Grooming the Afghan Hound
Not all Afghan Hounds are show dogs, but a clean healthy coat will certainly enhance your enjoyment and delight in owning this beautiful breed of dog. Hair is the hallmark of the Afghan Hound. Properly cared for it lends excitement and glamour to the Afghan Hound's every move and step. Keeping the Afghan Hound clean, conditioned and mat free is the key to a beautiful coat.
What you will need to bathe and groom your Afghan Hound:
A good shampoo
A good conditioner
A place to bathe your Afghan Hound
A standing hair dryer and/or force dryer
A grooming table
Large good oval pin brush
A slicker for bad mats and to fluff puppies
A few of the "golden rules" are:
Maintenance grooming is the key to a beautiful coat.
Always bathe and groom your dog before it is matted. For most show coats this means bathing and grooming two (2) times per week.
Never brush a dry or dirty coat. This will damage the hair.
The Afghan Hound should always be bathed prior to grooming.
At shows a quality grooming spray should be used to moisten the coat before brushing.
Always brush from the skin out, using your blow dryer to part the hair.
Use your fingers to find mats inaccessible areas like armpits or behind the ears.
A raised tub with a hand sprayer as well as shampoo machines and pump shampooer are great tools to get shampoo and rinse distributed evenly into the coat and skin. If applying shampoo by hand, it should be worked through the coat with the growth of the hair and never rubbed or scrubbed in. Rinse well until the water runs clean and apply a cream rinse. Some Afghan Hound owners rinse the cream rinse from the dog's coat, other owners leave the cream rinse in the coat. Any drying with towels, or moist magnets should also be done with the hair not rubbed. If the dog does get matted, it is better to work carefully on the mats after the dog has been bathed and heavily conditioned. After such a de-matting, the dog should be bathed and groomed out in the next two days to get out any loose hair and to recondition the damaged coat.
You may wish to let your Afghan Hound drip on towels for about an hour before blowing him out with a hair dryer unless the dog has a curly coat and then he should be blown dry from very wet. Owners usually begin by drying the head and by blowing the topknot forward for maximum fullness. Then dry the show side concentrating on the curly areas first, usually the neck, chest, back of the front legs, etc. as the dog is drying, brush the coat in the direction you would like it to fall. "Training" the hair in this way does help if it is done on a regular basis.
At shows, always moisten the coat with grooming spray before brushing. Ears should be either wrapped or snooded while exercising on show days. Ears can be wrapped in bakery paper. Fold the ear hair inside of the paper and then fold upward to form a bundle. Secure with a hair band. Always check to see that you have not gotten the ear leather into the wrap by inserting a comb all the way through the hair at the top of the wrap. Ear leather that is caught in wraps can be badly damaged.
Side coat on the boys can also be wrapped in a similar fashion or it can be clipped up with hair clips which can be purchased at most beauty supply stores. Clips work best if they are placed close to the skin and close together but they must be removed before putting the dog away. Avoid using clips that have been chewed or broken, they catch on the coat and will pull it out.
Putting an Afghan Hound in Oil
Alpha Keri Oil (Heavy) For Cottony Coats
Nuetrogena Body Oil (Light) For Silky Coats
After bathing and rinsing, dilute 1/2 to 3/4 cup oil and the same amount of conditioner in one gallon of water. Shake well and work into the dog's coat. This same mixture can be used with a pump also, which works the best to get the oil completely into the coat. To use the pump fill your tub with a gallon of water and add the same mixture of oil and conditioner. The amount of oil you need to use depends on the amount of coat that your dog has. Use a good body or bath oil. Oils work differently on all dogs, some dogs do better in a lighter oil (body oil) while others are better in a heavier oil. It is not recommended using baby oil as it seems to build up on the coat and to make the skin flake.
Nail care is an important part of both Health Care and Grooming Care. Don't forget to trim the dewclaws!
Nail clippers for dogs can be purchased at any pet supply store. When clipping, be sure to be careful of the quick which has a very active blood supply. On white nails, you can see the quick when viewed sideways, but on black nails, it will be impossible. Another option can be a rotary grinder with a sanding drum. If the afghan is in long coat, this can be difficult as the grinder will catch and wrap hair! To alleviate this problem, a good use of old socks is to cut a small hole at the bottom and put it on the dog's leg. If you're having trouble getting it on, put it on your arm first, roll it down and roll it up the dog's leg. Then, you can poke one nail out at a time for safe grinding.
Links to some of our favorite products:
Chris Christensen Wood Pin Brush
Chris Christensen Slicker Brush
Chris Christensen Greyhound Buttercomb
Quadruped Conditioner & Drying Aid
The Groomer Directory
If you prefer to have your Afghan done by a professional, please check the list below. These are groomers we trust in different parts of the contiguous US. This list will be modified and expanded periodically.