Afghan Hound Grooming

Well Groomed Afghan Hound Outside
iStock.com/Mariana Mikhailova

Afghan Hounds are often called the "runway models" of the canine world. Their long, luxurious coats (which include plenty of stylish head hair), combined with their tall, thin bone structure, makes them "model-esque" in appearance. The downside is that Afghan Hounds require a great deal of grooming--as much or more than any dog breed known.

See below for tips on Afghan Hound coat maintenance, and descriptions of some popular Afghan Hound hairstyles.

Afghan Hound Coat Care

These dogs' long, silky coats are similar in texture to human hair and will require a great deal of attention, so Afghan Hound grooming is a very time-consuming process. They will require daily brushing to minimize tangles, they'll need baths often (at least every two weeks, if not more often), and depending on the dog's hairstyle, clipping/scissoring is necessary every 2-3 months. Many Afghan owners choose to visit a professional groomer each month to keep their dogs' coats in good shape.

In regards to brushing, it helps to think of an Afghan's hair as almost human. You'll need an oval pin brush, and a slicker brush for working through stubborn tangles or mats. First wet the coat with mist from a spray bottle (or better yet, a nice de-tangling spray), then brush the coat section by section with the pin brush. Use long, sweeping strokes, and brush in the direction of hair growth; brush the legs starting at the top and working downward. Many owners choose to finish with a conditioning spray to give the coat volume and prevent damage.

To bathe an Afghan: first give the dog a thorough brushing, then bathe using high-quality canine shampoo and conditioner (both available at pet stores); rinse well--but it's okay to leave some of the conditioner in. Like human hair, some conditioner left in the dog's coat will add strength and minimize hair breakage. After the bath, dry the coat using a standing hair dryer (or a hand-held one, if no standing dryer is available), making sure to brush the coat as you dry. Once the coat is thoroughly dried, apply some conditioning spray for added protection, then brush the coat yet again.

Regardless of your Afghan's hairstyle, the dog will need a haircut every 8-10 weeks. This breed's fine, luxurious coat is best cut by a professional groomer, who can also provide owners with tips on how to groom an Afghan Hound in general.

Afghan Hound Styling & Haircuts

With this breed's coat so similar to human hair, a great number of Afghan Hound hairstyles exist, practically all of which are created by a professional groomer. A majority of breed owners keep their dogs' coats at (or near) full length; the rare sighting of a shaved Afghan Hound is probably due to a neglected, extremely matted coat--which is almost never the case with these dogs! Many Afghan owners love the fact that their dogs have long, abundant hair on their heads--which the owners often style exactly like a human hairstyle. Here are three popular styles for this "model-esque" breed:

  • 3-Layer: Also called a 3-Stack, this unique style creates an interesting "angular" look for the dog. The head and ear hair is cut in a straight line at shoulder level; the body hair is cut to a line 4-5 inches from the ground; the leg hair is cut to a line about an inch from the ground. The overall look creates three distinct layers (or "levels") for the coat.
  • Modified Teddy Bear Cut: This is a version of the well-known cut that makes the dog resemble a teddy bear. The fur is cut to 4-5 inches all over (as opposed to 2-3 inches for other breeds); the leg and head hair are carefully rounded and sculpted. The overall look is reminiscent of a stuffed animal.
  • Farrah Fawcett: This look recalls 1970s women's hairstyles. The entire coat is left long, and the head and leg hair are styled into sweeping, feathered looks that resemble that of one of the Charlie's Angels characters. (NOTE: This look is best achieved with a brush, a hair dryer, and hairspray.)


(All of the above-described styles--and most other Afghan Hound haircuts--are best done by a groomer.)

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