The Afghan Hound is considered to be one of the most exotic breeds to be shown in the United States. When the Afghan enters the Hound ring the crowd usually goes wild. It is one of the most popular exhibits at the dog show. As a pet, it is a “status symbol” in the apartments of upper Manhattan and yet fits in equally well into rural lifestyles.
This is a sight hound which is also known as a “wind hound” , having great lung power and using its nose for scent as well as its eyes to give chase to its prey, which historically has ranged anywhere from the fox to the leopard. It takes its name from its country of origin, Afghanistan. Many centuries before the time of Christ, this dog is believed to have been illustrated in the hieroglyphics of ancient Egypt and Africa. No one knows how it came to be found at a later date in Afghanistan.
Historically this breed was prized for its ability to hunt deer and to ward off wolves, leopards and even panthers as part of its duties of being a guard dog for the flocks. Usually the sight hounds do not attack the prey that they have chased but the Afghan Hound is noted for this characteristic.
Despite the appearance of elegance and refined beauty, this is a breed that is built for speed and strength. The chest is deep and the long body is slightly arched at the loin to allow for a lengthy galloping stride. The breeds’ height is to be as long as the length of the back and the dog is tall and rangy in appearance. The coat is one of the most well known and admired characteristic, being silky and flowing. An afghan that is well groomed is aa majestic sight when moving, as the hair flows with the body and accentuates the beauty of the movement. The Afghan’s coat can be of any color. On the head there is a long silky topknot and a fine beard of hair below the chin. The legs are heavily feathered and there is a good length of coat along the sides. The tail is a “wire tail” which has a finer length of silkly hair along the bottom, but is smooth of coat along the top. The tail is carried arched in a large curl over the back or out when the go is moving.
The Afghan Hound is aloof and aristocratic but has a delightful sense of humor also. It has gained popularity as a dog that walks the sidewalks of the big cities with ease and haughty demeanor, perhaps one could think of this dog as a “status symbol” among the apartment dwellers of upper Manhattan, but in truth it is a dog that fits well into apartment living, being quiet ( but not necessarily laid back) in the household and affectionate to its owners. This breed does have a history of being independent and a “thinker”, being very smart and very dedicated to the hunt. Therefore it does have a strong character and should not be owned by just anyone, this dog needs to have firm discipline and plenty of training as a youngster.
Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Dogs