Afghan Hounds are an ancient breed, fleet of foot and glamorous — even Picasso agreed, he immortalized his beloved hound's beauty in sculpture. A show dog and hunter at heart, the Afghan Hound is made of stern stuff. Their gorgeous coats originally protected them from harsh mountain climates and they've certainly stood the test of time—they're thought to date back to pre-Christian eras!
Originally from the region now known as Afghanistan, this large and very active dog can grow up to 50-60 pounds and live 12-18 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Hound breed group.
AKC Recognized: Y
Breed's Original Pastime: Hunting, Showdog
Breed Group: Hound
Average Lifespan: 12-18 years
Bark Factor: Moderate
AKC RANKING 90
FAMILY sighthound, Southern (sighthound)
AREA OF ORIGIN Afghanistan
DATE OF ORIGIN ancient times
ORIGINAL FUNCTION coursing hare and gazelle
TODAY'S FUNCTION lure coursing
AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 27 Weight: 60
AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 25 Weight: 50
OTHER NAME tazi, Baluchi hound
Energy level Low energy
Exercise needs Medium
Playfullness Moderately playful
Affection level Somewhat affectionate
Friendliness toward other dogs Friendly
Friendliness toward other pets Friendly
Friendliness toward strangers Shy
Ease of training Easy to train
Watchdog ability High
Protection ability Not very protective
Grooming needs High maintenance
Cold tolerance Medium tolerance
Heat tolerance Medium tolerance
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS AN AFGHAN HOUND'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
Afghan Hounds can be aloof, but earn their affections and they'll never let you down. Don't let their fashion-plate locks fool you: they can be playful and silly, too. And if you make sure they get enough exercise, your Afghan Hound will be a laid-back dog at home, preferring a comfy bed or couch for naps between sprints. Afghan Hounds aren't usually effusive, but they form deep and loyal bonds with their families.
WHAT IS AFGHAN HOUND BEHAVIOR LIKE?
This is a hound on the go. Afghans will dash after things well beyond your range of vision. If you're planning to play in your own backyard, you'll need a fence taller than you — Afghan Hounds are notorious jumpers. Your best bet is finding a big fenced-in space that will let your furry friend go full tilt until they tire themselves out. This isn't just good for your dog, by the way — an under-exercised and bored Afghan Hound can be destructive. This breed is highly vigilant, but not very protective. They're somewhat friendly with other dogs, other pets, and small animals, but they're wary of strangers.
Afghan Hounds can be family-friendly, but do best with supervised children — these dogs are gentle with kids, but your little ones might expect a more responsive and playful dog.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN AN AFGHAN HOUND?
Afghan Hounds are independent-minded sighthounds; you'll want a sturdy leash and a well-fitted slip collar for your frequent, brisk walks. (Especially as their recall is inconsistent, at best.) They're quick learners, but also easily bored — reward your hound with food and games to keep their attention.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO AFGHAN HOUNDS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
Fuzzy Afghan Hound puppies don't require much in the way of grooming, but don't get complacent. By the time your fluffball hits nine months, you're in for extensive grooming and frequent baths.
Their stunning coats are made of long and fine hair. If you welcome this supermodel into your home, get ready for lots of brushing to prevent mats and tangles. Check their coats regularly for parasites and debris.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO AFGHAN HOUNDS HAVE?
Afghan Hounds can be prone to bloat, a potentially life-threatening stomach disorder that affects digestion. Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of bloat and contact your vet at the first sight of onset — it can be fatal if not treated promptly. Some develop cataracts, and they're vulnerable to tail injuries.
Breed history has moved while this section is under construction. Please check out the first tab for fun facts about this breed's history. You can also read on to learn about this breed's ideal family situation.
ARE AFGHAN HOUNDS GOOD FOR PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES?
Yes! They are infrequent, below-average shedders and the American Kennel Club includes Afghan Hounds among its breeds recommended for folks with allergies.
Remember that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, and any breed can aggravate allergies.
WHAT IS AN AFGHAN HOUND'S BEST DAY?
Whether romping with a beloved family member in a fenced backyard, or climbing the mountains in Acadia, Afghans want to be on the go. While her perfect day probably does not include a trip to the groomers, it could probably help to follow-up her adventures with one to keep her coat soft, silky and swaying.
SHOULD I ADOPT AN AFGHAN HOUND?
If you're looking for a laid-back and cuddly lapdog, a low-maintenance dog when it comes to grooming, a sure thing who always comes when it's called, or a dog that will unreservedly shower you with affection, an Afghan Hound is not your best bet. Definitely don't disregard the labors of love necessary to keep this glamour-puss camera-ready.
This breed is a great match for someone who's always in motion, as often out-of-doors as in, looking for a dog who will match you mile for mile. Folks who want a canine companion who keeps them on their toes (figuratively and literally) for her whole life—this all-terrain canine might be for you.
Decided that an Afghan Hound is the perfect dog for you? Why not be your new best friend's hero and adopt a rescue! Be sure to check out our article on what to expect when you're adopting a dog or cat.