The Ancient History and Beauty of the Afghan Hound

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Afghan dogs in the forestThe Afghan Hound is a dog breed who has lived through a lot. According to researchers, this is one of the most ancient breeds in the world!

But their days of hunting snow leopards and gathering large prey are done and over with.

The Afghan Hound, or the Tazi Spay as it’s known in Afghanistan, has left the snowy mountains of Eurasia and joined families all over Europe and the United States.

To learn more about this easy-going, friendly, and loving dog, keep reading!

What is an Afghan Hound?

The Afghan Hound is a dog breed that appeared first in — you guessed it — Afghanistan.

They used to aid their owners in hunts and even went out to the mountains by themselves. Nowadays, however, they’re one of the friendliest dog breeds and adapt well to family life.

They love their owners more than anything and devote their time and attention to them. These hounds are loyal, intelligent, and very mischievous.

History of the Afghan Dog

After a lot of research was done into their DNA, scientists concluded that Afghan Hounds have been around for thousands of years. In fact, they date back to the pre-Christian era. This makes the Afghan Hound dog one of the most ancient breeds in the world!

In the mountainous regions of Afghanistan, this breed of dog aided their owners during hunts. Their job was to chase and corner small animals while their owners were on their way.

They hunted rabbits, foxes, gazelles, and other animals. Eventually, their high prey drive allowed them to start hunting larger and more dangerous animals, like snow leopards.

The harsh conditions they had to endure on the snowy mountains made them develop their signature thick and flowy silky coat.

Because they also had to be sneaky to not warn prey of their presence, they still have a very slight and nimble body to this day. They are sight hounds and still have a high tendency of running off in chase of a small animal if they see one.

They were bred and raised by nomadic Afghan tribes and were kept hidden from the rest of the world for a long time. Because these tribes were reluctant to sell these elegant-looking dogs, they were only brought to Europe and to America in the 20th century.

The sighthound’s popularity soared when in the late 1970s Barbie first appeared accompanied by Beauty, her Afghan Hound puppy companion. Lure coursing competitions also benefitted the hound’s popularity in the Western world.

Finally, in the 1980s, the Afghan Hound became a recognized breed by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and started taking part in obedience training shows.

Ark Breeding: The Story of Afghan Hounds and Noah’s Ark

It’s no joke to say that Afghan Hound puppies date way, way back in time. There’s even a legend that says that the dogs loaded into Noah’s Ark were Afghan Hounds.

Yes, you read that right. These dogs are rumored to have been part of one of the most famous biblical tales.

afgan hound and other animals walking away from the ark breeding in ancient times

Historians have a different take on this story, however.

They still recognize that the breed is ancient, but leave religious stories out of it. They say that these dogs were probably brought into Afghanistan by Alexander the Great, the king of the ancient Greek and Macedon kingdom.

Because the breed is so old and was known in so many countries, the Afghan Hound is known by other names. They include Levrier Afghan (in the French-speaking world and inside the Federation Cynologique Internationale), Afghanischer Windhund in German, and Ogar Afgan in Romanian.

Appearance and Personality

The first thing that stands out about the Afghan Hound is their silky hair. Their head, when seen from behind, can easily be mistaken by that of a well-groomed lady.

This is why the Afghan Hound made its appearance in the 2017 Super Bowl Southwest Airlines commercial. In it, a young dashing man mistakes one of these dogs for a young woman. Yikes!

The Afghan Hound has a narrow head that points upwards, giving them a regal look. Their eyes stare off into the distance and the ears are covered in long hairs and point to the ground. They have an exotic look thanks to the smoothness of their coat and a long and silky topknot.

Their hipbones are prominent, the front legs are long and strong, and their hindquarter is well-defined and built with muscle. This allowed them to run long distances and reach high speeds, something the nomadic tribes were after.

How Big Do They Get?

On average, Afghan Hound adult dogs grow to be between 25 and 27 inches tall. Females are usually slightly smaller, but the difference isn’t that big.

Temperament

There’s a reason why these dogs have a reputation for being clowns. Afghan Hounds love to be silly and show off their playful side to their owners.

This makes them great with children, as they will try to entertain the little one as much as they can. They tend to grow out of this silly phase as they mature, but there will always be a little clown within them.

Afghan Hounds are a one-family kind of dog. When they’re little they crave attention, but as they grow up they become more and more independent. This isn’t to say they don’t love people!

They devote their attention to their owners even if it seems like they’re in a corner doing their own thing.

This independent side of theirs means that training them will be hard. They only want to do what they please. Although they learn commands and tricks at the drop of a hat, they’ll only perform them if it’s something they want to do.

This can lead to frustrated owners, but when they do decide to play the tricks or obey the commands, it’s very rewarding.

5 Facts You Need to Know About this Dog Breed

Do you think you know everything there is to know about this elegant breed? Here are five things you might not know about them.

  1. The average adult Afghan Hound can reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. That’s as fast as a purebred racehorse!
  2. The way their hips are built makes them incredibly agile, more so than any other breed.
  3. Because they have dolichocephalic heads, their field of vision is of 270 degrees.
  4. Afghan Hounds have a very low threshold for pain and will start whimpering in pain at even the slightest injury.
  5. They have scent glands in their cheeks that produce a musky odor.

Healthy or Not?

Generally speaking, Afghan Hounds are healthy dogs. The average life expectancy for one of these puppies is 14 years of age. That said, they are susceptible to some hereditary health problems.

Von Willebrand’s disease is one that unfortunately affects this breed. It happens when there’s a problem in a protein that helps stop bleedings.

This means that even the smallest cut or internal bleeding can lead to the death of a sick pup if it’s not treated quickly.

Hip dysplasia is another common among the breed. It happens when the thigh bone doesn’t fit snuggly into the hip socket. This causes a lot of pain and difficulty walking. Dogs who have it will try their best not to move.

There’s a surgery that can be performed to correct this problem, but it’s very expensive and intrusive.

Another problem these hounds may face is the accumulation of chyle fluid in the heart and lung cavity. This leads to excess pressure on the organs, which can be fatal. It’s affected by genetics, so be careful when buying your pup from a breeder.

Trainability of the Afghan Hound Puppies

It’s no secret that these dogs can be hard to train. After all, they were bred to be independent enough to hunt in the mountains of Afghanistan by themselves.

afghan hound puppies in a field

They’re stubborn and will only perform a command when they feel like it. They’re just as smart as breeds that are easy to train but don’t have the desire to please their owners as much as those other breeds do.

To train an Afghan Hound you need lots of patience and perseverance. You should never give up and keep giving them positive reinforcement when they do something you like.

If you don’t have the time or patience to train your pup, enroll them in an obedience dog school.

Groom Them Well!

Afghan Hounds are high-maintenance when it comes to grooming. Their thick and luscious coat needs to be brushed often.

Daily brushing is ideal, and once every day is the bare minimum. You should also bathe your Afghan pup regularly. But this isn’t enough. Grooming an Afghan Hound pup means also trimming their hair to make it even.

A lot of people don’t have the skills or time needed to groom an Afghan pup properly.

Thankfully, there are dozens of dog grooming services everywhere. The people working there are professional and know how to take care of their coat properly.

Ready to Get an Afghan Hound?

If you’ve weighed all the pros and cons of getting one of these puppers and are still determined to get one, congratulations! You will get a loyal companion in no time.

When choosing an Afghan Hound, it’s important to only do business with reputable breeders.

They are the ones that have the animal’s best interest in mind instead of profit. They’ll have a record of illnesses in the family and will be able to answer all your questions about the breed.

Afghan Hound Puppy Price

The price of puppies for sale can vary depending on which breeder you’re dealing with. But the average price of a puppy is between $2000 and $2500. The Afghan Hound definitely an expensive dog.

If you’re not ready to shell out that much for a pup, you can go to a local non-profit organization operating a shelter and ask if they have an Afghan Hound pup or mix with them.

What’s there to lose? You can also contact an Afghan Hound rescue club: they exist all over America.

5 Tips for Hound Dog Owners!

If you’re waiting for your Afghan Hound to arrive, here are some tips to prepare you for it.

  1. Groom your pup frequently! Brushing sessions once a day is ideal.
  2. Afghan Hounds are very active dogs. Get out of the house and go for jogs with them at least once a day.
  3. Never walk your dog without having a leash. They will run away if they see a small animal. If you have a yard, fence it in.
  4. Be gentle with your Afghan Hound. They’re very sensitive to pain and don’t do well with being rough-handled.
  5. Socialize and train your pup from a very young age. This is the only way to end up with a friendly and well-balanced dog.

The Supermodels of the Dog World! Is this Dog Right for You?

Afghan Hounds are the supermodels in the world of dogs. They’re stylish, elegant, and carry themselves with confidence. But don’t let their gentle looks fool you. They’re super fast runners and love to run around all day.

Afghan Hounds are great family dogs who love people and children!

Common Questions

Are they from Afghanistan?

What do they look like?

How should I care for them?

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