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Afghan Hounds - Persian Greyhounds
(Steve Tillotson, 2011 updated 2016)

Early Afghan Hounds -  Persian Greyhounds

The above photograph is from page 623 of "The Dog Book", by James Watson, 1906. In those early days (1880-1910) it was quite common for an (Afghan Hound) to be entered in the "Foreign Dog" or "Variety" classes, often without the breed being stated, or the name of the breed stated varied between (for example) Persian Greyhound, Afghan Greyhound, Afghan Sheepdog, Barukhzy Hound and many other exotic names.

To further explore this topic we have undertaken considerable research and post below several vintage writings and photographs relating to this topic

1 .BOOK OF SPORTS, British And Foreign, Thomas Hood, (published by Albert Spiers, 1843)


This species of greyhound is much esteemed in Persia, where the nobles, who are excessively fond of the chase, keep a great number of them at a considerable expense, the best and most favoured dogs frequently having collars and housings covered with precious stones and embroidery.

These greyhounds are employed in coursing hares in the plains, and in chasing the antelope. As the spee of the antelope is greater than that of the greyhound, the Persians train hawks for the purpose of assisting the dog in this kind of chase. The hawks when young are fed upon the head of a stuffed antelope, and thus taught to fly at that part of the animal. When the antelope is discovered, the hawk is cast off, which fastening its talons in the animal's head impedes its progress, and thus enasbles the greyhounds to over-take it. The chase, however, in which the Persians chiefly delight, and for which those greyhounds are most highly values, is that of the ghoo=khour, or wild ass. This animal which generally inhabits the mountainous districts, is extremely shy, and of great endurance, and is considered by the Persians as one of the swiftest of all quadrupeds. These qualities, and the nature of the ground over which it is usually chased, render the capture of the wild ass very uncertain, and its pursuit extremely hazardous to the sportsman.

When the Persians go out to hunt the wild ass, relays of greyhounds are placed at various distances in the surrounding country, in such directions as are most likely to be traversed by the object of pursuit, so that when one relay is tired, there is another fresh to continue the chase. Such, however is the speed and endurnce of the ghoo-khur, that it is seldom fairly run down by the greyhounds, its death generally being achieved by the rifle of some lucky horseman. The Persians evince great skill and courge in this ardous sport, riding, rifle in hand, up and down precipitous hils, over stony paths, and across ravines and mountain streams, which might well daunt our boldest turf-skimming Meltonians.

Though several Persian greyhounds have at different times been brought to this country, the breed can scarecely be considered as established here. The specimen, however, a female, from which Mr Hamilton painted the picture (photo above) from which our engraving is taken, was bred in this country. She is, we believe, the only Persian greyhound pitch now in England. There is a dog in the gardens of the Zoological Society, Regents-park and the Duke of Devonshire has another at Chatsworh.

2. THE TWENTIETH CENTURY DOG (SPORTING) by Herbert Compton, 1904

From page 121 (The Greyhound) - There are many varieties of the greyhound family -- the English, Irish, Scotch, Russian, Turkish or Grecian, Italian, Persian, Afghan, Rampur and Indian, not to mention others that are closely kin if they are nof of the same kind. They vary according to their habitat and the uses to which they are put, or have been diverted to, from the Irish Greyhound or wolf-dog, gigantic and big of bone, to the shaggy, tufted-tailed Russian, the delicate, satin-skinned Italian, the Turkish, Persian and Afghan with their long fringed ears.

Persian Lightning, the subject of my illustration below, is a sleek-coated pale-cream dog, about 25 inches in height and weighingh 50 lbs.

Early Afghan Hounds - Persian Greyhound 1904

From page 444 (The Persian Greyhound) - I am indebted to Mr. H.C. Brooke for the interesting illustration of the Persian greyhound Persian Lightning, which I am able to publish. He describes the breed as one of the most graceful of all sporting dogs, as well as one of the most ancient, having existed before most of our modern breeds were dreamt of, and being probably the original greyhound. It is certain that the the greyhounds sculptured on the monuments of Egypt are a fringe-eared species, and the Afghan and Gecian greyhound both have this distinctive feature. Mr brooke goes on to say that "The Persian Greyhound is certainly of eastern origin. The several varieties of eastern greyhounds differ chiefly in coat; thus that of the Afghan dog is far more profuse than that of the Persian, and it is more cruel and savage in disposition (snipped text at this point, section later continues.. ). I agree with all Mr Brooke says except that the Rampur Hound is almost destitute of coat. I kept a couple in India for coursing, and they had exquisitively fine, silky coats, which contrasted advantageously with thosse of my greyhounds; but they had not the courage of the latter in the chase, and always alowed the English dogs to go in first and tackle the jackal, after which they did prodigies of valour in the shape of chawing it up. The various breeds of Oriental greyhounds are grouped by Mr. Lional Jacobs, the President of the Northern India Kennel Club into Persian, Afghan, Barakzai, Arab, Ramur and Poligar. Some of these carry the jacket of a borzoi, notabaly a variety not uncommon in the Chenab Bar, in the Punjab. Mr Jacobs describes the Rampur hound as a hairless one, but the hound figure in the Dog Owners Annual for 1901 (in which this article appears) is certainly clothed with a smooth coat. In Southern India the Poligar hound is sometimes naked; but some of the pariah dogs of India are hairless owing to a chronic state of skin disease. The ears of the Rampur differ from those of the Persian and Afghan in being slightly feathered. All these species of greyhounds are keen hunting hounds, but have very unreliable tempers, and are snappy and quarrelsome, and sometimes very treacherous and savage.

Ed note 10/8/2013, we have since found another reference to Persian Lightning who was owned by Mrs T Allen. Sharky mentioned in the snippet below was also owned/exhibited by Mrs T Allen -

****Update September 2016, recently found a photo and info on another Persian Greyhound owned by Mr Mrs Allen,and who is an offspring of Persian Lightning, mentioned above. The below originally appeared in The Sphere magazine in 1908 - - PHOTO Sharki  Persian Greyhoud 1908

3. PHOTOGRAPH FROM THE NEW BOOK OF THE DOG, ROBERT LEIGHTON, 1907 PHOT Persian Lightning ,  Shark, Gfafeer  Persian Greyhouds


And Simple Instruction As To Their TREATMENT UNDER DISEASE - by H D Richardson, 1847

The Persian Greyhound is one of the most beautiful dogs with which we are acquainted. There are two varieties of this dog: one of a tan colour, with very ight golden-coloured hair upon the hams, and under surface of tail; the hair is very long and disposed in fan-like form, while the coat upon the rest of the body is close and short. This is a most powerful creature, and frequently exceeds thirty inches in heght at the shoulder. The other variety is furnished all over the body with long silky hair, of the length of from five to eight inches, according to the purity of b lood, and the ears are feathered like thos of a spaniel. This latter dog seldom exceeds twenty-eight inches in height; and is far less powerful than the preceeding: His colour usually black, relieved with tan

The Greyhound of India, called sometimes the Bringaree and Polygar Dog, is identical with the first-mentioned variety. These dogs are all inferior in speed to our European Greyhounds, but they answer very well for Eastern sport. They are usually employed in hunting the jackal - a sport in which they prove very effective. It not infrequently happens, however, that the jackals unite in a body, and turn on their assailants in which case, unless the sportsman be well up with their dogs, the latter stand a fair chance of being torn to pieces: hence, too high a rate of going is not considered as a desiideratum, but rather the contrary.

The Persian Greyhound difers from al the varieties of rough Greyhound, in his hair, it being of a soft, silky texture, like that of the spaniel. In disposition, the varieties present a strikng difference - the black variety being docile and gentle as the spaniel, which he so closely resembles: the tan variety, fierce and intractable, but yet amenable to training - a process, however, not required by the other.

I have been told by English sportsmen, who have resided in India, that the smooth, fan-tailed variety of eastern Greyhound, is a match for the Caracal or Persian lynx, and can kill that very formidable animal, single handed; while the other spaniel-like variety is only fit for hare-coursing; and as Thompson says --

"Poor is the triumph o'er the timid hare," and for that purpose far inferior to our own smooth breeds, from a deficiency of speed, which he does not make up for in strength or endurance.

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