Afghan hounds are a magnificent breed distinguished by their thick, soft,silky coat and slender physique. They are a very ancient breed, mentioned in Egyptian papyruses and have been pictured in caves in Afghanistan over 4,000 years ago. Afghans were bred in the Middle East mountain tribes for hunting small and large game. How they made their way to Afghanistan is unknown. Actually much of the breed’s history has been lost over time.
In its homeland (Afghanistan, the breed has been used to hunt leopards, desert fox and gazelle. Perfectly suited for hunting, this dog is an extremely fast, agile runner, courageous and an independent thinker. Thbreed was owned by both tribesmen and royalty alike. While e the tribe dogs were used to protect and guard the villages at night, and were considered semi-feral and could fend for themselves, the royal dogs were kept in kennels.
Originally there were two breeds, the heavy coated mountain, and the lean desert type. The Afghan we know today is an interbreeding of the two. It is thought the breed was brought to Europe in the late 1800’s by soldiers returning from the Indian-Afghan border wars. The first documented western breeder was an English officer following those wars, at the turn of the 19th century. Afghans from his kennels arrived in England in 1925, and reached the U.S. a few years later.
Zeppo Marx (of the Marx Brothers fame) got the breed off to a good start in the U.S. by importing a bitch, Azra of Ghazni, and a stud, Westmill Omar, in 1931. Azra and Omar became the foundation of Pride’s Hill Kennel in Massachusetts. Later, a younger third dog was added and the three became the cornerstone of the breed in America. They became recognized by the A.K.C. in 1926 and a member of the Afghan Club of America in 1940.
Today in Afghanistan the dogs are used to guard sheep and goats and to hunt foxes and wolves. But elsewhere they are kept as pets, developed for their beautiful appearance rather than for hunting.
The Afghan is the ultimate show dog. With its graceful stance, aloof attitude and beauty it is hard to beat. A relatively healthy breed, they are very active and playful, with an enormous personality, majestic in looks, and make a great companion in an elegant lifestyle.
Must have daily mental stimulation, plus lots of physical activity and exercise
Can be difficult to train
Although a generally healthy breed, they do have a low threshold of pain, and may suffer with minor injuries.
By: Linda Eastabrooks
Former AKC Breeder