The Foxhound is a large breed of hunting hound dog described as a breed with great stamina and energy. Its overall appearance is that of a well-balanced, powerful, and clean cut hunting dog. It was developed during the late 16th century as an alternative hunting dog to the Deerhound and the Staghound when the deer population started to decline. The Foxhound is built for speed, hunting power, and tenacity. It is a best of three worlds – a combination of the amazing qualities of the Greyhound, Fox Terrier, and the Bulldog. The ideal breed height is between 53-61 cm at the withers for females and 56-63 cm for females. The average weight range between 29-32 kg with males on the heavier side of the scale.
The Foxhound is the main attraction at the annual Royal Foxhound Show at the Festival of Hunting event in Peterborough – an annual showcase of the world’s best hounds in the United Kingdom.
The Foxhound was developed during the late 16th century as a replacement pack hunting dog for the Deerhound and Staghound. It was perceived back then that the deer population in England was starting to deplete because it was hunted for both meat and sport. As a result, it was established that a new prey was needed and so the fox was selected to replace the deer and hunters needed a new dog breed that could effectively help them hunt foxes effectively. The Foxhound was then created through careful cross breeding of the Greyhound which was selected for its speed, the Fox Terrier for its uncanny hunting instinct, and the Bulldog for its ferocity in the hunt. For well over two centuries, the Foxhound has been bred along careful lines with the stud book maintained and published by the Masters of Foxhound Association of England since the early 1800s. There are currently 186 packs of Foxhounds that hunt in England, Wales, and Scotland to date.
This breed is alert, cheerful, friendly, outgoing, and social. It is a pack hound that hunts by following a scent rather than sight. Hunts usually last for many hours a day, so Foxhounds were bred for endurance, sometimes hunting up to three times a week. When a scent is detected, the Foxhound lets out a cry or tongue to alert other hounds of the scent. A Foxhound kept as a pet can sometimes be vocal when it detects an interesting smell. It is a social animal that works in a pack and is not too independent like other breeds. It is a fast runner, owing to its original purpose as a hunter putting pressure on the fox during a hunt. The Foxhound is a courageous dog but is generally people-friendly which does not makes it a good watchdog.
The Foxhound responds well to leadership and is generally trainable in obedience, although it is not quite as responsive compared to some breeds. Training takes patience and the general understanding of how a hound dog works. It responds well to consistent and calm approach from a firm leader who will act as the pack leader. Socialisation at an early age is key to correcting the Foxhound’s stubbornness. It has an instinct to roam when it senses an interesting smell so training the dog to come when called is also a priority, particularly from an early age.
The Foxhound has a shiny, short coat which usually comes in a tri-colour pattern of black, white and tan. The short coat is quite easy to keep clean. Like other breeds, the Foxhound sheds but regular brushing will help minimize hair fall. Use a rough cloth or hound mitt to brush the coat on a weekly basis. This will not only help remove dead hair but also keep the coat clean and looking good. Bathing is on an as-needed basis, using a good-quality dog shampoo in the process.
It is a generally healthy breed with a median lifespan of 13 years. It tends to get overweight, so overfeeding is a big no-no. Unlike other dogs, the Foxhound has very few health problems. Occasionally, there are a few dogs who are reported with:
The Foxhound has a lot of stamina and energy that requires a great deal of exercise. In the field, it can run after a prey for several hours without resting. As a pet, daily long walks or jogs, running alongside a bicycle, or an hour of free running in a secured yard are all ideal exercise routines. A Foxhound without enough exercise can become destructive.
The Foxhound is generally friendly with people and is an excellent dog with children. As a pack hunter, it goes extremely well with other dogs and other animals.