AKC Dog Breeds: Afghan Hound

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Hound Group
Height 27-29 inches  Weight 50-60 pounds Color variety (blue, brindle, black, and cream)

As the name suggests, the Afghan Hound originates from Afghanistan, and was originally bred for hunting, for which he was ideal because of his speed, agility, and long legs. A member of the Greyhound family, this is a breed that enjoys a long history, dating back thousands of years. During WWI, the breed literally disappeared in the Western world. The start of the Afghan Hounds we have today dates back to 1920, when a group of them was brought to Scotland. This hound was first registered with the AKC in 1926.

General Appearance
The Afghan Hound is an aristocrat, his whole appearance one of dignity and aloofness with no trace of plainness or coarseness. He has a straight front, proudly carried head, eyes gazing into the distance as if in memory of ages past. The striking characteristics of the breed-exotic, or "Eastern," expression, long silky topknot, peculiar coat pattern, very prominent hipbones and large feet. The neck is long and strong. The height at the withers should be almost level and the abdomen well tucked up. The hipbones are quite prominent. The front legs are strong and straight and the feet are large and covered with long hair. The tail has a curl or ring at the tip, but is not carried over the back. The long, rich, silky coat is most often the color of sand with a darker face and ear fringes, though all colors are permitted. White markings, however, are discouraged. This is a dog that boasts a very luxurious coat, but this does mean that owners will have to be prepared to put in some hard work when it comes to grooming in order to keep the coat in good condition and to cut back on shedding.


The Afghan Hound is a lively and active creature with a very individual personality. You will find that some Afghan Hounds can be quite boisterous whereas others tend to be more reserved. These dogs are usually determined and quite independent - however, this is not a breed that likes to be left alone for long periods, and if neglected can become bored and destructive. They must be trained kindly yet in a calm and firm manner. The Afghan has been described as "a king of dogs."   Majestic, elegant, noble and courageous, suspicious of, but not hostile to, strangers. Although tough, they will pine if they are deprived of proper gentle leadership. They will do best with older, considerate children who understand how to be a gentle pack leader. Amenable to training and discipline, they can be disobedient if an owner does not give the dog clear guidelines as to what is expected of them and are consistent with it.  Some Afghans have a tendency to become withdrawn without proper socialization, and therefore you should ensure that he is socialized at an early age. The Afghan Hound is best suited to those with some experience of dog ownership and training, as their stubborn streak can make training quite a challenge. Housebreaking can also be a challenge with this breed.

The long, thick coat demands a great deal of attention. You can expect to spend around three or four hours a week on grooming this breed.  When showing there is a must to bath once a week. Do not brush in-between baths in order to keep coat long and shiny. Brushing a dry coat will damage the coat and even make it more easily  matted.  Weekly baths are not as important if your Afghan is a pet and will not be shown, but doing so will make the coat less matted and will save you time in the end.  Many wear snoods indoors to protect their ears from food bowls. A special air-cushioned brush or pin brush is useful for grooming.  You will need to trim his bottom and keep his ear canals clean for health and hygiene reasons, and you may wish to get his coat trimmed every few months. This dog is a medium to high shedder, and therefore is probably not the best choice for those with allergies or those that have little time to spend on grooming their pets.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy
The lifespan of the Afghan Hound is around twelve years. Generally healthy, the Afghan has a low pain tolerance, thereby suffering even with minor injuries. Other health problems to look out for with the Afghan Hound include thyroid problems, OCD, and autoimmune problems. This breed can also be very sensitive to chemicals and medications.

Activity Level
Afghan Hounds love open spaces and must be allowed to run free in a safe area as well as having long daily walks. It needs a minimum of 30 minutes of free galloping per day. The Afghan Hound is not recommended for apartment life. They are relatively inactive indoors and do best with acreage. This breed can live in or outdoors, although it would be happier sleeping indoors.


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Afghan hound
Afghan hound face close up