Sighthounds are among the oldest recognisable types of dogs, and genetic testing has placed the Afghan Hound breed among those with the least genetic divergence from the wolf on some markers. This is taken to mean that such dogs are descended from the oldest dog types, not that the breeds tested had in antiquity their exact modern form. Today's modern purebred breed of Afghan Hound descends from dogs brought in the 1920s to Great Britain, and are a blending of types and varieties of long haired sighthounds from across Afghanistan and the surrounding areas. Some had been kept as hunting dogs, others as guardians.
One dog in particular, Zardin, was brought in 1907 from India by Captain Bariff and became the early ideal of breed type for what was still called the Persian Greyhound. Zardin was the basis of the writing of the first breed standard in 1912, but breeding of the dogs was stopped by World War I.
The spectacular beauty of Afghan Hound dogs caused them to become highly desirable showdogs 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 BIS (Best in Show) 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.
The Afghan Hound is considered an aristocratic sighthound. Tall and slender with a long, narrow, refined head, silky topknot and powerful jaws, the back part of the head and skull are quite prominent. The muzzle is slightly convex and the nose is black. The Afghan has little or no stop, which is the transition area from backskull to muzzle. 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, are discouraged.
Courageous, dignified, spirited, very sweet, loyal, affectionate and sensitive, with a low dominance level, the Afghan can be somewhat aloof, but socialize well. They must be trained kindly yet in a calm and firm manner. The Afghan has been described as "a king of dogs"—noble, majestic and elegant. They tend to be suspicious of those they do not know, but not hostile. Although tough, they will pine if they are deprived of proper gentle leadership. They will do best with older, considerate children who understand how to be a gentle pack leader. Amenable to training and discipline, they can be disobedient if an owner does not give the dog clear guidelines and consistency with what is expected of their dog. This breed can be difficult to housebreak. It can also be timid and high-strung if it does not receive enough mental and physical exercise.
Height: Males 27 - 29 inches (68.58 - 73.66 cm); slightly less for females.
Weight: 50 – 64 lb. (22 – 34 kg)
Weight: 50 – 64 lb. (22 – 34 kg)
The Afghan Hound is not recommended for apartment life. They are relatively inactive indoors and do best with acreage. This breed can live in or outdoors, although it would be happier sleeping indoors.
The Afghan Hound needs to be taken on a long daily walk or jog. While out on the walk the dog must be made to heel beside or behind the person holding the lead, as in a dog's mind the leader leads the way, and that leader needs to be the human. Dogs that do not get to go on daily walks are more likely to display behavior problems. Teach them to enter and exit door and gateways after the humans. They will also enjoy running free in an open, fenced, safe area.
About 14 years
The long, thick coat demands a great deal of attention. Bathe the dog when necessary. 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 ears from food bowls. Some owners like to use a special air-cushioned brush called a pinbrush. This breed is an average shedder.