It's Dog Show Saturday once again. I'm not running out of breeds yet, so I've chosen another breed to research. The internet is an amazing place to find facts and opinions, as well as pictures. And I always learn something when I post about a breed.
This week I took a look at the Afghan Hound. They are known for the long flowing locks and elegance. I've seen plenty of pictures such as this one comparing humans with Afghans using a little humor. From the back, at the right angle, they can actually look like a long haired woman.
They come from the middle east and at some point wound up in Afghanistan; go figure. But before that may have been in Persia and one source said they were loaded on the Ark with Noah. Carvings of these guys were found in caves by troops under Alexander the Great. The origin is a bit murky, but they sure do seem to have been around a LONG time.
Afghan hounds are sight hounds and built for speed. If you can see the dog under the long longs, they are lean and efficiently built. That long, gorgeous coat has a purpose; protection from the harsh climates of Afghanistan. These dogs were used for hunting larger prey. They could cover large distances at great speed. They could hold leopards at bay until the horses could catch up. Being independent thinkers, they were a valuable asset for hunting.
Pablo Picasso owned an Afghan Hound and featured it in a painting in 1962, which sold for a whole lot of money in 2012.
They weren't introduced here in the U.S. until the 1920s, when the Marx brothers brought one over. The breed got a huge boost in popularity when Mattel's Barbie had an Afghan Hound.
These dogs are awesome to watch in the show ring with their grace and flowing locks! If they are cooperating with their handler, they often do very well.
Lots of grooming is required for these guys to keep them looking good. Clothing such as this snood and these booties are fairly common to help decrease the work. If they aren't show dogs, sometimes they have their coat cut short, but grooming is still necessary to keep it maintained.
These hounds, with their natural hunting ability, are excellent at lure coursing. Lure coursing is a sport that tests the ability of a dog to hunt by sight. Afghans have a high prey drive which is great for hunting or lure coursing but not so great when it comes to smaller househould pets or neighborhood animals.
Afghans are very active dogs and need a good amount of exercise to keep them fit and healthy. They are described as aloof and independent. These qualities make them more difficult to train, especially for first time dog owners. They don't often care to please and don't seek attention except on their own terms.
Note: these guys are excellent escape artists so an Afghan owner should plan accordingly. If they do manage to get loose they can be very hard to catch because of their speed and aloofness.
Known to have a sense of humor, they can be pretty comical. Also known to be sensitive and to have a low pain tolerance, Afghans aren't the best kid dogs. They can be socialized and do ok if they are raised around kids but they aren't naturals. Older children who understand the needs of the breed do better. Afghan Hounds are laid back and calm if they get enough exercise.