The Essence Of The Afghan Hound
(In collaboration with The Afghan Hound Times)

Essence of the Afghan Hound - Part I
(First Printed and Reprinted with Permission by the AKC Gazette)
Author Patricia H. Gilbert

What defines the Afghan Hound? This is a sight hound. The breed is called the King of Dogs for a reason. He is the King in his above it all attitude and its dignity.

The Afghan Hound Breed Standard describes the essence of what the breed was, is and will be if we, breeders, exhibitors and judges, preserve it. The General Description paragraph of the Standard says it all.

He has an exotic appearance with a long silky topknot, small dark triangular eyes that gaze into the distance as if in memory of ages past, the muzzle chiseling, slight roman nose, detailing and the mandarins (long hair on chin not required but beautiful)and his peculiar coat pattern.

The peculiar coat pattern is described as: "Hindquarters, flanks, ribs, forequarters, and legs well covered with thick, silky hair, very fine in texture; ears and all four feet well feathered; from in front of the shoulders; and also backwards from the shoulders along the saddle from the flanks and the ribs upwards, the hair is short and close, forming a smooth back in mature dogs - this is a traditional characteristic of the Afghan Hound." He has a long silky coat yet he has very short hair on his smooth back called a saddle. The saddle is only apparent in a mature dog. Depending on the bloodline this saddle "breaks" between six and 18 months of age. Before the saddle breaks the back has long hair. The amount of coat is not important, the silky texture is important.

Many puppies will have monkey whiskers and mutton chops which they lose during the period that the saddle is breaking. Unfortunately the Standard covers the puppy coat by inference.

The Afghan Hound has other attributes that give him not only beauty but survival in his harsh environment. He must have large paws. The Afghan Hound is a square dog - "The height at the shoulders equals the distance from the chest to the buttocks; " The present AKC Standard was approved September 14, 1948. The Afghan Hound Association Standard, 1933 - 1946, in England stated: "The object of the dog is to hunt quarry over very rough and mountainous ground in a country of craigs and ravines. For this, a compact and well coupled dog is necessary rather than a long loined racing dog whose first quality is speed." These words define why the Afghan Hound is a square dog. This compact build makes him agile.

In order to function in their original environment in Afghanistan their ideal size and weight is: "Height - Dogs, 27 inches, plus or minus one inch; bitches, 25 inches, plus or minus one inch" and "Weight - Dogs, about 60 pounds; bitches, about 50 pounds".

The Afghan Hound is always the King of Dogs. If his arrogance does not strike you immediately, then he is lacking in a critical breed type characteristic.

The next column I will discuss other features and movement.

Patricia H. Gilbert, Columnist
Afghan Hound Club of America

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