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"There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face."

Ben Williams
 



 

Afghan Hound

The Afghan Hound is a very old sighthound dog breed. 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, where it was originally used to hunt hares, and gazelles by coursing them. Its local name is Tazi. Other alternate names for this breed are Balkh Hound, Baluchi Hound, Barutzy Hound, Shalgar Hound, Kabul Hound, Galanday Hound or sometimes incorrectly African Hound.

Appearance

The Afghan Hound is tall, standing 24 to 29 inches (63-74 cm) in height and weighing 45 to 60 pounds (20-30 kg). The coat may be any colour, but white markings, particularly on the head, are discouraged; many individuals have a black facial mask. Some 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 mature 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.

Temperament
The temperament of the typical Afghan Hound can be aloof and dignified, but happy and clownish when playing. The breed has a reputation among dog trainers of having a relatively slow "obedience intelligence" as defined by author Stanley Coren. The Afghan Hound has many cat-like tendencies and is not slavish in its obedience as are some other breeds. The Afghan hound has a leaning towards independence. Owners should not be surprised if their Afghan hounds sometimes choose to ignore commands. Although seldom used today for hunting in Europe and America where they are popular, Afghan hounds are frequent participants in lure coursing events and are also popular in the sport of conformation showing.

Mortality
Afghan Hounds in UK surveys had a median lifespan of about 12 years, 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
Major health issues are allergies, and cancer. Sensitivity to anesthesia is an issue the Afghan hound shares with the rest of the sighthound group, as sighthounds have relatively low levels of body fat.

Afghan hounds are also among the dog breeds most likely to develop chylothorax, a rare condition which causes the thorassic ducts to leak, allowing large quantities of chyle fluid 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.

 

AfghanOther Names: Baluchi Hound, Sage Baluchi, Tazi, Ogar Afgan
Country of origin: Afghanistan
Weight: Male - 20-27 kg (45-60 lb)
Height: Male - 61-73 cm (24-29 in)
Coat: Long and fine
Color: Any
Litter size: 6-8 puppies
Life span: 11-13 years

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. Most surgical options have roughly a 50% success rate, and multiple surgeries are common.[citation needed] While this condition is extremely rare, Afghan hound owners would be wise to keep this information at hand, as the condition can be difficult to diagnose. When selecting an Afghan hound puppy, it is also advised to inquire about chylothorax in the dog's lineage, as there is some indication that the condition may be genetic.

History
The breed was always thought to date back at least to the pre-Christian era, and recent discoveries by researchers studying ancient DNA have revealed that the Afghan Hound is in fact one of the most ancient dog breeds, dating back for many thousands of years. Its original native name, Tazi, betrays its connection to the very similar Tasy breed of Russia. The proximity of southern Russia and Afghanistan argues for a common origin for both breeds.

Initially, Afghan people refused to sell their national dog to outsiders; the breed was not seen in Europe and America until after the turn of the 20th century. The AKC and CKC did not recognize the Afghan Hound until the 1930s. Originally export of this dog was prohibited and the first to arrive in England and the United States was at the turn of the 20th century.

On August 3, 2005, Korean scientist Hwang Woo-Suk announced that his team of researchers had become the first team to successfully clone a dog. The dog, an Afghan Hound, was named Snuppy. Later that year, a pattern of lies and fraud by Hwang Woo-Suk came to light, throwing in doubt all his claims. Snuppy, nonetheless, was a genuine clone, and thus the first cloned dog in history.