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The Parent Club, AKC and the Afghan Hound
Breed Standard Shake-Up

.( by Peter Belmont Elmo, USA, 1985)

(The following article was published in "Afghan World" Volume 6, Number 3 in Jan/Feb 1985. Apparently, the AKC requested Parent clubs to write an interpretive text of their breed standards to provide an aide to Judges and others. AHCA duly appointed a committee for this purpose and produced an "interpretive text". Peter in his 1985 article documented the essence of that "interpretive text" along with the results of a mini survey and included comments from experienced/senior people in the breed on this "interpretive text".

(Some Background to AHCA Judges Training Material)

From my experience of attending AHCA Judges breed study group the "tutorial documentation" on the breed/standard issued by the AHCA Judges breed study group included the following-

  • "The Visualization of the Afghan hound as Interpreted by Sandy Frei (Stormhill, Janis Reital (Tifarah), Julie Roche (Qamari)"
  • "AHCA Study Material for Judges" which includes articles by Barbara Skilton (El Tazzi Australia). "You Be The Judge by Robert Cole". This material included "Through Their Eyes" in which AHCA asked past National Specialty Judges to describe in 150 words their ideal Afghan hound. Contributors included Michelle L Billings, June E Boone, Elizabeth Brissell, Archlyn Clot, Kent Delaney, Carol Esterkin, Judith S Felton, Sandra Frei, Helen Furber, Edward M Gilbert JR, Lou Guerrero, Georgie Guthrie, Dick Guthrie, Helen M Haas, Betsy Hufnagel, Betsy Prior, Richard Souza, Bob Stein, Betty Stites, Dry William Waskow, Lila Wadsworth

    This AHCA study material booklet also included several extensive articles on the Afghan hound and sighthounds written by Betty Stites, Judith S Felton, Herman L Felton, Bob Stein, Virginia Withington, Constance Miller, Georgia Guthrie, Stephen Wheeler, Ruth Tongren, Bo Bengston, Patricia Gail Burnham, Mary Beth Arthur

I mention these training materials so that readers will be aware of the comprehensivet package of information that AHCA provides, also, to note, that it does not include the 1985 "interpretive text" document, and I wonder if the 1985 document is still valid or whether it has been superseded by new material, such as the above. If any readers have further information please let me know, Thanks. Steve T

Onto Peter's article -

The Parent Club, AKC and the Afghan Hound
Breed Standard Shake-Up
(by Peter Belmont Elmo, USA, 1985)

My understanding is that the Board of Directors of The Afghan Hound Club of America appointed itself as the one and only Committee to write an interpretive text of the Afghan Hound Standard. This interpretation was to be used along with an Illustrated Standard to educate judges of the breed. I believe the request was originally made by the American Kennel Club

When this issue was brought before the Board of Directors of the AHCA, there were minority members who did not approve of the Board being the only Committee to develop such sensitive and important material for judges. These members also did not approve of the interpretations, for it was felt they changed and distorted the original Standard in too many respects. The Boards interpretation contained 60 paragraphs, many of which were quite devastating to the original standard.

The Afghan Hound - Text for
Illustrated Standard Booklet
For Judges

****** In the following pages the type which directly quotes the standard is in REGULAR text.
******The type in ITALICS indicates comments and clarification by the Afghan Hound Club of America

FOREWARD. These guidelines are intended to assist and instruct judges of the Afghan hound. We will tell you what we believe to be true at this time, working with what you see and feel and the conclusions to be drawn there from.

With continued research and technological advances, discoveries may be made about the structure and movement of the dog which may contradict some of our log-held and dearest theories and opinions. We urge you to keep an open mind and continue to learn as knowledge becomes available.

The Afghan hound is an aristocrat, his whole appearance one of dignity and aloofness with no trace of plainness or coarseness. He has a straight front, proudly carried head, eyes gazing into the distance as if in memory of ages past. The striking characteristics of the breed-exotic, or "eastern" expression, long silky topknot, peculiar coat pattern, very prominent hipbones, large feet and the impression of a somewhat exaggerated bend in the stifle due to profuse trouserings stand out clearly, giving the Afghan hound the appearance of what he is, a king of dogs, that has held true to tradition throughout the ages.

The first paragraph of the Standard carries the essence of the breed. The phrases "eyes gazing into the distance as if in memory of ages past" and "exotic or eastern expression" attempt to describe the aloof, withdrawn quality of the breed when approached. The Afghan is at all times sensitive to his environment, but does not like to be touched by strangers. He tends to ignore being examined, assuming a faraway look which is thought to be farsightedness by many people.

In addition to his graceful elegant outline, the Afghan should exhibit great strength and power. A mature hound should have hard supple muscles, flexible joints, and good substance without coarseness.

HEAD. The head is of good length, showing much refinement, the skull evenly balanced with the foreface. There is a slight prominence of the nasal bone structure causing a slightly Roman appearance, the center line running up over the foreface with little or no stop, falling away in front of the eyes there is an absolutely clear outlook with no interference; the underjaw showing great strength, the jaws long and punishing; the mouth level, meaning that the teeth from the upper jaw and lower jaw match evenly, neither overshot nor undershot. This is a difficult. mouth to breed. A scissors bite is even more punishing and can be more easily bred into a dog than a level mouth, and a dog having a scissors bite, where the lower teeth slip inside and rest against the teeth of the upper jaw, should not be penalized. The occipital bone is very prominent. The head is surmounted by a topknot of long silky hair.

EARS. The ears are long, set approximately on level with outer corners of the eyes, the leather of the ear reaching nearly to the end of the dog's nose, and covered with long silky hair.

EYES. The eyes are almond-shaped almost triangular, never full or bulgy, and are dark in color.

NOSE. Nose is of good size, black in color

FAULTS Coarseness; snippiness; overshot or undershot; eyes round or bulgy or light in color; exaggerated Roman nose; head not surmounted with topknot.

The Afghan Head is long and strong with no excess flesh. "Refinement" is not a synonym for narrow-ness, but precludes coarseness or plainness.

The nasal bone has a slight rise to it, giving a faintly Roman look, but should never be exaggerated. The nasal bone meets the skull at a slight downslope, causing a noticeable in-curve just in front of the eyes which should not be confused with a true "stop".

"Chiseling," which is the appearance of bones and veins in the muzzle, is not asked for in the Standard, but adds to the elegant appearance, as do long, silky "mandarin" whiskers, which may grow at the end of the lower jaw.

The jaw bones should be deep, tapering somewhat toward the nose, and not so narrow that they do not provide a firm base for the strong teeth, which should not be crowded together. The importance of large powerful teeth and a tight punishing bite cannot be overemphasized.

Although the Standard does not ask judges to check for full dentition, the judge must still ascertain if the bite is even or scissors. Wry mouths should be penalized, as should undershot or overshot jaws. One or two teeth out of line does not necessarily indicate an undershot jaw. The muzzle should be strong, and a snipey muzzle should be penalized.

Ears that are set low and far back add to a lean look. The demand for leathers reaching nearly to the end of the nose is not seen on adults, a good average ear leather nears the corner of the lips, proper care can produce ear fringes that are extremely long.

A long silky topknot is stressed in the standard as an outstanding characteristic of the breed. The topknot can create optical illusions depending upon how the hair grows. It is not necessary to tease the hair or to part it in the middle - it should fall naturally.

The head should be in proportion to the size of, and in balance with the rest of the dog. A more heavily built dog should carry a proportionally more powerful head than a finely built dog. The head should always be aesthetically pleasing while at the same time be strong enough in the jaws for a hunting hound.

Related Content
US Afghan Hound Breed Standard Study of Working Documents By Steve Tillotson, March 2014
Mrs Drinkwater (Geufron) and Dr Porter (el Kabul) re differences in type (Bell-Murray and Ghazni) AHA 1966
Netherlands - The Afghan Hound Standard In Detail by Eta Pauptit, 1976
US Current Breed Standard 1948
USA Afghan Hound Breed Standard, The Classical Compromise By Steve Tillotson, February 2012
Coat Trimming And Shaping, various correspondents. Compiled by Steve Tillotson 2012
USA Afghan Hound Breed Standard (1946) Discussions, By Johannah Kench-Owen 1977

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