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  • Temperament: Independent, Sweet, Silly
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 113 of 194
  • Height: 25-27 inches
  • Weight: 50-60 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12-18 years
  • Group: Hound Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Afghan Hound standing sideways facing left, head turned forward
Afghan Hound lying in three-quarter view
Afghan Hound sitting facing forward
Afghan Hound coat detail

GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Afghan Hound is an aristocrat, his whole appearance one of dignity and aloofness with no trace of plainness or coarseness. He has a straight front, proudly carried head, eyes gazing into the distance as if in memory of ages past. The striking characteristics of the breed-exotic, or “Eastern,” expression, long silky topknot, peculiar coat pattern, very prominent hipbones, large feet, and the impression of a somewhat exaggerated bend in the stifle due to profuse trouserings-stand out clearly, giving the Afghan Hound the appearance of what he is, a king of dogs, that has held true to tradition throughout the ages.

HEAD

The head is of good length, showing much refinement, the skull evenly balanced with the foreface. There is a slight prominence of the nasal bone structure causing a slightly Roman appearance, the center line running up over the foreface with little or no stop, falling away in front of the eyes so there is an absolutely clear outlook with no interference; the underjaw showing great strength, the jaws long and punishing; the mouth level, meaning that the teeth from the upper jaw and lower jaw match evenly, neither overshot nor undershot. This is a difficult mouth to breed. A scissors bite is even more punishing and can be more easily bred into a dog than a level mouth, and a dog having a scissors bite, where the lower teeth slip inside and rest against the teeth of the upper jaw, should not be penalized. The occipital bone is very prominent. The head is surmounted by a topknot of long silky hair. Ears-The ears are long, set approximately on level with outer corners of the eyes, the leather of the ear reaching nearly to the end of the dog’s nose, and covered with long silky hair. Eyes-The eyes are almond-shaped (almost triangular), never full or bulgy, and are dark in color. Nose-Nose is of good size, black in color. Faults-Coarseness; snipiness; overshot or undershot; eyes round or bulgy or light in color; exaggerated Roman nose; head not surmounted with topknot.

BODY

Neck: The neck is of good length, strong and arched, running in a curve to the shoulders which are long and sloping and well laid back. Faults-Neck too short or too thick; a ewe neck; a goose neck; a neck lacking in substance.

Body: The back line appearing practically level from the shoulders to the loin. Strong and powerful loin and slightly arched, falling away toward the stern, with the hipbones very pronounced; well ribbed and tucked up in flanks. The height at the shoulders equals the distance from the chest to the buttocks; the brisket well let down, and of medium width. Faults-Roach back, swayback, goose rump, slack loin; lack of prominence of hipbones; too much width of brisket, causing interference with elbows.

TAIL

The tail set is not too high on the body, having a ring, or a curve on the end; should never be curled over, or rest on the back, or be carried sideways; and should never be bushy.

LEGS

Forelegs are straight and strong with great length between elbow and pastern; elbows well held in; forefeet large in both length and width; toes well arched; feet covered with long thick hair; fine in texture; pasterns long and straight; pads of feet unusually large and well down on the ground. Shoulders have plenty of angulation so that the legs are well set underneath the dog. Too much straightness of shoulder causes the dog to break down in the pasterns, and this is a serious fault. All four feet of the Afghan Hound are in line with the body, turning either in nor out. The hind feet are broad and of good length; the toes arched, and covered with long thick hair; hindquarters powerful and well muscled, with great length between hip and hock; hocks are well let down; good angulation of both stifle and hock; slightly bowed from hock to crotch. Faults-Front or back feet thrown outward or inward; pads of feet not thick enough; or feet too small; or any other evidence of weakness in feet; weak or broken down pasterns; too straight in stifle; too long in hock.

COAT

Hindquarters, flanks, ribs, forequarters, and legs well covered with thick, silky hair, very fine in texture; ears and all four feet well feathered; from in front of the shoulders; and also backwards from the shoulders along the saddle from the flanks and the ribs upwards, the hair is short and close, forming a smooth back in mature dogs – this is a traditional characteristic of the Afghan Hound. The Afghan Hound should be shown in its natural state; the coat is not clipped or trimmed; the head is surmounted (in the full sense of the word) with a topknot of long, silky hair – that is also an outstanding characteristic of the Afghan Hound. Showing of short hair on cuffs on either front or back legs is permissible. Fault-Lack of shorthaired saddle in mature dogs.

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Afghan Hound Illustration

About the Afghan Hound

Since ancient times, Afghan Hounds have been famous for their elegant beauty. But the thick, silky, flowing coat that is the breed’s crowning glory isn’t just for show — it served as protection from the harsh climate in mountainous regions where Afghans originally earned their keep. Beneath the Afghan’s glamorous exterior is a powerful, agile hound — standing as high as 27 inches at the shoulder — built for a long day’s hunt. Their huge paw-pads acted as shock absorbers on their homeland’s punishing terrain.

The Afghan Hound is a special breed for special people. A breed expert writes, “It’s not the breed for all would-be dog owners, but where the dog and owner combination is right, no animal can equal the Afghan Hound as a pet.”

Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Afghan Hound puppy

Find a Puppy: Afghan Hound

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Care

NUTRITION

The Afghan Hound should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). As sight hounds, Afghan Hounds have naturally svelte physiques, and their protruding hipbones are a unique breed characteristic, not a sign of being underweight. That said, Afghan Hounds are athletic, active dogs, so be mindful that your dog is getting enough good nutrition to meet his needs. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

GROOMING

Afghan puppies have short, fuzzy coats (including adorable facial hair called “monkey whiskers”) that require little maintenance. They don’t stay that way for long, however. As is to be expected, the long, silky coat of an adolescent or adult Afghan requires regular grooming. Several hours per week of brushing are needed to keep the hair free of tangles and mats, as well as to remove any debris. Keeping the hair clean and mat-free is the key to keeping the Afghan’s glorious coat looking its best. Regular bathing, with shampoo and conditioner, is also required. Like all breeds, Afghans should have their nails trimmed and their teeth brushed regularly.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
Daily Brushing

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Infrequent

EXERCISE

Because Afghans are sighthounds, bred to hunt and chase prey by sight, they will have a strong instinct to run off in pursuit of perceived prey; walking off leash is not advisable. Short walks do not provide enough exercise for this athletic breed, and some owners take their leashed Afghans on long runs once they reach maturity. Ideally, an Afghan should have the opportunity to run full out several times a week in a large, enclosed area. Afghans are tall, lean, and strong, which makes them excellent jumpers, so their exercise area must have a high, secure fence.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Energetic

TRAINING

Afghans are independent, dignified, and aloof in general, but they are affectionate and extremely loyal to humans they have bonded with. This loyalty can make it difficult for an adult Afghan to adjust to a new home. On the other hand, it can make them fairly easy to housetrain, because they want to please their owners. Unless obedience or agility competition is a goal, teaching basic commands such as come, sit, and stay is generally sufficient. Afghan Hound owners are often quick to point out that no amount of training will overcome the breed’s hunting instinct to break off on a high-speed chase.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
May be Stubborn

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Aloof/Wary

HEALTH

Sighthounds such as Afghans have naturally low stores of body fat, so they tend to be sensitive to anesthesia; breed experts recommend seeking out a sighthound-savvy veterinarian for surgical procedures. Like other deep-chested types of dogs, Afghan Hounds can experience bloat, a sudden and life-threatening swelling of the abdomen, and owners should educate themselves about its symptoms and what to do should bloat occur.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Thyroid Evaluation

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

Afghan Hound

History

This is a very old breed. In fact, some authorities maintain that the Afghan Hound is the oldest breed of purebred dogs. (An ancient myth says that a brace of Afghan Hounds represented the canine species on Noah’s Ark.) Because the breed predates written history by a few thousand years, and because it was developed in some of the world’s most remote locales, its exact time and place of origin within the vast area that is now Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan will never be known. What we do know is that for centuries Afghans were rugged, fleet-footed hunting companions and status symbols of royals, tribal chieftains, and aristocrats in Asia’s mountain kingdoms. Afghan Hounds belong to the subcategory of hound breeds known as sighthounds, dogs who rely on their panoramic vision and explosive speed to spot and pursue their prey.

A fixture of Eastern culture since the dawn of civilization, the Afghan hound didn’t make its entrance on the stage of Western history until the late 1800s. It was then that English officers returning from the British Empire’s farthest corners introduced the breed to Europe. By the early 1900s, the Afghan was a preferred breed of the British gentry.

The AKC registered its first of the breed in 1927, but not until the early ’30s did the breed really catch on with U.S. breeders and owners. Among the most important dogs of those early years in America were a breeding pair imported from England by Zeppo Marx, the youngest of the wacky Marx Brothers. Since then, the Afghan’s fame in America has been built on his sterling qualities as a pet and his show-stopping presence in the ring. The giant sculpture by Pablo Picasso in Chicago’s Daley Plaza depicts Kabul, the artist’s much-loved Afghan Hound.

Did You Know?

Pablo Picasso owned an Afghan Hound named Kabul. His 1962 painting “Femme au chien” features an Afghan Hound. It was sold for more than $10 million in 2012.
The hound's popularity soared when Mattel’s Barbie doll and Beauty, her pet Afghan Hound, found their way into the homes and hearts of countless American girls.
Snuppy, an Afghan Hound, became the first cloned dog in 2005. Scientists in South Korea used skin cells from a 3-year-old Afghan Hound in the process, which involved 123 surrogate mothers.
In 1940, the Afghan Hound Club of America was admitted to AKC membership and held its first specialty show.
The Afghan Hound first appeared in the United States in 1926. Zeppo Marx of the Marx Brothers was one of the first to bring Afghan Hounds to America.
Afghan Hounds won Best in Show at Westminster in 1957 and 1983.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Afghan Hound is an aristocrat, his whole appearance one of dignity and aloofness with no trace of plainness or coarseness. He has a straight front, proudly carried head, eyes gazing into the distance as if in memory of ages past. The striking characteristics of the breed-exotic, or “Eastern,” expression, long silky topknot, peculiar coat pattern, very prominent hipbones, large feet, and the impression of a somewhat exaggerated bend in the stifle due to profuse trouserings-stand out clearly, giving the Afghan Hound the appearance of what he is, a king of dogs, that has held true to tradition throughout the ages.

HEAD

The head is of good length, showing much refinement, the skull evenly balanced with the foreface. There is a slight prominence of the nasal bone structure causing a slightly Roman appearance, the center line running up over the foreface with little or no stop, falling away in front of the eyes so there is an absolutely clear outlook with no interference; the underjaw showing great strength, the jaws long and punishing; the mouth level, meaning that the teeth from the upper jaw and lower jaw match evenly, neither overshot nor undershot. This is a difficult mouth to breed. A scissors bite is even more punishing and can be more easily bred into a dog than a level mouth, and a dog having a scissors bite, where the lower teeth slip inside and rest against the teeth of the upper jaw, should not be penalized. The occipital bone is very prominent. The head is surmounted by a topknot of long silky hair. Ears-The ears are long, set approximately on level with outer corners of the eyes, the leather of the ear reaching nearly to the end of the dog’s nose, and covered with long silky hair. Eyes-The eyes are almond-shaped (almost triangular), never full or bulgy, and are dark in color. Nose-Nose is of good size, black in color. Faults-Coarseness; snipiness; overshot or undershot; eyes round or bulgy or light in color; exaggerated Roman nose; head not surmounted with topknot.

BODY

Neck: The neck is of good length, strong and arched, running in a curve to the shoulders which are long and sloping and well laid back. Faults-Neck too short or too thick; a ewe neck; a goose neck; a neck lacking in substance.

Body: The back line appearing practically level from the shoulders to the loin. Strong and powerful loin and slightly arched, falling away toward the stern, with the hipbones very pronounced; well ribbed and tucked up in flanks. The height at the shoulders equals the distance from the chest to the buttocks; the brisket well let down, and of medium width. Faults-Roach back, swayback, goose rump, slack loin; lack of prominence of hipbones; too much width of brisket, causing interference with elbows.

TAIL

The tail set is not too high on the body, having a ring, or a curve on the end; should never be curled over, or rest on the back, or be carried sideways; and should never be bushy.

LEGS

Forelegs are straight and strong with great length between elbow and pastern; elbows well held in; forefeet large in both length and width; toes well arched; feet covered with long thick hair; fine in texture; pasterns long and straight; pads of feet unusually large and well down on the ground. Shoulders have plenty of angulation so that the legs are well set underneath the dog. Too much straightness of shoulder causes the dog to break down in the pasterns, and this is a serious fault. All four feet of the Afghan Hound are in line with the body, turning either in nor out. The hind feet are broad and of good length; the toes arched, and covered with long thick hair; hindquarters powerful and well muscled, with great length between hip and hock; hocks are well let down; good angulation of both stifle and hock; slightly bowed from hock to crotch. Faults-Front or back feet thrown outward or inward; pads of feet not thick enough; or feet too small; or any other evidence of weakness in feet; weak or broken down pasterns; too straight in stifle; too long in hock.

COAT

Hindquarters, flanks, ribs, forequarters, and legs well covered with thick, silky hair, very fine in texture; ears and all four feet well feathered; from in front of the shoulders; and also backwards from the shoulders along the saddle from the flanks and the ribs upwards, the hair is short and close, forming a smooth back in mature dogs – this is a traditional characteristic of the Afghan Hound. The Afghan Hound should be shown in its natural state; the coat is not clipped or trimmed; the head is surmounted (in the full sense of the word) with a topknot of long, silky hair – that is also an outstanding characteristic of the Afghan Hound. Showing of short hair on cuffs on either front or back legs is permissible. Fault-Lack of shorthaired saddle in mature dogs.

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Afghan Hound Illustration

Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
BLACK Check Mark For Standard Color 007
BLACK & SILVER Check Mark For Standard Color 016
BLACK & TAN Check Mark For Standard Color 018
BLUE Check Mark For Standard Color 037
BLUE & CREAM Check Mark For Standard Color 273
CREAM Check Mark For Standard Color 076
RED Check Mark For Standard Color 140
SILVER Check Mark For Standard Color 176
WHITE Check Mark For Standard Color 199

Markings

Description Standard Markings Registration Code
BLACK MASK Check Mark For Standard Mark 004
BRINDLE Check Mark For Standard Mark 051
BRINDLE BLACK MASK Check Mark For Standard Mark 069
BRINDLE DOMINO Check Mark For Standard Mark 070
DOMINO Check Mark For Standard Mark 017
BLACK MASK 004

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