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Afghan Hound
The drama of the Afghan Hound would seem unlikely in a world of Labradors and Beagles, and then, you go to a show or a park and meet your first Afghan.  Rather like the beautiful girl at school that everyone presumes is snobbish but is instead a bit gentle and shy, the Afghan reserves its happy abandon, total devotion and exuberance for those it knows best.  This is not to say that the Afghan is a retiring competitor in Agility or Lure Coursing, indeed, the cloud of hair as they partly sail and partly fly at a full run defies honest description.  The most heavily coated of the sighthounds, the Afghan is an ancient breed who's cousins still populate the desert areas striving to earn their keep in a changing world.  Imported to the US in 1926, the Afghan quickly earned a place here, where its fanciers are quick to note that the dog is intelligent, perhaps too intelligent to be bribed for a bit of a treat and too aloof to work for someone who lacks sincerity and true enthusiasm for the task.  To live and train an Afghan Hound requires respect for a strong minded individual who is happily a teammate but never a forced participant.
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General Information
Group(s): HoundsSighthound Height: 25-27 inches
Weight: 50-60 pounds Longevity: 10-15 years
Colors: All are permissible, pleasing combinations more desirable and white (especially on the face) is undesirable Coat type: Silky, short hair on face, back and pasterns. They should be groomed with a bath and blow dry once a week. If you can't keep up with the grooming, best to keep them in a short cut.
Recognized Registries: AKC and others
Overall Appearance: The afghan is an aristocrat. He is aloof but can be very clownlike. He has an exotic or "Eastern" expression. He has long silky hair with a profuse topknot. Short hair on the face, back and pasterns. He has prominent hipbones. He has a long tail with a ring or curve in the end. He is balanced both standing and moving
Personaility - Behavior - Training
Energy Level: moderate to high
General Nature: independent, intelligent, high energy outside, devoted to family
  with Children: very good if familiar with children from puppyhood
  with other pets: Generally good. They are sighthounds and can be distracted by quick movements. Sometimes they are not good with cats but can be very good with them when they are raised with them or get used to living with them.
  with dogs: good
Socialization requirements: important as their aloof nature can become extreme if they are not engaged at an early age
Ideal home characteristics: Aware of the unique nature, haughty attitude and sighthound mentality, fenced yard, room to exercise, dedication to motivational training methods
Temperament Notes: independent and loving, intelligent and aloof, lofty and playful, the Afghan hound is a study in contrasts for those who know him/her best.
Training requirement: Independent in nature. Sometimes like to do things their way. Can be trained for conformation shows, lure coursing, obedience and agility
Trainer notes:

After much maligning of its intelligence and trainability, the Afghan Hound can still laugh at the limited understanding of the people who seek to judge it.  Remarkably intelligent and of a pleasant demeanor, the expectation is that this dog would be very "trainable".  Instead, seemingly aware of its own worth, the Afghan "shuts down" on trainers that seek to use their limited knowledge, punishment based correction and harsh methods to force the Afghan to compliance.  These trainers are not defeated by the dog's lack of trainability or intelligence as much as their own limited understanding of motivation and training.  An interested Afghan is compelled to participate in whatever endeavor captures their interest.  Granted, their heightened prey drive means that they will always have a distractability that creates a new challenge but that is far from making them less than a great training partner for the trainer that successfully finds tools for motivation and reward.

Background Information
Year range of first recognition: Ancient, but first recognized by AKC in 1927
Country of Origin: Afghanistan
Original Function: Sighthounds of large and small game
History: Afghans were brought to the Western World (England) by English soldiers fighting in the Afghanistan/India wars in the late 1800s. The soldiers were impressed by their hunting ability and peculiar look. First introduced to the United States. They were b
Adoption Information
Deviations from Standard: The naturally smooth face is generally a good point of identification since poor nutrition, lack of care and health issues can leave the coat and skin poor condition.
Health Notes: some skin problems, hypothyroidism and canine hip dysplasia
Health Testing: CERF and OFA (or Penn Hip)
Questions to ask Breeder:

http://www.digitaldog.com/breeder_questions.html  - The Breeder Questions as listed here provided with explanations and answers you will want to be looking for!

 

  • How long have you had Afghans?
  • How would you characterize the temperament?
  • How do you accomodate their exercise requirements?
  • What temperament do you seek in your breeding stock?
  • How do you go about socializing puppies?
  • How old are your puppies when you send them home?
  • What health clearances do you get on your breeding stock?
  • What titles do you seek for your breeding stock?
  • How often do they need to be groomed?
  • What health issues have you seen in the breed?
  • What are the minimum requirements for a home for one of your puppies (fenced yard, time per day for grooming, care and exercise, etc.).
Web Sites:

www.afghanhound.net - Afghan Hound Rescue

Other Resources
Breed standard:

http://clubs.akc.org/ahca/ - Afghan Hound Club of America, select AHCA Objectives from the drop down menu and then the standard is available as a link from one of the 5 objectives

Breeder Ethics:

  http://clubs.akc.org/ahca/ - Afghan Hound Club of America Breeder Ethics, select Objectives from the drop down menu at the top, from there the five objectives will offer a link to the recommended practices of owners, exhibitors and breeders.

Other: In addition to socializing and other basic manners, an Afghan Hound puppy needs to be familiarized with the grooming routine.  To attempt such an effort for the first time on a adolescent is fool hardy and potentially traumatic.  Use of a pin brush is ideal on the long, lush coat.  Any training efforts, whether as socializing, grooming or for other activities must be kept a joyful experience for the Afghan.  Anything else will negatively effect their confidence and make a gentle, retiring nature potentially into one that is fearful. A special thank you to the Afghan Hound Club of America Rescue for the extensive effort made to compile the information for this profile and the use of the many photographs of Afghans at show and those rescued.
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