The Hound dog breeds come from an amazing working heritage.
Physically active, co operative and incredibly loyal these dogs make great sporting partners, but can also make excellent pets for the right home.
Ideally suited to those who love spending time outdoors, off the beaten track, or getting stuck into dog training.
Hound Dog Breeds
The Hound breeds are a relatively diverse bunch.
From the tiny Dachshund to the impressive Borzoi, they span a range of shapes and sizes.
What they have in common is a strong hunting instinct, and a loyal nature.
Types of Hounds
There are two types of hounds. The sight hounds and the scent hounds.
Both are athletic working dogs, bred to chase, hunt and help their handlers find prey animals.
Sighthounds tend to be slim and wiry.
Naturally skinny dogs that work in extreme bursts of energy and immense speed.
Scent hounds are specialised to follow trails of smell.
Used over the years to track injured or illusive animals, they are a great hunting companion.
But these strong instincts can make them a little difficult to manage in some family homes.
Exercise and Training
Sighthounds are best exercised in a couple of short but intense bursts a day.
If you are happy to teach them to fetch, or they naturally enjoy it, this can be a great way to get them active.
Using a ball thrower will save your aim, and get some amazing distances in.
Happy Puppy Site’s Whippet friend Max gets some amazing exercise in this way.
Another great method is to get two people to recall the dog back and forth across a large field or dog park.
Make sure you’ve both got tonnes of tasty treat rewards for their arrival.
And don’t use your recall cue if there are distractions around that you haven’t trained for.
Scent hounds tend to be a little less keen on sprinting, and built for a bit more mileage.
Then love to go on long hikes together, or to spend time working on their training skills with some scent trails!
The only behavioral issue that crops up repeatedly with Hounds is to do with their howl.
Hounds and Noise
The Hound breeds are a notoriously noisy bunch.
Selectively bred to make noise to notify their handlers of their location, these dogs are one of the chattiest groups of pups you can find.
If you live in an apartment or with very close neighbors they might not be the dogs for you.
However, there are lots of things you can do to reduce their volume.
From the day they come home, don’t reward any noise.
That means completely ignoring them barking or howling for any reason, including to be let out for a bathroom break.
In situations when they are silent when you’d expect them to whine, quickly give them a reward.
And keep streaming that reward until the trigger passes.
Although you are unlikely to get away with a completely silent hound, it isn’t a total certainty that they will be a loud member of the family.
Feeding Hound Breeds
As physically active dogs, hounds really need a great diet.
Lots of fat and protein, and as few carbs as you can get away with.
Most complete dog foods are fine, but those aimed specifically at active working dogs can be even better.
Hounds were bred as working dogs, so needed to be fit.
And for the most part they have maintained this great active ability through the generations.
The Basset also has loose eyelids, which can cause them several nasty issues in their lifetimes.
But fortunately most Hounds are still predominantly working dogs, and so lead fit and physically capable lives.
Finding a Hound Puppy
Before you take home a new hound puppy, read up on the breed and research which health tests the breeders should have used.
Both parents should be clear for any common issues to their breed, and be of a friendly nature.
Most Hound dog breeds aren’t overly interested in buddying up to strangers, but the mother should still be relaxed and at ease in your presence.
Her body language should be loose, and her tail gently wagging.
And she should have an obvious bond with her owner, and know her own name.
If she doesn’t there is a risk she’s just been kept to breed and not as a valued working companion or family pet.
Many Hounds still come from working backgrounds, so you will need to think carefully about how strong your puppy’s changes are of having a very keen predatory instinct.
And look at whether they were raised in the home, or whether they were kennel bred and might not have had the ideal amount of socialization.
But don’t assume that dogs bred in kennels will be any less loved or well raised.
Just make sure you ask lots of questions about who the puppies have met so far.
Best Hound Breeds
What the best Hound dog breed is for you will depend upon why you want one.
If you want a hunting companion, then have a look into the history of your preferred breeds and see what they have traditionally been used for.
And if you are looking for a family pet, then choose a dog that fits your lifestyle.
As well as one that is generally in good health.
Our favorite pet hound breeds are
What is your favorite Hound dog breed and why?
Let us know in the comments section below!