Owning an Afghan Hound is almost a like having the most gorgeous girlfriend or boyfriend, which is wonderful to behold, but requires a quite a bit of maintenance. Exquisite in its elegance, the spectacular beauty of Afghans has allowed them to become favorites as show dogs and pets. The dog’s aristocratic look is inherent, the dignity in its eyes, the gracefulness of its gait, the long silky coat and topknot, its exotic expression and very presence, all of which offers no trace of plainness or coarseness.
Standing 24-29 inches at the shoulder and weighing 45-60 pounds, the Afghan Hound is a magnificent, slender, tall sighthound whose ancestors hunted a variety of prey in the harsh, cold mountains of Afghanistan. The thick, flowing coat that is the breed’s crowning glory isn’t just for show—it served as protection from the climate where Afghans originally earned their keep. Additional attributes include the impression of an exaggerated bend in the stifle (an illusion of the profuse coat on the rear legs), prominent hipbones that extend the dog’s stride, and large feet for running on sand. The breed temperament differs from dog to dog; some are outwardly aloof and dignified, others surprisingly clownish and affectionate. Sharpness or shyness is considered unacceptable. If at all possible, you’ll want to meet the parents of your puppy to make a best guess at temperament. Fans of the Afghan become enamoured by the dog’s faithfulness and endearing personality.
Afghan Hounds are a special breed for special people, as there are definitely conditions: the extensive grooming, the running, a high prey drive, and the challenge of training an independent hound. Grooming and exercise needs will require much time from an owner; the long, fine-textured coat requires considerable care and, as with all sighthounds, they need the opportunity to flat out run. This breed is the ideal choice of modern-day owners with plenty of property and plenty of taste. For the right owner, these are unbeatable, reliable pets that are showcase gorgeous.
This breed was primarily developed for coursing, the sport of hunting game animals with dogs using sight rather than scent. As with all sighthounds, the Afghan Hound naturally retains a high prey drive. For this reason, this breed may understandably not get along with small animals. Originally, the Afghan Hound hunted singly, in pairs, in packs, and sometimes accompanied by trained falcons. The breed flourished due to its astonishing ability to outrun fleet-footed prey, which included rabbits, marmots, deer, wild goats, wolves, jackals, and even snow leopards. The Afghan Hound’s most desirable hunting traits were being sure-footed and agile on rugged terrain, the strength and speed to bring down a variety of prey, plus the stamina to maintain a strenuous chase for a sustained length of time. These dogs are definitely athletic.
Though it is no longer used for hunting, Afghan Hounds compete well in the modern sport of lure coursing (video below), a sport in which dogs chase a mechanically driven artificial prey, typically plastic sheeting. And although, the breed has a reputation among some dog trainers for not being highly interested in obedience training (wherein this dog is probably wondering, “What’s the purpose?”), the Afghan Hound’s reasoning skills have made it a successful competitor in dog agility trials as well as intuitive therapy work.
Alternate names for this breed (not always correct) include: Afghanischer Windhund, African Hound, Balkh Hound, Baluchi Hound, Barutzy Hound, Galanday Hound, Kabul Hound, Kuchi Hound, Lebrel Afgano, Levrier Afghan, Persian Greyhound, Sage Baluchi, Shalgar Hound, Tāzī.