Complete Guide To The Afghan Hound: Health, Feeding, Grooming and More

Winning every point in beauty competitions, there is something simply spectacular about the long, flowing fur of the Afghan Hound. Although this dog has plenty of style points, it is also a loving, athletic, and formidable hunter trained to hunt with its phenomenal sense of sight. A great family dog, the Afghan Hound, is eager to please its humans but can be somewhat of a challenge to train.  

I find Afghan Hounds to be one of the most unique dogs in my veterinary practice. They are head-turners and their owners are passionate about the breed. If you’re committed to the grooming that’s needed with this breed, an Afghan Hound is a wonderful pet for any family.

How Big Do Afghan Hounds Get?

As a large to a medium-size dog, the Afghan Hound is an average size dog in the hound family. Males and females usually run about the same size, measuring about 25 to 27 inches at the shoulder and weighing about 50 or 60 pounds.  

What Do Afghan Hounds Look Like?

This dog’s trademark feature is the long, flowing fur which looks more like human hair than dog fur. The fur should be long and silky, with the fur covering every part of the dog, including the feet and the ears. Puppies are initially born with short, fuzzy fur, but the adult coat of the Afghan Hound starts to grow in at one year of age.

Any solid color is accepted with this breed by the standards put forth by the American Kennel Club. It’s possible to see wheat, gold, brown, and black Afghan Hounds, with certain combinations considered more pleasing than others.  

What Is The Personality Of an Afghan Hound?

Extremely loyal and dedicated, Afghans make the perfect family dog. They are eager to please all family members and are happy to be a part of the daily activities simply. These dogs will form long-lasting bonds with their family and are incredibly affectionate. Because of this bond, it can be difficult for an adult Afghan to adjust to a new home environment with new humans. 

The breed can be a bit aloof toward strangers and can have an independent streak. Although this can make training a challenge, at their heart, they are people-pleasers. House training can be difficult, but with regular and consistent training, this dog will soon learn what is expected. Obedience training is often met with mixed reviews, and owners consider themselves lucky if the basic “sit,” “stay,” and “come” commands are mastered. If you are fortunate enough to gain the trust and love of an Afghan, you may even see the silly and mischievous side of this loving dog.  

How Much Grooming Do Afghan Hounds Need?

Only consider adopting an Afghan Hound if you are committed to heavy grooming requirements. These long, silky coats easily tangle and knot, requiring hours of grooming care each week. Use a brush to comb out any dirt or tangles to prevent matting regularly. To keep the hair looking great, bathe your Afghan about once per month using shampoo and conditioner to get the coat to look silky and shiny. 

How Much Exercise Does An Afghan Hound Need?

It may seem the beautiful Afghan Hound would be content loafing around and being admired, but this is an active, athletic dog that requires a fair amount of exercise each day. These dogs are sighthounds and were bred to run. A simple walk will not be enough to keep this dog exercised, and ideally, they should be allowed daily, long runs to stretch their legs fully.

These dogs will chase any small animal, so it is essential to exercise these dogs on a long leash or in a tightly fenced area. These dogs are also excellent jumpers, so be sure to have high and secure fences.  

To tap into this breed’s instincts, the Afghan Hound performs well in lure coursing competitions. These competitions allow Hounds to chase after a piece of plastic, which mimics a small animal running away. Not only does this activity give the dog a chance to run at top speed, but it also helps heighten their sense of sight and coursing instincts.  

What Kind of Dog Food Is Good For an Afghan Hound?

Best Puppy Food For Afghan Hounds:

Best Adult Food For Afghan Hounds:

Please don’t listen to the folks at the pet store trying to convince you to buy a grain-free diet for your dog. There’s zero science behind that and vets are actually seeing diseases now related to feeding grain-free foods.

It’s very important they remain at their optimal weight throughout their life. Have your vet go over with you exactly where to feel to know when your dog is too big.

How Long Does an Afghan Hound Live?

12-15 years according to information from the AKC

What Health Problems Can An Afghan Hound Have?

Afghan Hounds are a large , active breed and their health concerns reflect this. Based on my own experience as well as information from the Canine Health Information Center, the most common issues seen in this breed include:

  • Dental Disease
  • Bloat

Obesity would be another potential issue, but I find that Afghan owners tend to be very knowledgeable about how to keep their dogs at the optimal weight. Orthopedic issues are a possibility but I don’t find Afghan Hounds are any more prone than the average dog to issues like hip dysplasia or ACL tears.

Going with a reputable breeder and doing your due diligence on the genetics of the parent dogs can give you the best chance to get a very healthy Afghan Hound.

Where Can I Find Out More About The Afghan Hound?

Afghan Hound Club of America

AKC Breed Page

Where Can I Find an Afghan Hound?

Not even 100 years ago, the Afghan Hound was virtually unknown in the United States, but recent popularity has made this a reasonably available breed. Before selecting a puppy from a breeder, be sure to do your homework ahead of time and ensure you have found a reputable breeder. The breeder should be familiar with Afghan Hounds and should be able to answer any questions you may have. You’ll want to meet the entire litter of puppies and choose a dog that is confident and friendly, not aggressive or shy.  

Breeder Directory From The Afghan Hound Club of America

AKC Puppy Marketplace

These beautiful dogs often end up at a rescue because owners cannot commit to the lengthy grooming procedures this breed requires. Several available rescue organizations, such as the Afghan Hound Club of Canada or the Afghan Hound Club of America Rescue, can help you locate a dog in need of a home.  

Fun Facts About the Afghan Hound

  • This dog originates from Afghanistan, where it was bred to help hunt large prey. The dog was athletic and versatile, quickly shifting from desserts to mountains. The long, flowing coat was helpful to keep this dog protected and warm.  
  • Afghans are an ancient breed of dog and have been DNA-dated to the pre-Christian era. This dog is considered one of the oldest dog breeds in existence.  
  • Hunters prized the Afghan Hound because it could cover large distances very quickly. It reached the prey speedily and could hold large and dangerous animals like leopards until the hunter could arrive.
  • These dogs have a very low pain threshold and will whine and cry out at the slightest injury. Compared to other dog breeds, this dog may seem like a baby.  
  • The first Afghan Hound didn’t make it to the United States until 1925 and was recognized by the AKC shortly after in 1926. The Afghan Hound Club of America was organized and officially recognized by the AKC in 1940.  
  • The famous Zeppo Marx from the Marx Brothers owned Afghan Hounds and was one of the first owners in America.  
  • This breed skyrocketed in popularity throughout the 1970s, primarily due to the popular toy Barbie. Produced by Mattel, Barbie had a loyal Afghan Hound playmate that children and adults alike couldn’t get enough of.