Dog Health & More
The Afghan Hound is elegance personified. This unique, ancient dog breed has an appearance quite unlike any other: dramatic silky coat, exotic face, and thin, fashion-model build. Looks aside, Afghan enthusiasts describe this hound as both aloof and comical. Hailing from Afghanistan, where the original name for the breed was Tazi, the Afghan is thought to date back to the pre-Christian era and is considered one of oldest breeds.
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The Afghan Hound was originally used for hunting large prey in both the deserts and in the mountains of Afghanistan, where his abundant, flowing coat was needed for warmth. The Afghan was highly valued for his ability to run — fast and over great distances — courageously holding dangerous animals, such as leopards, at bay until his huntsman on horseback caught up. The Afghan was also valued for his ability to think and hunt independently, without human direction.
Today's Afghan Hound isn't hunting leopards but this sighthound does retain the independent nature of a coursing hound. An Afghan puppy will eagerly seek affection from family members, just like puppies of any breed, but this puppyhood behavior can fool unsuspecting owners. Cute puppy antics diminish as the Afghan matures. A mature Afghan Hound does not lavish attention on anyone, and sometimes doen't even want to be hugged or petted. The free-thinking, independent Afghan will decide for himself when he wants affection, and it will be on his terms — not yours.
Independence and indifference aside, the Afghan Hound is tender when he wishes to be and can be very amusing. Often referred to as a "clown" by his affectionate family, the Afghan Hound is known to be mischievous and stories abound of this breed's ability to steal objects from under the very noses of family members, even going so far as to open dresser drawers and snatch clothes.
With an ability to see far greater distances than humans and pivotal hip joints that enable him to cover ground quickly and easily clear obstacles, the Afghan is a natural for a sport called lure coursing. In lure coursing, the hounds give chase to plastic bags that are used to create the effect of escaping game. This competition tests the dog's ability to hunt by sight, and basic coursing instinct. In 1972, the American Sighthound Field Association (ASFA) began, and continues to operate and oversee a program much loved by owners and dogs alike.
Whether competing in a coursing event, or enjoying life as a playful family companion, the Afghan Hound is a one-of-a-kind breed.