Masters of Hounds in 17th century Britain created the English Foxhound by crossing larger stag-hunting hounds and taller, greyhound-type hounds. This meld of nose and endurance with speed and agility formed the perfect hound for hunting the red fox, a popular pastime among the British nobility. Traditional British foxhunts were undertaken from horseback with packs of hounds to sniff out and give chase to their quarry. English Foxhounds were later brought to colonies by wealthy colonists looking to recreate a part of their former home, George Washington being prominent among them. These hounds were later used to create the American Foxhound and many coonhound breeds developed on the American frontier.
Originally recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1909, today the English Foxhound is ranked number 188 in popularity of the 193 AKC-recognized breeds and categorized in the Hound Group.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ENGLISH FOXHOUND
What characteristics define the English Foxhound? Read on to discover what physical attributes and personality traits make the English Foxhound such a unique breed.
English Foxhounds are built for endurance and identifiable by their long, straight legs, deep chest, and level back. Hanging ears lie close to the cheek, and most English hounds have “rounded” ears, where the bottom 1.5 inches have been removed. The short, dense coat is comprised of the typical “hound” colors of black, tan, and white in any combination. Traditionally most English Foxhounds sport brown and/or black coloration along the top of the head, back, and tail with white on the chest and legs. The AKC recognizes official colors of “Black, White & Tan” and “Lemon & White.” All white is not considered standard.
English Foxhounds should weigh between 60 and 75 lbs, with a height of approximately 24 inches at the withers (top of the shoulder).
Most hounds are known for their stubborn personalities and the English Foxhound is no exception. This breed is one whose training takes time and patience, but your efforts will be rewarded with a loyal companion. Foxhounds have a baying bark they will utilize when strangers approach, and though they are wary of those they don’t know, they lack the protective instincts of a guard dog.
English Foxhounds do well with children, but their energetic nature may make them unsuitably rambunctious for small children, especially in puppyhood. This breed gets along well with other dogs, and due to their pack mentality, will thrive better in a multi-dog household. Foxhounds normally get along with other animals but do possess a strong prey drive that may be triggered by smaller pets.
Once outside, hunting instincts take over and this head-strong and intelligent breed is impossible to call off of pursuing a scent. Foxhounds should be kept on a leash or in a well-secured backyard at all times, as their tendency to wander off chasing game can lead to getting lost.
English Foxhounds have a life expectancy of 10-13 years.
CARING FOR AN ENGLISH FOXHOUND
Understanding and maintaining an English Foxhound’s particular needs will lead to a longer, healthier life for your dog and a more enjoyable partnership for both dog and owner. Read on to learn more about the nutrition, exercise, training, and health requirements of a thriving Foxhound to ascertain whether this is the right breed for you.
English Foxhounds thrive on high-quality dog food specially formulated for larger breeds with high energy and exercise requirements. Diets should be appropriately tailored to an individual based on age (puppy, senior, etc) and activity level. Many dog foods have serving suggestions on their packaging, but monitoring food intake and body condition, as well as consulting with your veterinarian, are all simple ways to make sure your dog is receiving the nutrition he or she requires.
English Foxhounds are easygoing but require a large amount of exercise time each day. At least 60 minutes of moderate to strenuous exercise each day is optimal to maintain physical and mental health. These hounds were bred to hunt; they can run several miles without tiring and have a strong instinct to chase prey and follow scent trails. English Foxhounds can make excellent hiking, jogging, and horseback-riding companions. At a minimum, long walks twice daily are essential. Yards need to have tall, sturdy fencing and dogs need to be leashed on walks. Consider a leash that prevents pulling to make walks more enjoyable for both you and your companion. Other options for exercise are canine sports such as obedience, agility, rally, and tracking competitions.
The English Foxhound is a working dog. With the high-energy requirements characteristic of the breed as well as their independent, stubborn nature, training and socialization during puppyhood are essential. Consistent training and patience from a firm, loving leader are key to successfully raising an English Foxhound. Foxhounds are typically obedient once the pack hierarchy has been established. Puppy classes are a great way to start training and socializing a new Foxhound puppy early on. At a minimum, your puppy should learn basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, and come.
Due to their strong familial ties, Foxhounds left alone for long periods of time can resort to undesirable behaviors such as howling. Some of these behaviors can be mitigated by providing access to puzzles and interactive toys. Foxhounds do best in families with children and other dogs.
Although generally healthy, some English Foxhounds are susceptible to bloat and ear infections.
Bloat is a common, though life-threatening, occurrence in most large, deep-chested dog breeds. Know the symptoms and causes of bloat to quickly identify the problem and seek medical attention.
Checking and cleaning ears weekly can prevent many ear problems stemming from the accumulation of dirt and wax in the low-hanging ears of the English Foxhound.
This breed’s short, dense coat requires little maintenance. To keep the coat healthy, they should be brushed once a week with a dog brush or hound glove to remove dead hair, promote new growth, and evenly distribute skin oils. Foxhounds should be bathed occasionally, but even then will have a distinct “hound odor.”
Other breeds similar to the English Foxhound include: