Description & History

The breed is believed to be of Asiatic origin and is known to have been in existence well before the Christian era.

It is the opinion of some canine experts that the Saluki was taken from Syria down a trade route to Afghanistan. The colder climate there brought about a larger hound with a thicker coat that adapted itself from hunting in the desert to the rougher terrain in the mountainous regions of Afghanistan.

The breed was used for hunting by the royal family of Afghanistan, as well as by tribesman.

Afghans which were used for hunting gazelle, wolf and ibex were often aided by hawks. It was customary for young hounds and hawks, destined to work together, to be housed in the same building so they were raised to be hunting partners.

The breed was also greatly valued by shepherds who used them for herding and guarding.

It was not until the late nineteenth century that the breed came to Europe. In 1907 an Afghan Hound named Zardin arrived in Great Britain from Iran. He was exhibited at the Kennel Club show at Crystal Palace under the title Oriental Greyhound. He was later given to Queen Alexandra.

As well as show dogs and pets, Afghans are used for racing. In the British Isles there are six tracks which Afghans normally race. Racing takes place between the months of March and October. All hounds are muzzled and are graded according to the total number of points gained at each meeting.

In continental Europe, where racing is popular, owners have to obtain a racing certificate before they are allowed to race their hounds.

Although the majority of Afghans are not used for racing, they do, however, owing to their physique, require plenty of exercise. Afghans are strong willed and not always obedient, so all exercise outside the home must be well controlled.

Rosamund Walters.

Copyright © 1997 The Complete MultiMedia Co. Ltd.