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Breed Profile: Afghan Hound

Afghan Hounds might not make the list of most popular breeds in Canada, but they have certainly stood the test of time. Very few other modern breeds can trace their roots back as far as this elegant dog, and while it's better known today for it's long silky locks, there's still a hunter under that sophisticated exterior!

They're a tall, fairly svelte breed that balances a beautiful exterior with a wild heart and sometimes silly side!

While most people who own Afghan Hounds today aren't sending them after prey in the desert, these dogs still have a highly developed instinct for the hunt, which can make them a little tricky to have around smaller animals and children, although, as with most dogs, with proper training and early socialization, they can make a fine family pet.

History of the Afghan Hound

The Afghan Hound can trace it's ancestry in the middle east all the way back to the pharoahs, and while there were certainly some changes to the breed before they found their way to England in the very early 20th century, they are still identifiable as related to those early hunting dogs.

When Afghan Hounds first arrived in England, they were known as Barukhzy Hounds or Persian Greyhounds (fitting, because they certainly rival that breed in their grace and speed!), and as the breed evolved into today's glamorous specimens, they gained popularity quickly. In fact, by the 1970s, they were a fixture in show rings in the UK and beyond!

General Physical Characteristics of Afghan Hounds

Afghan Hounds are tall and lithe. Males stand about 27" at the shoulder, and females between 25" and 36", but they typically weigh between 60lbs for males, and 50 lbs for females. Their signature long silky hair obscures this svelte figure, but without it, they look very similar in body shape to the Greyhounds they used to be named for.

Afghan Hounds have a long, almond shaped head, and the breed standard dictates that they have a jaunty curl in their tails.

The Afghan Hound is best known for their silky hair, which is long and straight (and requires a lot of grooming!) but while the "blonde" version is probably the most recognizable, they do come in a wide range of colours, with all shades being acceptable according to the breed standard, with the exception of spotted or mottled.

Character / Temperament of Afghan Hounds

As with many dogs that were bred to be hunters, Afghan Hounds love to run, and are happiest when they are outside, stretching their legs. The hunting instinct is undiminished in the breed, which means they definitely need to be socialized well and early, but they are mostly gentle with their families, although they have a tendency to be aloof rather than cuddly.

They are an independent type of dog, to the degree that some people describe their personalities as catlike, but while they can be timid with strangers, they are generally not too highly strung.

Lifespan of the Afghan Hound

Afghans usually live somewhere between 12 and 14 years.

Common Health and Personality Issues In Afghan Hounds

Afghans are usually a fairly hardy breed of dog, and are not known for any major health concerns. However, the breed may be predisposed to:

  1. Cataracts and other eye conditions
  2. Prone to tail injuries, due to the length and shape of their tails
  3. Like many large breed dogs, they are prone to hip dysplasia
  4. Sometimes diagnosed with hypothyroidism

The Afghan Hound is definitely not a dog you will find in every Canadian dog park, but in spite of their hot weather origins, they do well in Canada, and if you want a dog that combines model looks with the heart of a hunter (a great choice if you love to run too!), and you have the time to care for that luxurious coat, then this is certainly a good choice as a family dog in Canada.

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