History of the Pharaoh Hound Breed
The pharaoh hound is an ancient breed that has hardly changed in it 5,000 years of existence. Believed to have originated in Ancient Egypt, it used sight, sound and smell to track down small game. An account of the breed can be traced back to around 1200 BC where an agile, long-tailed, red sighthound was described as having a face that “glows like a god.” This glowing refers to the hound’s characteristic of blushing in its nose and ears when it gets excited. Egyptian writings and art often describe the dog, which looks like the god Anubis, as a companion to the Egyptian pharaohs. Phoenician traders are believed to have taken the dogs to Malta and Gozo, islands in the Mediterranean Sea located south of Sicily. On the islands, the breed developed as a superb rabbit hunter, locally known as kelb-tal fenek. The pharaoh hound was recognized as Malta’s national dog in 1974. It was first imported to the United Kingdom in the 1920s, but did not become popular until the 1960s when it was also imported to America. The pharaoh hound was recognized by the AKC in 1983. This talented dog is not just a hunter, but also excels as a guard dog and a gundog.
Size and Appearance of the Pharaoh Hound
The pharaoh hound is a medium-sized, muscular breed that is both athletic and graceful. Labeled as a sighthound, this hunter uses sight, scent, and hearing to locate its prey. Shaped like a greyhound, it has a powerful stride that is free-flowing and fast. The ears are large and upright that move to listen for animals during the hunt. The pharaoh hound has a short, shiny coat in red or tan. White markings are permitted on the tip of the tail, chest, face and toes; but not on its back.
Pharaoh Hound Temperament
This quiet breed is intelligent and sensitive and known to be naturally well behaved. It loves to give chase and is a great hunter by both sight and scent. It is playful with children, loves to run, but is calm when indoors. It does well with other dogs, although it can be controlling with males. It is not good with small pets – such as hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits – since it is a hunter by nature. It does not make a good watchdog, as it is too timid of a breed. The pharaoh hound “blushes” when excited with its nose and ears turning rosy red.
Pharaoh Hound Recommended Maintenance
The pharaoh hound is an average shedder that needs regular brushing with a rubber brush to remove dead hair. Bathe only when necessary, however this clean breed has none of the usual odor associated with dogs. It does, however, require plenty of exercise such as jogging, long walks or a vigorous game. It enjoys chasing small animals and should not be let off of its leash unless it is enclosed in yard with a tall fence. The pharaoh hound can jump high and will do anything to track prey, sometimes ignoring its owner’s calls. It does best with access to a large yard, but sleeping indoors with its family on soft, warm bedding. The pharaoh hound is easy to train as long as it is consistent and loving. If not handled early, it may be overly shy around humans.
Pharaoh Hound Health
• Life span: 11 – 14 years
• Major concerns: none
• Minor concerns: none
• Occasionally seen: none
• Suggested tests: none