The Essence Of The Afghan Hound
(In collaboration with The Afghan Hound Times)
Essence of the Afghan Hound - Part 2
(First Printed and Reprinted with Permission by the AKC Gazette)
Author Patricia H. Gilbert
I discussed the General Appearance of the Afghan Hound, the peculiar coat pattern in both the adult and the puppy and some of his behavioral characteristics in my last column in the AKC Gazette, May 2010.
I cannot say strongly enough that the Afghan Hound is the King of Dogs (Queen, Prince or Princess). He has his personal fun moments but his public persona is one of great arrogance and dignity and toleration or disdain of his surroundings.
His attitude and appearance are also strongly due to his movement which is well described in the AKC Breed Standard.
There is discussion on Afghan Hound movement arguing for spring at the trot.
If you divide the words into the two separate gait segments, there should be no confusion. The words describe first the working gait of the gallop and then the showy gait of the trot.
"Gait - When running free, the Afghan Hound moves at a gallop, showing great elasticity and spring in his smooth, powerful stride."
The spring and key to this portion of movement is when running free at a gallop. Here is your spring and athleticism. His compact and square body along with his large and strong feet aids him in handling the crags and rough mountainous terrain on the hunt. He must have a strong spring and jumping ability to maneuver.
The second portion of the movement statements refers to what we see in the show ring or along side us on a loose lead.
"When on a loose lead, the Afghan can trot at a fast pace; stepping along, he has the appearance of placing the hind feet directly in the foot prints of the front feet, both thrown straight ahead. Moving with head and tail high, the whole appearance of the Afghan Hound is one of great style and beauty."
These words describe an efficiency of movement at the show ring trot. A correctly compact and square body does not permit any unnecessary kick and bouncing or springing. You only can have a proper trot with the correct footfall and timing as described. The trot is only flashy due to the arrogant carriage coupled with the peculiar coat pattern and silky coat on the move.
Going and coming in my mind are almost as important as the side gait. Efficiency and economy of movement are important to athleticism and stamina.
The Afghan Hound has a tendency to converge both in the front and rear. The rear must be strong. If the front is a little loose, it may be due to them looking from side to side to find away around the obstacle. The obstacle is the judge.
Please remember there is never anything generic about the Afghan Hound's movement whether it be in the show ring or hunting. His movement while efficient is always regal and above it all. When he is on the hunt, then you can add a certain determination to his gallop and purpose.
My next column will continue with the nuances that make the Afghan Hound unique.
Patricia H. Gilbert, Columnist
Afghan Hound Club of America
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