The Afghan Hound dates back more then 4,000 years. It has always been coveted, though only in the more recent years for its graceful appearance. Today, the Afghan Hound is recognized by most canine associations and is a popular pet around the world.
A native of the Sinai region, the breed was carefully guarded over many centuries and no one was allowed to take any Afghan Hound out of the area. With transportation so carefully guarded, it was only the tales of travellers who alerted the rest of the world to the beauty and grace of this dog until a century or so ago. It's quickly become a popular breed for the show ring. Watching those show dogs, the most notable traits are the long, silky hair and the agile body, but there's a history of courage behind this breed.
The Afghan Hound was originally used in two major capacities - hunting and herding. The dog's alert nature and protectiveness made it ideal as a guard dog for herds of domesticated animals. This hound also has an incredible nose and has been used to hunt some very large, fierce animals. Not only have they helped hunt deer, wild goats and similar herd animals, they've also been used for hunting snow leopards and wolves.
The slender neck supports a slim head, giving the Afghan Hound a very regal bearing that makes it stand out from some other hounds. The coat tends to be very thick. Their ancestors needed those heavy coats as protection against the elements and the breed of today can typically withstand cool temperatures without problem. Afghans may be any color, though sand, red and black seem to be the more common. For show purposes, only white is not acceptable and even white marking will count off in the show ring.
These dogs are true "people dogs." They love to be with their owners and will grieve greatly if left alone for long periods of time. Not only that, but some of these dogs also tend to act sad if their favorite person or people are no longer around.
Ages ago, the Afghan had a reputation for being somewhat sneaky or unreliable. Selective breeding seems to have all but eliminated that trait, though this breed still seems to thrive in a sound, stable atmosphere.
The Afghan Hound typically weighs in at somewhere around 50 to 60 pounds. They also tend to live slightly longer than most larger dogs with averages estimated around 12 to 14 years. As a rule, these dogs are very sensitive to pain. They may not readily recover from even minor injuries without proper care, especially if those injuries limit activity.
The Afghan Hound loves the outdoors, though they're gentle enough to adapt to living indoors, provided they get ample exercise. They remain easily trained for hunting and herding, though most people who seek these dogs are doing so because of the aristocratic bearing and elegance - traits that make them show dogs and pets, not working dogs.
Afghan Hound - Centuries of Perfection
by Charles Kassotis
For more information on Afghan Hounds and other Popular, and not-so-popular breeds of dogs, visit The Sporting Dog Directory .