From the Dachshund to the Pharaoh Hound, dogs in this breed group have the common attribute of having been bred for the hunt.
Hounds are bred for hunting, pure and simple. These dogs hunt mainly by sight or by smell, although some can use both senses to equal advantage. Hounds are generally friendly and good tempered. They tend to be extremely loyal, and with early and consistent training and adequate exercise, hounds can make excellent companions. Due to the nature of their original work, hounds usually possess high energy and stamina.
Some hounds have the unique attribute of being able to bay. Baying is a type of howl.
The Hound Breeds
Most of the dogs in this group have the word “hound” in their name, with a few exceptions. Dogs in this breed category include the Afghan Hound, the American Foxhound, the Basenji, the Basset Hound, the Beagle, the Black and Tan Coonhound, Bloodhound, Bluetick Coonhound, Borzoi, Dachshund, English Foxhound, Greyhound, Harrier, Ibizan Hound, Irish Wolfhound, Norwegian Elkhound, Otterhound, Petit Basset Griffon, Pharaoh Hound, Plott, Redbone Coonhound, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Saluki, Scottish Deerhound and Whippet.
Short Profile of Two Well-Known Hound Breeds
The Beagle and the Dachshund are two popular breeds in the hound group. Beagles were initially used to track smaller game such as rabbits, pheasant, and quail, while their larger counterparts went after deer. Beagles are generally a happy, easygoing and friendly breed. They are on the small side – another ‘perk’ for many people – and their short coat is easy to care for. They tend to love the company of other dogs and humans.
Incidentally, Charlie Brown’s dog Snoopy from the Peanuts comic strip is a Beagle.
The Dachshund originated in Germany in the 1600s. The name ‘Dachshund’ means ‘badger dog.’
This dog comes in three coat varieties: smooth, longhaired and wirehaired.
As the name implies, this little dog was initially bred to be able to go after badgers. The dog needed to be small enough to dig into a badger hole, and sturdy enough to face the threatened animal.
Dogs of this breed should be smart, lively and courageous.
Two breeds that are probably not as universally well known are the Plott and the Pharaoh Hound. The Plott is named after the Plott family, who emigrated from Germany to the United States in 1750. Over the next two hundred years, this family bred these dogs to hunt large animals like boar and bear. The dogs became known as “The Plott’s hounds,” since the family bred the dogs exclusively amongst themselves.
Plotts tend to be loyal, eager to please, intelligent and alert when inside the home, however, they are aggressive and bold when on the hunt.
The Plott is a medium-sized dog with a muscular build and a short, glossy coat. They are lean and athletic and require daily exercise.
Because of its history, these dogs are rare outside of the Southern States.
The Pharaoh Hound originated in ancient Egypt, possibly as far back as three thousand years B.C. Pharaoh Hounds were initially bred for hunting rabbits, hares, and various birds. Lean and medium-sized, the Pharaoh Hound carries itself with nobility and grace.
Dogs of this breed tend to be loyal, intelligent, playful, quiet, reasonably independent and well-behaved, with love for children. This breed is very fast, and they should not be trusted with small, non-canine animals.
There is a lot of rich diversity and history in the different breeds of the hound category, as well as in the other groups of the domestic dog world. If embarking on the journey of acquiring a new canine companion, careful and in-depth research is necessary to determine the best fit.