Are you interested in knowing more about the English Foxhound?
This sleek and sturdy breed bears the quintessential hound look you see portrayed in fox hunting paintings.
Blending the perfect combination of stamina and strength, the English Foxhound was bred to hunt foxes in the English countryside.
You may be wondering if a dog that was bred for hunting would make a good pet.
Let’s learn more about their history, health, temperament, and exercise needs so you can decide for yourself.
Where Does the English Foxhound Come From?
The English Foxhound’s ancestors date back to medieval England when aristocrats used hounds to hunt stags. Traditional British foxhunting began in the 1600s.
As this pastime of the wealthy increased in popularity, dogs were developed to accompany hunters on horseback, run in packs, and chase foxes.
Although the exact origin of the breed is unknown, it’s believed large stag-hunting hounds were bred with long-legged Greyhound-type hounds.
Therefore, resultant dog combined a keen sense of smell and endurance with speed and agility.
The British Master of Foxhounds Association has been keeping detailed records of the breed since the late 1700s.
And the English Foxhound we know today has changed little in appearance or attitude.
Today fox hunting in Britain has been banned, but Foxhound packs are still maintained for the sport of drag-hunting.
Fun Facts About the English Foxhound
It’s easy to confuse the English Foxhound with his canine cousin the American Foxhound.
Whereas these two dogs are very similar in appearance, the English Foxhound has a heavier build.
An English Foxhound named Auditor was the first of the breed to be registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1909.
With their exceptional sense of smell, the English Foxhound can be taught to hunt almost any ground-dwelling prey.
English Foxhound Appearance
Medium-sized and muscular, the English Foxhound sports an athletic build.
Moreover, long straight legs, deep chest, level back, and a long tail held straight over the body are signature features of the breed.
The English Foxhound stands 24 inches and weighs from 60 to 75 lbs.
Their muzzle is long and their ears are low-set and lay flat against the head. Large, brown eyes bear a gentle expression. Their short coat is glossy and dense.
Coat colors include, black, white, and tan and the breed often displays a tri-color coat.
White with either yellow or tan may also be found in the breed.
English Foxhound Temperament
This is a dog known for being gentle, affectionate, and outgoing.
Although friendly with people, the English Foxhound is pack-oriented and happiest when in the company of other canines.
They’re known for being good with children, but may be too exuberant and knock down little ones if not supervised.
These scent hounds also have a deeply ingrained instinct to chase a scent. Cats and other small animals will be seen as a query.
Therefore, not much will get in the way of this single-minded breed when tracking an odor.
These dogs are known for their tireless endurance. They were made to chase and can do so for hours without stopping.
Extremely active and athletic, the English Foxhound needs plenty of room to roam and are best suited to rural, country surroundings.
There are two different types of English Foxhounds: field and show lines.
Both types are highly energetic and require a lot of daily exercising.
However, the field types are bred for hunting and are generally too active to make good house pets.
Training Your English Foxhound
English foxhounds are an independent breed with a tendency to be stubborn.
If they pick up a scent, their natural instinct is to chase it, regardless of what you want them to do.
Needless to say, training can be challenging and will require consistency and persistence.
English Foxhounds will respond best to calm assertiveness. Harsh words will only lead to aversion.
In addition, this breed is prone to baying and howling, especially if left alone too often.
English foxhounds that are specifically bred for fieldwork tend to be more excitable and will be harder to train.
But to be healthy and happy dogs, both how and field lines need a huge amount of daily exercise and outdoor activity.
Exercising Your English Foxhound
The amount of exercise this breed requires cannot be overstated — this high-energy dog can run for miles.
As such, they make excellent jogging and hiking companions and are best-suited for very active people who have large properties.
However, it’s always best to keep them on a leash unless you’re in an enclosed space. If they catch a scent they’re likely to take off.
Despite their high energy, as long as your dog gets the exercise and space they need, they’re sure to be easygoing and affectionate.
Just be aware that separation anxiety is common if they aren’t kept physically and mentally active.
English Foxhound Health
English Foxhounds are overall healthy dogs with a lifespan of 10 to 13 years.
Large, deep-chested breeds like the English Foxhound are susceptible to a sudden, life-threatening condition known as bloat, or gastric dilation-volvulus.
It causes the stomach to fill with gas and the stomach to twist, cutting off blood flow. The dog will go into shock and require immediate surgery.
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No one knows exactly what causes bloat to occur, but hyperactive dogs and those that eat too quickly appear to be more at risk.
Hip dysplasia is a common skeletal condition that affects the English Foxhound’s quality of life. This is a hereditary disease in which the hip joint doesn’t develop properly and deteriorates over time.
English Foxhound Grooming and Feeding
The low-hanging ears of the English Foxhound should be checked regularly and cleaned if necessary since ear infections can be a problem.
Otherwise, grooming consists of brushing their short, dense coat to remove dirt and loose hair once a week.
It’s recommended to feed your English Foxhound a high-quality dog food that is appropriate for their age and activity level.
Do English Foxhounds Make Good Family Dogs?
If you spend lots of time outdoors pursuing energetic endeavors and live in a rural environment, the English Foxhound can make an excellent companion.
However, for the average family, this dog is probably not the best choice of pets. They are far too active for city living or lounging around the house.
In particular, English Foxhounds bred for fieldwork are too high-strung and hunting-oriented to settle into family life.
Rescuing an English Foxhound
If you’ve decided that the English Foxhound is the right dog for you, you could consider the option of rescuing a dog from a shelter.
Although this is not a popular breed, hunting hounds like the English Foxhound can occasionally be found in shelters.
Rescuing a dog from a shelter has many benefits, none more than knowing you’re giving a dog a second chance for a happy life.
Finding an English Foxhound Puppy
Because the English Foxhound ranks 189th out of 190 breeds according to the AKC, this can make finding a new puppy quite difficult.
Just remember, no matter how much you want a puppy, always avoid buying dogs from puppy mills.
Puppy mills are in the business of churning out puppies without much regard for their health or wellbeing. Many of these dogs end up being sold in pet stores or on the internet.
If you’re determined to get an English Foxhound puppy, look for reputable breeders who specialize in this breed.
They should be able to offer health certificates and be able to answer all of your questions about the breed.
A good breeder will also be happy to let you meet your puppy’s parents and to show you where they are housed.
Raising an English Foxhound Puppy
The English Foxhound is not the breed for everyone. Especially if this is your first time owning a dog. They may be more than you can handle.
This is a dog accustomed to the company of other dogs and they don’t always respond to training immediately.
You’ll need to have patience until they understand what you want from them. Knowing how to use rewards can be very effective.
The English Foxhound requires a lot of attention, especially if they are the only dog in your home.
English Foxhound Products and Accessories
Interactive toys are great for keeping active dogs like the English Foxhound interested and occupied when you’re not around.
They not only stimulate them mentally but will keep them from being destructive.
A no-pull harness is more comfortable for your dog and will stop him from straining on the leash.
Ear cleaner works well on the English Foxhound’s low-hanging ears, which can be prone to infection.
Pros and Cons of Getting an English Foxhound
- Can be stubborn if not properly socialized.
- Needs an enormous amount of daily exercise.
- Requires plenty of space to run in an enclosed area.
- An innate tendency to chase can make training difficult.
- Can suffer from separation anxiety and may become destructive if left on their own too often.
- Their short, dense coat is easy to groom.
- An overall gentle and easygoing attitude.
- A sociable animal who gets on extremely well with other dogs.
- A generally healthy breed.
If you’re having trouble finding an English Foxhound, there are some other dogs in the hound group you may want to consider.
The American Foxhound was adapted from the English version! They’re said to possess even greater agility and stamina with a keener sense of smell.
Far more popular than the English Foxhound, the Beagle is known for being a great family pet, despite a hunting heritage.
Although not as well-known, the Harrier is very similar to the Beagle but is considerably bigger.
Although the Greyhound is a larger dog, they may work better for inexperienced owners as they’re less stubborn and energetic than the English Foxhound.
English Foxhound Rescues
Here a list of rescues for the English Foxhound.
Do you know a local or national shelter specializing in the breed? Please tell us about them the comments box.
Is an English Foxhound Right For Me?
Before you bring an English Foxhound into your life, it’s important to ask yourself if you have the time and energy to care for such an active and energetic dog.
This breed will be a handful, especially for first-time owners.
If you have other small pets or young children, this is probably not the right dog for you. Likewise, if you’re living in an apartment since the English Foxhound needs lots of space.
They are predisposed to barking, which could be a problem if you have sensitive neighbors nearby.
However, if you live in the country and you’re a jogger, cyclist, or simply someone who loves spending their free time exploring the outdoors, this could be a great match for you.
Do you have any experience with this breed or are you planning on adding one of these energetic pups to your family? We’d love to hear in the comments below.
References and Further Reading
Badylak SF et al. 1990 Prevention of reperfusion injury in surgically induced gastric dilatation-volvulus in dogs. American Journal of Veterinary Research.
Risler A et al. 2009. Puppy line, metaphyseal sclerosis, and caudolateral curvilinear and circumferential femoral head osteophytes in early detection of canine hip dysplasia. Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound.
Mason NJ et al. 1996. Renal amyloidosis in related English foxhounds. Journal of Small Animal Practice.
Monteiro R et al. 2012. Canine idiopathic epilepsy: prevalence, risk factors and outcome associated with cluster seizures and status epilepticus. Journal of Small Animal Practice.