An email that Judy Gombita sent me today about Princess Barbie (a sort of urban tale adapted online for any local mall), there was a mention of a long-haired foreign dog – with a photograph of an Afghan hound.
I wondered whether this indicates “Afghan” is being censored as a doggie descriptor?
I was aware that the German Shepherd Dog was renamed as Alsation in England after the First World War owing to anti-German sentiment – only being changed back in 1977. Is the name Afghan similarly being avoided?
A lot of dog breeds have geographic names – Chihuahua, Dalmation, Great Dane, even the so called, French Poodle… but how many are affected by a need for a public relations make-over?
The American Pit Bull has gained a bad reputation from owners who use the dog for fighting and to look tough. Although its origins in the 1800s were actually in fighting, a rename to Staffordshire Terrier in the 1930s aimed to make Pit Bull dogs seem more benign.
The beautiful Afghan hound was used as a hunting dog in Afghanistan and apparently has several alternative names: Balkh Hound, Baluchi Hound, Barutzy Hound, Kabul Hound, and Tazi.
We used to own one of this dippy dogs (Tina, who was a real prima donna) and for me the breed is the epitome of the 1980s, when Afghan hounds were twice supreme champion at Crufts.
But is Afghan today a tainted term? Or is it more likely that the people who captioned the photograph were ignorant of the breed?