The Afghan is built along greyhound-like lines, enabling it to execute a double-suspension gallop and run-down fleet game. The comparatively short back and steep pelvis helped it to leap great heights and to turn almost in place, essential attributes for coursing in rocky mountainous terrain.
The large feet gave it a better foothold and were more resistant to injury on rough ground. The silky coat protected the dog from cold nights at high altitudes. The Afghan appears dignified and aloof, with an exotic expression and proud carriage. This dog's gait shows great elasticity and spring; the Afghan moves with its head and tail high.
Distinctive in appearance, the breed possesses a long and luxurious coat which requires regular grooming. Further features include a tall and slender frame, dark, almond-shaped eyes, prominent hip bones and a narrow, curled tail. The coat is common in colour variations of sand, white, red or black, although all colour deviations are permissable within the breed.
Primarily bred to hunt, the Afghan Hound boasts acute vision and speed, meaning it is essential the dog is not let off its leash in an urban setting. A common face in the show ring, the Afghan Hound is obedient, trainable and impressive in size and stature.
Though gentle with children, it may not be playful and interactive enough with them. Described by some as "catlike," it is independent yet sensitive and not overly demonstrative. It is reserved with strangers; some can be timid. It has a gay, clownish side.
Typically confident and aloof, the breed requires early training and gradual introduction to other family pets before it can adapt to the home environment without desiring to chase them. Highly compatible with children, the Afghan Hound makes an affectionate and loyal family dog, socialising well with people and adjusting quickly to new situations.
The weight of the average Afghan Hound is 22-34 kg with discrepancies across gender, with a long life expectancy of 13-15 years when cared for accordingly.
Only in the 20th century was the breed finally brought to England, and later America, where it became a popular show dog and developed a somewhat glamorous reputation. In 2005, an Afghan Hound named Snuppy became the first cloned dog in history. A fictional Afghan Hound named What-A-Mess is the star of a popular series of children’s books and cartoons.