Referred to as an aristocrat, The Afghan Hound’s appearance is one of dignity and aloofness. Well covered with thick, silky hair, very fine in texture, the Afghan Hound’s coat is a sort found among animals native to high altitudes. They can come in all colors, and while the breed is an excellent hound (hunting by sight), its popularity here has been generated by the breeds’ spectacular qualities as a show dog.
Known for being aloof, dignified, and for having a highly individualized personality, Afghan Hounds are prized and loved by their owners as companions and members of their family. However, it is important to consider that their coat requires regular grooming, and their large size necessitates regular exercise.
The Afghan Hound has a coat that requires regular bathing and brushing if the coat is to remain beautiful and spectacular. The enjoyment and pride in this stunning dog will be enhanced by a clean and healthy coat. The long, silky hair is the hallmark of the breed. A properly cared for coat contributes to the glamour of the Afghan Hounds every step. Keeping the Afghan Hound clean, conditioned, and mat free is the key to a beautiful coat. It is highly recommended that the Afghan gets a bath weekly. The most important thing when bathing this breed is to be very thorough. Sink your fingers deep into the coat while massaging the shampoo into the coat making sure every part of the coat is shampooed and rinsed thoroughly. A rubber curry with cylinder type teeth is also a great way to help the shampoo penetrate the long, silky coat. Once you have rinsed the coat, it is a great idea to do an extra rinse cooling the water temperature down slightly to make certain all product is removed. The same application applies to conditioning the coat. If you are able to bathe your Afghan weekly, there is no need to brush in between baths. You never want to brush a dry and dirty coat. However, if you do not bathe weekly, plan on spending several hours per week brushing the coat. Make sure you use a hydrating spray to lightly moisten the coat, so it does not break and become damaged.
In order to get a quality finish on an Afghan, make sure the entire coat is dried thoroughly. You can blot the coat with a towel to remove excess water. To help get the hair straight, the coat is line dried using a stand dryer. It is important to pay particular attention to the front of the back legs, the back of the front legs, the ears, and feet when drying.
Finishing the Dog: Tools and Finish Grooming
The coat should be fresh, clean, mat, and tangle free. The coat is light, airy, and straight while moving freely. Afghans have a natural saddle which can be emphasized by hand stripping the soft, fuzzy undercoat. The finished product is very natural and free flowing. Lightly neaten the outline of the dog using thinning shears. The final touch is a finishing spray to add a brilliant shine and help control any fly away hair.
General Health Care
Prep work is the foundation of all grooming. Prep work includes ear cleaning, nail trimming, trimming the pads, and proper dental hygiene. Mastering these skills sets the professional stylist apart from the rest. Prep work should be done before every bathing and grooming appointment. All dogs need to have their ears checked and cleaned on a regular basis. Some need to have the hair plucked from the ear canal. This allows the ear to have proper air circulation. It is not necessary to remove all of the hair from in the ear, as some serves as a barrier to foreign debris. It is imperative that you are properly trained to pull ear hair before attempting this endeavor. Proper nail care is also very important. Long, unsightly nails are uncomfortable for the dog, as well as anyone they might jump on. Long nails also compromise the shape of the foot. Trimming the hair on the pads of the foot helps give the dog good traction on different surfaces and can minimize the amount of dirt the dog tracks into house. It also affords the opportunity to treat and condition the paws from cracks and abrasions. Good dental hygiene is essential for a healthy pet as well.
In order to maintain healthy skin and coat as well as overall health, it is important to provide good nutrition to your dog through a well- balanced diet, vitamins, and healthy treats.
Do they require a lot of grooming?
Grooming is essential. The Afghan Hound has a coat the requires regular bathing and brushing to maintain the beautiful coat. Routine maintenance is the key to managing a spectacular coat. Plan on spending several hours a week bathing and brushing an Afghan Hound.
What is a common problem in Afghan Hounds?
Bloat is more common in dogs that have a deep, narrow chest. This means the Afghan Hound is more at risk than other breeds of dogs. Bloating occurs when a dog’s stomach twists on itself and rapidly fills with gas. The twisting cuts off the blood supply to the stomach and spleen. Left untreated, the disease is fatal in as little as 30 minutes. Preventative surgery in which the stomach is tacked down is an option to help prevent the problem. This is something you will want to discuss at length with your veterinarian.
Does the Afghan Hound shed or cause allergies?
Afghan Hounds are not big shedders. The dander is minimal with the ongoing routine maintenance that this breed requires. Because of this, they tend to cause less severe reactions in people who suffer from allergies to dogs. However, before bringing an Afghan Hound into your home if you have allergies, you should spend some time around the breed to make sure you do not have a reaction.
Are Afghan Hounds good with children?
Although they are typically good with children, it is best if the puppy grows up with the children he will live with and the children are mature enough to understand the importance of being considerate of this dog’s sensitive nature. The Afghan Hound becomes very attached to his owners.
What if I have a show dog?
Whether you have a show dog or a companion dog, the same basic care is given regarding nutrition, socialization, and hygiene. The difference is the grooming maintenance and conditioning for the show ring. It is always helpful if your breeder is willing to help mentor you to lead you in the right direction upon entering the show ring. A great place to start is with the national breed club like the Afghan Hound Club of America, www.afghanhoundclubofamerica.org.