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The Extremely Proud and Beautiful Afghan Hound is a Show Dog at Heart

Afghan Hound

The Afghan Hound looks noble and regal, with elegant bearing, dignity and poise. Tall, lean, and with "patrician" features, the Afghan Hound looks nothing like what one might think a typical hound looks like – but the "Affie," as he is affectionately called, is most certainly that in every sense of the word. Discovered in the 19th century, the Afghan Hound comes from Afghanistan and surrounding regions. As a hound who hunts by sight rather than tracking by scent or sound, many of today's Afghan Hounds are kept mostly as pets. They still have a strong instinct to seek their prey and the strength to chase any eligible victim, which means that as an owner, you must be very careful to keep your lovable, dignified and yet often goofy pet safe from cars and other unsafe situations.

History
Although the Afghan Hound's true origins are not quite known, this breed was discovered in Afghanistan and surrounding regions during the 1800s. Some believe that the Afghan Hound was actually from Egypt thousands of years ago; a second theory proposes that the Afghan Hound actually comes from the Asian steppes, and is a true original sight hound. However, neither premise has been proven to date.

Once the Afghan Hound was established in England, it became an important player in the history of dog shows and conformation. The UK's Kennel Club hosted these shows for the Afghan Hound and other sight hound breeds that were being imported to England by officers who were returning from what was then British India, a country which included Persia and Afghanistan at that time. Sight hounds like the Afghan Hound were exhibited at the shows under various names, including the "Persian Greyhound."

Today's modern Afghan Hound breed comes from two strains. The first was brought to Scotland from Baluchistan in 1920 by Miss Jean C. Manson and by Major and Mrs. G. Bell-Murray. Subsequently named the "Bell-Murray strain," these dogs exhibit the characteristics of the steppe/lowland or "kalagh" dogs, with thinner coats. The second strain, known as the "Ghazni strain," originated from Kabul, and was characterized by heavier coats. Most Afghans in the United States come from the Ghazni strain, with both strains ultimately mixed into what comprises today's Afghan breed.

The Afghan Hound retains its strong hunting instincts, although it's no longer used for hunting in most areas and is simply a beloved family pet.

Temperament
While your pet's regal appearance might lead you to believe that he or she is rather snooty, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. At once courageous, dignified and seemingly aloof, your Afghan Hound is also gentle and shy – and absolutely capable of goofy, exuberant silliness around its favorite individuals. In addition, if you choose to show your pet, he or she will also be a fierce competitor, contrary to what you might think with such an aristocratic appearance. Dog show lovers have often commented on the sight of an Afghan Hound, going at full speed through an agility or lure course. It seems to float above the ground as it flies through moves, long hair gorgeously parted and flowing behind.

The American Kennel Club has said that the Afghan's almond shaped eyes "gaze into the distance as if in memory of ages past." Indeed, they are the windows to the soul of your gentle, beloved, wise, funny, and very courageous pet.

Unlike many dog breeds, the Afghan Hound is not a dominant dog at all and will only need gentle guidance and discipline. In fact, you could make your pet physically sick if you treat him or her too harshly. These gentle, very sensitive and proud dogs need very careful handling. While he or she will be typically high energy and need to go on a daily walk to take care of those energy needs, in general, your dog will be very devoted, and eager to please.

Appearance
There is perhaps no more elegant a dog breed than the Afghan Hound. Tall and slender, with prominent hip bones, long, flowing locks, and an exquisitely proportioned "patrician" head, the Afghan Hound's bearing is as regal as its appearance. Standing 24 to 29 inches at the shoulder and weighing between 45 and 60 pounds, the coat can be any color; some dogs will have white markings, although this is frowned upon for show dogs. Dogs that are white with red or black patches are not accepted in show as it may indicate mixed breeding.

The coat is long and silky. When featured as show dogs, it is customary for the hair on the top of the head and around the face to be kept long but tied in a top knot to keep it out of its eyes.

Health
Cancer, hip dysplasia, and allergies can be problems for some Afghan Hounds, as well as a peculiar sensitivity to anesthesia, since they have relatively low body fat. Afghan Hounds can also be susceptible to a condition called chylothorax, where the thoracic ducts can leak chyle fluid into the chest cavity. This condition must be corrected with surgery to avoid hardening of the organs,, which occurs because scar tissue forms around the organs to protect them from the fluid. Afghan Hounds are relatively long-lived, about 14 years, and healthy with the exception of the aforementioned conditions.

Grooming
As you might imagine, the long silky coat needs a significant amount of attention. Resembling fine hair rather than fur, the thick coat can tangle easily. Bathe when needed, brush daily, and trim or strip the coat several times a year. Many people find utilizing a groomer several times a year is easiest versus doing the stripping or trimming on their own.

Afghan Hounds have long, "pendulum" ears that hang forward, which can become easily infected. Therefore, clean them weekly with cotton balls and a solution that your veterinarian recommends. Regular veterinary visits should also include checking the ears for wax buildup, mites, etc.

References
Adopt an Afghan Hound.
http://www.petfinder.com/dog-breeds/Afghan-Hound
Retrieved January 23, 2013.

Afghan Hound.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afghan_Hound
Retrieved January 23, 2013.

Afghan Hound Dog Breed.
http://www.petwave.com/Dogs/Breeds/Afghan-Hound.aspx
Retrieved January 23, 2013.

Afghan Hound (Baluchi Hound) (Sage Baluchi) (Tazi)
(Afghanischer Windhund) (Levrier Afghan) (Lebrel Afgano)
http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/afghan.htm
Retrieved January 23, 2013.

AKC Meet the Breeds®: Get to know the Afghan Hound.
http://www.akc.org/breeds/afghan_hound/index.cfm
Retrieved January 23, 2013.

Chyle.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chyle
Retrieved January 23, 2013.

King of Dogs.
http://www.afghanhound.com/
Retrieved January 23, 2013.

Group Classification: Southern, AKC Hound

Recognized By: CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR

Country of Origin: Afganistan

Date of Origin: 19th century

Hair Length: Long

Shedding: Moderate Shed

Body Size: Medium, Large

Weight Male: 58-64 pounds

Height Male: 27-29 inches

Weight Female: 58-64 pounds

Height Female: 27-29 inches

Litter Size: average of 8 puppies per litter but may be up to 15

Life Expectancy: 14-16 years

Playful:

Affection:

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Colors
all colors and patterns acceptable but white on the face or body is considered very undesirable.

Living Area
The Afghan Hound needs large spaces to be able to run and exercise. They can tolerate apartments provided they have lots of exercise but do best in a house with a large fenced yard.