Afghan Sheepdog Breed Card
Afghan Sheepdog Breed Overview
Mixed Breed Dogs
20-26 inches tall
45 to 60 pounds
Country of Origin
Energetic, Loyal, and Loving
Afghan Sheepdog History
The Afghan Sheepdog was bred in Afghanistan and is a cross between the Belgian Sheepdog and the Afghan Hound which are both purebred dogs.
The Afghan Hound is a hound breed that historically originated in ancient Egypt. They have been an integral part of Eastern culture since the dawn of civilization and they belong to a certain subcategory called Sighthounds.
Extremely proficient hunters, sighthounds are known for their hunting acumen, high speeds, and panoramic vision to spot and pursue their prey, such as gazelle, rabbits, and other small animals. The Afghan Hound first came to England in the 1900s and was also known by the names the Persian Greyhound, Barukhzy Hound, Tāzī, Balkh Hound, Baluchi Hound, Shalgar Hound, Kabul Hound, Galanday Hound.
The Afghan Hound very quickly gained popularity and became the favorite breed of the British gentry. The breed was registered by The American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1927, and by early 1930 the breed became popular even with U.S breeders and pet owners. The official AKC Parent Club for the breed is the Afghan Hound Club of America.
The Belgian Sheepdogs on the other hand have been active working dogs, working as police dogs, herding, guarding, draft dogs, messengers, and sentries for many years. Though their history can be traced back to the 1800s, the breed was registered by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1912.
The Belgian Sheepdog Club of America was formed in 1949. This dog breed can not only be a tireless playmate for your family but they have also served successfully as Army dogs, police dogs, guard dogs, search & rescue dogs, and service dogs. They also perform well as show dogs and athletes.
The Afghan Sheepdog is also known as the Belgian Afghan Sheepdog. This retriever breed is registered with the Dog Registry of America, Inc.
Low End: $1200
High End: $1400
Afghan Sheepdog Physical Traits
Physically, the Afghan Sheepdog has inherited its large size and many other impressive traits from its parents. Standing about 26 inches high at the tip of their shoulders, their body weight goes up to approximately 60 pounds. Being a hybrid with no breed standard, they can come in various color combinations.
They have long, thick straight hair that can also be curly at times. The coat color may be black, white, or various shades of brown. But their fur can also come with beautiful markings, like white points, brindle, and merle.
The breed’s coat can lean towards any one parent but is always thick and glossy. They have large, thickly padded feet and intelligent and alert expressions.
The Afghan Sheepdog is medium to large in size and a graceful dog. They are characterized by their long hair and muzzle, elegant gait, and long legs. Their body is well-muscled sturdy and strong. They’re most likely to come in variations of black and tan.
The Afghan Hound is a dog with aristocratic looks, long silky topknot, prominent hipbones, and large feet. The Afghan Hound dog is a tall and thin-looking dog with low body fat, a thick, long coat, and a curled tail much like the Greyhound. The Belgian Sheepdog has muscular legs with stunningly beautiful black and long fur. This dog is very strong and sturdy.
Size & Weight ❤️
Height: 24-26 inches
Weight: 50-60 pounds
Height: 20-24 inches
Weight: 45-55 pounds
Coat & Color
Brown & Amber
Black, Red, Brown, White
Afghan Sheepdog Temperament & Personality
The Afghan Sheepdog is a highly intelligent, charming, and independent breed, thanks to its impressive parentage. These dogs need proper exercise and mental stimulation to be on their best behavior.
Afghan Sheepdogs are generally friendly dogs, however, they have a good measure of protectiveness in them and that makes them good guard dogs. If unsupervised, their guarding nature can turn to excessive barking and lunging at strangers. They may also have a herding instinct, due to their Belgian Sheepdog lineage.
While their easy trainability can make this problem manageable, your dog will need time to get to know people before becoming used to them. It’s important to socialize with your dog from a young age to reduce the risk of fear-based reactivity.
GOOD WITH KIDS
Yes, the Afghan Sheepdog is kid-friendly and makes for a good family dog.
As per the American Kennel Club, a breed’s level of tolerance and patience with children’s behavior, and overall family-friendly nature should be judged to evaluate their suitability.
The Afghan Sheepdog breed gets along well with older children who are more respectful while handling them. However, they are likely to lose patience with young children who may get rough with them. Their natural herding behaviors can become irritating and can accidentally lead to knocking over small children.
Afghan Sheepdogs may also nip, or play-bite when they try to herd people. It’s a common habit during puppyhood, but Afghan Sheepdogs can be trained from an early age to address this behavior. Teaching your children how to interact with your dogs so they won’t get hurt and learn to trust your kids is the best practice. Socializing an Afghan Sheepdog from a young age will also ensure that he will be friendly and comfortable around people, children, and other pets.
Good with Other Pets?
GOOD WITH PETS
Yes, Afghan Sheepdogs enjoy the company of other pets, especially dogs, provided they are properly introduced and also socialized right from childhood. Puppies who are allowed to live with their mother and littermates at least 45 to 60 days of age tend to develop good canine social skills.
Considering the fact that the Afghan Hound originated as a hunting dog, there may be a stronger prey drive in some Afghan Sheepdogs. While their easy trainability can make this problem manageable, it’s a consideration to be had if there are small pets such as a hamster, birds, or rabbits at home.
Barks a Lot?
No, the Afghan Sheepdog as a breed does not bark a lot. However, their strong guarding instinct does make them wary of strangers and they will bark if a stranger approaches or at anything that seems suspicious. For example, an unusually dressed person such as a uniformed person could cause your dog to start barking.
Can Be Left Alone?
Likes Being Alone
No, Afghan Sheepdogs are a social breed and do not like to be left alone for long. They enjoy being around people or other animals and can develop separation anxiety. They also often enjoy the company of another dog as a companion when properly acquainted. Ensuring they are provided an environment with a steady company is important.
Afghan Sheepdog Training
Afghan Sheepdogs are easy to train and they are quick to make associations between commands and actions. As an owner, you need to be aware of the specific ways your dog breed will respond to different aspects of training.
The best time to start housetraining is when your pup is 8 weeks old, as your pup can start to learn new instructions and commands at this age. Basic obedience training can be started at 3 to 4 months old, and be scaled up over the next few months. Once your puppy is around 6 months old, you may initiate their pre-agility training. Practice simple physical exercises like fetching balls and other games that are fun and also stimulate them mentally. At 10 months of age, you may initiate advanced training.
Afghan Sheepdog Needs
Afghan Sheepdogs need a lot of exercise due to their high energy levels and need for mental stimulation. This breed craves interaction and can develop separation anxiety when left alone. Engage them in focused activities, like scent work, to channel their energy. They also often enjoy the company of other dogs when properly acquainted.
Do make sure that you never skip your dog walks, as your dog can get destructive and display unwanted behaviors with a lack of exercise. Involvement in agility training will keep your Afghan Sheepdog happy and well-mannered. In order to maintain a healthy coat and skin, as well as your dog’s overall well-being, good nutrition through a well-balanced diet and vitamins is key.
The Afghan Sheepdog needs a diet specifically formulated for large breeds with high energy levels. Large-breed dogs require a specific balance of nutrients along with probiotics, minerals, and vitamins.
Afghan Sheepdogs are prone to bloating and stomach problems; smaller, more frequent meals can help minimize this risk. 2 to 3 cups of high-quality dry food ( divided into two meals) or homemade balanced meals would be ideal. Consider supplementing your dog’s diet with items that double as enrichment, like food puzzle toys, and snuffle mats to keep your Afghan Sheepdog mentally engaged.
Exercise & Activity Levels
The Afghan Sheepdog thrives in a home with a large backyard to play in or as a working dog. Ideally, if you have a fairly large, enclosed area, that allows your dog to run full out several times a week, an agility course, or farm animals to herd, this will keep your dog at his happiest.
The Afghan Sheepdog would need a walk or hike of at least 45 minutes daily along with other exercise opportunities. Plan on spending time with your dog exercising or playing fetch. Afghans Sheepdogs are excellent jumpers as they are tall and strong, so naturally, the exercise area must have a high enough fence to safely fence them in.
Although the Afghan Hound is hypoallergenic and hardly sheds, the Belgian Sheepdog is a seasonal shedder, so the Afghan Sheepdog will probably shed a bit. Brushing at least twice a week with a stiff bristle brush is recommended to keep their coat and skin healthy. In the absence of this, you will notice increased shedding and matting.
They can be bathed as needed, though professional trimming is recommended if you live in a warm climate. Their ears should be checked regularly for wax and dirt, their nails need trimming and you need to brush their teeth to ensure there is no deposition of tartar. Their hair is often tied in a topknot over their heads. Don’t skip the seasonal flea treatment too.
Afghan Sheepdog Average Lifespan
The Afghan Sheepdog has an average lifespan of 12 to 16 years and with the right lifestyle and veterinary care, you can ensure a long life for your dog. While they are at a lower risk of common canine diseases, their lifestyle, genes, and overall health determine their life expectancy.
Commom Health Problems
- Hip Dysplasia. A condition that results in the loosening of the hip joint during the growth stage in dogs and it causes dysfunction and pain. As the dog grows older, the hip cartilage and bone begin to wear down.
- Hypothyroidism. A common hormone imbalance in dogs is usually caused by inflammation or shrinkage of the thyroid gland. This progressive degeneration of the gland leads to compromised thyroid function and reduced levels of thyroid hormones in the body which are insufficient for proper functioning.
- Cataracts. A cataract may be caused by changes in the water balance in the lens or modifications to the proteins within the lens. This causes clouding of the lens of the eye. Light cannot reach the retina through a cloudy lens, causing blindness.
- Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) or Bloat. Bloating can occur when your dog’s stomach rapidly fills with gas as it twists on itself. As the stomach twists, it also cuts off the blood supply to the spleen and the stomach.
- Occasional Diagnoses: Demodicosis, Glaucoma
Recommended Health Tests
- Hip evaluation
- Thyroid evaluation
- Ophthalmologist evaluation
Tips for New Afghan Sheepdog Owners
This section lists some of the best tips for new Afghan Sheepdog pet owners. Go through the list below for more details:
Find a reputable breeder. Selecting a responsible breeder, who conducts health testing for their dogs and screens prospective buyers to make sure they are a good fit for their dogs, is crucial. Responsible breeders screen for health issues and both parents are also to be tested. Being aware of the best practices used by good breeders makes it worth the wait and should compel you to make the right decision. Here is more information on the AKC Breeders of Merit and AKC Bred with H.E.A.R.T. breeders standards that are put in place to raise healthy, well-adjusted puppies.
Get puppy/dog products in advance. A set of different equipment and accessories will be needed before you are ready to bring your puppy home. These basic items will ensure the new addition to your family feels comfortable and adjust easily to the new environment. Separate bowls for water and food, puppy-specific food, bedding, a crate for resting and travel, toys, and pee pads should make your list of products to buy in advance.
Provide Space and enrichment. A large dog, the Afghan Sheepdog appreciates space – both indoors and outdoors. However, it is highly important to have large enough yet secure areas for your dog to exercise without the fear of any threats. As these dogs can jump very high, make sure they are appropriately fenced.
Socialize your Afghan Sheepdog puppy. Socialization is the process by which you introduce your new puppy to the world, to become a confident and well-adjusted adult dog. Considering the inherent suspicious and protective nature of the Afghan Sheepdog, these experiences need to be overall positive from the dog’s perspective. Socialization reduces initial fears and hesitation in your puppy by slowly yet continually exposing them to the experiences that they may be afraid of at first.
Afghan Sheepdog Similar Breeds
– Bohemian Sheepdog
– Australian Shepherd
– Cesky Fousek
Afghan Sheepdog Supplies You Need
Investing in good-quality supplies for your pup is a must. Afghan Sheepdogs have a coat that is more vulnerable to matting. Regular trimming and brushing will ensure you keep this problem at bay. You will need to bathe and groom your Afghan Hound using the following: a good shampoo, cream rinse, hair dryer, a table for grooming, a large-good oval pin brush, a slicker for bad mats, and to fluff puppies
Nail clippers for dogs can be purchased at any pet supply store. When clipping, be sure to be careful of the quick which has a very active blood supply. The Afghan Sheepdogs have thick, constantly growing coats. Consider supplementing the diet with foods that can help coat health, such as salmon oil.
Breeds with floppy ears require regular ear cleaning due to a higher risk of dirt getting trapped in the ears. In addition, use eye wipes and an ear-cleaning solution to remove any excess wax or dirt from your dog’s ear canal.
Best Dog Beds for Afghan Sheepdogs
Best Dog Food for Afghan Sheepdogs
Best Dog Supplements for Afghan Sheepdogs
Afghan Sheepdog Fun Facts
The Afghan Sheepdog has an impressive lineage. Here are some fun facts about both parent breeds of the Afghan Sheepdog:
Fun Fact 1
Anecdotal evidence indicates that many large and small animals including antelopes and perhaps even leopards were preyed upon by Afghan hounds.
Fun Fact 2
Snuppy was an Afghan hound, the first dog clone. A cell was taken from the ear of an adult Afghan hound, thereafter 123 surrogate mothers were involved, of which only two produced pups, one of which was Snuppy.
Fun Fact 3
A yearly festival is celebrated by the Afghan nomads in honor of their prized Afghan dogs. The dogs are dressed up with traditional necklaces and flowers as part of the ceremonies.
Fun Fact 4
During World War II, Belgian sheepdogs worked as excellent war dogs. They did jobs as messenger dogs, ambulance dogs, rescue dogs, and cargo for gunnery.
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