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Afghan Hound

Origin

Distinguished by its kutha, salla 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,and east of Iran where it was originally used to hunt hares and gazelles by coursing them. They belong to a group known as Sighthounds.

Sighthounds are among the oldest recognisable types 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 types, 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.

Description

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. A specimen has facial hair that looks like a Fu Manchu moustache 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.

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.


Weight

Weight     Male     20–27 kg (45–60 lb)
Height     Male     61–73 cm (24–29 in)

Health Problems

A very hardy breed, although some may suffer from eye problems, hip dysplasia and skin infections. If your Airedale Terrier has dry skin, he should be fed a food high in omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid.

Living Conditions

The Airedale Terrier is not recommended to live in flats or small dwellings. They are very active indoors and will do best with at least an average-sized garden.

Exercise

Airedales were bred for active work, and therefore need plenty of exercise. They need to be taken for at least two medium to long walks a day. Most of them love to play with a ball, swim, or retrieve objects and once fully grown will happily run alongside a bicycle. Without enough attention and exercise the Airedale Terrier will become restless and bored and will usually get itself into trouble. The exercise requirement can go down somewhat after the first two years (as with many dogs) when they start to get mellower

Life Expectancy

About 11-13 years

Litter Size

Average of 6-8 puppies

Health Issues

Major health issues are allergies, cancer, and hip dysplasia. 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 thoracic 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. 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.


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