The Afghan hound, known for its long, silky coat, is a breed of dog popular for its show-worthy qualities.
In addition to their striking appearance, Afghan hounds are known for their independence and self-confidence, as well as their sweet, fairly quiet, and humorous nature around humans they are comfortable with.
The average lifespan of the Afghan hound is 12 to 14 years.
The Afghan Hound is tall, standing in height from 61 to 74 cm (24 to 29 in) and weighing from 20 to 27 kg (44 to 60 lb).
Their face is long and skinny, with ears that drop down on the sides of their head. The Afghan Hound is tall and thin, with a long tail that curls and is held high up in the air.
The coat may be any colour, but white markings, particularly on the head, are discouraged – many individuals have a black facial mask. A specimen may have facial hair that looks like a Fu Manchu mustache, sometimes called “mandarins”.
An aristocratic breed of hound dog, the Afghan hound was developed as a hunter in the hill country of Afghanistan, where it hunts by sight and has been used to pursue leopards and gazelles.
Afghans can be traced back to several regions in Afghanistan, with distinct differences in their coat and color depending on where they are from.
Its local name is Tāžī Spay or Sag-e Tāzī. Other names for this breed are Tāzī, Balkh Hound, Baluchi Hound, Barakzai Hound, Shalgar Hound, Kabul Hound, Galanday Hound or sometimes incorrectly African Hound. They have the ability to run and turn well.
Afghan hounds are considered one of nine ancient or “basal” breeds, meaning their DNA is more closely related to the dogs of ancient history than common contemporary breeds.
It is hard to pin down exactly when the Afghan hound first appeared, as its presence predates written history – however one of the first published descriptions of the breed appeared in a drawing by English soldier Thomas Duer Broughton when he was in India in 1809.
The Afghan hound was brought to Europe in the late 19th century by British soldiers returning from the Indian-Afghan border wars.
The breed had become a mainstay of British soldiers and noblemen in the early 1900s but almost died out during World War I, when resources shifted and it became difficult to breed and care for companion animals.
In the mid-1920s, British military officers began bringing Afghan hounds to the West, and in 1927, the breed was registered by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
The beauty of Afghan Hound dogs caused them to become highly desirable show dogs and pets.
An Afghan hound was featured on the cover of Life Magazine, November 26 1945.
Although seldom used today for hunting in Europe and America, where they are popular, Afghan Hounds are frequent participants in lure coursing events and are also popular in the sport of conformation showing.
They are known to be as fast as racehorses.
Afghan Hounds have scent glands that usually produce a musky but not malodorous scent.
This breed, as is the case with many sighthounds, has a high prey drive and may not get along with small animals.
The breed has a reputation among dog trainers of having a relatively slow “obedience intelligence” – Stanley Coren, in his book The Intelligence of Dogs, ranked the breed last among 138 breeds mentioned in ability to understand and obey commands, requiring more than 80 repetitions to understand a new command and obeying on the first command less than 25% of the time.
Their long, fine-textured coat requires considerable care and grooming. The long topknot and the shorter-haired saddle on the back of the dog are distinctive features of the Afghan Hound coat. The high hipbones and unique small ring on the end of the tail are also characteristics of the breed.
Because of its distinctive appearance, the Afghan hound has been represented in animated feature films and TV shows, including Universal Pictures’ Balto (Sylvie) and Disney’s Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure (Ruby), an Afghan hound also appeared on 101 Dalmatians as well as in 102 Dalmatians.
Afghan hounds have also been featured in television advertisements and in fashion magazines.
Afghan hound puppies from the normal breeding farms will cost between $2,000 and $2500 per puppy. They usually have normal family records so they are mainly raised as pets. Afghan hound puppies from prestigious breeding farms will cost much higher, around $2500 to $5500.