Sunday, November 16, 2014
Afghan Hound History and Domestication
The Afghan Hound is thought to be one of the oldest of all domestic Dog breeds, with the first records of the Afghan Hound dating back to 4,000 BC. The fast and agile nature of this Dog meant that they made excellent hunters of small game in their native Afghanistan, most commonly hunting Deer, Goats, Gazelle and Wild Boar along with seeing off larger predators such as Wolves and Snow Leopards. Their gentle nature also made this elegant sight-hound a doting shepherd, fearlessly protecting livestock from hungry predators. This beautiful but gently natured watchdog was brought to Britain in the early 1920s and it's entry to the USA followed in 1926. The elegance of the Afghan Hound meant that they quickly became highly desirable Dogs, both as pets and for show.
The most characteristic feature of this breed is the long, silky fur that covers the Afghan Hound's body, most notably on the top of it's head. Afghan Hounds are most commonly black or golden in colour although a number of colour variations now exist within the breed including brown, grey and white. The elongated head and muzzle of the Afghan Hound make them easily identifiable, along with their high hip-bones which gave the ancestors of the modern day Afghan Hound their reputation for speed and agility. The face of the Afghan Hound is usually a black-coloured mask, with a black nose and dark almond shaped eyes. The colour of the facial mask is known to vary although white is said to be discouraged as it is seen as a sign of poor breeding. They are fairly large Dogs standing on average at 68cm in height.
The temperament of the typical Afghan Hound tends to be aloof and dignified, but happy and intelligent and generally relatively playful. However, the Afghan Hound has a reputation among Dog trainers for having a relatively slow obedience intelligence possibly due to their slightly stubborn nature. The Afghan Hound has a leaning towards independence and owners should not be surprised if their Dog sometimes chooses to ignore commands. The modern day Afghan Hound is said to have many Cat-like tendencies, loving to laze around the house and is generally much slower than it's Middle Eastern ancestors. The Afghan Hound is seldom used for hunting in Europe and America today where they are one of the most popular domestic Dog breeds.
The Afghan Hound was first bred in the ancient deserts of Egypt and Afghanistan, where they were primarily used as hunters. The Afghan Hound was a favoured choice of Dog as they were able to outrun the majority of other animals, whilst being courageous hunters and were capable of thinking independently, often able to keep larger prey from escaping until the hunter arrived. The first domestic breeding of the modern day Afghan Hound was by an English officer station near Kabul, who later brought the Afghan Hound to the UK in 1925. A year later, the Afghan Hound was taken to America where it's beauty and elegance made it one of the most prestigious breeds of domestic Dog in the States.The average litter size of the Afghan Hound is around 7 puppies, which are blind when first born.
When the Afghan Hound breed was first brought to America, it's naturally independent nature led to it gaining a reputation for being untrustworthy. Today however, many of these traits are not quite as prominent in the breed as they once were. The high hip-bones of this Dog are thought to be one of the main reasons why the Afghan Hound once had a reputation for speed, making them faster at running than most other domestic Dog breeds today. The long topknot on the top of it's head, along with the small ring near the end of it's tail, are two of the most distinctive features of the mature Afghan Hound. They originate from the mountains of Afghanistan and their unique appearance provides these Dogs with vital advantages during the cold winters and hot summers. Although beautiful, this long fur takes daily care and maintenance to ensure that the coat remains healthy.