogs, they’re highly sensitive to harsh corrections. Find out what makes your Afghan Hound happy and use this as positive reinforcement for training. It won’t be easy as they are stubborn when it comes to training. Unfortunately, there is several articles that put them down as being “dumb”. That is not true. Afghan Hounds are highly intelligent, just need a motivation and a committed dog owner as they have a mind of their own. Once you form that bond, it will be a rewarding experience for the two of you.
At home, they’re usually calm and true coach-potatoes if their exercise needs are met. If they trust you and have build a relationship, they will love cuddles and lean into you to be near you. They’re very balanced dogs with a calm nature and will suit people with a similar nature. They certainly can have a clownish side to them. Afghan Hounds are gentle and will be a loyal best friend to you. The bond you share will be one of a kind.
They’re generally good with children but as with all breeds, don’t leave them unattended as they won’t suffer fools gladly. Especially, if they haven’t been socialised from a young age.
The grooming is a time-consuming matter. If you re-read the blog title, we said that the Afghan Hound is not for the faint-hearted dog lover. You must have the time to groom the Afghan Hounds coat. We are assuming that only true Afghan Hound lover would opt for this breed anyway. Owners say that if they did miss a week of grooming, it took triple the time to groom the hound the week after.
The long coat is the hallmark of this dog. Some coats tend to mat more than others (cotton coats) so the coat texture does vary from one hound to the other. Then there is also a difference in coat texture if an Afghan has been spayed or neutered. A puppy Afghan needs also a different sort of groom than an adult Afghan.
There is so much to consider, that we recommend speaking with a knowledgeable breeder or specialised groomer to get all the correct details per stage.
On average, we would recommend to plan in 3 hours for a full grooming session. In comparison, a Samoyed or Chinese Crested takes around 30min- 1 hour. If you take your Afghan for a walk in woodlands, be prepared to brush and pull twigs and grass out of the hair after every walk. If you don’t have the time, this dog breed is not for you.
Afghan Hound temperament in a nutshell
Grooming is a time-consuming matter
Training can be tough and requires positive reinforcement
The Afghan Hound is a loyal and calm dog with clownish inclines
They love and require a lot of exercise
Balanced dogs with a dignified nature and a unique bond with their owner
Potential diseases in the Labrador Retriever breed
There is some genetic predispositions in the Afghan Hound as with many pure breeds that should be checked out on a regular basis. Buying an Afghan Hound puppy from a reputable breeder is always the first step to ensure your pup has a reduced risk. Also, we are not vets. This is simply some diseases to be aware of and doesn’t replace your own research with a vet before buying a puppy.
Lets jump right in.
The Hound can be prone to different heart diseases. Regular check ups at the vet can ensure an early detection.
Afghan Hounds also require most often anesthesia when they have a vet appointment. This increases risks of other problems. Speak with your vet about different types of anesthesia to reduce risk.
Afghan Hounds can have less thyroid hormones. This is called hypothyroidism.
Bones and joint problems can also be genetically predisposed (Hip and elbow dysplasia). Observe your dog thoroughly and speak with your vet if they change the way they walk or lay down more than usual.
The more aware you are of these diseases, the higher the chances that you can prolong the life of your dog if problems arise. Same as with your child, you should be aware of all required vaccinations, risks and even risk outside of your home. This blog post for example outlines all toxic spring plants that can be harmful to your pet.
The more you know, the better you will be prepared.
Many dog owners are unaware of the danger in some pet toys and accessories that can worsen health issues, when they innocently buy cheap products from the Far East. Avoid synthetic rubber play things like chew bones or tug o' war ropes from polyester; polyester collars could cause skin irritation and are not breathable like natural materials. Swap out those harmful materials with our eco friendly pet products from hemp here at Hooman’s Friend. Breathable, eco-friendly and sustainable!
Do you remember the first Barbie dog? It was an Afghan Hound called Beauty and it came out in 1979!
But there is also some other non-fiction famous Afghan Hound owners. Zeppo Marx and the very talented Salvador Dali. Now, the last one is definitely what we would call a high caliber Afghan Hound lover.
If you want to learn more about other dog breeds, check related articles or sign up to our newsletter here. This will also trigger a code for 15% off your first order on our eco friendly pet products. We are working hard to add all dog breeds as soon as possible to have a whole extensive library!
"There is a lot of maintenance to keeping an Afghan. So unless you are willing to put in the time to maintain your dog, don't get one"
Medium to Large
Demanding and frequent
Tendency to drool
Tendency to bark
Tendency to dig