Other names: Tazhi Spay, Baluchi Hound, Ogar Afgan, Barakzai Hound, Eastern Greyhound, Persian Greyhound
One of the oldest pure breeds of dogs, the ancient Afghan Hound has remained unchanged in its appearance for centuries. It has a very long and fine silky coat and was bred to hunt large and small game in the mountains of Afghanistan without human leadership. It was introduced into the United Kingdom in the 1800s.
Key facts about the Afghan Hound
Origins and history
The Afghan originated in Afghanistan several centuries (some say millennia) ago. It is an ancient pure dog breed that has remained relatively unchanged in that time. During the 1800s Afghan Hounds were brought to the United Kingdom by army officers who returned from active service in what was then British India (including the countries of Afghanistan and Persia). The Afghan used to be called the Persian Hound.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 10 - Sighthounds
Section 1 : Long-haired or fringed Sighthounds
Physical characteristics of the Afghan Hound
Female : Between 25 and 27 in
Male : Between 27 and 29 in
Female : Between 55 and 66 lb
Male : Between 55 and 66 lb
The coat of the Afghan can be of any colour including fawn, gold and blue. It may also be brindled. Many dogs of the breed have a black facial ‘mask’: the dark colour of the fur on their muzzle and head gives the impression of a mask.
Type of coat
The hair is long.
The Afghan’s single coat is fine and silky and similar to human hair. The dog is covered in abundant fur and usually has a silky topknot on its head.
Dark brown, sometimes golden.
A dog with a regal appearance is the Afghan. Its head is held high and proud and its body is agile and built for speed. The tail is carried low but raised when the dog is moving. The limbs are graceful, sloped and reasonably muscular. The ears are low and hang close to the head.
Good to know
The Afghan Hound gets stressed and agitated very easily. When it becomes so the dog may refuse to move from where it is (even if it is in the middle of a road); it may also urinate indoors or fall asleep very suddenly.
The Afghan Hound isn't an affectionate dog because of its hunting heritage, he does not have an overly aggressive tilt but does have a high prey-drive. It is boisterous and clownish but also sensitive and easily offended by harshness.
A dog that likes to play and to interact, but will do so only on its terms and when it feels confident enough to do so. The Afghan Hound tends to become nervous and timid when met with rough play.
This dog can exhibit some nervousness especially around strangers; it is also one that does not take kindly to changes in routine. Nervousness often manifests as stubbornness and a refusal to move or to do what it is told.
A fairly intelligent dog but not known as one of the brainiest of canines. The Afghan is hard to train and lately was positioned last of 138 dogs ranked by obedience and ability to understand commands. The dog requires patience and repetitive training (see later: ‘Easy to train’.
Hunting was the reason the Afghan Hound was originally bred; this it would do by sight. Sighthounds are dogs that hunt independently (i.e. with no human leadership). They specialize in sighting and pursuing prey, and overpowering it. The Afghan has a high prey drive and as such will chase almost anything smaller than it. Regular and plentiful exercise is a must for preventing this dog from causing a nuisance.
Fearful / wary of strangers
Afghan Hounds tend to be wary and shy of new people and take some time to warm to a visitor in their home. If pushed to interact with someone too early the Afghan may become mildly aggressive. Gentle handling and patience are necessary precursors to a calm Afghan temperament.
Afghan Hounds are extremely independent. With some effort they can become obedient but on the whole they are very much their own dog.
Behaviour of the Afghan Hound
The Afghan Hound tends to follow its owner from room to room when indoors. It is not a dog that tolerates solitude. Separation anxiety is seen of Afghans that are left alone for long periods of time. Not only do they miss their family but the lack of exercise that comes with being left alone will bring on depression.
Easy to train / obedience
The Afghan Hound is reasonably difficult to train. Its independence and aloofness can mean that it refuses to learn to be obedient. Couple this refusal with the dog’s inability to learn quickly and retain lessons and you have a difficult student to say the least. The Afghan is not overly motivated by food and treats which can make training especially taxing. Patience and an awareness of the dog’s limitations can lead to a degree of obedience, although nothing should be taken for granted.
This dog doesn't bark to excess and will soon settle again once a perceived ‘danger’ has passed.