Afghan Hound

Afghan Hound

Overview
The Afghan Hound is one of the oldest sighthound
Sighthound
Sighthounds, also called gazehounds, are hounds that primarily hunt by speed and sight, instead of by scent and endurance as scent hounds do.-Appearance:...

 dog breed
Dog breed
Dog breeds are groups of closely related and visibly similar domestic dogs, which are all of the subspecies Canis lupus familiaris, having characteristic traits that are selected and maintained by humans, bred from a known foundation stock....

s. Distinguished by its thick, fine, silky coat and its tail with a ring curl at the end, the breed acquired its unique features in the cold mountains of Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, where it was originally used to hunt hare
Hare
Hares and jackrabbits are leporids belonging to the genus Lepus. Hares less than one year old are called leverets. Four species commonly known as types of hare are classified outside of Lepus: the hispid hare , and three species known as red rock hares .Hares are very fast-moving...

s and gazelle
Gazelle
A gazelle is any of many antelope species in the genus Gazella, or formerly considered to belong to it. Six species are included in two genera, Eudorcas and Nanger, which were formerly considered subgenera...

s by coursing
Coursing
Coursing is the pursuit of game or other animals by dogs—chiefly greyhounds and other sighthounds—catching their prey by speed, running by sight and not by scent. Coursing was a common hunting technique, practised by the nobility, the landed and wealthy, and commoners with sighthounds and lurchers...

 them. Its local name is Sag-e Tāzī or Tāžī Spai . Other alternate names for this breed are Kuchi Hound, Tāzī, Balkh Hound, Baluchi Hound, Barutzy Hound, Shalgar Hound, Kabul Hound, Galanday Hound, or sometimes incorrectly African Hound.


The Afghan Hound is tall, standing in height 24-29 inches and weighing 45-60 pounds.
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Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
The Afghan Hound is one of the oldest sighthound
Sighthound
Sighthounds, also called gazehounds, are hounds that primarily hunt by speed and sight, instead of by scent and endurance as scent hounds do.-Appearance:...

 dog breed
Dog breed
Dog breeds are groups of closely related and visibly similar domestic dogs, which are all of the subspecies Canis lupus familiaris, having characteristic traits that are selected and maintained by humans, bred from a known foundation stock....

s. Distinguished by its thick, fine, silky coat and its tail with a ring curl at the end, the breed acquired its unique features in the cold mountains of Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, where it was originally used to hunt hare
Hare
Hares and jackrabbits are leporids belonging to the genus Lepus. Hares less than one year old are called leverets. Four species commonly known as types of hare are classified outside of Lepus: the hispid hare , and three species known as red rock hares .Hares are very fast-moving...

s and gazelle
Gazelle
A gazelle is any of many antelope species in the genus Gazella, or formerly considered to belong to it. Six species are included in two genera, Eudorcas and Nanger, which were formerly considered subgenera...

s by coursing
Coursing
Coursing is the pursuit of game or other animals by dogs—chiefly greyhounds and other sighthounds—catching their prey by speed, running by sight and not by scent. Coursing was a common hunting technique, practised by the nobility, the landed and wealthy, and commoners with sighthounds and lurchers...

 them. Its local name is Sag-e Tāzī or Tāžī Spai . Other alternate names for this breed are Kuchi Hound, Tāzī, Balkh Hound, Baluchi Hound, Barutzy Hound, Shalgar Hound, Kabul Hound, Galanday Hound, or sometimes incorrectly African Hound.

Appearance



The Afghan Hound is tall, standing in height 24-29 inches and weighing 45-60 pounds. The coat may be any colour, but white markings, particularly on the head, are discouraged; many individuals have a black facial mask
Melanistic mask
A melanistic mask is a dog coat pattern that gives the appearance of a mask on the dog's face. The hairs on the muzzle, and sometimes entire face or ears, are colored by eumelanin instead of pheomelanin pigment. Eumelanin is typically black, but may instead be brown, dark gray, or light gray-brown...

. Some specimens have facial hair that looks like a Fu Manchu moustache
Fu Manchu moustache
A Fu Manchu moustache is a full, straight moustache that grows downward past the lips and on either side of the chin; and often, the tapered, pointed ends of the moustache hang past the jawline...

 that are called "mandarins." Some Afghan Hounds are almost white, but particolour hounds (white with islands of red or black) are not acceptable and may indicate impure breeding. The long, fine-textured coat requires considerable care and grooming. The long topknot and the shorter-haired saddle on the back in the miniature dog are distinctive features of the Afghan Hound coat. The high hipbones and unique small ring on the end of the tail are also characteristics of the breed.

The temperament of the typical Afghan Hound can be aloof and dignified, but happy and clownish when playing. This breed, as is the case with many sighthounds, has a high prey drive and may not get along with small animals. The Afghan Hounds' reasoning skills have made it a successful competitor in dog agility trials as well as an intuitive therapy dog and companion. Genomic studies have pointed to the Afghan Hound as one of the oldest of dog breeds.

The breed has a reputation among some dog trainers of having a relatively slow "obedience intelligence" as defined by author Stanley Coren
Stanley Coren
Stanley Coren is a psychology professor and neuropsychological researcher who has become best known to the general public for a series of books regarding the intelligence, mental abilities and history of dogs...

.

Although seldom used today for hunting in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and America
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 where they are popular, Afghan hounds are frequent participants in lure coursing
Lure coursing
Lure coursing is a sport for dogs that involves chasing a mechanically operated lure. Competition is usually limited to dogs of purebred sighthound breeds.-Lure course:...

 events and are also popular in the sport of conformation show
Conformation show
Conformation shows, also referred to as breed shows, are a kind of dog show in which a judge familiar with a specific dog breed evaluates individual purebred dogs for how well the dogs conform to the established breed type for their breed, as described in a breed's individual breed standard.A...

ing.

Mortality


Afghan Hounds in UK surveys had a median lifespan of about 12 years and 18 years if the dog is taken care of, which is similar to other breeds of their size. In a 2004 UK Kennel Club survey, the most common causes of death were cancer (31%), old age (20%), cardiac (10.5%), and urologic (5%).

Morbidity and health concerns


Major health issues are allergies
Allergy
An Allergy is a hypersensitivity disorder of the immune system. Allergic reactions occur when a person's immune system reacts to normally harmless substances in the environment. A substance that causes a reaction is called an allergen. These reactions are acquired, predictable, and rapid...

, cancer
Cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

, and hip dysplasia
Hip dysplasia
Hip dysplasia is an abnormal formation of the hip socket that, in its more severe form, can eventually cause crippling lameness and painful arthritis of the joints. It is a genetic trait that is affected by environmental factors...

. Sensitivity to anesthesia
Anesthesia
Anesthesia, or anaesthesia , traditionally meant the condition of having sensation blocked or temporarily taken away...

 is an issue the Afghan hound shares with the rest of the sighthound
Sighthound
Sighthounds, also called gazehounds, are hounds that primarily hunt by speed and sight, instead of by scent and endurance as scent hounds do.-Appearance:...

 group, as sighthounds have relatively low levels of body fat. Afghan hounds are also among the dog breeds most likely to develop chylothorax
Chylothorax
A chylothorax is a type of pleural effusion. It results from lymphatic fluid accumulating in the pleural cavity.-Causes:...

, a rare condition which causes the thoracic ducts to leak, allowing large quantities of chyle fluid
Chyle
Chyle is a milky bodily fluid consisting of lymph and emulsified fats, or free fatty acids . It is formed in the small intestine during digestion of fatty foods, and taken up by lymph vessels specifically known as lacteals...

 to enter the dog's chest cavity. This condition commonly results in a lung torsion (in which the dog's lung twists within the chest cavity, requiring emergency surgery), due to the breed's typically deep, "barrel"-shaped chest. If not corrected through surgery, chylothorax can ultimately cause fibrosing pleuritis, or a hardening of the organs, due to scar tissue forming around the organs to protect them from the chyle fluid. Chylothorax is not necessarily, but often, fatal.

History


Sighthound
Sighthound
Sighthounds, also called gazehounds, are hounds that primarily hunt by speed and sight, instead of by scent and endurance as scent hounds do.-Appearance:...

s are among the oldest recognisable types
Dog type
Dog types are broad categories of dogs based on function, with dogs identified primarily by specific function or style of work rather than by lineage or appearance....

 of dogs, and genetic testing has placed the Afghan Hound breed among those with the least genetic divergence from the wolf on some markers; this is taken to mean that such dogs are descended from the oldest dog type
Dog type
Dog types are broad categories of dogs based on function, with dogs identified primarily by specific function or style of work rather than by lineage or appearance....

s, not that the breeds tested had in antiquity their exact modern form. Today's modern purebred breed of Afghan Hound descends from dogs brought in the 1920s to Great Britain, and are a blending of types and varieties of long haired sighthounds from across Afghanistan and the surrounding areas. Some had been kept as hunting dogs, others as guardians.

Although demonstrably ancient, verifiable written or visual records that tie today's Afghan Hound breed to specific Afghan owners or places is absent, even though there is much speculation about possible connections with the ancient world among fanciers
Animal fancy
Animal fancy is a hobby involving the appreciation, promotion, or breeding of pet or domestic animals.Fancy may include ownership, showing, trialling and other competitions, breeding and judging. Hobbyists may simply collect specimens of the animal in appropriate enclosures, such as aquaria and...

 and in non-scientific breed books and breed websites. Connections with other types and breeds from the same area may provide clues to the history. A name for a desert coursing Afghan hound, Tazi
Tazi
Tazi is a word which can mean:* Any one of some related breeds of dog, including the Afghan Hound, Saluki and Khalag Tazi.* A common term used for Arabs by Persians.* A name, such as Ahmad at-Tazi, again relating to the breeds of dog....

 (sag-e-tazi), suggests a shared ancestry with the very similar Tasy breed from the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

 area of Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 and Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan , formerly also known as Turkmenia is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic . Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states...

.) Other types or breeds of similar appearance are the Taigan from the mountainous Tian Shan
Tian Shan
The Tian Shan , also spelled Tien Shan, is a large mountain system located in Central Asia. The highest peak in the Tian Shan is Victory Peak , ....

 region on the Chinese border of Afghanistan, and the Barakzay, or Kurram Valley
Kurram Valley
Kurram tribal agency is located in the FATA area of Pakistan. Geographically it covers Kurram Valley which is a beautiful valley in the northwestern part of Pakistan neighboring Afghanistan....

 Hound, from India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

/Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

. There are at least 13 types known in Afghanistan, and some are being developed (through breeding and recordkeeping) into modern purebred breeds. As the lives of the peoples with whom these dogs developed change in the modern world, often these landrace
Landrace
A landrace is a local variety of a domesticated animal or plant species which has developed largely by natural processes, by adaptation to the natural and cultural environment in which it lives. It differs from a formal breed which has been bred deliberately to conform to a particular standard...

 types of dogs lose their use and disappear; there may have been many more types of longhaired sighthound in the past.

Once out of Persia, India and Afghanistan, the history of the Afghan Hound breed becomes an important part of the history of the very earliest dog shows and The Kennel Club
The Kennel Club
The Kennel Club is a kennel club based in London and Aylesbury, United Kingdom.The Kennel Club registration system divides dogs into seven breed groups. The Kennel Club Groups are: Hound, Working, Terrier, Gundog, Pastoral, Utility and Toy...

 (UK). Various sighthounds were brought to England in the 1800s by army officers returning from India (which at the time included Pakistan), Afghanistan, and Persia, and were exhibited at dog shows, which were then just becoming popular, under various names, such as Barukzy hounds. They were also called "Persian Greyhounds" by the English, in reference to their own indigenous sighthound.

One dog in particular, Zardin, was brought in 1907 from India by Captain Bariff, and became the early ideal of breed type
Breed type
Breed type is the whole of the characteristics that are typical of a breed of domesticated animals. Breed type may include details of form or color that are not directly related to the economic value of the animal, and are usually defined in breed standards....

 for what was still called the Persian Greyhound. Zardin was the basis of the writing of the first breed standard in 1912, but breeding of the dogs was stopped by World War I.

Out of the longhaired sighthound types known in Afghanistan, two main strains make up the modern Afghan Hound breed. The first were a group of hounds brought to Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 from Baluchistan
Balochistan (Afghanistan)
Balochistan or Baluchistan is an arid, mountainous region that includes part of southern and southwestern Afghanistan. It extends into southeastern Iran and western Pakistan and is named after the Baloch people.-Geography:...

 by Major and Mrs. G. Bell-Murray and Miss Jean C. Manson in 1920, and are called the Bell-Murray strain. These dogs were of the lowland or steppe type, also called kalagh, and are less heavily coated. The second strain was a group of dogs from a kennel in Kabul
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

 owned by Mrs. Mary Amps, which she shipped to England in 1925. She and her husband came to Kabul after the Afghan war in 1919, and the foundation sire of her kennel (named Ghazni) in Kabul was a dog that closely resembled Zardin. Her Ghazni strain were the more heavily coated mountain type. Most of the Afghans in the United States were developed from the Ghazni strain from England. The first Afghans in Australia were imported from the United States in 1934, also of the Ghazni strain.) The French breed club was formed in 1939 (FALAPA). The mountain and steppe strains became mixed into the modern Afghan Hound breed, and a new standard was written in 1948, which is still used today.

The spectacular beauty of Afghan Hound dogs caused them to become highly desirable showdogs and pets, and they are recognised by all of the major kennel clubs in the English-speaking world. One of the Amps Ghazni, Sirdar, won BIS at Crufts
Crufts
Crufts is an annual international Championship conformation show for dogs organised and hosted by the Kennel Club, currently held every March at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, England. It is the largest annual dog show in the world, as declared by Guinness World Records, and lasts...

 in 1928 and 1930. An Afghan hound was featured on the cover of Life Magazine, November 26, 1945. "Afghan Hounds were the most popular in Australia in the 1970s…and won most of the major shows". An Afghan Hound won BIS (Best in Show) at the 1996 World Dog Show
World Dog Show
The World Dog Show is a Fédération Cynologique Internationale-sanctioned international dog show, held yearly since 1971. The World Show includes agility, obedience, junior handler, conformation, and other events and demonstrations. International championships for many events are awarded at the...

 in Budapest. Afghan hounds were BIS at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is a two-day, all-breed benched conformation show that takes place at Madison Square Garden in New York City every year. The first Westminster show was held in 1877....

 in 1957 and again in 1983. That win also marked the most recent win at Westminster for breeder-owner-handler, Chris Terrell.

The Afghan Hound breed is no longer used for hunting, although it can be seen in the sport of lure coursing
Lure coursing
Lure coursing is a sport for dogs that involves chasing a mechanically operated lure. Competition is usually limited to dogs of purebred sighthound breeds.-Lure course:...

.

In popular culture


Because of its distinctive appearance, the Afghan hound has been represented in animated feature films, including Universal Pictures' Balto
Balto
Balto was a Siberian Husky sled dog who led his team on the final leg of the 1925 serum run to Nome, in which diphtheria antitoxin was transported from Anchorage, Alaska, to Nenana, Alaska, by train and then to Nome by dog sled to combat an outbreak of the disease. The run is commemorated by the...

 (Sylvie), Disney's Lady and the Tramp II (Ruby), an Afghan hound also appeared on 101 Dalmatians as well as in 102 Dalmatians
102 Dalmatians
102 Dalmatians is a 2000 live-action film, produced by Walt Disney Pictures and starring Glenn Close as Cruella de Vil. It is the sequel to 101 Dalmatians, a live-action remake of the 1961 Disney animated feature of the same name. In the film, Cruella de Vil attempts to steal puppies for her...

 as one of the dogs in Cruella De Vil
Cruella de Vil
Cruella de Vil is a fictional character and the iconic villain in Dodie Smith's 1956 novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians, Disney's 1961 animated film adaptation One Hundred and One Dalmatians, and Disney's live-action film adaptations 101 Dalmatians and 102 Dalmatians. In all her incarnations,...

's party and the television series What-a-Mess
What-a-Mess
What-a-Mess is a series of children's books written by British comedy writer Frank Muir and illustrated by Joseph Wright. It was later made into an animated series in the UK in 1990 and again in 1995 by DiC Entertainment and aired on ABC in the United States...

 (Prince Amir of Kinjan) and, as Prissy in the 1961 Disney animated film One Hundred and One Dalmatians
One Hundred and One Dalmatians
One Hundred and One Dalmatians, often abbreviated as 101 Dalmatians, is a 1961 American animated film produced by Walt Disney and based on the novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith...

 and 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure
101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure
101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure is a 2003 American direct-to-video animated film released by Walt Disney Home Entertainment on January 21, 2003. The film is the sequel to the 1961 Disney animated film One Hundred and One Dalmatians...

. Afghan hounds have also been featured in television advertisements and in fashion magazines. The Afghan hound is represented in books as well, including being featured in a series of mystery novels by Nina Wright (Abra), and a talking Afghan Hound in David Rothman
David Rothman
David J. Rothman is an American author and professor of Social Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Rothman's work has focused on the American history of social medicine and the current health care practices with respect to professionalism in medicine...

's The Solomon Scandals (2008, Twilight Times Books). In the novel Between the Acts
Between the Acts
Between the Acts is the final novel by Virginia Woolf, published in 1941 shortly after her suicide. This is a book laden with hidden meaning and allusion. It describes the mounting, performance, and audience of a festival play in a small English village just before the outbreak of the Second World...

, Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf
Adeline Virginia Woolf was an English author, essayist, publisher, and writer of short stories, regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century....

 uses an Afghan hound (named Sohrab) to represent aspects of one of the book's human characters.

On August 3, 2005, Korean scientist Hwang Woo-Suk
Hwang Woo-Suk
Hwang Woo-suk is a South Korean veterinarian and researcher. He was a professor of theriogenology and biotechnology at Seoul National University who became infamous for fabricating a series of experiments, which appeared in high-profile journals, in the field of stem cell research...

 announced that his team of researchers had become the first team to successfully clone
Cloning
Cloning in biology is the process of producing similar populations of genetically identical individuals that occurs in nature when organisms such as bacteria, insects or plants reproduce asexually. Cloning in biotechnology refers to processes used to create copies of DNA fragments , cells , or...

 a dog, an Afghan Hound named Snuppy
Snuppy
Snuppy is an Afghan hound, credited with being the world's first cloned dog. The puppy was created using the cell of an ear from an adult Afghan hound and involved 123 surrogate mothers, of which only three produced pups...

. In 2006 Hwang Woo-Suk was dismissed from his university position for fabricating data in his research. Snuppy, nonetheless, was a genuine clone, and thus the first cloned dog in history.

In the BBC Three Sitcom Mongrels
Mongrels (TV series)
Mongrels, formerly known under the working titles of We Are Mongrels and The Un-Natural World, is a British puppet-based situation comedy series first broadcast on BBC Three between 22 June and 10 August 2010, with a making-of documentary entitled "Mongrels Uncovered" broadcast on 11 August 2010...

the character of Destiny is an Afghan Hound.

In the 2010 comedy Marmaduke
Marmaduke (film)
Marmaduke is an American live action film adaptation of Brad Anderson's comic strip Marmaduke. The film centers on a rural Kansas family and their pets – a Great Dane named Marmaduke and a Balinese cat named Carlos – as the family relocates to California.-Plot:Marmaduke is a Great Dane living in...

 two Afghan hounds appear in the dog park and are shown to resemble high school girls watching the more athletic dogs as if they were "jocks" and are also shown to be "air heads".

Frank Muir
Frank Muir
Frank Herbert Muir was an English comedy writer, radio and television personality, and raconteur. His writing and performing partnership with Denis Norden endured for most of their careers. Together they wrote BBC radio's Take It From Here for over 10 years, and then appeared on BBC radio...

wrote a series of children's books about an Afghan puppy called "What-a-mess".