Afghan Hound Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em
Afghan Hound Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2014
The AKC Standard calls him "an aristocrat, his whole appearance one of dignity and aloofness....eyes gazing into the distance as if in memory of ages past."
Some Afghan Hounds are indeed dignified (at least some of the time!), while others are altogether silly clowns, and still others alternate gleefully between the two.
Though quiet indoors, the Afghan Hound should not be left unsupervised for long periods of time without personal attention and running exercise, for he bores easily and can become destructive.
Don't let this breed off-leash, for he is unbelievably fast and can gallop out of sight in seconds. His high hipbones make him one of the most agile of all breeds and one of the best jumpers. Fences must be high.
Standoffish by nature, the Afghan Hound needs extensive exposure to people and unusual sights and sounds so that his caution does not become timidity. He is sociable with other dogs, but has strong hunting/prey instincts and may chase smaller pets.
Obedience training will control his occasional bumptiousness and build his confidence, but you must be patient and persuasive, for sighthounds are extremely sensitive to leash jerking and may respond defensively if frightened. Independent and not particularly eager to please, their stubbornness takes the form of resistance rather than wild disobedience, i.e. they brace their legs and refuse to walk.
Afghans can be finicky eaters and often are a bit slow to catch on to housebreaking.
If you want a dog who...
- Has a tall, slender, elegant build
- Is extremely athletic and graceful -- can run swiftly and jump great heights
- Has a long, flowing coat that comes in many colors
- Can be both a dignified aristocrat and a silly clown
- Is gentle with people and other dogs
An Afghan Hound may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- Providing a safe enclosed area where he can gallop
- Shyness or suspiciousness when not socialized enough
- Emotional sensitivity to stress and abrupt changes in schedule
- Strong instincts to chase other living creatures that run
- Slowness to learn and an independent "what's in it for me?" attitude toward training -- can be very stubborn
- Lots of brushing and combing
- Slowness to housebreak
An Afghan Hound may not be right for you.
- choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
- or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
- training your dog to respect you
- avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy
More traits and characteristics of the Afghan Hound
If I was considering an Afghan Hound, I would be most concerned about...
- Providing enough running exercise. Afghan Hounds don't need miles of running, but these sighthounds MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy through all-out galloping a few times a week. Otherwise they will become rambunctious and bored -- which they usually express by destructive chewing.
Afghan Hounds need access to a large fenced area -- fenced because these independent dogs are likely to take off and not come back. If there is a dog club in your area, get your Afghan Hound involved in lure coursing (chasing a mechanized lure around a track or across an open field). This is an appropriate outlet for the full-speed galloping behaviors that are "hardwired" into his genes.
- Grooming. Without frequent brushing, Afghan Hounds become a matted mess. If you can't commit to the brushing, you have to commit to frequent trimming to keep the coat short, neat, clean, and healthy.
- The independent temperament. Afghan Hounds are not Golden Retrievers. They are independent thinkers who don't particularly care about pleasing you. They may display passive resistance by bracing their legs and refusing to move. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.
To teach your sighthound to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Afghan Hound Training Page discusses the program you need.
- Chasing other animals. Most people do not realize just how fast and agile sighthounds are -- or how strong their instincts are to chase and seize fleeing creatures. They could seriously injure or kill your neighbor's cat or toy dog. In today's society, the legal liabilities should be considered.
- Providing enough socialization. Standoffish by nature, Afghan Hounds need extensive exposure to people and to unusual sights and sounds. Otherwise their natural caution can become extreme shyness, which is difficult to live with.
- Emotional sensitivity. Be honest...is there tension in your home? Are people loud or angry or emotional? Are there arguments or fights? Afghan Hounds are extremely sensitive to stress and can end up literally sick to their stomachs, with severe digestive upsets and neurotic behaviors, if the people in their home are having family problems. Sighthounds are peaceful, sensitive dogs who need a peaceful, harmonious home.
If you have young children, I do not recommend an Afghan Hound. These sensitive dogs often feel overwhelmed by the loud voices and quick movements that children can't help making -- and stress and shyness may be the result.
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Copyright © 2000-2014 by Michele Welton. All rights reserved.
No part of this website may be copied, displayed on another website,
or distributed in any way without the express permission of the author.