The Afghan Hound is possibly one of the most recognizable dogs in the world, thanks to its unique coat.
Other Names: Shalgar Hound, Kuchi Hound, Baluchi Hound
Country Of Origin: Afghanistan
Dog Group: Hound
Recommended For: Couples, single owners
Maintenance Level: High
Lifespan: 12-14 years
Temperament: Proud, intelligent, independent
Suitable For the First-Time Owner? No
Good With Children? Yes
Good With Other Animals? Yes
Good With Strangers? Yes
Good For Apartments? Yes
Exercise Requirements? At least a mile every day
Can Live In Hot Weather? No
Can Live In Cold Weather? Yes
Can Tolerate Being Left Alone? Yes
Grooming? Daily brushing, weekly bathing
Afghan Hounds are regularly entered in both agility and show competitions and do very well in both.
It’s a large breed, and its coat is long and silky, but it’s tough to maintain. The breed originated in Afghanistan where nomadic tribes bred them as a hunting dog.
- Size: Large
- Color: Black, black and tan, red, blue, cream, white, brindle
- Coat length: Long
- Height/weight: H: 29” (males), 24” (females) W: 60lbs (males), 44lbs (females)
Personality and Temperament:
Afghan Hounds are brilliant and independent dogs.
They were bred for hunting, and so need plenty of exercise and activities to keep them entertained.
They are strong-willed but very loyal to their owners. Although they can be wary around strangers, this passes quickly, making them quite sociable dogs.
The breed is okay to be kept both in apartments and houses with land.
If you do keep one in an apartment though, you’ll have to put in extra effort to keep the dog entertained.
Although the breed might come across as lazy because of how much it loves lying around, they’re very smart, and so will require mental stimulation if living in an apartment.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t also do this if you live in a house with a backyard.
Either way, you’ll need to spend plenty of time with the dog to make sure it doesn’t get bored.
That said, the breed can tolerate being left alone for more extended periods, which makes them ideal for working owners.
This is something you should work on while they’re young though; as you might find them get a bit bored if you begin this later in life.
The same can be said for socializing them with dogs and other people.
Start this as early as possible; otherwise, the dog might develop an aggressive temperament.
Afghan Hounds need plenty of exercises, again because they were bred as hunting animals.
They should be walked for at least a mile every day, and this should be more if you keep them in an apartment.
The more you exercise the dog, the happier it’ll be at home.
They make a great choice if you’ve got plenty of lands because they will be happy to entertain themselves, and are clever enough to do so.
They’re not suitable for first-time owners for several reasons.
The first is how much exercise they need, and also because of their high maintenance level.
They require daily grooming and specialist treatments for their long hair, which isn’t something a first-time owner usually knows how to provide.
Many owners keep them specifically as show dogs, and this should give you some idea of the level of commitment needed to look after them properly.
Although they’re not suitable for first time owners, Afghan Hounds are ideal for families, even around young children.
Bigger dogs usually are better with kids, if only because they can tolerate the unintentionally aggressive behavior of young children.
Afghan Hounds, as a general rule, tend to be quite relaxed, which is ideal around children.
However, you should always be wary about introducing a dog to children for the first time and should control the situation as much as possible until you’re sure things will be okay.
Because of their strong-willed nature, the breed can be quite challenging to train and are known to be stubborn.
However, if you’re committed to training, they can also learn very complicated commands, hence why they do so well in agility competitions.
Training should be started as early as possible if you want a higher chance of success.
Afghan Hounds aren’t suitable for hot climates because of their long coat.
They were bred for use in the mountains of Afghanistan and so are designed naturally for cold weather.
They thrive in cold climates, but you should avoid keeping them anywhere too warm because they can overheat very quickly.
As has been mentioned, Afghan Hounds are very high maintenance when it comes to grooming.
They need to be brushed daily to remove knots from their coat, which can tangle very easily.
You also need to bathe the dog weekly to keep its coat in good condition, and may also need to oil it if it gets too dry.
It’s also worth befriending a dog groomer because you’ll be using them often enough.
The coat needs regular trimming to keep it in good condition, and if a particularly bad knot develops, you might have no other choice than to cut it out.
Other than coat maintenance, it’s also worth trimming their nails regularly, particularly if you keep the dog in an apartment.
You’ll also need to brush their teeth several times a week to avoid dental problems.
Common Diseases and Conditions:
As a general rule, Afghan Hounds are a reasonably healthy breed.
They are particularly susceptible to hip dysplasia, which is a condition related to the hip joint and can cause loss of movement.
It isn’t too difficult for a vet to diagnose, and you should investigate it if your dog begins walking differently.
Afghan Hounds are also known to be at a higher risk of cancer.
Although the reason for this isn’t known, cancer was the leading cause of death among Afghan Hounds in 2018.
When it comes to diagnosis, you should keep an eye out for any peculiar signs, and consult a vet as soon as possible.
One of the best methods of prevention is a healthy diet and regular exercise, and realistically this is the best you can do to reduce risk.
A rare condition among Afghan Hounds is called chylothorax.
It is a condition that results in the chest cavity filling with fluid and can cause damage to the lungs.
They are susceptible to this because of their barrel chests, and the condition can often be fatal.
Changes in breathing or activity levels are good indicators of this condition developing.
The Afghan Hound was used for centuries by nomadic tribes in Afghanistan as a hunting dog, but all modern dogs descended from specimens brought to the UK in the 19th century.
Very few records exist of the breed before this time because of the lifestyle their owners led.
So, it’s hard to pin down the breed’s origins and age.
The breed’s long coat and large body size were selectively bred so it could withstand the mountain climate.
Afghan Hounds are relatively thin, but their long, silky coats actually keep them very warm.
Their use as a sighthound makes them very intelligent and strong-minded animals that can easily pick up commands when they want to.
There are at least 13 known types of Afghan Hound in Afghanistan, although not all of these correspond to purebred types known across the world.
The breed has been popular ever since it was brought to the UK and has been entered in competitions since this time.
The breed is especially popular among show owners and is seen as a very desirable dog.
However, because the breed is so popular, there are very strict rules in kennel clubs that dictate specifically what the dog can look like.
There are different types recognized, including both short- and longhaired types, but these are heavily controlled.
One of the unfortunate side effects of this kind of intensive breeding is that the dogs are more prone to genetic conditions and hereditary illnesses.
Afghan Hound Facts & Figures:
Did You Know?
- Although the breed’s origin can’t be traced exactly, it’s possible it was brought to Afghanistan by Alexander the Great. The Saluki (a possible ancestor of the Afghan Hound) has been seen in carvings in Afghanistan that date from around this period.
- Famous artist Pablo Picasso loved Afghan Hounds, and his dog, Kabul, featured in many of his paintings.
- Afghan Hounds can run up to 40mph!
- The breed has scent glands located in the cheeks that give out a pleasant musky odor.
- Their slender body structure makes them incredibly agile and means they can get the upper hand in the most challenging races, even on rough terrain.
- Afghan Hounds have a field of vision of around 270 degrees thanks to the shape of their head.
1.Kominek, Eddie. “Afghan Hound Breed Standard.” Afghan Hound Club of America, Inc, afghanhoundclubofamerica.org/index.php/information/breed-standard.
2. Fossum TW, et al. “Chylothorax in 34 Dogs.” – PubMed – NCBI.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3721989
3. “Afghan Hound Breed Health Survey by Kennel Club,” UK’s largest dog organization: https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/media/16214/afghan%20hound.pdf