History of the English Foxhound Breed
The history of the English foxhound is well documented. In fact, pedigrees of this breed have been kept longer than any other breed – since the late 1700s. However, the precise origin of this dog is still somewhat of a mystery. It is believed that at the beginning, around 1750, the English foxhound was developed by men who envisioned a dog that could track the faint scent of a fox while the dog was on the run and maintain that chase for an indeterminable amount of time. It is believed that t he English foxhound was developed by crossing a variety of different hounds, and then carefully breeding the result other breeds such as the Greyhound, the bulldog, and the fox terrier. Consequently, packs of these hounds were cared for and bred by masters as fox hunting became a pastime of the wealthy. The ceremony of riding to the hounds became more important than the kill of the fox itself. Masters of the pack took care in breeding hounds that had an appealing look as a pack, as well as in individual dogs, which meant that most pack members would feature the same coloration and markings – often a tan body with a black saddle and white points. By the late 1800s, fox hunting became extremely popular, and there were 140 packs registered in England. Each of these packs was made up of about 50 dogs. It was in the 1700s that the English foxhound came to America, but eventually many of these dogs were crossed with other dogs, creating the American foxhound. The English foxhound was first registered by the AKC in 1909. While the American foxhound is more popular than the English foxhound in the United States, neither variety enjoys popularity as a show dog or a pet. Many hunters feel the English foxhound is the best choice for hunting on horseback due to the melodic bay of the dog.
Size and Appearance of the English Foxhound Breed
With a powerful build and large bones, the English foxhound is made for stamina more than speed. The front legs are to be absolutely straight with importance centered on the size of the bone at the ankle. The hindquarters are very strong to provide superior endurance. The feet of the English foxhound are round and cat-like. The head, while large, is not heavy and features a wide skull. The long muzzle has wide, open nostrils and teeth which meet squarely. The large brown eyes give a sweet, gentle expression, and the ears are set low and lie close to the cheek. Many of these hounds have “rounded” ears, which means that the ends of the ears are shortened by about 1 ½ inches. The neck is long, and it tapers smoothly from the shoulders to the head. The back is extremely muscular, and the tail is held up with much animation. The coat and color of the English foxhound is of relative unimportance as long as the color is considered to be an appropriate “hound color.” Usual hound colors are black, tan and white. The coat is generally short and dense with a hard, glossy texture.
English Foxhound Temperament
Considered to be a bold and passionate hunter, the English foxhound is a very active dog that does best with other dogs. Because of its history as a pack hound, this dog gets along well with other animals and pets, particularly horses. It is a friendly dog that is generally good with people and children. They can be trained to be responsive and obedient, but training this breed does take patience. This dog loves to trail and sniff, and it also likes to bay. While it is not a particularly demonstrative dog, it is gentle and friendly, but it can be reserved with strangers. Field types are generally more active than show types. If you’re looking for a pet, it is suggested that you find one from a show line. The English foxhound is best suited for country living with space in which it can run and roam.
English Foxhound Recommended Maintenance
The only coat care necessary for the English foxhound is occasional brushing and combing to remove dead hair. A rub down with a rough cloth is also suggested. Bathe only when necessary. This breed is considered to be an average shedder. Exercise is very important to the English foxhound. Because it is bred to run for miles, this dog makes an excellent jogging companion, and it also enjoys hiking. This breed can live comfortably outdoors in temperate climates if provided with a warm shelter, bedding, and ideally, another foxhound for company. If used as a hunting dog, it should probably be retired from the sport at seven or eight years of age. Because this dog is generally quite active indoors, it is not suggested for apartment dwelling. It can become destructive if it is confined too much, and it tends to follow scents and run off if it is not kept on a leash outdoors. Obedience training is most effective when started at a young age, and special challenges lie with teaching the “come” command, as the dog is often distracted by scent.
English Foxhound Health
Life span: 10 – 13 years
Major concerns: none
Minor concerns: none
Occasionally seen: CHD, renal disease
Suggested tests: none