The Afghan Hound is perhaps the most recognizable of the long-haired sighthounds. This regal hound is athletic and performs well in lure coursing, agility, and other dog sports. While affectionate—even clownish—with family, the Afghan Hound is not a dog who will rush to greet visitors or new people at the park. They rank as one of the least intelligent dogs, but the evaluation is based on the dog’s tendency to follow directions after a single request. The Afghan’s lack of cooperation can be attributed to their preference for thinking for themselves, rather than a lack of intelligence. Their independent nature comes from centuries of use as a dog expected to make decisions while hunting, without help from a human. Owners should prepare for a challenge when bringing this breed into the family—but fanciers insist it’s a challenge worth taking on.
The Afghan Hound is also known as Sage Baluchi or Tazi and may be referred to as Afghan. The nickname 'Affie' is common.
Physical Description/Breed Standard
Coat - The long, silky coat is an easily recognizable feature of the Afghan Hound. Similar to human hair, it comes in a variety of solid colors and patterns.
Breed Standard and History
The dignified Afghan Hound should appear aristocratic, with a proudly carried head and striking features. A balanced skull is decorated with a topknot. The dog should display a long, strong jaw. The body should appear strong and powerful. Pronounced rib bones and a prominent tuck up add to the regal form. The tail must have a ring at the end but should not curl over the back. A long, fine, silky coat should cover the body, with feathering at the feet and ears. The coat should be shown in a natural state, without clipping or trimming. Any color coat is allowed, but white markings are undesirable. A powerful stride and quick-stepping trot with the head and tail held high add to the breed’s beauty. – AKC Breed Standards
The Afghan Hound is a basal breed, predating the modern breeds that emerged throughout the 1800s. Some say it is the oldest breed in existence. The ancient type comes from the part of the world that is now Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan. The lightning-fast, powerful Afghan hunted by sight and was expected to catch and hold its quarry until a hunter arrived.
Though ownership was restricted by the Afghan royal family, the breed made its way to Europe with British officers returning from British India. The Afghan Hound was instantly popular at dog shows and the first breed standard was written in 1912. The modern breed standard is based on the strain of dogs originally brought to Europe, then later to the United States and Australia.
Zeppo Marx is credited with bringing the breed to the United States. Picasso kept Afghan Hounds, and in an interview revealed that many of his works were influenced by the elegant features of his Affie named Kabul.
The AKC recognized the Afghan Hound in 1926.
AKC Breed Category
The aloof Afghan Hound tends to bond strongly with one person, and is not often interested in the fawning of visitors. She’s independent and stubborn, but with a goofy side. Though bright, a common lack of cooperation earns the breed marks for low intelligence—the trick is finding the proper motivation, or accepting that the Affie doesn’t have a strong desire to please anyone but herself. Lighthearted mischief is common with the Affie, but individual dogs may be withdrawn or antisocial. Socialization should be a top priority to prevent timidity.
Are Afghan Hounds Good with Kids? Afghans may be able to live with older kids, but they do not tolerate rough handling or rambunctious behavior. The sensitive breed is not fond of sudden movement or startling noises, and may prefer an adults-only household.
Are Afghan Hounds Good with Other Pets? Other dogs, especially other Affies, can be a good match for the Afghan Hound. Afghans range from playful to indifferent when it comes to other pets. They're likely to chase cats, rodents, rabbits, and other small animals due to their high prey drive. They may be able to live with a dog-experienced cat indoors, but may see outdoor cats as prey.
Afghan Hounds do not tend to have guarding instincts. They may not even bark at the approach of a stranger, and they may be timid or standoffish with guests.
This coursing breed has a high level of energy and must be provided enough exercise to prevent destructive behaviors.
Indoor Don’t let their active nature and hunting history fool you—the finer things in life are some of the Afghan Hound’s favorites. They’re fond of cushy furniture and soft beds, and relaxed indoors as long as they have the opportunity for daily exercise—walks on leash and the chance to gallop in fenced areas. They may adapt well to apartment living if they are provided enough exercise.
Outdoor A fence is no challenge to the high-jumping Afghan Hound—a barrier of at least six feet is necessary to contain an Affie. Time spent outdoors should be on-leash, or supervised in a high-fenced area. Their coats keep them protected for treks outside in inclement weather, but they’re not meant to live outdoors full-time. Long walks and plenty of time to run help keep the Affie in good physical and mental condition.
Exercise At least two walks and the opportunity to run in a fenced area will help the Afghan burn enough energy to be a calm companion indoors. They're not couch potatoes by any means, but are happy to relax with family after they've had enough exercise.
Endurance Afghan Hounds don't lack stamina—their history as a hunting breed means they have the endurance for long walks, energetic jogs, and dog sports.
Activity distance rating
Food Though large, the Afghan Hound needs only 2 to 2½ cups of high-quality dry food daily, based on the dog’s average weight and activity level. This amount should be split between two meals, or can be offered in a food-dispensing puzzle toy. The Afghan Hound may suffer from gastric torsion, or bloat. Raising the food bowl and limiting activity for an hour after eating can help prevent this dangerous condition.
Afghan Hounds do not tend to guard their food more than any other breed, but children should never be allowed to touch or remove food while any dog is eating.
Alone Time Though they are fond of their people, Afghans are not a needy breed. They can become destructive if bored or not provided with enough opportunity to exercise. They may be able to stay home alone for four to six hours, but crate training will help keep an Affie safe while unattended.
Health and Grooming
10 - 12 years
An Affie’s long, silky coat is stunning—and maintenance is time-consuming. Daily brushing is necessary and baths should be given at least monthly. Trimming nails regularly will help prevent painful splitting, cracking, or a broken nail. Afghan Hounds are sensitive to pain and will yelp at the slightest discomfort, so take care while trimming nails.
Common Health Issues
The Afghan Hound may have some breed-specific health concerns, including:
You can minimize serious health concerns in an Afghan Hound by purchasing her from a reputable breeder who engages in responsible breeding practices, and through screening for common diseases and conditions.
The independent Affie has been labeled as unintelligent, but this is mostly due to the challenges presented by training an independent thinker. Afghan Hounds aren't likely to obey a first—or second—request for a behavior. They were bred as hunting dogs who could make decisions for themselves, and they're not about to start taking orders now. A consistent, positive approach to training—and plenty of patience—can go a long way in teaching an Afghan Hound basic obedience.
Afghan Hounds excel at lure coursing and agility. Their build makes them incredible jumpers, and they are speedy competitors on the race course as well. Afghan Hounds can run 40 miles per hour—making them one of the fastest dog breeds.
Sporting Dog Training
Though originally a hunting dog, the modern Afghan Hound is better suited to the lure course than to the field.
Do Afghan Hounds shed?
Why is the Afghan Hound called the scented hound?
A princess in a distant land loved her treasured Afghan Hounds. Fragrant sprigs of jasmine were attached to the collars of her dogs, and the scent of jasmine was always present wherever the princess went—for wherever she wandered, so too did her dogs. The princess suddenly fell ill, and on her deathbed she promised her father, betrothed, and faithful servants that she would always be with them. She died, and the palace became a melancholy place. Every sprig of jasmine was removed from the palace as it was too painful a reminder of their loss. The princess had a favorite Afghan Hound who was pregnant. When this dog gave birth, the scent of jasmine filled the kennels. Each puppy in the litter carried the beautiful scent of jasmine on its head. The kingdom rejoiced as the princess had indeed followed through—she was with them, as she had promised
Are Afghan Hounds smart?
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