The Afghan Hound is a Hound distinguished by its thick, fine, silky coat, and a tail with a ring curl at the end. The breed is selectively bred for its unique features in the cold mountains of Afghanistan. Its local name is Tāžī Spay. As with other sighthounds, they have the ability to run fast and turn well.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) describes the breed as among the most eye-catching of all. The Afghan Hound is an "aloof and dignified aristocrat of sublime beauty." Despite their regal appearance, the Afghan possesses an "endearing streak of silliness and a profound loyalty."
Admired since ancient times for their beauty, the Afghan Hound's distinctive coat has purpose for the breed. Its shag was developed as protection from the harsh montane climate. Their huge paw-pads served as shock absorbers on the rocky terrain.
The Afghan Hound is tall, standing in height 61–74 cm (24–29 in) and weighing 20–27 kg (44–60 lb).
Money can buy you a fine dog, but only love can make him wag his tail.”
The Afghan Hound is tall, standing in height 61–74 cm (24–29 in) and weighing 20–27 kg (44–60 lb). The coat may be any colour, but white markings, particularly on the head, are discouraged; many individuals have a black facial mask. A specimen may have facial hair that looks like a Fu Manchu mustache, sometimes called "mandarins". Some Afghan Hounds are almost white, but parti-color hounds (white with islands of red or black) are penalized in the AKC standard, but not by the FCI.
Their long, fine-textured coat requires considerable care and grooming. The long topknot and the shorter-haired saddle on the back of the 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. This breed, as is the case with many sighthounds, has a high prey drive and may not get along with small animals. The Afghan Hound can be a successful competitor in dog agility trials as well as an intuitive therapy dog and companion. Genomic studies have pointed to the Afghan Hound as one of the oldest of dog breeds.
The breed has a reputation among dog trainers as difficult to train; Commands such as come, sit or stay can be taught though and are they are extremely affectionate and loyal to those they bond with.
Although seldom used today for hunting in Europe and America, where they are popular, Afghan Hounds are frequent participants in lure coursing events and are also popular in the sport of conformation showing.
The Afghan Hound has been identified as a basal breed that predates the emergence of the modern breeds in the 19th century. It is most closely related to the Saluki.
Connections with other types and breeds from the same area may provide clues to the history. A name for a desert coursing Afghan Hound, Tazi (Sag-e-Tazi), suggests a shared ancestry with the very similar Tasy breed from the Caspian Sea area of Russia and Turkmenistan. Other types or breeds of similar appearance are the Taigan from the mountainous Tian Shan region on the Chinese border of Afghanistan, and the Barakzay, or Kurram Valley Hound.
There are at least 13 types known in Afghanistan, and some are being developed (through breeding and record keeping) into modern purebred breeds.
Once out of Afghanistan, the history of the Afghan Hound breed became entwined with that of the very earliest dog shows and the Kennel Club (UK). Various sighthounds were brought to England in the 1800s by army officers returning from British India and were exhibited at dog shows, which were then just becoming popular, under various names, such as Barukzy hounds. They were also called "Persian Greyhounds" by the English, in reference to their own indigenous sighthound.
One dog in particular, Zardin, was brought in 1907 from India by Captain John Barff. Zardin became the early ideal for the breed type still referred to as the Persian Greyhound. Zardin was the basis of the writing for the first breed standard in 1912, but this breeding cycle was stopped by World War I.
Out of the long-haired sighthound types known in Afghanistan, two main strains make up the modern Afghan Hound breed. The first were a group of hounds brought to Scotland from Balochistan by Major and Mrs. G. Bell-Murray and Miss Jean C. Manson in 1920, and they are known as the Bell-Murray strain. These dogs were of the lowland or steppe type and are less heavily coated.
The second strain was a group of dogs from a kennel in Kabul owned by Mrs. Mary Amps, which she shipped to England in 1925. She and her husband came to Kabul after the Afghan war in 1919, and the foundation sire of her kennel (named Ghazni) in Kabul was a dog that closely resembled Zardin. Her Ghazni strain were the more heavily coated mountain type. Most of the Afghans in the United States were developed from the Ghazni strain from England. The first Afghans in Australia were imported from the United States in 1934, also of the Ghazni strain. The French breed club was formed in 1939 (FALAPA). The mountain and steppe strains became mixed into the modern Afghan Hound breed, and a new standard was written in 1948, which is still used today.
The Afghan Hound can also come with a much more "patterned" coat. This descends from the Bell-Murray's and the Ghazni lines, and is displayed in much lighter feathering of coat, deeper saddle (often actually looking like a saddle) and much shorter hair on the face and neck. It is believed that these particular Afghan Hounds were a product of much hotter parts of the country.
The beauty of Afghan Hound dogs caused them to become highly desirable show dogs and pets, and they are recognised by all of the major kennel clubs in the English-speaking world. One of the Amps Ghazni, Sirdar, won BIS at Crufts in 1928 and 1930. An Afghan Hound was featured on the cover of Life Magazine, November 26, 1945. Afghan Hounds were the most popular in Australia in the 1970s, and won most of the major shows. An Afghan Hound won Best in Show (BIS) at the 1996 World Dog Show in Budapest. Afghan Hounds were BIS at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 1957 and again in 1983. That win also marked the most recent win at Westminster for breeder-owner-handler, Chris Terrell.
The Afghan Hound breed is no longer used for hunting, although it can be seen in the sport of lure coursing.
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, an Afghan Hound named Snuppy. In 2006 Hwang Woo-Suk was dismissed from his university position for fabricating data in his research. Snuppy, nonetheless, was a genuine clone, and thus the first cloned dog in history.
In Popular Culture
Pablo Picasso said that his 1967 statue located in Chicago's Daley Plaza represented the head of an Afghan Hound named Kabul.
The Afghan hound has been represented in multiple animated feature films and TV shows, including Universal Pictures' Balto (Sylvie), Disney's Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure (Ruby) and Hasbro Studios's Pound Puppies (Twiggy). An Afghan hound also appeared in the movies One Hundred and One Dalmatians, 101 Dalmatians, 102 Dalmatians, and 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure. Other examples include Prince Amir of Kinjan from What-a-Mess, Persia from Road Rovers, Burt from Foofur, and Brainy Barker from Krypto the Superdog. Malory Archer in the show Archer also had an Afghan hound named Duchess at some point in her childhood.
In the 1941 novel Between the Acts, Virginia Woolf uses an Afghan hound named Sohrab to represent aspects of one of the book's human characters.
The Afghan Hound features prominently in the avant-garde music video of popular French band M83's, "Set in Stone (M83 Remix)".
An Afghan Hound was also featured on the cover of the 1967 (45 rpm) single "Have Some More Tea/Victor Henry's Cool Book" by British psychadelic rock band The Smoke.
Here is a short video with information about the Afghan Hound. Be sure to check out the wide assortment of Afghan Hound products on our website: https://doggydaddyshop.com
Afghan Hound Product at Doggy Daddy
We have over 90 different breeds to choose from now and growing. I just added more Afghan Hound items such as mugs and notebooks and have more items on the way. The collection will continue to grow in other categories as well suchs as backpacks, laptop sleeves and tote bags. Join the email list to be notified of new styles. Here is an example of some of the Afghan Hound items we have live:
Afghan Hound blog 6