Careful pedigrees have been kept of English foxhounds since the late 1700s — longer than for any other breed. Still, the exact origin of the breed is unknown. At the time of its inception, coursing the stag with greyhounds was still the favored dog sport of the gentry. Around 1750, a few men envisioned hunting foxes with swift horses and hounds. The hounds would have to be able to track a faint scent while on the run and to maintain their chase for hours.
AKC Ranking: 151
Area of Origin: Great Britain
Date of Origin: 1700s
Original Function: trailing fox
Today's Function: trailing fox
Avg Size of male: Height: 23-27 Weight: 55-75
Avg Size of Female: Height: 23-27 Weight: 55-75
Other Name: foxhound
Careful pedigrees have been kept of English foxhounds since the late 1700s — longer than for any other breed. Still, the exact origin of the breed is unknown. At the time of its inception, coursing the stag with greyhounds was still the favored dog sport of the gentry. Around 1750, a few men envisioned hunting foxes with swift horses and hounds. The hounds would have to be able to track a faint scent while on the run and to maintain their chase for hours. Fox hunting gained its appeal as a pastime of the wealthy, and packs of hounds were tended to by masters of foxhounds, who looked to the care and breeding of the dogs. Riding to the hounds became an affair steeped in ceremony, with the actual killing of the fox anticlimatic. As the esthetic aspects of the hunt increased in significance, care was taken to produce dogs that looked good not only individually but also as a pack. Thus, pack members would usually share the same coat coloration, most often the black saddle over a tan body with white points. Fox hunting became so popular that by the late 1800s, 140 packs (each with about 50 hounds) were registered in England alone. Foxhounds came to America in the 1700s, although in time a good percentage of these dogs were bred with other dogs to produce the American foxhound. The latter has since surpassed the English foxhound in popularity in America, although neither is popular as a pet or show dog. The English foxhound is still the first choice of hunters wishing a traditional outing on horseback, riding to the melodious bay of this most classic of breeds.
Traditionally a pack hound, the English foxhound nonetheless makes a stately house dog, as long as it has human or canine companionship. It gets along well with horses, dogs, children and other pets. It is an avid sniffer and trailer, however, and needs daily exercise in a safe area. It is a tolerant, amiable and gentle dog, even though it is not very demonstrative. Most are reserved with strangers. It is not well-suited for city life. It bays.
The foxhound is an easygoing dog that nonetheless needs plenty of exercise. It is bred to run for miles, and it can make a good jogging companion on leash or a hiking companion in a safe area. It can live outdoors in temperate climates as long as it has warm shelter and bedding and, preferably, another foxhound. The coat needs only occasional brushing to remove dead hair.
• Major concerns: none
• Minor concerns: none
• Occasionally seen: CHD, renal disease
• Suggested tests: none
• Life span: 10 – 13 years
Form and Function
The English foxhound is of powerful build, with large bone. The size of bone at the ankle is considered especially important. This build, along with comparatively straight angulation of the stifles, favors stamina over speed. The rich, deep voice is prized for the hunt. Many English foxhounds have "rounded" ears, in which about 1 =" are surgically removed from the end of the ear.