Afghan Dog
Exotic Hound Breed

The Afghan dog originally comes from the mountainous and plains regions of Afghanistan - not a big surprise! The breed dates back over 5,000 years or so. Evidence of this has been found in pictographic engravings discovered on ancient tablets and Egyptian art on tombs of pharaohs. Other names attributed to this breed include Tazi and  Baluchi Hound.

Among the members of the hound dog breeds, the Afghan would likely be considered the most glamorous and exotic in appearance. His long and lustrous flowing coat combined with an eastern facial expression, never fails to draw attention.

Afghan hound dog head and shoulders portraitCourtesy Capri23

This breed is classified as a sight hound and way back when, it was used to hunt both very large and small game including wolves, jackals, snow leopards and panthers.  When not on the hunt, it did a good job of herding and watching over livestock.

Following it's eastern beginnings, many Afghan Hounds eventually found their way to Great Britain via soldiers bringing them along as they returned from wars.

From this point on, interested breeders came into the picture and two strains of the Afghan  were developed - namely the Bell-Murray and the Ghazni strains. The latter strain had a winning day at the renowned Crufts dog show which helped attract more interest in the breed.

Subsequently, the two strains were cross-bred resulting in the Afghan dog we know today.

Although the Afghan hound that is most often seen in America, is of the bigger muscled and long-coated type that lived in mountainous regions, there is evidence of another variety that is short in coat and thinner, that inhabited the desert terrains.

In addition to being a great looking dog, this breed has proven to be very versatile and can frequently be seen at dog shows, competing successfully in conformance, agility, coursing and obedience.

The Afghan has also had it share of fame both in the movies, advertising, print magazines and books. Movies included Lady and the Tramp II and 101 Dalmations

More recently, the breed was distinguished as the one used by South Korean scientists in the first cloning of a dog in 2005 .

Well-known owners of the Afghan include Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Zeppo Marx.

Ravi 6

Appearance and Care of the Afghan Dog

The Afghan's appearance is both slender, athletic and elegant. Standing 25-27 inches and weighting 50-60 pounds, this real-looking hound is most often seen in a sand colored coat. Some other coat colors of the breed are: fawn, gold, cream, gray, white, gold, brindle and tricolor.

The glamorous good looks of this breed are all about its long flowing coat. However, this does not come without a price!

Weekly bathing and grooming is recommended to minimize tangles and matting. In addition, daily combing and brushing with the right brush is necessary to keep this beautiful hound coat looking its best.

Care should be taken never brush an Afghan's coat that is dirty, as it will become damaged. Expect to spend at least 15 minutes grooming time every day. Shedding is about average for this breed. An excellent coat conditioner and protector that helps repel dirt is Ice on Ice. Makes brushing easier too and also has sunscreen!

A tube-like head covering called a snood is a must-have accessory for mealtimes to keep the ears and hair out of the food.

Potential owners should have a realistic understanding of the grooming needs before acquiring an Afghan dog. Their coats will get matted without regular attention.

Personality and Traits

 While the Afghan dog appears to be aloof around strangers, this is just part of its cautious nature, but it also means that early socialization is very important.

Overall, Afghans are non-aggressive gentle dogs, both affectionate and sensitive, that enjoy getting attention. They make good watchdogs.

Training can be quite a challenge because this breed can be stubborn and very sensitive to any sign of harshness. If you learn some dog training techniques and can apply them in a kindly and patient way, you'll be off to a good start.

They really are quite intelligent, can learn almost anything and know what you want them to do, but may not be in the mood to comply at that moment 😊. Patience will help break down any resistance to learning.

It should also be kept in mind, from a training standpoint, that the hunting background of the breed has brought about a dog that is an independent thinker. What this means to owners is the importance of establishing "pack leader" dominance early on in a positive and non-harsh way.

When it comes to house training, this will be easier if you mark an outside area with their urine - remember they are hounds and will easily sniff out the right spot.

Afghan Hound dog standing illustration

How Much Activity Does the Afghan Dog Need?

Afghans need exercise - LOTS of it! They love to run and need to be able to do this for extended periods each day. If you are an active runner, this dog will be an ideal running partner for you.

Additionally, they should also have a big yard in which to exercise. It would be unfair to have this dog if owners do not have the time for plenty of vigorous exercise.

They generally get along OK with other dogs in household.

Ideal Living Space?

This is a very large dog breed that needs adequate space to move around, plus a large outdoor area where they can romp and play.

Apartment or condo style would not be suitable.

Children and the Afghan?

This breed does best with adults or older children that have been taught respect for animals and how to interact with them,

The Afghan is a powerful and elegant breed and belongs with a special family.


Although the Afghan dog has been used successfully as a therapy breed in hospitals, they would not  be suitable for senior or less active families that have no way of providing the high level of exercise they need.

clip art dog reading a book

Books To Read

afghan dog breed book
Afghan Hounds, World Of Dogs

History of the breed, show dog information for the experienced fancier, and very importantly a chapter on grooming the long silky coat. Other sections on lure coursing and racing. Lots of full color photos.

afghan dog breed comprehensive guide book
Afghan Dog (KCB)

Breed history, tips on puppy selection, feeding, training, health care and behavior. Advice on preparing for the puppy, housetraining and avoiding puppy problems. Many color pictures.

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