The Afghan Hound is an ancient breed that dates back thousands of years to the nomadic tribes that lived in what is now modern-day Pakistan, Afghanistan, and northern India.
Known for its regal appearance, the Afghan Hound has a distinctive look that includes a slender body, face, and long coat, that makes them hard to miss.
While they may be unique and beautiful, is the Afghan Hound the particular breed of dog with the characteristics you are looking to welcome into your home? Keep reading to find out.
What are some Afghan Hound characteristics?
Bred to hunt game across rough terrain, today, these dogs typically weigh between 50 and 60 pounds and stand around 25 to 27 inches tall. Although they once may have been admired for their hunting prowess, today, they are known for their looks.
According to the Afghan Hound Club of America, the general breed standard of the Afghan Hound is “An aristocrat […] He has a straight front, proudly carried head, eyes gazing into the distance as if in memory of ages past. The striking characteristics of the breed-exotic, or “Eastern,” expression, long silky topknot, peculiar coat pattern, very prominent hipbones, large feet, and the impression of a somewhat exaggerated bend in the stifle due to profuse trouserings-stand out clearly, giving the Afghan Hound the appearance of what he is, a king of dogs, that has held true to tradition throughout the ages.”
While the Afghan Hound can come in any color, solid colors are the most typical, with the most common coat colors being black, black-and-tan, red, cream, blue, brindle, domino, or white. Nevertheless, some white in the coat, especially on the head, is discouraged by some of the breed’s purists. Moreover, their long, elegant coat isn’t just for show either but is a trait developed to keep the breed warm while hunting in the cold mountains of the Middle East.
What is the breed’s temperament?
Some people consider Afghan Hounds a “high maintenance” breed for several reasons. Although the dogs are self-confident and independent, they also can be overly timid, making it difficult to comfort them in a loud, chaotic, ever-changing environment. The dogs aren’t known for bounding to their owners or licking their faces after being apart. Some people compare the breed to being aloof like cats.
However, many owners have claimed that their Afghan Hounds have a playful side. Anna Stromberg, who has 40 years of breeding experience, explains, “They are described in their standard as aloof, yet gay […] That means that they have a comical side to them.”
The dogs pair a comical side with high energy, considering the dogs were first hunting companions. Consequently, Afghan Hounds pair best with active people who have the time and dedication to exercise their dogs and keep them healthy.
Do Afghan Hounds make good family dogs?
Although the dogs are considered “aloof,” that does not mean that Afghan Hounds do not make good family dogs. Although they may not be as friendly as some retrievers, they also aren’t considered one of the most aggressive dog breeds on the market.
Many experts say there’s no reason an Afghan Hound couldn’t do well in a family environment, even one with children, as long as it is conditioned and socialized to the environment from a young age.
But the breed may not be the best choice for a family unwilling to spend time socializing or worrying about a potential dog bite injury.
One Afghan Hound breeder on the American Kennel Club website even writes, “It’s not the breed for all would-be dog owners, but where the dog and owner combination is right, no animal can equal the Afghan Hound as a pet.”
Are the dogs high maintenance?
Because the Afghan Hound is known for its glamorous long coat, grooming is a significant responsibility for owners. Experts recommend regular grooming to keep the Afghan Hound’s impressive coat vibrant and healthy.
The dogs need weekly brushing to remove dead hair and prevent matting and tangling. Afghan Hounds have a single coat, more like human hair, requiring regular trimming.
Is an Afghan Hound the right dog for you?
Ultimately, potential Afghan Hound owners need to weigh whether the breed is the right choice. They might not be ideal for families with young children. Although the dogs aren’t overly aggressive, they are more high maintenance than other breeds. They need training and regular exercise and grooming.
Owners who choose this breed most likely plan to show them or incorporate them into their quiet lifestyle.
Alana Redmond is a graduate of Media and Business from the University of California San Diego. She is also a consumer safety writer for several attorneys across the US that specialize in dog bites and other personal injuries.