Before the Swan

Behold the elegant Afghan Hound. Refined, dignified, gorgeous. Maybe even haughty.











And then there is the Afghan Hound puppy.

Afghan Hound, hair, coat, fur, monkey whiskers, mandarin,


Before an adult grows that exotic beard known as a “mandarin,” Afghan Hound puppies have puffs of frizzy textured hair around their lips, chin and foreface that are called, “Monkey Whiskers,” “Money Hair,” or “Pharaoh’s beard.”  These facial hairs stick around until about a year of age and then are replaced by short and close hair, and when the “money whiskers” come out, owners can expect to find little “cotton balls” all over their house.  Some people chose to pluck or comb out excess fluff, though the AKC breed standard is very clear that the dog’s coat be “not clipped or trimmed.” We’re not sure if plucking counts. 

Our research suggests that profuse monkey whiskers on many of today’s Afghan Hound pups may be a relatively modern development since puppies seen in historic archival photographs don’t exhibit the same abundance of hair.  It hints that the excess coat was a selectively bred-for quality. Perhaps, but it’s certainly an endearing one on a youngster, and a show stopper on an adult.

All images were found – uncredited – on Pinterest, and we’d like very much to give credit should anyone know these dogs.

3 thoughts on “Before the Swan”

  1. “Before the Swan” is a great title for this subject. Truth be told, Afghan puppies always remind me of Big Bird from Sesame Street. Not an especially cute or pretty sight. But, oh my goodness, they grow up to be the most beautiful breed in the world.

    • We couldn’t agree more, Hindy. Not for nothing have Afghans been nicknamed the “Runway models of the canine world.”

  2. They really are absolutely stunning, not only in looks, but In movement as well. Their elevated gait makes them look like they’re flying on a magic carpet. Takes my breath away and almost brings me to tears to watch them move correctly.

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