The Afghan hound was originally bred to hunt large prey in the deserts and mountains of Afghanistan. The modern-day Afghan hound remains an extremely agile breed with immense speed.
Classified as part of the hound breed group, the Afghan hound is a large-sized dog that’s relatively easy to train but the breed’s hunting instincts tend to take over in certain situations.
Elegant and charming, the Afghan hound’s crowning glory is its thick, silky, and flowing coat that protects them against the harsh elements. The Afghan hound’s glorious tresses require regular grooming and bathing to keep the hair clean and tangle-free.
The Afghan hound is one of the oldest domesticated dog breeds, dating back to nineteenth-century Afghanistan. It was originally developed to hunt mountain deer, boars, foxes, rabbits, and other animals. On the other hand, its gentle nature allowed it to be a devoted shepherd that protected its herd from predators.
The modern purebred Afghan hounds originated from the strain called 'Bell Muray' brought to England in the 1920s and was Kennel Club registered since 1926. Some are believed to come from the group of Afghans brought by Mary Amps. In 1948, a breed standard has been officially established, which remains true today.
Appearance and Grooming
The Afghan has always been famed for its sophisticated appearance with its impressively thick flowing coat. Beyond its attractive exterior is a powerful and swift dog. It stands 60–75 centimetres at the shoulder and weighs around 45–60 pounds. The most common colours are black or golden, although it also comes in blue, cream, silver, and white. It has an elongated head with dark muzzles, black nose, almond-shaped eyes, and high hip bones.
When it comes to grooming, the Afghan is a high-maintenance hound. To preserve its regal look, its mane requires regular brushing and bathing. It should not only be clean but also mat-free and tangle-free. To achieve this, a dog-friendly silky show shampoo, conditioner, and styling spray are needed. Remember to bathe it before brushing to avoid hair damage.
When it comes to other grooming routines, cleaning the Afghan hound’s ear is very important. It has ears that drop, which are highly prone to ear infection. Make sure to clean the ears weekly with a cotton ball and ask a veterinarian to recommend the best ear cleanser to keep ear infections at bay. Dental care is also crucial for the Afghan hound to prevent bacteria and other organisms from attaching to the teeth and causing damage. It is worth noting that this breed is prone to dental problems such as gum disease if teeth are not regularly brushed.
Temperament and Intelligence
Often described as aristocratic, the Afghan hound is energetic, playful, loyal, and loving. It is generally sociable with other dogs, but has a naturally strong hunting instinct. This breed can be playful as a puppy, but independent and a bit aloof as an adult. It is not aggressive, but it will decide when it wants to be cuddled. On the other hand, it will also sulk if it feels it isn’t getting much attention. It thrives better with older and mature kids.
The Afghan hound is a hunter, so it doesn’t get along well with small animals such as cats or rabbits, because of its natural instinct to chase. It is also very fast. Make sure that you have the Afghan hound on a lead most of the time, especially in open areas. It is quite hard to train because of its stubborn and independent nature. It also hates to be told what to do. To be successful in training, positive reinforcement and treats are needed.
Nutrition and Feeding
A typical serving for an adult Afghan hound is 2–2.5 cups of excellent-quality dry dog food per day. However, like in any type of dog, the amount of food depends on its age, size, build, activity level, and metabolism. Owners have to understand the basic nutritional needs of their Afghan as a breed. However, its individual characteristics should be considered as well.
Typical calorie needs of an adult Afghan hound per day:
- Senior and less active: up to 1,100 calories daily
- Typical adult: up to 1,500 calories daily
- Physically active: up to 2,000 calories daily
The main ingredient of an Afghan’s diet should be high-quality meat. Read the label and make sure that the dog food does not contain by-products and fillers like corn, wheat, or soy. Also stay away from artificial colours, sweeteners, and flavours. To maintain the Afghan’s silky, flowing coat, include sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Also provide it with food and/or supplements with DHA for brain development and glucosamine for its joints.
Health and Exercise
The Afghan hound is generally healthy, but it is predisposed to allergies, cataracts, hypothyroidism, cancer, hip dysplasia, dilated cardiomyopathy, and degenerative myelopathy.
This breed can lounge around at home, but it is quite active and requires a lot of exercise. However, it does necessarily need miles of running. Long walks and free time in a fenced yard will be enough and beneficial to its general health. Make sure to keep your fence sturdy as it is a known escapee that is hard to catch once it escapes.
Cost of Ownership
The cost of purchasing an Afghan Hound is anywhere between £300 and £1000. A Kennel Club-registered pedigree puppy is quite expensive and may cost well over £1000. Being a high-maintenance breed, the Afghan Hound requires daily combing and professional grooming. Expect to spend £27,100 - £30,800 over the dog’s lifetime.
Since the breed is predisposed to some health issues, healthcare cost contributes significantly to the expenses and can set you back over £1,000 annually. You can offset some veterinary costs when you get pet insurance with a lifetime policy. Insurance premium is £30 to £50 a month.
Afghan Hound Breed Highlights
- The Afghan hound is tall and slender with a sophisticated look.
- He is extremely athletic and a graceful jumper.
- He needs regular bathing and grooming to maintain his long, flowing coat.
- Although he doesn't get along with smaller pets due to having a natural instinct to chase, he is gentle towards people and other dogs.
- The Afghan hound is difficult to train, but can be dealt with by using positive reinforcement.
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