Aloof - Independent - Clownish
Trying to determine if the Afghan Hound is the right dog for you? Or maybe you just want to brush up on some dog trivia just in case the moment comes for you to shine. Keep reading for our breed guide on Afghan Hounds. All you need to know to officially deem yourself an aficionado.
Afghan Hound Breed Basics:
Average lifespan: 11 to 14 years
Average weight: Male: 27 kg, Female: 22.5 kg
Colours: A wide range from cream to black. There are also many brindle coats as well as red coats.
Trainability: Challenging. Afghan Hounds are stubborn with selective hearing.
A history of the Afghan Hound
Unsurprisingly, Afghan hounds find their origins in the course terrain of Afghanistan and neighboroughing regions. The Afghan Hound's unique coat offers an insight into their ancient past. Their long hair and thick fur helped keep them warm when used in the colder climates of Afghanistan.
Afghan Hounds were introduced to the UK in the 19th century. Originally brought over as a gift from the Afghan royal family, the breed remains a popular large breed companion. Afghan Hounds are members of the sight hound family. Due to their typical nature and impressive speed, they were used for hunting. Rumours have it, they could and have taken down leopards.
Afghan Hound temperament
Afghan Hounds have a regal appearance with silky long coats and a tall stature. Described as “high-maintenance” by some with an almost clownish personality. They love to play and have fun but they are also fiercely independent. Sometimes described as aloof, they can be wary around strangers and a little standoffish. Early socialisation is key.
Their independent nature has seen them likened to the cat of the dog world. They can either be your best friend, or not care at all that you’re in the room.
Are you looking for a breed that is easily trained or used for show? Keep on looking... the Afghan Hound is not for you my friend. However, if you fancy a challenge, with some patience and perseverance, basic commands like sit, stay and heel are possible. Just keep in mind Afghan Hounds are temperamental suffering from selective hearing, much like our Smudge, so they’ll never ace the recall test. And potentially look at rehoming rather than training an Afghan Hound puppy from scratch.
How to groom an Afghan Hound
One of the Afghan Hounds most distinguishable features is its glorious, flowing coat and it’s up to Afghan Hound owners to keep it in tip top shape.
When it comes to clipping the coat, it’s advised to let it grow out naturally for as long as possible. This ensures the thickness of the coat is kept even, which is great for your hound.
It’s not surprising that you’ll need to set aside a good hour plus per week to keep this coat in great condition. Owning an Afghan Hound means you’ll have to brush up on your grooming skills. You need to be able to spend time bathing and grooming your hound, particularly in the first 14 months, as this ensures your puppies coat grows out in the healthiest way possible.
The easiest way to keep an Afghan Hound’s coat clean and healthy, is with weekly baths and brushing with a pin comb. A little dog conditioner will go a long way with this breed and make sure that it is super easy to brush through the long thick coat.
How much exercise do Afghan Hounds need?
The Afghan Hound is an agile, high energy breed, and cover distances quickly. They may look delicate and elegant, but these hounds love to run and play.
Afghan Hounds are known for their speed and in some countries are even classed as racing dogs. With this in mind, it’s advised to keep them on the lead, particularly in unenclosed spaces or unfamiliar territory, as they have a tendency to speed off without warning! Try to find somewhere that’s safe and enclosed to let them gallop around to their heart’s content.
Despite their killer speed, they are described as low exercise dogs. They can burn off energy quicker than your average pooch. 1-2 hours a day incorporating a leisurely walk and a couple of short sprints is enough to satisfy their instinctual desire to chase will keep your Afghan Hound happy and healthy.
Afghan Hound health
On the whole, Afghan Hounds live healthy lives and are not susceptible to major health issues.
As mentioned above, their long, silky coats do need a lot of tender love and care. Without weekly baths and grooming, their coat can become matted and dirty causing discomfort and infection. It’s also important to keep the coat trimmed, particularly around the eye area so as not to obstruct their vision.
Afghan hounds are large breed dogs. Although less common vs other large breeds, they can suffer from skeletal development problems like elbow deformity and hip dysplasia so it’s important to feed the right nutrition. As puppies, they can take up to 24 months to mature to adulthood so keep them on a large breed appropriate puppy food until they have matured to adulthood, where you can then transition to a large breed appropriate adult food.
A study by the Kennel club found cancer was the most common cause of death. The next most common cause of death was old age. The same study found that laryngeal paralysis, a respiratory condition, which is a progressively developing paralysis of the larynx, that can be found in large breed dogs as a whole impacted 4% of the dogs studied.
Other health issues occasionally seen in afghan hounds:
- Medial canthal pocket syndrome caused by the shape and angle of the eye which can lead to eye issues like conjunctivitis
- Afghan Hound myelopathy is a degenerative disease affecting the spinal cord that can lead to paralysis
- Cataracts and Glaucoma in senior years
Are Afghan Hounds good family dogs?
Afghan Hounds make great family dogs as they have a friendly and loving nature. Despite their independence, they can be extremely loyal and they love to have fun and play all day long.
Afghan Hound Puppies can be socialised with children of all ages. If you're introducing an older dog to your family, older children is preferable.
Unless your Afghan Hound has grown up around other family pets from a young age, they’re best to be the only family pet or surrounded by similarly sized pets. As sight hounds, they have a pretty strong prey drive and as they are not great at recall it’s best to keep smaller animals at a distance when you’re out and about and keep your hound on the lead, particularly when walking anywhere that may have small wildlife.
Are Afghan Hounds aggressive?
Afghan Hounds are not known for being aggressive. They have a laid back character although do like their own space, so it’s best to let them be when they clearly want some me time.
Given their high prey drive and hunting instincts, it's best to keep an eye on them when around smaller animals.
Are Afghan Hounds intelligent?
These hounds are by no means the brightest bulb, but it just adds to their clownish charm. In fact, they came in at number 10 in a list of some of the less intelligent breeds.
They may not be able to learn the latest tricks all too quickly, but Afghan Hounds make excellent companions and we think that’s the most important thing for our four legged friends!
How much does an Afghan Hound cost?
So you’ve decided the Afghan Hound is the perfect dog for you, or maybe you’re the perfect human for them. The cost to acquire an Afghan Hound can be quite steep, up to £1000 for a pedigree Afghan Hound puppy. You’ll also need to consider the cost of insurance, regular grooming and food.
There are a number of rescue organisations where you can rehome an Afghan Hound. There are 13 registered with the kennel club along with 4 breeders. Beware of websites selling Afghan Hound puppies or dogs at cheap prices. There's a risk of poor dog and puppy welfare as increasingly puppies are farmed for quick money. If you do come across anyone that appears to not neglecting the animals’ welfare, report it to the RSPCA.
Afghan Hounds are the perfect dog for you if you enjoy grooming, are ready to take on the challenge of training this independent beauty and enjoy the outdoors. Healthy, loyal and with buckets of character we're confident you'll have lots of tails of adventures.