If you have set your heart on sharing your home with a larger and more unusual dog, there are many to choose from, but none are more strikingly elegant and handsome than the Afghan Hound and the Borzoi. Both breeds boast being incredibly regal and both have over the years, remained a popular choice with enthusiasts although less popular than they were in the past with other owners.
Afghans Hounds are an ancient breed and one that has always been highly prized for their hunting abilities. They are native to Afghanistan, hence their name and they are closely related to another elegant breed namely the Saluki.
The origins of the Borzoi remain a mystery, although some people think the breed dates back to the 9th or 10th centuries which would make them one of the oldest breeds around. Highly prized for their hunting skills, the Borzoi is native to Russia.
Afghan Hounds are gorgeous looking, but they are not the brightest of all breeds. It's also worth noting they are not the most obedient and training them can prove challenging for anyone unfamiliar with the breed. What they lack in intelligence, however, they more than make up for in their sweet personalities. Rarely would an Afghan show any sort of aggressive behaviour. They boast a very high prey drive which is can be problematic at times when out on walks in the countryside. Afghans can be independent and aloof at times, but they are also very sensitive by nature.
The Borzoi is a very handsome dog and one that has a lovely placid nature. They like to do things at their own pace and although loving and loyal, they are not the best choice for first time owners because they need to be handled and trained by people who are familiar with their needs. Borzois can also be aloof when the mood takes them and like the Afghan, they boast a high prey drive which means it is not safe to let them run free unless they are in a safe and secure environment.
Borzois can be a little stubborn at time which is another reason why it can prove hard to train them. They are also quite sensitive by nature and as such need to be handled with a firm yet gentle hand. Loyal and affectionate towards their owners, Borzois tend to be wary of people they have never met before, but rarely would one of these dogs show any sort of aggression towards a stranger. Another thing worth noting about these elegant, large dogs is that they are ultra-sensitive to touch and they also feel pain and discomfort more than other breeds. They are also known to have incredibly long memories which means that if they have a bad experience at any point in their lives, they will not quickly forget it.
Afghan Hounds are heavy shedders thanks to their lovely long coats. They shed steadily throughout the year only more so during the spring and autumn.
The Borzoi is a moderate to high shedder and like the Afghan, they too shed throughout the year only more so in the spring and autumn.
The Afghan Hound is not the most intelligent of dogs, however, they are smart in their own way. They are highly strung and headstrong which makes training one quite challenging. They are best suited to people who are familiar with the breed rather than novice owners. It takes time and a lot of patience to train an Afghan Hound and they don't respond well to any sort of heavy handed training methods, but they do answer well to positive reinforcement.
Borzois are intelligent in their own way although they like to do things at their own pace. They also have a stubborn streak in them which can make training one of these dogs a lot more challenging. They are best suited to people who are familiar with their needs and even when well trained, a Borzoi may never be totally obedient.
Afghan Hounds need a lot of exercise because they are high-energy dogs. As such they need to be given at least 2 hours exercise a day and back gardens need to be very secure to keep these dogs in. They enjoy being able to let off steam by running free, but this should only be attempted in a secure environment. Afghans also need lots of mental stimulation to prevent boredom setting in which could result in a dog developing some unwanted behavioural issues.
The Borzoi is not as high energy as their Afghan counterparts, but they still need 2 hours exercise every day to be truly happy dogs. They also enjoy being able to run free, but again this should only be attempted in safe and secure environments.
Afghan Hounds are known to be good around children although they are better suited to families where the kids are slightly older. Because they boast high prey drives, care has to be take when they are around smaller animals and pets although if an Afghan has grown up with a family cat, they generally get on well together.
Borzois are placid by nature and are known to be very gentle around children of all ages even though they are such large dogs. Because they are so sensitive, however, boisterous and noisy playtime can upset a Borzoi all too easily so they are best suited to families with older children rather than toddlers. They usually get on well with other dogs, but can also be a little nervous when they first meet. Care should always be taken when a Borzoi is around smaller animals or pets although like the Afghan, if they grow up with a cat in the home, they generally get on well with them.
An Afghan Hound has a luxurious coat that's soft and fine in texture and it covers a dog's entire body.
There are many accepted coat colours for the Afghan Hound which includes the following:
The Borzoi has a silky coat that can be flat, wavy or a little curly. The hair has a soft and silky texture to it.
Borzois can be any colour and colour combination.
The Afghan Hound is known to suffer from a few hereditary and acquired health disorders which includes the following:
Afghan Hounds are sensitivity to anaesthetic like so many other sight hounds which means extra care needs to be taken when a dog needs to be sedated for any reason.
The Borzoi suffers from certain hereditary and acquired health issues which are as follows:
The average life span of an Afghan Hound is between 11 to 13 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
The average life span of a Borzoi is between 10 and 12 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.