The Afghan Hound is a sighthound that is one of the world’s most ancient breeds. It was developed in Afghanistan as a hunting dog and caught the eyes of European dog lovers in the 19th century. Today, these dogs are no longer used for hunting; however, the breed is highly versatile. Although the earliest records of Afghan Hounds in North America date back to the 1920s, the import of Ghazni dogs from England established the breed in America. Currently, they are highly sought-after companions, show dogs, canine athletes, and therapy dogs.
The Afghan Hound is an established canine aristocrat, dignified, elegant, and aloof. This hound is athletic and squarely proportioned, with long legs, prominent hip bones, a flowing ringtail, and a long, silky coat. The dog’s long head is refined, with a slightly Roman Appearance to the muzzle, a strong underjaw, a profuse topknot, and a black nose. Silky hair covers the long ears. One of the Afghan’s most captivating features is its exotic expression, with eyes that “stare into the vastness as if in memory of ages past.”
|Energy level||Watchdog ability|
|Exercise requirements||Protection ability|
|Affection level||Cold tolerance|
|Friendliness toward dogs||Heat tolerance|
|Friendliness toward other pets||Friendliness toward strangers|
|Ease of training|
Activity level: High. These dogs are generally serene indoors; however, they require daily outdoor running time. Their prey drive is high, and they will not hesitate to chase any moving object; therefore, they have to be exercised on a leash or within a fenced yard. Afghan’s need daily exertion in long walks followed by short sprints. If possible, they will do better with a chance to run at full speed in a safe enclosed area. It requires a soft bed and is best suited as a housedog with complete access to the outdoors.
Grooming: Afghans need to regularly be brushed, bathed, and blown dry.
Coat: Thick, long, and fine-textured, with shorter hair on the back and a silky topknot.
Color: All colors.
Year of AKC recognition: 1926
- Popularity: Somewhat common
- Family group: Sighthound
- Country of origin: Afghanistan
- Date developed: Ancient times
- Original purpose: coursing hare and gazelle
- Today’s purpose: Lure coursing
- Other names: Tazi, Baluchi Hound
Afghan Hound Temperament
These dogs were bred to work independently rather than taking cues from people. Though they may seem aloof, they are highly affectionate with their owners. This spirited and sensitive dog can be strong-willed at times. Training issues can arise because of its independent streak and high prey drive. Afghan Hounds require a consistent pack leader ready to approach training sessions with determination, a sense of humor, and, most importantly, patience.
Although this hound has a glamorous reputation, it is still a hunter-at-heart bred to chase game over the roughest terrain. Afghan’s have a bad habit of not coming when called. They will chase small animals inside and outside but can coexist peacefully. The dogs are relatively gentle with children, but they may not be interactive and playful enough. Some owners describe the breed as “catlike.” Afghan Hounds are reserved with strangers, and some can be timid with a happy-go-lucky and clownish side.
- Main concerns: none
- Minor problems: cataract
- Rarely seen: necrotic myelopathy, CHD, hypothyroidism
- Recommended tests: eye, hip, thyroidism
- Life span: 12 to 14 years
- Note: sensitive to barbiturate anesthesia; prone to tail injuries
- Weight: male – 60 pounds; female – 50 pounds
- Height: male – 27 inches; female – 25 inches
Breeder and Buyer’s Advice
Potential Afghan Hound owners should visit dog shows to learn more about the breed. Make sure you see the puppy before you buy, and prepare yourself for a dog with an independent nature. The Afghan Hound Club of America has a mentoring program for new owners who need advice on training, grooming, and overall care.
Parent club: Afghan Hound Club of America (https://afghanhoundclubofamerica.org/); founded in 1937
Regional clubs: The AHCA works with regional clubs in 25 states; for information, go to the parent club’s website.
Rescue: Afghan Hound Club of America Rescue (https://www.afghanhound.net/)