The Afghan Hound comes from Afghanistan, where the original name for the breed was Tazi. The breed has long been thought to date back to the pre-Christian era. DNA researchers have recently discovered that the Afghan Hound is one of the most ancient dog breeds and dates back thousands of years. The first documentation of a Western Afghan breeder is that of an English officer stationed near Kabul. Afghan Hounds from his Ghazni Kennel were transported to England in 1925, and then made their way to America. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1926 and the Afghan Hound Club of America was admitted for membership with the AKC in 1940. Zeppo Marx of the Marx Brothers was one of the first to bring Afghan Hounds to America. In the late 1970s, the hound’s popularity soared when Barbie, who is responsible for more than 80 percent of Mattel’s profits, and Beauty, her pet Afghan Hound, found their way into the homes and hearts of countless American girls. During this same decade, the development of lure coursing competitions added to the breed’s appeal. In the 1980s, the Afghan became a popular AKC show ring star and, in spite of its independent nature, has branched out into obedience competition.
Males are 27 inches (plus or minus one inch) and about 60 pounds, and females 25 inches (plus or minus one inch) and about 50 pounds.
The Afghan Hound is typically a one-person or one-family dog. Do not look for this hound to eagerly greet your guests. More likely, he will offend them by being indifferent to their presence. While some hounds may bark once or twice when a stranger enters the home, this breed is not known to be a good watchdog. The independent thinking of the Afghan makes it a challenge to train. This hound is generally not motivated by food and does not possess as strong a desire to please as many other breeds (Golden Retriever, for example). Though the Afghan makes a stunning presentation in the show ring, for example, more than one professional handler has been embarrassed in the ring by a refusal to cooperative. Even so, this breed is known for outperforming other breeds when the decision to do so is his own. Rough handling can cause this dog to become withdrawn or mildly antagonistic. Gentle handling, kindness, and patience work best with this breed, along with an understanding that there will be times when the dog simply will not cooperate.
Afghans are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they’re prone to certain health conditions. Not all Afghans will get any or all of these diseases, but it’s important to be aware of them if you’re considering this breed. If you’re buying a puppy, find a good breeder who will show you health clearances for both your puppy’s parents. Health clearances prove that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a particular condition. In Afghans, you should expect to see health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand’s disease; from Auburn University for thrombopathia; and from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying that eyes are normal. You can confirm health clearances by checking the OFA web site (offa.org).
21 Apr, 2016
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