The Afghan Hound might never be the fiercest of the hunting dogs but they do deserve the title “King of Dogs”. For one thing, they are extremely fast and agile. They are also very skillful in herding, hunting, lure coursing, sighting, tracking and racing. For another, they possess a remarkable elegance and royalty-like appearance, and their breed was kept pure for centuries. A native to Sinai, Afghan hounds are one of the oldest hunting dogs in the world. In fact, their history can be traced back some 4,000 years ago. They were mentioned several times in Egyptian papyruses and pictured in the caves in northern Afghanistan. If you want to own this rare dog breed, here are some important facts you need to know.
Afghan Hounds are very independent. They hunt on their own without relying on their owners for direction. Belonging to the sight hound family, they pursue their quarry by sight—not using their nose when trailing. Nonetheless, because of their speed and agility, Afghan Hounds are very efficient in hunting deer, wild goats, and even leopards and wolves. These days though, these sight hounds are rarely use for hunting. You’ll instead see more of them in dog shows.
The Afghan Hounds are highly trainable, but trainers must discipline them in a calm yet firm manner. While they are physically and emotionally strong, they will pine when deprived of proper and gentle leadership. They can be disobedient when not given clear guidelines of what are expected of them. The Afghan Hounds are at their best around older, considerate children who demonstrate the character of a gentle pack leader.
Afghan Hounds are not your ordinary hunting dogs. Their whole appearance is one of dignity and aloofness without any trace or coarseness or plainness. They are tall and slender with a long and narrow head, powerful jaws, silky topknot, and prominent back head. These hounds carry their head proudly and have a serious look on their face as if saying “Don’t mess up with me.” They also have prominent hip bones and large feet, and they stand with what looks like an exaggerated bend. Afghan Hounds are easily distinguishable with their long, thick and fine, silky coat complemented by dark, almond-shaped eyes— giving them a rather royalty appearance. Males can stand 25 to 27 inches at the shoulder and weigh 55 to 60 pounds. Females can stand 23 to 25 inches at the shoulder and weigh 45 to 50 pounds.
This is not a dog breed for everyone. Afghan Hounds are very sensitive to stress and get a sick stomach when exposed to extremely stressful situation. They also demand a lot of attention and maintenance. But they are definitely a delightful and loving companion with the right person. Afghan Hounds have a low desire to dominate, but are at the same time affectionate, courageous, dignified, loyal, sensitive, spirited and sweet. And although these hounds can be suspicious of strangers, they are not hostile unlike other hunting dogs.