Afghan Hound

White Afghan

White Afghan

Think of royalty among dogs – it is the image of a regal Afghan hound that comes to mind.  Tall, elegant and agile, with a silky coat, these dogs are the real beauties among the various breeds that we come across if we live in a large city like Chicago.

Belonging to one of the oldest known breeds on the planet, these dogs were originally used for hunting small game, antelopes and even snow leopards. These sight hounds have been around for more than 5,000 years, but they were introduced to the western world form Afghanistan only in the 19th century. As the name suggests, the dogs were bred in the Afghanistan and for centuries remained a pure breed since export of this noble creature was prohibited.  Dogs bred in the northern regions tend to have longer hair than their southern counterparts.

This “dog from Noah’s Ark” as the tribesmen in Afghanistan call him, carries himself with an uncanny dignity, as if aware of his history and his prowess as a hunter who can chase, hold and kill prey. The dog appears tall (27- 29 inches, bitches tend to be a little shorter) and noble, carrying his head straight and his prominent long nose gives him that aristocratic look. Another distinct feature of this dog breed is the coat – long, silky and shiny that makes a wonderful picture when he flies in the air to catch a Frisbee at Chicago’s Montrose Dog Beach! The topknot of long silky hair on the head is its crowning glory! The strong curve of the neck, the flat ears covered with slightly darker hair, the firm front paws, the tail with a curve on the end and the soft textured coat are characteristic features of these dogs.

As a Chicago urban dog, the Afghan is very a very loyal companion; good natured and affectionate, especially if the dog is trained with a soft hand. These independent dogs have a low tolerance of  physical domination, but can be trained and housebroken by training them with lots of patience.  These are one of a few breeds of dogs that has always lived with man-others are the Chow and the Great Dane. Dogs that have always shared the living space with mankind are dogs that house train easily.

The Chicago Afghan dog thrives on affection and regular exercise in open spaces.  Ideal for living in a Chicago apartment or town home, these dogs tend to be a little suspicious of strangers and can be good watch dogs. . Some adolescent hounds, however, are known to exhibit bad temper occasionally and if you have very small children, these dogs need to be watched until they are mature, around the children. Remember that the Afghan hound is a hunting dog-a serious dog that does not suffer children or fools lightly.

This breed of dogs may be unsuitable for harried singles or DINK’s, as lack of exercise can sometimes make them high strung and destructive. On the other hand, given enough exercise in the morning and evening, these dogs can adapt to  Chicago apartment living as they often do not mind being left alone during the day. An Afghan hound could be an ideal dog for the Chicago swinging single if  youcan devote the time to take him for long walks or allow him to run everyday with you as you jog in Chicago’s streets. The dog sure is a head turner; especially if you bathe him groom his coat regularly to avoid matting.

For picture perfect memories of summer evenings in the parks of Chicago, with children playing and dogs flying to catch a stick, the Afghan Hound, sure is, very photogenic!