This article will start with a disclaimer. We do not purport that there is one and only one standard. In fact, this will be an ongoing discussion of each known standard in turn as well as subsequent visits to each again and again.
The goal of this series to to break standard under discussion down into smaller points and explore how those in the fancy interpret them. The topic has been addressed on various lists and some forums* (usually to uncover THE interpretation) but on those venues it is almost always interspersed and diluted among other topics of conversation and then usually lost to antiquity until it is resurrected again.
We will break the standard under discussion into pieces, soliciting your interpretations, and then processing those inputs for publishing in subsequent issues. The results will be made accessible from AHI and provided to any club site, club publication, or other afghan hound community publications to use as well (free of fee) if they so desire.
Again, this exercise is not to do a group translate of the standard(s) but rather to explore how individuals interpret it. We hope that individuals from the various sanctioning bodies review the results to use as a way to gauge if the public understands the standard(s) as they feel it should be. The keyword here is VIEWPOINTS.
The first standard examined will be that of the AKC and Afghan Hound Club of America (United States).
Afghan Hound Breed Standard
as published on the AKC Web Site
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 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 so 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; snipiness; overshot or undershot; eyes round or bulgy or light in color; exaggerated Roman nose; head not surmounted with topknot.
The neck is of good length, strong and arched, running in a curve to the shoulders which are long and sloping and well laid back. Faults--Neck too short or too thick; a ewe neck; a goose neck; a neck lacking in substance.
The back line appearing practically level from the shoulders to the loin. Strong and powerful loin and slightly arched, falling away toward the stern, with the hipbones very pronounced; well ribbed and tucked up in flanks. The height at the shoulders equals the distance from the chest to the buttocks; the brisket well let down, and of medium width. Faults--Roach back, swayback, goose rump, slack loin; lack of prominence of hipbones; too much width of brisket, causing interference with elbows.
Tail set not too high on the body, having a ring, or a curve on the end; should never be curled over, or rest on the back, or be carried sideways; and should never be bushy.
Forelegs are straight and strong with great length between elbow and pastern; elbows well held in; forefeet large in both length and width; toes well arched; feet covered with long thick hair; fine in texture; pasterns long and straight; pads of feet unusually large and well down on the ground. Shoulders have plenty of angulation so that the legs are well set underneath the dog. Too much straightness of shoulder causes the dog to break down in the pasterns, and this is a serious fault. All four feet of the Afghan Hound are in line with the body, turning neither in nor out. The hind feet are broad and of good length; the toes arched, and covered with long thick hair; hindquarters powerful and well muscled, with great length between hip and hock; hocks are well let down; good angulation of both stifle and hock; slightly bowed from hock to crotch. Faults--Front or back feet thrown outward or inward; pads of feet not thick enough; or feet too small; or any other evidence of weakness in feet; weak or broken down pasterns; too straight in stifle; too long in hock.
Hindquarters, flanks, ribs, forequarters, and legs well covered with thick, silky hair, very fine in texture; ears and all four feet well feathered; from in front of the shoulders; and also backwards from the shoulders along the saddle from the flanks and the ribs upwards, the hair is short and close, forming a smooth back in mature dogs - this is a traditional characteristic of the Afghan Hound. The Afghan Hound should be shown in its natural state; the coat is not clipped or trimmed; the head is surmounted (in the full sense of the word) with a topknot of long, silky hair - that is also an outstanding characteristic of the Afghan Hound. Showing of short hair on cuffs on either front or back legs is permissible. Fault--Lack of shorthaired saddle in mature dogs.
Dogs, 27 inches, plus or minus one inch; bitches, 25 inches, plus or minus one inch.
Dogs, about 60 pounds; bitches, about 50 pounds.
All colors are permissible, but color or color combinations are pleasing; white markings, especially on the head, are undesirable.
When running free, the Afghan Hound moves at a gallop, showing great elasticity and spring in his smooth, powerful stride. When on a loose lead, the Afghan can trot at a fast pace; stepping along, he has the appearance of placing the hind feet directly in the foot prints of the front feet, both thrown straight ahead. Moving with head and tail high, the whole appearance of the Afghan Hound is one of great style and beauty.
Aloof and dignified, yet gay. Faults--Sharpness or shyness.
Approved September 14, 1948
First Topic Area
The first discussions will be visited upon the General Appearance section of the AKC Standard. The section is being broken down by sentence so that that discussion will (hopefully) be more systematic in approach and easier (not easy) to understand the contributions of those responding. To assist in keeping the discussion more consistent between contributors, definitions for the following terms which impact the interpretation of the statements made in the Standard were solicited from the new AfZine group on Facebook:
Plainness: In doing a little pre-article research to determine how others might define this term, it became evident that (paraphrasing the way one contributor put it)... It's a lot like pornography, I may not be able to define it but I know it when I see it. Part of your efforts then will be to define how you perceive it.
Coarseness: To some degree this term may be a bit like 'Plainness' but there are some common themes as to how most interpret the word in the context of the standard. Many see it as an imbalance in proportion between components of the dogs physique.. too much backskull, too broad a muzzle, etc. So, try to verbalize in your contribution how it plays out.
Front: In this context it is referring to viewing the attributes from the front of the dog, not the side.
Stifle: Knee joint; stifle joint; located between the upper and lower thigh; The stifle includes the area on each side of the joint. Term as used in standard refers to view from side.**
Now, an outline/plan of attack on the first section. Please frame and write your contributions as segmented below.
Copy from here --------->
The Afghan Hound is an aristocrat, his whole appearance one of dignity and aloofness with no trace of plainness or coarseness.
Your views go here
He has a straight front, proudly carried head, eyes gazing into the distance as if in memory of ages past.
Your views go here
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.
Your views go here
<------- Copy to here
Contributing to Discussion
Copy the above first topic section to an email or Word document. In the document, after each section, explain what that sentence conveys/means to you. Be as verbose or succinct as you feel is necessary.
I will collect all submissions, giving them a unique ID code. I will then group like subsections with those from others.
Depending upon the number of submissions, a reasonable number will be included in the next 'Standards' article. All submissions will be available in a reference document for those who want to go through all of them. In either the article or the document, they will be marked only by the ID code so that readers can go from subsection to subsection glean out the opinions of one individual.
Use the link below to open an email to insert your contribution or attach your word document to. Enter "Standards - General Appearance" as the subject line and SEND IT.
* My personal view is that forums present the best venue to conduct., preserve, and make available in a viable ongoing form but the majority of the afghan hound community is not oriented to use this avenue...
** From "K-9 Structure & Terminology" by Edward M Gilbert, Jr & Thelma R Brown, Second Edition.