It's not too far-fetched to compare the Afghan Hound's athleticism to that of a horse: the breed is tall, rangy, long-legged, and extremely fast, able to cover ground in long strides. While these dogs' exercise needs aren't extremely high, they will need daily activities that include some running. Since Afghan Hounds were originally developed to hunt game like antelope and even leopards, they'll need plenty of chances to stretch their considerable legs. (Meaning, of course, they make terrific jogging and bicycling companions!)
The typical adult Afghan Hound, depending on its age and overall activity level, will need 60-90 minutes of proper exercise per day, which you can accomplish with a couple of long walks, jogs, or bike rides and a period of play. You can start exercising your Afghan Hound puppy at three months old by taking it on short (10-minute) leashed walks, then you can increase the walks' length and frequency as the puppy grows.
A few precautions to consider when exercising your Afghan Hound: first, puppies younger than nine months old shouldn't participate in activities that include a lot of jumping, running, and navigating of stairs, as doing so can injure their still-developing joints and bones. Regardless of age, all Afghan Hounds will also need to be leashed when in public. These dogs have incredibly high prey drives, and will instinctively chase other animals--squirrels, birds, cats, even other dogs--if given the chance; a leash will help you control your Afghan if it spies an interesting-looking critter. And one of the best physical activities for this breed is being allowed to run free in a large yard--but the area will need to be securely fenced to keep the Afghan from running off to track animals it thinks are prey.
Safeguards aside, exercising your Afghan Hound every single day is an absolute must. Though these dogs are independent and aloof, if they become bored and restless they'll be frustrated and mean-spirited, and can turn highly destructive. Consistent exercise will be great for the dog's peace of mind--and your own sanity as well. A few exercise ideas:
- Walking/Jogging/Bicycling: Two 30-minute walks (or 20-minute jogs or bike rides) per day is a good target
- Yard Dash: Running free in a large fenced yard is perfect for these dogs
- Hide-and-Seek: Great indoor, rainy-day activity; give the dog a treat when it finds you
- Canine Sports: Afghan Hounds can excel at lure coursing, agility trials, and other competitions
- Hiking: Great bonding activity; bonus if you can find a remote area where the dog can be off-leash
When indoors, it's a good idea to give your Afghan access to one or more balls or chew-toys that will allow the dog to burn excess energy. It's also recommended that you establish a regular exercise schedule for the dog, such as walks, jogs, or bike rides after breakfast and dinner and a play period in the afternoon.