The beautiful and rugged landscapes of Afghanistan are home to the elegant Afghan Hound, a large sighthound breed that’s unique in appearance and ever-so-gentle in temperament. These shaggy, long-haired companions have been able to adapt over the millennia (they are an ancient breed indeed!) to living in homes due to their loyal, playful attributes as well as their tolerance of children and other pets in the home. This fashionable breed has been popularised in film and television due to its uniquely good looks. They are adorable as puppies and can make loving companions well into their later years. Afghans have so many excellent qualities, but they also have high maintenance that needs to be considered by prospective owners.
Some highlights of Afghan Hounds:
Loyalty: this breed is known to be loyal to owners and their families.
Playful: especially as puppies, Afghans love to play and are clown-like and silly.
Child-friendly: Afghans love being around children and make wonderful friends for playtime.
Pet-friendly: this breed is tolerant of other pets and usually won’t make a fuss around other dogs or cats.
Adaptable: although Afghans are a large breed, they are fully capable of living in smaller homes.
Some downsides to the Afghan Hound:
Grooming: a cursory glance at an Afghan’s long coat indicates that this breed is demanding in terms of grooming.
Shedding: this breed sheds hair all over the home and will need to be cleaned up after frequently.
Training: Afghans can be notoriously challenging to train properly and require persistence and patience to train correctly.
Stubbornness: this breed can show signs of stubbornness from time to time.
The Afghan Hound traces its ancestry back to the deserts, plains, and mountains of Afghanistan where it was used as far back as 4,000 BC to hunt all sorts of game, large and small. They remained a popular breed nearly exclusively in Afghanistan, and perhaps in the Caucasus mountain region near the Caspian Sea, until they began to be exported to Britain in the 19th or early 20th century. It is possible that they were brought back to Britain by officers in the British Empire sometime in the 19th century, but it’s also possible that the first Afghans to make their way to Britain were as gifts from King Amanullah of the Afghan Royal Family in 1920. Regardless, they quickly became known as the “King of Dogs” for their unique glamour and appeal. In terms of the modern breed’s exact origins, little is known. Islamic culture in Afghanistan forbids the artistic depiction of animals, thereby eliminating any possibility of discovering a pictorial description of Afghan breeds through the centuries.
Afghans are easily one of the most recognisable breeds in the world. They are tall, long-legged, and adorned with a long coat of fur that gives their limbs an impression of immense thickness. They are recognisable by their Fu Manchu-style moustaches, called ‘mandarins.’ This breed stands tall and proud and exudes dignity and nobility. It is closely related to the Saluki breed from the Middle East but can be distinguished immediately from its signature coat of fur.
Afghan Hounds are large-sized dogs. Males grow on average to 68-74 cm in height, whilst females can grow up to 63-69 cm high.
Fully-grown adult male Afghan Hounds weigh between 20-27 kg on average. Females weigh between 23-25 kg.
The Kennel Club of Great Britain recognises all colours for the Afghan’s coat of fur. White markings are undesirable, particularly on the head. Some have a black mask.
Afghans stand alert and with dignity, as though they realise how glamorous they look. Whilst playing, Afghans look and behave silly and are known to clown around with children and owners. Unfortunately, Afghans rank very low in obedience tests and thus will often show signs of disobedience. Naturally, good training can reduce bad behaviour, but this breed will almost always show frequent signs of disobedience. This sighthound breed was used in the past for hunting, a task at which it excelled. In the recent era, it is seldom used for this purpose and is more typically used as a companion dog, therapy dog, or as a show dog for its elegant appearance.
Afghans do not make good guard dogs or watchdogs.
This breed is quiet and will hardly ever bark, making it ideal for quieter households or owners that find barking to be annoying.
Afghans are notoriously difficult to train due to their high disobedience and stubbornness. Rigorous obedience training will be required from puppyhood well into adulthood.
Afghan puppies love to play, and this characteristic lasts well into adulthood. They like to act silly and clownlike whilst playing.
This breed is known to get along well with children of all ages. Since they are a large breed, they should be supervised whilst playing with young children or toddlers in order to prevent accidental injury.
This breed can get along well with other dogs if it’s been properly socialised. He has a high prey drive which makes him a poor choice in homes with cats or other small pets since he’ll chase them intensely.
Afghan Hounds can tolerate being left alone for moderate amounts of time. They should never be neglected and should receive plenty of attention, but they aren’t the neediest of breeds.
Afghans tend to enjoy swimming, but their long coats can easily become infected if they aren’t properly dried off and cleaned after going for a swim. They don’t like being on boats.
Generally, Afghan Hounds are expected to live anywhere from 11-13 years.
Afghans require routine exercise in order to remain happy and healthy. Spend two hours per day walking and playing with them, allowing for some off the lead supervised playtime.
Afghan Hounds are prone to the following common health issues:
Sensitivity to anesthesia;
Afghans are a large breed and require plenty of space in which they can roam. Large houses in the country are ideal, but they can tolerate living in smaller homes as well.
A fully-grown Afghan Hound should be fed 2 to 2.5 cups of high-quality dog food every day, divided into two meals. Adjust as necessary to promote good health and to prevent overfeeding.
Due to their long coats of fur, Afghan Hounds have high grooming requirements. They will need to be brushed every day to prevent matting which a common occurrence if neglected. Furthermore, this breed will need to be thoroughly dried after being in the water. This is time-consuming but necessary to prevent bacterial growth and infection.
This breed sheds heavily and will require plenty of frequent brushing and cleaning to maintain cleanliness.
As a rough guide in pricing: Cost to buy: roughly £400-1,000 for a well-bred Afghan Hound puppy Other costs (Vet, Food etc): £80-120 per month
You can read our general buying guide here, with the most important thing being going to view your Afghan Hound puppy, seeing it with its mother, and checking the quality of the breeder. More specifically, here is some Afghan Hound puppy buying advice:
Afghan Hounds tend to be disobedient and challenging to train. They’re also high-maintenance in terms of grooming and shedding. Owners that are unable to keep up with these challenges should not purchase one, no matter how cute they may look as puppies. Plenty of effort is required, but it’s sure to pay off with such a loving and loyal companion.
This breed is no longer as popular as it once was. With a decrease in popularity comes rarity, which may entice questionable dealers to try and sell you undesirable puppies bred in unethical conditions. Always ensure that your desired Afghan Hound puppy comes from a reputable seller who bred the puppy in accordance with Kennel Club standards.
A big thank you to the following sources who helped to shape this article: Western Afghan Hound Club: https://www.wahc.co.uk/rescue.html Super Sighthound Rescue: https://www.supersighthound.co.uk/ Kennel Club of Great Britain: https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/services/public/breed/display.aspx?id=1001 UK Dog Trust: https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/ Blue Cross: https://www.bluecross.org.uk/rehome-pet