Artists & Royals Have Been Obsessed With This Breathtaking Dog For 5,000 Years – Meet The Afghan Hound
Considered by some authorities to be the world’s oldest domesticated dog breed, the Afghan Hound’s history is shrouded in myth and mystery. Afghan Hounds existed before written history—this means we can’t trace their exact origins but we do have thousands of years of documented interactions with this breed.
Once a hunting breed for the nobility of modern-day Afghanistan, Afghan Hounds today are best known for their supermodel good looks and the long flowing hair that once protected them from harsh mountain weather. Breathtaking to look at and unmistakably different from other breeds, the Afghan Hound has been inspiring humans for thousands of years.
Some Myths Place Afghan Hound’s on Noah’s Ark!
We know for certain that Afghan Hounds accompanied royalty, noblemen, and skilled hunters as sighthounds in what is now modern-day Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan more than 5200 years ago. The exact origins of the breed are impossible to determine because, well, there are no written records—Afghan Hounds are so ancient that some myths place them on Noah’s Ark!
The Afghan Hound entered the world stage in the late 1800s and early 1900s when British officers imported the breed to Western Europe, and well-known American actors, artists, and socialites began to favor the Afghan hound.
Pablo Picasso’s Love Affair With the Afghan Hound
Pablo Picasso had at least two beloved Afghan Hounds named Kasbac and Kabul. He loved these dogs so much that they soon became an inspiration for his work. Most famously, Picasso designed a sculpture sometimes simply called The Picasso in the image of his dog, Kabul—the sculpture still stands and can be seen in Chicago’s Daley Plaza.
“Right now I have an Afghan Hound named Kabul. He is elegant, with graceful proportions, and I love the way he moves…I do think of him sometimes when I am in my studio,” said the late Picasso in an interaction with author and professor of psychology Stanley Coren. “Often, if he comes to my mind when I am working, it alters what I do. The nose on the face I am drawing gets longer and sharper. The hair of the woman I am sketching gets longer and fluffy, resting against her cheeks like his ears rest against his head. Yes, if I have a favourite, for now at least, it is my Afghan Hound, Kabul.”
By the 1930s, the American Kennel Club had taken notice of the breed. Notably, comedian Zeppo Marx—the youngest brother of comedian Groucho Marx—owned a breeding pair of
But do these ancient dogs make good family pets? Dive into the details on Afghan Hounds and life with a sighthound.
Meet 5 Afghan Hounds from Instagram
Afghan Hounds come in nine officially recognized colors and are a relatively diverse-looking breed. As you meet a few of these pups from Instagram you’ll see that the Afghan Hound comes in a rainbow of coat types.
1. Safija & Amina
Safija (left) and Amina (right) are two Afghan Hounds from Poznan, Poland who are dog show champions and snuggle bugs on the side! A big fan of soft blankets, these ladies love to lounge.
2. Baba Ganoush
This sweet gentle boy is Baba Ganous from Sydney, Australia! A touch timid but very alert and smart, Babganous loves his human and going on beach walks.
Chelsea is a natural blonde and has a gorgeous white-toothed smile—can you see why artists have been inspired by the beauty of these dogs?
Before they grow their long silky fur, Afghan Hound puppies go through a phase of looking a little like a Muppet. Heidi is all grown up now, but we’re obsessed with how fuzzy she was as a puppy!
5. Magic & Cecano
To give you an idea of how tall Afghan Hounds are, take a look at Magic and Cecano compared to their human!
Afghan Hounds, and is sometimes credited with truly introducing the breed to the U.S.
Afghan Hound Basic Info
Afghan Hounds are categorized as sighthounds in the hound dog group. Sighthounds have excellent eyesight, fast reflexes, and speed, which helps them spot and chase down prey. While they enjoy working, Afghan Hounds are also wonderful family dogs with goofy personalities, but can you handle their quirky side?
Afghan Hound Personality & Temperament
Afghan Hounds are sweet and gentle by nature, though not the most physically affectionate of dog breeds. Some people may describe them as cat-like, preferring to be nearby in a room rather than directly on your lap. Independent and clever, Afghan Hounds require plenty of mental stimulation to keep them from getting bored, as boredom can quickly turn to mischief.
“I find them to be the canine version of a cat…they are sweet and loveable, silly, and easily bored. They are thieves and intelligent, but glare at them and they melt if you are their person,” says a Reddit comment from a multi-Afghan Hound owner. “[Afghan Hounds] are great companions and great dogs, but if someone wants a dog that lives for you to tell them to sit you may not get the experience you want…They are a mischievous breed with a sense of humor and no problem telling you no.”
Because they value personal space and can be sensitive and easily offended, Afghan Hounds are not always a good dog breed for families with small children. Not only can Afghans be a little uncomfortable around children who cannot respect their boundaries, they may also feel the instinct to chase down and physically overpower children who like to run or play chaotically. Afghan Hounds have a high prey drive but are more interested in the chase than inflicting injuries on their targets.
Because they are athletic and eager to work, Afghan Hounds do well in canine sports like lure coursing and agility dog shows. Their grace and beauty have made them a fan favorite in show dog rings, but many Afghan Hounds are shy and aloof and would prefer quiet admiration. When properly socialized Afghan Hounds can enjoy the company of other dogs, but they may be selective of their choice of canine friends.
Afghan Hound Size
Adult Afghan Hounds are tall, long-legged dogs with willowy proportions, standing 25–27 inches tall and weighing 50–60 pounds. Their long coats may disguise their slender bodies, but Afghan Hounds have a build similar to other sighthounds like Greyhounds and Borzoi.
Afghan Hound Health
Though Afghan Hounds are a relatively healthy breed, they are at risk for two of the same health problems that affect all deep-chested sighthounds: bloat and anesthesia sensitivity.
Bloat can appear quite quickly, but knowing the signs can help you get your dog to the vet as quickly as possible for treatment. While a reputable veterinarian should know that sighthounds are sensitive to anesthesia, we recommend reiterating this before any surgical procedures and working to find a vet who specializes in sighthounds.
Some other health issues to be aware of as your Afghan Hound ages include:
- Joint problems (e.g. hip dysplasia)
- Eye and vision problems (e.g. cataracts)
- Panosteitis (canine growing pains)
- Afghan Hound myelopathy (degenerative genetic spinal cord condition)
Where To Buy An Afghan Hound Puppy
To find a reputable breeder of Afghan Hound puppies, we recommend starting with the Afghan Hound Club of America’s breeder directory where you can browse ethical Afghan Hound breeders around the country. It is also possible to find adoptable dogs through Afghan Hound rescue organizations. Afghan Hound Club of America also offers Afghan Hound adoption resources.
Afghan Hound FAQ
How much do Afghan Hounds cost?
On the low end, Afghan Hound prices start at around $2,000–$3,000. Breeders whose mating pairs are dog show champions may ask quite a bit more for their puppies, sometimes as much as $5,000–$7000.
Are Afghan Hound Dogs good with children?
Sometimes. Afghan Hounds like to be given space and interact with you on their own terms. Small children can easily overstep a dog’s boundaries by accident, and a poorly socialized Afghan Hound may not respond to crossed boundaries appropriately.
Do Afghan Hounds shed a lot?
No! Afghan Hounds are low-shedding and drop very little fur.
Are Afghan Hounds hypoallergenic?
No, but they are low-shedding! There is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog, but Afghan Hounds may drop less fur and dander than other breeds.
How much does Afghan Hound grooming cost?
Afghan Hounds have long silky coats that need regular trims and grooming. If you bring your Afghan Hound to a professional groomer, you’ll probably pay around $80–$120 per grooming session. In addition to regular professional grooming (every 4–8 weeks) Afghan Hounds also need daily brushing.
Are Afghan Hounds hard to train?
Yes. Afghan Hounds are independent and stubborn, and if you don’t have experience with sighthounds you may need to work with dog trainers before committing to this breed.
Do Afghan Hounds bark a lot?
No, Afghan Hounds are not particularly vocal. They will occasionally bark, but they are more likely to produce quieter vocalizations like whining.
Do Afghan Hound owners need to have a fenced-in yard?
Yes. Afghan Hounds are fast and they love to chase—they can quickly be distracted by a running rabbit, squirrel, cat, or even a car heading down the road. A fenced-in yard and keeping your Afghan Hound leashed outside of the yard is the safest option for the breed.
How fast can an Afghan Hound run?
At top speeds, Afghan Hounds can run around 40 miles per hour. Afghan Hounds also have lots of stamina, so they can maintain high speeds for extended periods of time.
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