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Afghan Hound

afghan houndThe Afghan Hound is aloof and elegant, but beneath his long, glamorous coat beats the heart of a hunter. He was bred to course hare and gazelle over the rugged terrain of his native Afghanistan. Today, this medium-size sighthound, weighing 50 to 60 pounds, still has a strong instinct to run and chase.

Don’t purchase an Afghan Hound unless you’re prepared to make a commitment to coat care and exercise. He is not a lounge lizard and needs a long daily walk on leash or a chance to run in a traffic-free area. He’s a natural at lure coursing, so consider taking up that sport as a way of channeling his athletic ability and speed. The Afghan can also be found competing in agility, obedience and rally, and some are therapy dogs.

When his exercise needs are met, the Afghan Hound is a calm, quiet companion who likes to have access to soft bedding or furniture. He’s reserved with strangers and not overly demonstrative with his own family, but he does have a silly side that makes him entertaining to live with. With children the Afghan Hound is gentle if he has been raised with them, but he’s not really a “playmate” kind of dog. The Afghan bonds deeply with his family, and it can take time for him to adjust if he must be placed with someone else. Don’t get an Afghan if you don’t think you’ll be able to keep him for his entire life.

The Afghan Hound is an independent thinker, but he is trainable with the use of positive reinforcement techniques, particularly with food rewards. Begin training when he is young and still somewhat malleable, keep training sessions short and fun, and avoid harsh corrections. Remember, too, that the Afghan’s height of 25 to 27 inches at the shoulder, combined with the insatiable appetite of the hound, makes him the perfect counter surfer. Put food well out of reach if you don’t want him to help himself.

You’ll need a securely fenced yard to keep the Afghan from chasing the neighborhood cats, and that doesn’t mean an underground electronic fence. If the Afghan Hound wants to leave the yard, a shock isn’t going to stop him. He’s a good jumper, so the fence should be at least six feet high.

This is a house dog. It’s an unhappy Afghan who is relegated to the backyard with little attention from his family.

Other Quick Facts

The Afghan’s coat can be any color or combination of colors, including black and tan.

The comedic actor Zeppo Marx was an early fan of the Afghan, importing two from Britain in 1931.

The Afghan Hound stands out for his distant gaze; long, silky topknot; beautiful coat; prominent hipbones; large feet; and ring tail.

Afghan Hounds won Best in Show at Westminster in 1957 and 1983.

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