The Afghan Hound is one of those dog breeds that are described very well by their name. After all, these dogs originated in Afghanistan. Furthermore, Afghan Hounds saw extensive use for the hunt, though they have long since managed to make a smooth transition into other roles as well. These dogs have both their upsides and their downsides. Even so, Afghan Hounds can be well-suited for a wide range of individuals under a wide range of circumstances.
1. There Is Speculation of Egyptian Roots
There is speculation that Afghan Hounds can trace their roots to ancient Egypt. The latter is famous for its love of cats rather than its love of dogs in the popular consciousness. However, ancient Egypt is known to have had dogs since the Predynastic period, which would be before the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt in about 3100 BC. In fact, it is interesting to note that the ancient Egyptians were very similar to us in that they gave a wide range of names to a wide range of dogs whereas the naming of cats was much more limited.
2. There Is No Real Support For Speculation of Egyptian Roots
Ancient Egypt was old. The classic example used to illustrate this would be how the famous Cleopatra was closer in time to us than to her predecessor Khufu who commanded the building of the Great Pyramid of Giza. As such, ancient Egypt can claim a lot of firsts, which in turn, makes it reasonable to speculate that a lot of things can trace their roots to said civilization. Having said that, there seems to be no real support for the speculation that Afghan Hounds can trace their roots to ancient Egypt.
3. This Speculation Might Be Driven By Prestige
It is possible that the speculation of Egyptian roots for Afghan Hounds is driven by prestige. Generally speaking, Afghanistan isn’t seen in a very positive light by the western world, which has a very real effect on the perception of things associated with Afghanistan. Meanwhile, modern Egypt isn’t seen in a very positive light by the western world either. However, there is a widespread acknowledgement that ancient Egypt was one of the greatest civilizations of the ancient Mediterranean world, which has been in place for centuries by this point in time. Thanks to that, things associated with ancient Egypt are often seen as being prestigious, meaning that this speculation might be meant to borrow some of that.
4. Originated From Afghanistan
In any case, there can be no doubt about the fact that Afghan Hounds came from Afghanistan. The country is best-known in the western world because of the Anglo-Afghan Wars, the Soviet-Afghan War, and the U.S. War in Afghanistan. However, it is important to note that Afghanistan was already connected to the wider world around it before those events. To name some examples, it sees a fair amount of mention in the context of the Hellenistic period because it was held by Alexander the Great, the Seleucid Empire, the Maurya Empire, the Greco-Bactrians, the Indo-Greek Kingdom, and then the Indo-Scythians.
5. Originated From Different Parts of Afghanistan
Afghan Hounds didn’t come into existence in modern times. Their roots go much further back. Based on that, chances are good that interested individuals can guess that there isn’t a single kind of Afghan Hound that originated from the country as a whole so much as multiple kinds of Afghan Hounds that originated from multiple parts of the country.
6. Considered to Be a Basal Breed
It is interesting to note that Afghan Hounds are considered to be a basal breed. This refers to a small number of dog breeds that have remained more distinct from the general canine population. In some cases, this is because they are ancient dog breeds, which would include Afghan Hounds. In other cases, this is because they were created by mixing those ancient dog breeds. Basal breed sees use because the label of ancient dog breed would have been very confusing when applied to the second category of dog breeds.
7. More Distinct When Compared with the General Canine Population
Some people might wonder why this matters. If so, they should know that most modern dog breeds are close relatives of one another, which makes sense because most modern dog breeds were created in the 19th century or later. For an example of this, consider how the overwhelming majority of dogs in the Americas have either no or next-to-no connection to their pre-Colombian counterparts because they are descended from Eurasian ancestors. As such, it is very interesting that Afghan Hounds have managed to remain distinct from most modern dog breeds, which was presumably made possible to some extent by the places where they originated.
8. Brought to the West By the British
Afghan Hounds are said to have been brought to the western world by the British who were very involved in Afghanistan and the surrounding region throughout the 19th century. This was because of the so-called Great Game between the British Empire and the Russian Empire. The British Empire had conquered India, so it was very concerned about ways by which other imperial powers could threaten its conquest. As for why the Russian Empire became the subject of this fear, well, the gist of it is that the Russian Empire was conquering Central Asia in this period. Eventually, the two imperial powers resolved their issues through diplomacy so that they could focus upon the German Empire in the early 20th century.
9. Have a Longstanding Association with Dog Shows and Similar Events
The timing means that Afghan Hounds have a longstanding association with dog shows and similar events in the United Kingdom. Thanks to that, they also have a longstanding association with not just the Kennel Club but also every other kennel club of note in the English-speaking world. In other words, Afghan Hounds aren’t newcomers to the scene. Instead, they have been involved it ever since it started up.
10. Became Very Popular Very Fast
Some dog breeds don’t become very notable even though they have been introduced to an area for decades and decades. In contrast, others enjoy a much smoother path to success because their popularity explodes for one reason or another. On the whole, Afghan Hounds can be considered an excellent example of the latter, having been helped along by their striking appearance.
11. Not Small-Sized Dogs
There are much bigger dog breeds than Afghan Hounds. However, they are not what anyone would consider to be small dogs. After all, Afghan Hounds have a height of 24 to 29 inches, which make them quite tall as dogs go. Furthermore, these animals have a weight of 44 to 60 pounds. Those numbers are enough to put them somewhere between medium-sized dogs and large-sized dogs.
12. Famous For Their Coat
One of the most famous characteristics of Afghan Hounds would be their fine, long-haired coat. These dogs can have coats of any colors. However, Afghan Hounds are apparently not supposed to have white markings, particularly when those white markings happen to be located on their head rather than some other part of their body. Some of these dogs are almost all-white, with the result that they aren’t very well-liked by some of the kennel clubs that can be found out there.
13. Need a Lot of Grooming
Unsurprisingly, Afghan Hounds need a lot of grooming to keep their coat in good condition. Otherwise, well, suffice to say that a messy coat is not just unsightly but can cause other issues for these dogs as well. As such, interested individuals need to be able to set aside enough time to take care of their Afghan Hounds. Failing that, they can pay for such services as well, though they should expect that to be expensive.
14. Some of These Dogs Have Fu Manchu Moustaches
Amusingly, some of these dogs have Fu Manchu moustaches, which refer to a kind of moustache that goes from beneath the nose to past the corners of the mouth. The name refers to a fictional supervillain created by a British author named Sax Rohmer in the early 20th century, who wore one of these moustaches whenever he showed up on the movie screen. Fu Manchu had a considerable impact on western pop culture. To name an example, consider Marvel Comics’s Shang-Chi, who was presented as the son of said character before Marvel Comics lost the usage rights. Nowadays, Fu Manchu don’t see much use because the character was already seen as being rather offensive even by the mid 20th century.
Afghan Hounds are sighthounds. Essentially, this means that they are reliant on their eye-sight to keep up with their prey. As such, it should come as no surprise to learn that sighthounds are also quite fast because they need to remain within visual range the entire time. In contrast, scenthounds that are reliant on their sense of smell don’t need the same kind of speed because they can follow their prey through the latter’s scent-trail. For the latter, endurance rather than pure speed becomes a more important consideration.
16. Used to Hunt a Wide Range of Animals
These dogs were used to hunt a wide range of animals. For example, Afghan Hounds saw extensive use for hunting less formidable animals such as gazelles and rabbits. However, these dogs were also sometimes used to take on more formidable animals such as cheetahs, which once existed in Afghanistan but are now either gone or effectively gone.
As such, Afghan Hounds needed to be able to make their own decisions when faced with such circumstances. After all, there was no guarantee that they would always be able to benefit from human guidance. This is particularly true because Afghan Hounds are sighthounds, meaning that it could took some time for their human masters to catch up to them while they were out on the hunt.
18. Not the Greatest Ability to Learn From Humans
Unfortunately, Afghan Hounds have a major issue in that they don’t have the greatest ability to learn from humans. Indeed, it isn’t an exaggeration to say that they are downright bad in this regard when compared with most other dog breeds. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Afghan Hounds are stupid. After all, they are very independent-minded, which has a huge effect on their ability to learn from humans. Fortunately, Afghan Dogs tend to be either aloof or happy by nature, so this isn’t quite as bad as it would be in a more aggressive, even more physically-formidable animal.
19. Has Strong Hunting Instincts
Unsurprisingly, Afghan Hounds have strong hunting instincts. As a result, they aren’t a good choice for households with cats and other small animals because they might give chase. Afghan Hounds aren’t a very good choice for households with young children either. They get along well with humans. However, the issue is that Afghan Hounds are also very sensitive animals, meaning that they can fare poorly when they interact with young children who don’t understand how to handle dogs. Of course, people should always supervise interactions between young children and dogs because the former’s lack of knowledge can cause issues in a lot more dog breeds than just Afghan Hounds.
20. Related to the Saluki
The Afghan Hound is a basal breed. However, it has never been 100 percent isolated, meaning that it has relatives. To name an example, its closest relative is believed to be the Saluki, which is another basal breed. The latter are also sighthounds, though in their case, they came into existence in the Fertile Crescent. This refers to one of the cradles of civilization, which covers Egypt, Mesopotamia, much of the Levant, and more besides. The Fertile Crescent is named thus because it looks like a crescent, with Egypt being one end and the Persian Gulf being the other end.