Afghan Hounds

The ancient dog...

Afghans are one of the most ancient dogs, some say dating back further than Noah's Ark. Believe it or not, they have been used to hunt leopards, panthers, deer, wolves, gazelles and foxes. Any dog able to take on a leopard is no wimp!

In Australia, however, they are appealing for their long, silky coat and aristocratic stance, making them great show dogs for people who want more than just a house pet.

Daily grooming is essential for Afghans whether you intend to show them or not and the dog will become uncomfortable and unhappy if you let its coat get matted.

Exercise is also a vital component of this dog's daily routine. Adult Afghans need plenty of running time to maintain their muscles. Before maturity, however, care must be taken not to over exercise them as they can easily damage their growing bones whilst they grow into their bodies.

Because Afghans belong to the Hounds group, it is natural for them to want to chase anything that moves. Their highly strung nature and prey drive makes them difficult to train and house train. This might not be the dog to introduce to your cat! They need owners who are patient and consistent, giving positive praise, but not treats, as rewards, as they are prone to be finicky eaters.

They have remarkable longevity for a big dog (up to 14 years) so they will be great family companions for a long time, but beware of medical problems. It is essential that the parents are screened for hip and elbow dysplasia and you will also need to find out if the parents have a history of cataracts or hypothyroidism before purchasing a puppy. This breed can also suffer from Necrotic Myolopathy which is a fatal respiratory condition not found in other dog breeds.

Potential health issues aside, if you are prepared to put in the time to train, groom and exercise this dog you will be rewarded with a very loyal, people orientated dog which loves to be a part of all family activities.

<ul> <li>Medium/large dog.</li> <li>Very people orientated.</li> <li>Very elegant looking</li> <li>Long haired - daily grooming required.</li> <li>Lots of exercise required.</li> <li>Needs patience to train.</li> <li>Prone to some health problems.</li> </ul>