Doggoneit! Here's new breed of Afghan trouble

October 25, 2001|By NEWSDAY

Stephani Norris has a sign in front of her Zoar, Ohio, residence. It reads: "This home protected by Afghan security."

Norris is not a Taliban sympathizer. She's a breeder of Afghan hounds, known for their aristocratic bearing and long flowing coat. But the recent political climate has Norris considering whether to take down her whimsical sign, which includes the breed's distinctive outline.

She's also more circumspect when asked where her dogs come from. "I just say, `Ohio.' "

What's in a name? Plenty, Afghan-hound folks have learned over the last month or so. Dogs have been threatened, even license plates and bumper stickers featuring the breed's name have come under fire.

Those kinds of concerns prompted the Afghan Hound Club of America to convene recently to consider whether it would be prudent to change the breed's name.

Barb Bornstein of Scottsdale, Ariz., corresponding secretary of the club, says, "I always tell people to please use the full name, `Afghan hound.' An Afghan is a person, not a dog."

Afghan hounds originated, just as their name implies, in Afghanistan. Originally bred to hunt snow leopards and small game, they have a sturdy build and large feet to help navigate the country's harsh countryside and broken fields. Afghan hounds arrived in the United States in the 1920s.

In the end, says Bornstein, her club's board decided "to stand firm" and keep the name Afghan hound.

And she says her personal response to people who respond negatively is simple: "Don't even go there - my dogs didn't do it."

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