The Afghan Hound (Ogar Afgan, Balkh Hound, Baluchi Hound, Barakzai Hound, Kuchi Hound, Shalgar Hound, Kabul Hound, Galanday Hound, Eastern Greyhound, Persian Greyhound) or Tazi Spay (Sag-e Tazi, Tazi, Tazi Dog, Da Kochyano Spay, Sage Balochi) is an ancient Middle Eastern Sighthound that originated in the Mountains of Afghanistan. Unfortunately, very little is known of the early history of this basal breed that predates all modern dog breeds. There are many theories among the breed fanciers about how it came into being (the most popular opinion is that these dogs had arrived in the region of Afghanistan from Egypt more than 4.000 years ago), but there is almost no evidence to support either of these. However, there’s no doubt that the Ogar Afgan has the identical ancestry with some other Sighthounds from the Tian Shan region, Turkmenistan, Arabian Peninsula, and the Caspian Sea area of Russia, such as the Tasy, Kurram Valley Hound, Barakzay, and the Saluki. In fact, the Tazi Dog is thought to be the closest relative of the Saluki, which is quite reasonable since they share many traits, including hunting together with falcons. They are both included in the group of 14 ancient breeds – the oldest and purest dogs in the world, closely related to the wolf. In this group are some of the most famous dog breeds around the world, such as the Pekingese, Basenji, Samoyed, Chow Chow, Siberian Husky, Shar-Pei, etc.
There are more than ten different variants of the Afghan Hound found across the Afghanistan (dogs with longer and thicker coats from the mountains, dogs with shorter and lighter coats from the deserts, fringe haired dogs from the south of Afghanistan, etc.), but they have all been bred and kept for the same purpose. Afghans mainly used these dogs for large and small game hunting since antiquity. They have always been highly prized among the tribesmen hunters of Afghanistan, who called them “the dogs of Noah’s Ark“. Apart from hunting, they were also commonly used for watching, guarding and herding. The breed was first introduced in the West in 1809, when Thomas Duer Broughton had illustrated one of these dogs on his trip to India. However, it was not until the 1900s that the breed had officially reached the West. In 1907, Captain Bariff brought from India the first Tazi Dog called Zardin in the UK. The first standard was written in 1912, but the breeding was stopped at the beginning of the WWI. Fortunately, it was renewed when more of these hounds were imported to the Great Britain from Baluchistan (1920) and from Kabul (1925). The Afghans were for the first time imported into the USA in 1926. The Afghan Hound was accepted by the FCI on a definitive basis in 1961. However, the breed is not included in the Spitz and Primitive Types group, but in the Sighthounds group, in the Long-haired or Fringed Sighthounds section.
Afghan Hound Temperament And Personality
The Afghan Hound is an elegant, slick and graceful dog that is best known after its aristocratic appearance, incredible speed and hunting prowess. This beautiful Sighthound is also very dignified, brave, cunning, resourceful, playful, quiet, aloof, and gentle, but is not always eager to please his master, especially if he thinks something’s not on his own terms. In their native land, these hounds have always been mainly used as working dogs (for hunting, herding and guarding), but in the USA and Europe they are mostly bred and kept as family dogs. The Afghan Hound truly makes a great companion dog, especially for adults. If treated with great affection and attention, this dog will bond firmly with all family members and will always be at their side wholeheartedly. With a cat-like nature and a unique silly side, he will do anything to make people he loves happy, whether they are just lying on the bed, or playing in the yard. However, you have to know that the Afghan is a one person dog, who will often be more devoted to a family member that spends more time with him. Also, the Tazi is an emotional dog, who is very sensitive to stress. He can suffer from mental and digestive health issues if his owners are often arguing, fighting, or screaming at each other. That’s why this dog is only recommended for harmonious and peaceful families who know hot to properly treat a dog.
The Afghan Hound is in the first place an adult companion, who will usually not be all too eager to play with children, especially the small ones. This, of course, doesn’t mean he will ignore them completely, but will rather stay away from their silly things. Indeed, the Barakzai Hound is more a calm, gentle dog, who will almost always prefer relaxed, lazy moments with his family over noisy, crazy games with kids. In fact, such games will often agitate and/or annoy this dog to the point that he will literally become upset, nervous, or even desperate. This probably won’t result in aggressive, dangerous behavior because he is naturally very tolerant and patient, but can certainly have negative effects on his overall mental condition. And even if your Sag-e Tazi agrees to play with kids, you will always have to supervise them because of his size and speed. Such large dog can easily hurt a child in a blink of an eye, with only a single, sudden move. So, it is perfectly clear that the Afghan Hound is not an ideal playmate for children. However, that doesn’t mean he can’t get accustomed to them. No! This dog can truly be a wonderful companion for kids, even smaller ones, but only if he’s raised with them. The socialization at an early age is also recommended in this case. In the end, I have to say that this dog is best suited for families with older children (8+ years), who know how to behave around dogs and treat them with respect.
The Afghan Hound is usually standoffish, reserved and suspicious with strangers, but never hostile or aggressive. However, you have to know that he will hardly ever become completely trustful or friendly with anyone outside his family, doesn’t matter if that person is on good terms with his owner(s). He will rather stay aloof and cautious with such people, not allowing them to approach or pet him just like that. This can sometimes have a really negative effect on his mental health, causing him to become too shy or timid, which is unacceptable. That’s why it is mandatory that you socialize your dog with different situations and people of all ages as soon as possible. This way he will become more confident and relaxed in the company of unknown people. Overall, the Kabul Hound makes a pretty reliable watchdog, considering how alert and watchful he actually is. Though rather quiet and calm, not prone to excessive barking, he will instinctively react to changes and strange sounds around him. In other words, your dog will announce a stranger with a short, loud bark and that’s it. Well, better something than nothing, I guess :) At least he won’t sleep in the corner and ignore everyone like the Siberian Husky would do for example. Also, it is possible to use the Ogar Afgan as a guard dog, but only after rigorous training. However, this is something I would never recommend with this breed – too stressful.
When it comes to other pets and dogs, the Afghan Hound is sort of a mixed bag. This is a natural born hunter with extremely sharp hunting instincts, who won’t miss a chance to chase anything small and furry that moves around him. It is in his blood and that’s why he is so dangerous for all smaller non-canine pets. Cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, etc, they are all prey to this dog – too tempting. That’s why it is of utmost importance that you raise your dog with other pets. However, even that won’t be a guarantee that he won’t try to hunt down pets like hamsters or guinea pigs. So, it would be wise that you keep them out of his reach all the time. Cats, on the other hand, will be perfectly fine if they’ve grown up with a Tazi, but this probably won’t have any effect with cats from the neighborhood, who will still be hard to ignore. The only way to properly deal with this problem is to socialize your dog with other pets in the puppyhood, but even then I would suggest you keep your Afghan on the leash during the walk. Fortunately, things are much better in the case of other dogs. The Sage Balochi is usually not dominant nor aggressive with unknown dogs, though there is always a possibility of a fight with a dog of the same sex. However, he can be really dangerous for toy dogs, which is why it is mandatory that you socialize him with other dogs as soon as possible. An interesting thing is that an Afghan Hound will always feel the best in the company of another Afghan Hound.
Tazi Dog Training
The Afghan Hound is definitely one of the most stubborn and independent dogs in the world. In fact, according to “The Intelligence of Dogs“, a book by Stanley Coren, he possesses the lowest degree of working/obedience intelligence of all dogs. So, it’s quite obvious that the Tazi can be a real pain in the arse when it comes to training, but don’t let that dishearten you. This is, without a doubt, an intelligent dog who can easily solve problems on his own, but is usually not in the mood to obey. That’s why people often think this breed is very stupid, which is absolutely not the case. These hounds have been bred for centuries to think and work independently, which explains why they are often so stubborn and disobedient. Truly, the Afghan Hound is an independent thinker, who will often do what he thinks is right, not you. You will literally have a feeling that he is deaf to your commands. So yeah, this is definitely not a breed for everyone, especially not for novice owners. The training itself will demand a lot of time. It would be wise that you start with it as soon as you bring a puppy home. While working with this dog, you should always have to be very patient, calm and spontaneous, but firm and consistent. Remember, you will not be able to force obedience with this dog. So, harsh corrections should be avoided as a plague. Lessons should be interesting and fun, but never repetitive. Positive reinforcement techniques will be quite effective with this dog. However, keep in mind that food rewards will not always work in this case. Instead, show your dog some love, praise and cuddle him more often.
Other Characteristics And Traits
Main Afghan Hound characteristics are agility, speed, high stamina, extreme stubbornness, independence, disobedience, intelligence, boldness, curiosity, alertness, tenacity, persistence, aloofness, resourcefulness, and emotional sensitivity. Looking at these, it is quite obvious that this is truly an agile, hardy and high energy dog, which can be easily active all day long. Now, this might seem a bit confusing considering his calm and quiet temperament, but this is first and foremost a working breed of dog that has been for centuries used for physically demanding jobs, like hunting and herding. Indeed, the Afghan Hound will require a good amount of daily exercise to stay healthy both mentally and physically. It is the reason this breed is mostly recommended for active and sporting owners. So, what is the best way to exercise your Afghan? Obviously, you will have to take him for a long walk, hike or jog once or twice a day. However, you will have to keep him on a leash for the most time while outside, which is why this kind of exercise often won’t be enough. This dog is literally made to run and that is exactly the activity that will make him happiest. Ideally, you should be able to let your Afghan run freely in an open, securely fenced area, whether it is your yard or some playground. This way he will have all the freedom he needs to spend his energy, which is a prerequisite for him to be well-mannered and calm indoors.
When it comes to living conditions, you have to know that the Afghan Hound is definitely not an apartment pet, neither is he a backyard dog to be left alone and forgotten. Keeping this dog one way or the other, especially without proper exercise, would definitely make him desperate or anxious considering how sensitive and emotional he is. With that being said, it is clear that the Tazi is actually an indoor/outdoor type of dog that will require a lot of attention. This means that he is best suited for a house with large, securely fenced courtyard with lots of grass and room to run. Ideally, he should be allowed to run and play in the yard during the day while during the night you should let him stay and rest indoors. Though the Ogar Afgan is an independent and aloof dog, he would nonetheless prefer to stay close to family members and enjoy their attention as often as possible. That’s why you should prepare some nice, warm and comfortable indoor place for your dog. However, there are two not-so-easy things that will have to be dealt with in order to keep your house nice and clean. First one is housetraining. This dog is extremely tough to housebreak, which is in a way expected considering how stubborn and independent he is. To make things worse, because of his size the crate training is not an option. You will literally have to take you Afghan outside to do the do for several months. And don’t forget to reward him every time he gets the job done well. So, wish you luck with that, you will need it.
Another thing you should take into consideration before even buying an Afghan Hound is the grooming needs. This is a moderately shedding breed, but it demands a lot of regular brushing and combing because of its long, silky hair. General rule is – the more often you brush your dog, the less fur will end up on carpets, floor or furniture. It definitely won’t be an easy task, but you’ll have to get used to it. This way you will at least save yourself from endless house cleaning. Now, if you thought that things will be much easier outdoors, you are greatly mistaken. The Afghan Hound is a supreme escape artist! He is an extremely cunning and curious dog that is always eager to explore his surroundings. Driven by his strong prey drive and independent nature, he will do anything he can to get outside of a yard. Small or moderate fencing is not an obstacle for this dog because he can jump incredibly high. It has to be at least 6 feet high. Also, always close the gate as soon as you pass through, or he will run out like the wind and you won’t be able to catch him. You will literally have to think two steps ahead with a Tazi, that is the only way to keep him under control. In the end, there is one more thing you should know about the Afghan Hound. This dog is actually very mischievous and sneaky, or to say it more precisely – he is a master thief, especially when it comes to food. He will literally steal it under your nose! So, make sure that you put all the food out of his reach, if that’s somehow possible :)
Eastern Greyhound Health
The usual lifespan of an Afghan Hound is around 12-14 years. This is generally a very healthy breed that is susceptible to a relatively small number of health issues, of which some are hereditary or congenital. Among the most common health problems seen in the breed are hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, laryngeal paralysis, von Willebrand disease, chylothorax, juvenile cataracts, heart murmur, cancer, and various allergies. Fortunately, none of these is in the category of major concerns, but nonetheless you will have to closely pay attention to your dog’s limbs and eyes. However, it has to be said that Afghan Hounds can develop sensitivity to anesthesia and other drugs. This condition is caused by the low body fat and is often seen in many other Sighthounds. The major causes of death in these dogs were various forms of cancer, cardiovascular diseases and dysfunctions of the urinary system. The good thing is that some of the aforementioned diseases can be evidenced in puppies or their parents. That’s why it is absolutely mandatory to buy an Afghan Hound puppy from a well-known, reputable breeder, one that can provide you with health clearances for both of a puppy’s parents. Apart from that, the breeder should provide you with the Orthopedic Foundation For Animals (OFA) clearance and the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certification that the puppy is screened for all possible health problems.
Ogar Afgan Physical Characteristics And Appearance
The Afghan Hound is a large but slim dog of square shape – identical proportions of the length and height at the withers. The Tazi gives the impression of grace, strength and speed – he is truly a perfect embodiment of elegance and beauty. This dog has the slim, elongated and well-muscled body, covered with long, silky coat. The very fine, smooth hair is similar in texture to human hair. It is very long and lush, almost all over the body, flowing nicely towards the ground. The hair is also very long on the head, beginning from forehead backwards. It forms a nice silky “top-knot”. The hair is shorter only on the muzzle, tail, and along the back. Such lavish coat is the trademark of this magnificent, aristocratic breed, but is also a true hassle when it comes to maintenance. Indeed, the Persian Greyhound will require a lot of regular grooming. Brushing and combing should be done at least three to four times a week. Frequent bathing is also recommended to keep the hair clean and fresh. It would be wise to buy a good dog blow dryer, so that you dry the hair out and make it even more glamorous. Told ya, it’s a lot of job. The only mitigating thing is that you won’t have to trim or clip the coat because it’s only acceptable in its natural form. Hooray :) Main Afghan Hound colors are sand, brown, black, grey, fawn, white, etc. In fact, all solid colors and patterns are acceptable. Black mask on the face is also allowed, but white markings are not desirable.
The Afghan Hound has a refined, elongated head with the relatively narrow skull with prominent occiput. The long, tapering muzzle is slightly curved. It can be covered with lovely facial hair that is quite reminiscent of a Fu Manchu mustache. The jaws are very strong and teeth meet in a perfect scissors bite or a level bite (tolerated, but not recommended). The nose is usually black, but can be liver in light-colored dogs. The almost triangular, almond-shaped eyes with a distant gaze are slanting slightly upwards. They are usually dark brown, but golden color is also acceptable. The heavily-feathered ears are set low, carried close to the head. You should inspect your dog’s eyes and ears twice a month. The head is held proudly on the long, strong neck. The chest is quite deep, narrow and relatively long, with well sprung ribs. The back is level and strong and the loins are straight, broad and relatively short. The sparsely feathered, moderate tail has a nice curl (ring) at its end. It is normally carried low, but raised when the dog is excited. The forelegs are straight, strong and well boned. The hind legs are long, powerful and well boned, ideal for running and jumping. The feet are very large and covered with nice, thick hair, with hard, bulging pads. However, the forefeet are slightly broader than the hind feet. The Afghan Hound has such a smooth, flowing gait, with an incredible ability to instantly change directions at full speed.
Afghan Hound Size And Weight
– Height between 26 and 28 inches (66-71 cm)
– Weight between 55 and 65 pounds (25-29 kg)
– Height between 24 and 26 inches (61-66 cm)
– Weight between 45 and 55 pounds (20-25 kg)
Extremely Fast Hunter
The Afghan Hound is a true Sighthound in every sense, which of course means that he is tried and tested hunting dog. This breed is also known under the name Tazi, which is an ancient name for all hunting dogs of this type in the Middle East. In Afghanistan, these dogs were bred for centuries to hunt large and small game, such as deer, hares, wolves, gazelles, boars, wild goats, and even snow leopards. In Europe and America, they have been quite seldomly used in the hunt on rabbits and foxes. So, as you can see, the Afghan Hounds are truly versatile hunting dogs with remarkable resume. They are known to mostly hunt on their own, without hunter’s direction, relying on their independent mind and keen senses of hearing, smell, and especially sight. Once they are on the track of the game, they start to chase it until bayed. There is literally no way a game can escape this dog because he is a tireless runner, which can easily run over great distances in the harshest of terrains. “Molded” in the cruel deserts and in the mountains of Afghanistan, the Ogar Afgan is one of the fastest dogs on the planet, capable to outrun even horses. Well, it comes as no surprise considering this is the closest relative of the Slauki, officially the fastest dog on the planet. On top of that, this dog is extremely courageous and fearless, ready to face even the most dangerous animals. In other words, he will bravely keep a game at bay as much as needed for a hunter to arrive for the kill.
The Afghan Hound is so much more than just another companion or hunting dog. He is after all a reliable watchdog that can be trained to become a good guardian, though the training itself will take a lot of time. The thing that’s obvious at first sight is that the Sag-e Tazi is a glamorous show dog that will literally amaze every visitor of conformation show with its elegant and breathtaking appearance. The breed was winner on multiple occasions in the greatest dog shows around the world. This dog is also known as a great sporting dog. Indeed, he can perform well in agility trials or rally obedience, but thanks to its incredible speed, he is a hell of a competitor in track racing and lure coursing events. However, keep in mind that in order to make your Afghan a successful competitor in anything, you should have to put him through long and rigorous training. It will definitely require a lot of dedication and patience, so prepare yourself mentally before doing it. The Afghan Hounds are also known as nice therapy dogs, which is perfectly understandable considering how calm and quiet they are. With proper training, these dogs can even be used as herders. So, as you can see, this is truly a versatile and special dog for many reasons. Yeah, it’s true that the Afghan Hound might be a hard nut to crack when it comes to training, but I’m sure he’ll nonetheless make you a proud owner once you get to know each other better.