In addition to being a native person of Afghanistan
and a type of woven blanket
, it is also a breed of dog
The Afghan is a member of the hound family, related to the greyhound. They range in height from 50-60" at the shoulder and weigh in the 50-60 lb range. They have extremely long legs with a thin body much like a greyhound, however their body is covered in long silky hair, excluding the face. It is a very athletic breed, capable of running upwards of 35 mph, jumping 20 feet in the air, and leaping 7 feet high from a standing position. Typically they live 12-14 years. Though they are large, they are a very lean breed and tend to eat less than other breeds of similar size.
The breed originated in the areas of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Northern India several thousand years ago, the exact age of the breed is unkown. They were mainly used to protect villages from predatory animals and as hunting dogs to help catch game for their owners. For many hundreds of years, there were two variations of the breed, the stocky heavily coated mountain dog and the sleek short coated plain dog. In the early 1920's, some of these dogs were brought to England and crossbred, providing the lineage for the modern breed we know today.
The Afghan is a very energetic dog, much like the greyhound, and thus needs a good deal of excercise. This is not a dog for the apartment dweller. It is a rather independent and while it is extremely intelligent, it tends to use this selectively for it's own advantage. This means they can be difficult to train and do not respond well to harsh punishments. They tend to not like being told what to do, so training can require a great deal of patience. They have a rather high opinion of themselves and expect to get their way.
Temperment wise, the afghan is usually friendly but can vary. More often than not, they tend to be a bit wary of strangers and slow to warm up to people. Because the dog was bread primarily as a gaurd and hunting dog, they can be very aggressive towards what they percieve as a threat, making them an excellent dog for home security. They are generally friendly and playfull dogs but may need some time to adjust to changes in environment.