Information about the Afghan Hound
The Afghan Hound is a very old sighthound dog breed. Distinguished by its thick, fine, silky coat and its tail with a ring curl at the end, the breed acquired its unique features in the cold mountains of Afghanistan, where it was originally used to hunt wolves, foxes, and gazelles. Other alternate names for this breed are Balkh Hound, Baluchi Hound, Barutzy Hound, Kabul Hound, and Tazi.
This Afghan is black and brindle; however, the photo shows it with a reddish tinge to the coat, which can occur in a black-coated dog.The Afghan Hound is tall, standing 24 to 29 inches (63-74 cm) in height and weighing 45 to 60 pounds (20-30 kg). The coat may be any colour, but white markings, particularly on the head, are discouraged; many individuals have a black facial mask. Some are almost white, but particolor hounds (white with islands of red or black) are not acceptable and may indicate impure breeding. The long, fine-textured coat requires considerable care and grooming. The long topknot and the shorter-haired saddle on the back in the mature dog are distinctive features of the Afghan Hound coat. The high hipbones and unique small ring on the end of the tail are also characteristics of the breed.
The temperament of the typical Afghan Hound can be aloof and dignified, but happy and clownish when playing. The breed has a reputation among dog trainers of having a relatively low “obedience intelligence” as defined by author Stanley Coren. The Afghan Hound has many cat-like tendencies and is not slavish in its obedience as are some other breeds. The Afghan hound has a leaning towards independence. Owners should not be surprised if their Afghan hounds sometimes choose to ignore commands. Although seldom used today for hunting in Europe and America where they are popular, Afghans are frequent participants in lure coursing events and are also popular as show dogs.
Afghans hounds are a relatively healthy breed; major health issues are allergies, and cancer. Sensitivity to anesthesia is an issue the Afghan hound shares with the rest of the sighthound group, as sighthounds have relatively low levels of body fat.
Afghan hounds as a whole are a fairly long-lived breed, often living 13-14 years.
Afghans are usually mistaken to be “stupid”, or “unintelligent”; this is a false misconception. They are actually highly intelligent animals – it is their intelligence that makes them so stubborn.
The breed was always thought to date back at least to the pre-Christian era, and recent discoveries by researchers studying ancient DNA have revealed that the Afghan Hound is in fact one of the most ancient dog breeds, dating back for many thousands of years. Its original native name, Tazi, betrays its connection to the very similar Tasy breed of Russia. The proximity of southern Russia and Afghanistan argue for a common origin for both breeds.
Initially, Afghan people refused to sell their national dog to outsiders; the breed was not seen in Europe and America until after the turn of the 20th century. AKC and CKC did not recognize the Afghan Hound until the 1930s.
In 1983, Chris Terrell was the last breeder-owner-handler to win Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, with his Afghan Hound Ch. Kabik’s The Challenger, also the last time a dog from the Hound group has been awarded Best in Show. An Afghan Hound has taken the top honor at just one other WKC Dog Show, in 1957.
On August 3, 2005, Korean scientist Hwang Woo-Suk announced that his team of researchers had become the first team to successfully clone a dog. The dog, an Afghan Hound, was named Snuppy. Later that year, a pattern of lies and fraud by Hwang Woo-Suk came to light, throwing in doubt all his claims. Snuppy, nonetheless, was a genuine clone, and thus the first cloned dog in history.