The Afghan Hound's striking appearance has long commanded attention. It's supple, majestic gait, proud and noble head and long, silky coat give the dog an air of elegance and nobility. It is also a runner of great speed and a hunter that fears neither rain, snow, nor rough terrain. In Afghanistan , it is a valued companion of nomad chieftains, tracking deer or wild goats, even wolves and snow leopards. Shepherds prize it as a herder and watch-dog. In the Middle East , so the story goes, Afghan Hounds were so valued by members of the nobility that foreigners were prohibited from obtaining dogs to take home. The Afghan's long seclusion as a hunter in wild, mountainous terrain is largely responsible for its handsome coat, necessary to protect it from frigid temperatures. The dog's wide-set hip bones enable it to twist, turn, and leap around and over the rocks and ravines that make up much of Afghanistan 's countryside. Its tail, carried high with a curve of its tip, alerts hunters to its whereabouts when it is charging through heavy brush. Like all oriental dogs, the Afghan has a very independent character; it is impossible to make a servile dog of this hound. With strangers, or anyone outside the immediate circle of family and friends, it keeps its distance. Among friends, however, it is a lively and spirited companion, craving and delighting in lavish affection. Thanks to an uncanny instinct for comfort, it can be relied on to choose the best armchair. Outdoors, however, it harks back to its origins, giving itself up to the pure joy of running, or barking playfully after butterflies and falling leaves. The Afghan has been highly regarded in Britain since the turn of the century. Its more recent popularity has been phenomenal.
Origin of Afghan Hound
The roots of the Afghan, as of most hounds, reach far into ancient times. Cave drawings dating back more than 4,000 years have been found in the Balkh region of north-western Afghanistan , showing dogs which closely resemble the breed known today. Evidence of its existence has been found in Greece on pictorial fabric believed to have been created in Athens in the sixth century B.C.
An Egyptian papyrus from the fourth century B.C. mentions the Afghan. The first Afghan to reach Europe was imported into England at the end of the last century. In 1907, the dog was exhibited in London under the name Oriental Greyhound; it met with immense success. It was also in England that the first Afghan Hound club was founded, in 1926. That same year the breed was granted official recognition by the British Kennel Club.
Characteristics of Afghan Hound
General appearance: very tall, impressive, and aloof in manner, the Afghan hound has a characteristically supple and elastic gait.
Height: 686 to 73.7 em (27 to 29 in.) for the adult dog; 63.5 to 68.6 em (25 to 27 in.) for the bitch. Under American standards, 66 to 71 em (26 to 28 in.) for the adult dog; 61 to 66 em (24 to 26 in.) for the bitch.
Weight: under F.C.I. standards, 25 to 30 kg (55 to 66 Ib) for the adult dog and 20 to 25 kg (44 to 55 Ib) for the bitch. Under American standards, 27.2 kg (60 Ib) for the dog and 22.7 kg (50 Ib) for the bitch. Elsewhere, not specified.
Head: skull long, not too narrow, with prominent occiput. Long muzzle. Powerful jaws. Abundant topknot.
Eyes: slanting slightly upward from the inner corner towards the outer corner. Preferably dark.
Ears: long, set low and well back, the tip level with the corner of the mouth. Covered with long, silky hair.
Neck: long and strong. Head carried erect.
Body: flat. muscular back of moderate length; a slight knot of muscles at the loin. Deep chest. Loin rather short and strong. Prominent hip bones, wide apart.
Tail: not too short, ending in a ring, sparsely feathered, carried high.
Forequarters: long and sloping, well laid back, elbows tight. Legs straight and well boned.
Hindquarters: powerful, long, and well angled to the hock. Great length between the hip and hock. Pasterns long and springy. No dewclaw
Feet: covered with thick, long hair. Forefeet strong with large, arched toes. Hind feet long and broad and covered with thick hair.
Coat: thick, long, and silky, falling flat along the body except on the back saddle where it is short and close in mature dogs. From the brow backwards, the long, silky hair hangs in bangs; the hair is short on the forehead.
Color: all colors.
Faults: a heavy appearance. Large skull. Short muzzle. Eyes large and round. Thick, short neck.
Practical information about Afghan Hound
This hardy dog is able to tolerate heat. cold, and rain. It needs space and must be able to run itself out at least once a day. Its sumptuous coat requires a good deal of upkeep; it is best to have the dog groomed regularly It must be thoroughly brushed every two days, shampooed once a month. Handle an Afghan Hound gently; it is sensitive.