Afghan Hound

The Afghan Hound was originally used to hunt hares and gazelles. It is both fast and has keen eyesight. Afghans can have up to 15 puppies in one litter. This breed has a reputation among trainers of having a slow obedience intelligence and is not as quick to obey as many other breeds.

Afghan Hound

Afghan Hound Alternate Names:
The Afghan Hound acquired its unique features in the cold mountains of Afghanistan, where it was originally used to hunt hares, and gazelles by coursing them. Its local name is Tazi (Persian). Other alternate names for this breed are Balkh Hound, Baluchi Hound, Barutzy Hound, Sage Baluchi, Shalgar Hound, Kabul Hound, Galanday Hound, Afghanischer Windhund,Levrier Afghan, Lebrel Afgano, or sometimes incorrectly African Hound.

Significant Crossbreeds (Hybrids):


Dog Class:

Sight Hound (Hunt by keeping their prey within sight range.)

Breed Standard:

Tall and slender with a long, narrow, refined head, silky topknot and powerful jaws. The occiput is quite prominent. The muzzle is slightly convex (“Roman nose”) with a black nose. There is little or no stop. The teeth should meet in a level or scissors bite. The dark eyes are almond shaped.

The ears lie flat to the head. The neck is long and strong. The height at the withers should be almost level and the abdomen well tucked up. The hipbones are quite prominent. The front legs are strong and straight and the feet are large and covered with long hair.

The tail has a curl or ring at the tip, but is not carried over the back. The long, rich, silky coat is most often the color of sand with a darker face and ear fringes, though all colors are permitted. White markings, however, particularly on the head, are discouraged. Some are almost white, but particolour hounds (white with islands of red or black) are not acceptable and may indicate impure breeding. Many individuals have a black facial mask.

Average Size:

Males are 24 to 29 inches (68.58-73.66cm) tall, slightly less for females. They weigh 58-64lb (26-34kg) for males and 45-60 lbs (20-30 kg) for females.


About 12 to 14 years. In a 2004 UK Kennel Club survey, the most common causes of death were cancer (31%), old age (20%), cardiac (10.5%), and urologic (5%).

Litter Size:

1 to 15 puppies, with 8 about average.


The Afghan Hound must be trained kindly, and does not respond well to physical punishments. This breed can be difficult to housebreak. The breed has a reputation among dog trainers of having a relatively slow “obedience intelligence,” and is not as quick to obey 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.

Health Concerns:

The Afghan has a low pain tolerance, even with minor injuries.

Major health issues are allergies, and cancer. Sensitivity to anesthesia is an issue the Afghan hound shares with the rest of the sight hound group, because sighthounds have relatively low levels of body fat.

Afghan hounds are also among the dog breeds most likely to develop chylothorax, a rare condition which causes the thoracic ducts to leak, allowing large quantities of chyle fluid to enter the dog’s chest cavity.

This condition commonly results in a lung torsion (in which the dog’s lung twists within the chest cavity, requiring emergency surgery), due to the breed’s typically deep, “barrel”-shaped chest. If not corrected through surgery, chylothorax can ultimately causing fibrosing pleuritis, or a hardening of the organs, due to scar tissue forming around the organs to protect them from the chyle fluid. Chylothorax does not always mean death will occur, but often is fatal.

Most surgical options have roughly a 50% success rate, and multiple surgeries are common. While this condition is extremely rare, Afghan hound owners would be wise to keep this information at hand, as the condition can be difficult to diagnose.

When selecting an Afghan hound puppy, it is also advised to inquire about chylothorax in the dog’s lineage, as there is some indication that the condition may be genetic.

Special Nutritional Needs:


A high level of grooming is required, due to their extremely long hair. The long, thick coat demands a great deal of attention.  When showing, they need a bath once a week. Do not brush in-between baths in order to keep coat long and shiny. Brushing a dry coat will damage the coat and even make it more easily  matted.  Weekly baths are not as important if your Afghan is a pet and will not be shown, but doing so will make the coat less matted and will save you time in the end.  Many wear snoods indoors to protect their extremely long ears from dragging in food bowls. A special air-cushioned brush or pinbrush is useful for grooming.


Average shedding.

Temperament Traits

Energy Level:

High – The Afghan Hound is not recommended for apartment life. They are relatively inactive indoors and do best with room to run. This breed can live inside or outdoors, although it would be happier sleeping indoors, because they prefer close human companionship. Afghan Hounds need a minimum of 30 minutes of free exercise per day. Some are timid and high strung if they do not receive enough exercise and attention.

Good with Children: The Afghan Hound will do best with older, considerate children. At one time, the breed had a reputation for being untrustworthy, but has now been mostly replaced by a character that, while still spirited, is said to be more amenable to training and discipline.

Watchdog (bark) / Guard Dog (aggresiveness): The Afghan Hound is somewhat aloof, with a low dominance level. They are suspicious of, but not hostile to, strangers.

Good Hunter / Tracker / Retriever: Afghan Hounds were bred to hunt with their keen eyesight. They belong to a class of hounds called sight hounds and can run fast. Afghans to do not have an especially keen sense of smell. Rather, they hunt by sight and speed.

Ban Areas:


The Afghan Hound is a very ancient dog, native to Sinai, and mentioned several times in Egyptian papyruses as well as pictured in the caves of northern Afghanistan more than 4000 years ago. 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 argues for a common origin for both breeds.

The breed was kept pure for centuries, and its exportation was always prohibited. It reached Europe as contraband early in this century.

This Afghan is a sight hound which was used as a shepherd and watchdog. An extremely fast and agile runner, the Afghan Hound pursues game by sight, and was used for hunting game such as deer, wild goats, wolves and even snow leopards.

In Europe and America the afghan hound has become a luxurious pet because of its aristocratic beauty and flowing coat.

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.




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