The Afghan Hound – For thousands of years in their home country of Afghanistan, these charming dogs have been considered a real gem. Even today, the Afghan Hound is considered iconic by many dog lovers around the world.
The Afghan Hound – Appearance
With a long, silky coat, dynamic build and haughty expression, the Afghan Hound has a very distinctive appearance. Males reach a maximum height at the withers of 74 cm, females at most are 69 cm tall and these sporting dogs weigh a maximum of 30 kg. The long coat that already protected the ancestors of this breed from the cold air of the mountains, consists of a thick and silky coat and in compliance with the standard has many varieties of colors.
A jewel of Afghanistan
The ancestors of this breed belonged to the oldest canine lineages ever adopted by man. In Afghanistan, they provided man with their support as guard and protection dogs and were especially appreciated in hunting activities, when they were unleashed after prey and followed with tenacity and speed any animal, from rabbits to cats. Afghan Hounds were highly regarded, as their hunting successes were deemed essential to survival in a stingy environment such as that of the desert. In Afghanistan, those who exported these dogs were punished with the death penalty; however a British officer in 1890 managed to bring some specimens from Afghanistan to Great Britain.
At the beginning of the 20th century, some British dog experts crossed different varieties of Afghan Hounds: Desert Greyhounds and Mountain Greyhounds. The puppies that were born from such crosses represented the beginning of the modern breed of Afghan Hounds. In other countries the Afghan Hound was only known much later.
The growing popularity of the Afghan Hound as a “fashion” and show dog breed was also accompanied by a change in the breed standard: the coat became more voluminous, which was an obstacle to running success. Today, depending on the purpose for which it is used (companion dog, show dog or sport dog) there are different genetic strains which for some details may differ from the breed standard.
The Afghan Hound – Character
Those looking for a simple and obedient dog will not appreciate the brilliant personality of this dog: the Afghan Hound, which was born as a solitary hunter, is a very independent and autonomous animal. He does not willingly submit and, although he sometimes forms a strong bond with his master, he is a real head. Members of this breed don’t normally bark much, but they are alert and alert when their territory and family are at stake. While mostly in the home they are quite peaceful, outside they can get high. By virtue of their very strong hunting instinct, it is almost impossible to let them move freely because they almost never react to calls once they have targeted a prey. Mostly towards foreign dogs and humans, the Afghan Hound is very cautious, if not downright unfriendly. These animals are known for their prodigious memory, thanks to which even after years they can remember who in the past treated them well or badly.
An education for dogs with a strong personality
Only a good connoisseur of dogs can educate an Afghan Hound well, as he knows how to appreciate a master with a strong character. As solitary hunters, members of this breed do not aspire to obey their master and prefer to act autonomously rather than subject themselves to someone. However, by having a lot of patience and exercising consistent and clear control, you will be able to teach a basic form of obedience to your Afghan Hound. However, this sensitive dog will take it badly for your hardness which will involuntarily transform this proud animal into a shady and suspicious companion: therefore being hard on him is never advisable. Anyone looking for a dog that always obeys the letter will certainly not appreciate this breed very much. However, Afghan Hound lovers appreciate the strong personality and loyalty of this aristocratic looking dog. Finding the right balance between strength and understanding is not always easy, especially in molesdominant behavior dogs.
Keep its origins in mind!
Basically, the vast majority of Afghan Hounds, if raised in the best way, exploiting their potential, are in good health. The breed has a slight tendency to hip dysplasia in dogs and cataracts. Afghan myelopathy appears only in dogs of this breed: it is a degeneration, presumably of a hereditary type, of the white matter of the spinal cord. It occurs mostly during the first year of life and within a few weeks causes complete paralysis of the four limbs. Serious breeders are able to exclude the disease from their breeding dogs thanks to careful genetic selection. If they are healthy, Afghan Hounds have a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years.
How to feed an Afghan Hound
Nutrition for a sporty dog
Like all other dogs, the Afghan Hound is also a carnivore, so make sure that meat plays a prominent role in your dog ‘s diet. If you decide to change the kibble or wet food you feed it, take a few days to mix your chosen one with the old one, this will minimize the risk of your stomach becoming irritated, which can cause vomiting ordog diarrhea. This of course also applies to the arrival of the Afghan Hound puppy: give him the food he is familiar with for a while, so as not to further complicate the process of acclimating to the new housing situation with a new type of diet. While the puppy eats up to 4 meals a day, the adult Afghan Hound gets by with 2 servings, after each of which you will have to give him a break for digestion.
Since sport dogs consume so much energy when running, their daily nutrient requirements can increase accordingly. However, you can use the quantities indicated by the pet food manufacturer as a starting point to determine the suitable food doses for your Afghan Hound, even if as a rule you will have to offer them a little more generous portions because they tend to consume more energy than to other breeds and does not tend to gain weight.
Keep an eye on its slim waist and recalculate the amount of food accordingly, in case the dog gains weight or gets thinner.
Hair care: a demanding speech
The long, silky coat of the Afghan Hound should be brushed every day . This procedure is quite demanding because all the layers from which the hair is composed must be brushed, to reach every point and prevent the hair from felting. Always brush it carefully, so as not to tear hair and accustom your dog from an early age to these daily “cuddles”, subjecting him to sessions of increasing duration. After the walk, free the dog’s coat of any leaves and twigs that easily get caught in the long coat. Since the coat has to thicken naturally, neither dog razors nor scissors are needed for the fur of the Afghan Hound .
To prevent the most common parasites in dogs and to thoroughly clean the coat, a bath with a mild dog shampoo may be appropriate .
Some do this every three to four weeks and complement the shampoo with a special wash which in turn allows the dog to brush more easily. When you clean your Afghan Hound, pay attention to its long ears: check, if possible, every day for parasites or skin lesions, as inflammation can quickly develop in the hot-humid environment below the ears. When eating, the Afghan Hound should wear some sort of “ear protection”: there are special earmuffs ( snood) that hold the ears, thus preventing the dog from biting the extremities or that the ears continually end up in the food bowl. The ideal is to get the dog used to this accessory from when it is a puppy. You can optimize your oral care, as well as by administering snacks for dental hygiene , also by regularly cleaning your teeth with a special toothpaste and a dog toothbrush.
Entertainment: How to keep an Afghan Hound busy
Movement should be the main element in an Afghan Hound leisure program. This dog likes to accompany his owner when jogging or cycling, but obviously his ideal pastime is represented by dog racing, during which he can really let off all his energy. Furthermore, for this dog with a very tenacious temperament, the real passion is speed: in free running it can reach 60 km / h.
In Afghan Hound races, dogs chase a fluttering ribbon or a fake hare. Coursing is also a valid sport for dogs who love movement. It is a simulated hunt on natural terrain: the dogs chase a fake prey in plastic in pairs, running on a course of 500/1000 meters. When dogs run in pairs, as a rule, as in dog racing, both must wear a muzzle, because otherwise the risk of injury when fighting would be too high for the prey.
The Afghan Hound is not very suitable for sports such as Agility.
Is the Afghan Hound the right dog for me?
Anyone who wants to adopt an Afghan Hound should be a fairly sporty type. It is not enoughpractice Canicross with the dog every now and then to satisfy the need for movement of an Afghan Hound. You also need to be confident and experienced in dealing with the dog, as the education of the Afghan Hound is quite demanding. You should also offer this nimble four-legged a large fenced garden, in which he can move freely. Since the Afghan Hound mostly indoors conveys a great sense of calm and does not like the hustle and bustle, they prefer a quiet family with people who love sports. Normally, dogs belonging to this breed get along well with children, but they do not have to be at an early age and must have already internalized a respectful relationship with animals, as the proud Afghan Hounds sometimes react badly to rude company.
Before your dog arrives, make sure all family members are happy to accept the new roommate and are not allergic to dog hair. The Afghan Hound can socialize with indoor cats if they are still young: the coexistence between dog and cat in this case is to be considered possible, but always with due care!
It is necessary to foresee immediately how the dog will be taken care of in case of illness or on vacation, because even in these situations the animal needs a lot of movement. In case you prefer to take it with you on your trip, find out immediately about suitable destinations.
Traveling with your dog is not always easy and often requires considerable preparation
In addition to the purchase price of the puppy, also take into account the expenses for accessories for dogs that you cannot do without (accessories for traveling by car such as an IATA approved kennel, wooden kennel, carder, but also supplements for skin and fur and much more …) as well as other periodic expenses (for food, periodic dog vaccinations, any taxes, insurance against civil liability risks, routine checks by the veterinarian). If the dog were to fall ill, veterinary expenses would naturally soar as a result.
Where can I buy an Afghan Hound?
Since the Afghan Hounds are especially suitable for expert dog lovers and lovers of movement, there are not many dog breeders of this breed. So if you want to buy an Afghan Hound, get on the lookout for a serious breeder early and read carefully the litters announcements from the National Breeder Associations. If you have the opportunity to take a puppy, it is advisable to get to know him before adoption: in this way you will not only get to know each other a little but, by visiting the kennel, the breeder will introduce you to his parents and patiently answer the related questions. health prevention and selection objectives with regard to character and other characteristics.
Of course, you should already inquire in advance if the breeder, for example, specializes in show dogs or sport dogs. Sometimes show dogs have a coat that requires a lot of care and that in part limits the dog, while sporting dogs need even more physical activity than an Afghan hound for show. Also make sure that all dogs in the kennel have a lively and healthy appearance and appreciate if the breeder asks questions about your previous experience with dogs, your expectations regarding life with the dog and leisure management, because it shows who works hard to find the right home for his pet. When he gives you the vaccinated and dewormed puppy, in addition to the Certificate of ancestry you will also receive an International Certificate of Vaccination,
Do not buy puppies from an unscrupulous breeder who, above all, only raises dogs for the money. Those who buy a dog from this type of breeders often go to finance misbehavior and also run the risk of buying a sick and unsocialized dog.
If you are looking for an Afghan Hound, but not necessarily a puppy, for example through the National Federations you can find dogs that for various reasons have been sold by their original buyers.
Animal Protection Associations specializing in Afghan Hounds also regularly feature orphaned dogs on their sites. In any case, consider that the character (including the consequences of any educational errors by a previous owner) of an adult Greyhound can already be consolidated and consequently a wide previous experience with dogs can be an advantage.