Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Breed spotlight: the Afghan Hound

Afghans are the most glamourous of the sighthounds. They have long, beautiful coats and a somewhat standoffish attitude--at least until they come to accept you as family. Then they show their silly side.

I'm not going to say a lot about Afghans here because the Afghan Hound Club of America website does a pretty good job of telling people about the breed. I'm not wild about the design, but it's reasonably easy to navigate. If you're new to the breed, start with the Questions and Answers section, which describes the breed's personality and what Afghans are like to live with. In response to the question Are they good with kids? it gives exactly the right answer: some are and some aren't.

There's a good section on coat care, which is essential for this breed. Skip the Personality Plus heading unless you just want to see some funny cartoons featuring an Afghan. There's a rescue page with information on adopting an Afghan and good tips on ways to make sure that dogs don't get lost or need to be rehomed.

The disappointing section was the one on health (listed as Animal Health). It gives generic advice on health and veterinary care--"Good health will show through Afghan Hound's attitude, sparkling eyes and in his coat." It mentions that the AHCA is a member of the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC), but it doesn't discuss any health problems to which Afghans might be prone. It does point out that CHIC numbers do not imply normal test results and do not certify animals for breeding purposes, which is a plus. To earn a CHIC number, Afghans must have hip, eye and thyroid clearances.

What I liked best was the Newcomer page. For anyone who's interested in buying an Afghan puppy or adopting an adult Afghan, this is the place to go to get answers from real people. Contact information is listed for people who are willing to answer questions about the breed. That's a great resource. There's also a breeder referral page.

The AHCA doesn't have the very best website, and I'd love to see it beef up the health section, but for the most part it offers solid information.

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