'The king of dogs', 'dignity and aloofness...proudly carried head, eyes gazing into the distance as if in memory of ages past'. This is the way that the American Kennel Club describes the Afghan hound.
It is believed that this is one of the oldest breeds known to man. Its origin is thought to come from a dog that not only produced the Afghan, but also another breed that comes from Russia, making them have the same point of origin.
The people of Afghanistan refused to sell their dogs to outsiders, and that is why this breed did not appear in the rest of the world until the 20th century. Even though it is a breed that has been in existence for the past 9,000 years, it wasn't until the 1930s that it was recognized. Since then, only two representatives of the breed have taken the 'best in show' award. It is the first dog in history to be cloned.
This is a big dog that stands at 25 to 30 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 46 to 61 pounds. Almost any solid color is accepted, but absolutely no part-colors or any spots. The coat is particularly difficult to take care of, because the more you brush it the faster it mats up. To properly groom the dog, you need special grooming tools. This hound has a long, feathery coat that has a silky texture. It is recommended that you never trim the coat so that it can grow out and look beautiful.
In its natural environment, this dog was used by the tribesmen of Afghanistan to hunt wolves, fox, and gazelle. The long coat was designed to keep it warm on long hunts on the cold mountain slopes.
This dog has a mind of its own, and without proper training, it will completely ignore any commands that its owner gives. While training, be gentle but firm, letting the dog know what is expected of it. If this breed is not trained in obedience, it has a tendency to become destructive around the house, not to mention extremely disobedient.
This dog needs to be socialized at an early age because it can otherwise become shy and aloof with strangers. It also needs a lot of exercise. It needs a big yard to vent its energy, along with a nice long walk every day. It loves to move around and has a lot of energy to spend.
According to the 2004 UK Kennel Club survey, the most common cause of death in this breed is cancer, old age, cardiac arrest, and urologic. The dogs that die of old age typically live for 12 to 14 years. Some major health concerns are cancer, hip dysplasia, and a sensitivity to anesthesia. Being a sight hound, this dog has low levels of fat in its body. This is why the anesthesia sensitivity can take place.
Although a generally-reserved and high-maintenance breed, this dog makes a wonderful pet. Its majestic looks are enough to enthrall anyone.