American Foxhound

Table of Contents

american foxhound portrait
Meet the American Foxhound, a breed that's as charming as it is adventurous! With their top-notch sniffing abilities, enviable stamina, and heartwarming loyalty, these dogs are a delightful blend of energy and affection.

Join us in this comprehensive guide as we explore everything you need to know about this breed, including their appearance, temperament, ideal environment, grooming, exercise requirements, training tips, dietary needs, health concerns, history, and more.

Best For

The American Foxhound is a dream come true for active families and outdoorsy individuals. With their high energy levels and love for exploration, they make excellent companions for hikers, runners, and those with a spacious backyard. But remember, their heart is as big as their stamina – they adore their human pack and thrive on affection!

Overview

OFFICIAL NAMEAmerican Foxhound
OTHER NAMESFoxhound
ORIGINUnited States
BREED GROUPHound Group
BREED SIZELarge
HEIGHT21-25 inches
WEIGHT65-75 lbs
LIFESPAN11-13 years
LIVING SPACELarge
SENSITIVITY TO COLD WEATHERModerate
SENSITIVITY TO WARM WEATHERModerate
GROOMING NEEDSLow
EXERCISE NEEDSVery High
TRAINABILITYModerate
BARKING TENDENCYHigh
BITING TENDENCYLow
DROOLING TENDENCYLow
SHEDDING LEVELModerate
POPULARITY RANK196th
american foxhound standing in a park
Photo: Mary Swift/Getty Images

Appearance

The American Foxhound is a breed that effortlessly combines elegance with athleticism. Standing tall at about 21 to 25 inches and weighing between 65 to 75 pounds, these dogs are a beautiful sight to behold with their lean, muscular bodies and graceful gait.

Their heads are long and slightly domed, giving them an air of nobility. The eyes, set well apart, are large and expressive, usually in shades of hazel or brown. One look into those eyes and you’ll feel as if they can see into your soul. They have an expression that seems to say, “I’m ready for our next adventure.”

Their ears, set low and close to the head, are one of their most distinctive features. These are broad and medium in length, curling ever so slightly towards the end and giving them an irresistibly adorable look.

The breed’s coat is hard and of medium length, designed to protect them from rough terrain and harsh weather. It comes in a variety of colors – from tri-color (black, white, and tan), bi-color, to all manner of hound colors. Their coat not only adds to their visual appeal but also speaks volumes about their hardy nature.

Look at their tails and you’ll find another distinguishing feature of the breed. The tail is set moderately high with a slight upward curve, often carried gaily when the dog is excited or on the move. It’s like a flag that signals their enthusiasm for life!

Their body, built for endurance and speed, is straight and narrow. A glance at their powerful legs and you know these dogs are born to run. Yet, there is a gentleness to their strength, a grace to their power that is truly captivating.

Overall, the American Foxhound is a beautiful blend of functionality and aesthetics. Every aspect of their appearance, from their expressive eyes to their powerful build, tells a story of their heritage – a tale of strength, endurance, and an unwavering spirit.

american foxhound sitting in a park
Photo: DevidDO/Getty Images

Temperament

The American Foxhound is as endearing in temperament as it is distinctive in appearance. These dogs are a blend of contrasts – independent yet affectionate, active yet gentle, playful yet dignified. They’re the embodiment of joyful living, always ready to embark on an adventure or snuggle up for a cozy evening.

American Foxhounds are renowned for their friendly nature. They’re social butterflies, always eager to make new friends, be it humans or other dogs. They’re the type of dogs that will greet strangers with a wagging tail and a happy dance, turning every encounter into a potential friendship.

Despite their hunting lineage, American Foxhounds are surprisingly gentle. They’re good-natured dogs that rarely show aggression. With their calm demeanor, they can create a peaceful atmosphere that’s simply soothing to be around. They’re like that friend who always knows how to lighten the mood and make you smile.

Yet, there’s a certain independence to their personality. These dogs are thinkers, often displaying a thoughtful, contemplative side. They enjoy their alone time and can entertain themselves when needed. It’s not unusual to find them sniffing around the yard, lost in their own world of scents and sounds.

Their independence doesn’t take away from their affectionate side, though. American Foxhounds are incredibly loving. They thrive on human companionship and are happiest when they’re part of family activities. They’re not just pets; they’re family members who love to be involved in everything you do.

One of the most delightful aspects of their personality is their playful nature. These dogs know how to have fun! Whether it’s chasing a ball, playing fetch, or simply romping around the yard, they inject a dose of joy into everyday life. Their playful antics can turn the most mundane moments into memorable ones.

But don’t let their playful side fool you. American Foxhounds also have a dignified side to them. There’s a certain grace and elegance to their behavior that speaks of their aristocratic heritage. They carry themselves with a quiet confidence that’s truly admirable.

Then there’s their loyalty. American Foxhounds are steadfastly loyal to their human families. They form deep bonds with their owners and can be protective when necessary. Their loyalty isn’t loud or flashy; it’s a quiet, unwavering devotion that’s as touching as it is reassuring.

american foxhound on a walk outdoor
Photo: DevidDO/Getty Images

Ideal Environment

Physical Environment

Imagine a spacious backyard, the sun shining bright, and an American Foxhound joyously chasing a frisbee – that’s the kind of environment these dogs thrive in. They love the great outdoors and are happiest when they have plenty of space to explore and stretch their legs. City apartments might feel a bit too restrictive for their energetic souls.

One thing to keep in mind is that American Foxhounds have a strong prey drive due to their hunting heritage. They might be inclined to chase smaller animals, so a securely fenced yard is a must. This also means they may not be the best fit for homes with small pets like rabbits or guinea pigs.

Climate Adaptability

As for the climate, these dogs are quite adaptable. Their medium-length coat protects them from the cold, allowing them to enjoy outdoor activities even in the chillier months. However, like all dogs, they should be kept indoors during extreme cold or hot conditions. In hot weather, ensure they have access to shade and fresh water to prevent overheating.

Ideal Owner

The ideal pet parents for American Foxhounds are those who share their zest for life. If you’re an active individual or a family that loves outdoor activities, you’ll find a perfect companion in this breed. Their high energy levels and playful nature mean they’ll be more than happy to accompany you on hikes, runs, or even just a game of catch in the park.

Other Pets

When it comes to other pets, American Foxhounds are social butterflies. They get along well with other dogs, especially if they’ve been socialized from a young age. They enjoy the company of their fellow canines and can often be found playing or lounging around with them.

american foxhound nibbling a stick
Photo: DevidDO/Getty Images

Grooming

Welcome to the world of American Foxhound grooming, where simplicity is key! These dogs are low-maintenance when it comes to their grooming needs, making them a great choice for anyone who prefers a more hands-off approach. However, like all pets, they do require some basic care to keep them looking their best.

Coat Care

Let’s start with their coat. American Foxhounds have a medium-length, hard coat that’s designed to protect them from the elements. This means they’re not prone to matting or tangling, which is a big plus for any pet parent. A weekly brush should suffice to keep their coat clean and shiny.

A slicker brush or a hound mitt can work wonders in removing loose hair and distributing natural oils throughout their coat, giving it that healthy glow.

Bathing your American Foxhound doesn’t need to be a frequent affair. Unless they’ve rolled in something smelly or gotten into a muddy adventure, you can usually get away with bathing them every few months. Always use a dog-friendly shampoo to maintain the natural oils in their coat and avoid skin irritation.

Dental Care

Now, let’s talk about dental care. Just like us humans, dogs also need good oral hygiene to prevent dental diseases. Brushing their teeth at least two to three times a week is ideal. Using a dog-specific toothpaste and toothbrush, you can help keep your Foxhound’s pearly whites in top shape. Don’t forget those doggy dental chews – they’re a great way to supplement your brushing routine!

Nail Trimming

Moving on to their nails, American Foxhounds, like most active breeds, will naturally wear down their nails through regular outdoor activities. However, if you hear a clicking sound when they walk on hard floors, it’s time for a trim. Nail clippers or grinders designed for dogs will do the job. If you’re unsure about doing it yourself, a professional groomer or vet can help.

Ears & Eyes

As for their ears, remember those lovely, low-set ears we talked about? They need a little extra attention, as their shape can make them prone to infection. Check them weekly for any signs of redness, bad smell, or discomfort. A gentle wipe with a dog-specific ear cleaner should keep them clean and healthy.

Finally, don’t forget those beautiful eyes. A simple wipe with a soft, damp cloth can help remove any buildup and keep their eyes sparkling.

Exercise

If the American Foxhound were to have a motto, it might just be “Born to Run”! These dogs are high-energy, athletic, and absolutely love a good workout. So, if you’re envisioning long, leisurely walks in the park, think again – this breed is all about vigorous exercise and active play.

Exercise Amount & Types

On an average day, expect to set aside at least one to two hours for your Foxhound’s exercise needs. This could include a brisk walk, a run, or even a hike. They’re excellent jogging partners, matching your pace with their smooth, effortless stride. And if you’re into cycling, they’ll happily trot alongside your bike.

But it’s not just about physical exercise. These dogs also enjoy mental stimulation. Hide-and-seek games, puzzle toys, or agility training can keep their minds sharp and engaged. Remember, a mentally stimulated dog is a happy dog!

Dog Sports

American Foxhounds also excel in dog sports. Their natural agility and speed make them great competitors in events like tracking trials or field trials. If you’re interested in dog competitions, your Foxhound could be the star of the show.

Exercise Precautions

One thing to note is that these dogs have a strong hunting instinct. This means they might be inclined to chase after small animals or follow interesting scents during walks. It’s important to have a secure, fenced area where they can safely run off-leash. When out in public, keeping them on a leash is a must.

american foxhound in the snow
Photo: pro16productions/Getty Images

Training

The world of training an American Foxhound is as rewarding as it is fascinating. These dogs are intelligent and eager to please, which makes them quite trainable. However, their independent nature means they sometimes like to march to the beat of their own drum. So, patience and consistency are key when it comes to training this breed.

Begin training your American Foxhound from a young age. Puppyhood is a great time to introduce basic commands like ‘sit’, ‘stay’, and ‘come’. Remember, these dogs are sensitive souls, so a gentle, positive approach works best. Think praises, treats, and plenty of pats on the back for a job well done.

Socialization is another crucial aspect of training. Expose your Foxhound to different environments, people, and animals to help them become well-rounded adults. Dog parks, busy streets, or pet-friendly stores can be great places for socialization.

Due to their hunting heritage, American Foxhounds have a strong prey drive. Training them to have a reliable recall command is essential. This helps ensure that they come back to you even when they’re tempted to chase after a squirrel or follow a fascinating scent.

One unique aspect of training an American Foxhound is harnessing their natural tracking abilities. You can set up fun scent games or tracking exercises to keep them mentally stimulated. It’s a great way to tap into their natural instincts while also reinforcing obedience.

Lastly, don’t forget about leash training. Given their propensity to follow their nose, teaching them to walk politely on a leash can make walks more enjoyable for both of you.

Diet & Nutrition 

Feeding an American Foxhound can be likened to fueling a high-performance machine. These active dogs require a well-balanced diet to keep up with their energy levels and maintain overall health. But don’t worry, figuring out what to feed your Foxhound doesn’t have to be a daunting task.

What to Feed & How Much

Start by choosing high-quality dog food that follows the AAFCO guidelines. Whether you opt for dry kibble, wet food, or even a raw diet, make sure it’s nutritionally balanced and suitable for your dog’s age, size, and activity level. Remember, a growing puppy has different nutritional needs than a mature adult dog.

As for how much to feed them, that largely depends on their weight, age, and activity level. Generally, adult American Foxhounds should do well on 2.5 to 3 cups of quality dry food a day, divided into two meals. Puppies usually need smaller, more frequent meals. Always consult with your vet to determine the right portion size for your individual dog.

One thing to keep in mind is that American Foxhounds, with their active lifestyles, can be prone to gaining weight if they’re overfed or don’t get enough exercise. Regular check-ups and weight monitoring can help keep them in tip-top shape.

Treats

Treats are a great tool for training, but remember they’re just that – treats. They should make up no more than 10% of your Foxhound’s daily caloric intake. Opt for healthy options like carrot sticks or apple slices, which not only satisfy their chewing instinct but also provide valuable nutrients.

Water

Hydration is another key aspect of your Foxhound’s diet. Always ensure they have access to fresh, clean water, especially after exercise or during hot weather.

american foxhound in a public park
Photo: DevidDO/Getty Images

Health

American Foxhounds are generally a healthy and robust breed, ready to take on the world with their boundless energy. They have a life expectancy of 11-13 years, which they often spend bounding through fields, chasing balls, or simply enjoying life with their families. However, like all dog breeds, they can be prone to certain health conditions.

Here are some health issues that could potentially affect this breed:

Hip Dysplasia: This is a common condition in many dog breeds where the hip joint doesn’t fit perfectly into the hip socket, causing discomfort or mobility issues.

Ear Infections: Due to their long, floppy ears, American Foxhounds can be more susceptible to ear infections. Regular ear checks and cleanings can help prevent this.

Thrombocytopathy: This is a blood disorder that can lead to excessive bleeding. It’s inherited in American Foxhounds, so it’s important to get your pup from a reputable breeder who tests for this condition.

Hypothyroidism: This condition occurs when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, leading to symptoms like weight gain, lethargy, and skin issues.

Autoimmune Disorders: Some Foxhounds may be prone to autoimmune diseases, where the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own cells.

Prevention is always better than cure, and there are several ways to keep your American Foxhound in good health. A balanced diet plays a vital role in maintaining their overall well-being. Regular exercise keeps them physically fit and mentally stimulated.

Regular vet check-ups are essential. These allow early detection and treatment of any potential health issues. And, of course, keep their vaccinations up-to-date to protect against common canine diseases.

History

The American Foxhound, a breed with a rich history and an unmistakable charm, is as American as apple pie. Their story begins in the 17th century when English settlers brought various hound breeds to the New World. These dogs were primarily used for hunting foxes, hence the name Foxhound.

One of the most notable figures in the breed’s history is none other than George Washington. Yes, that’s right – the first President of the United States was an avid fox hunter and a dog lover!

In the late 1700s, he received several French Foxhounds from the Marquis de Lafayette. Washington then crossed these French dogs with his own pack of English Foxhounds, creating a new line that contributed significantly to what we now know as the American Foxhound.

Through selective breeding over the years, American Foxhounds were developed to be lighter, taller, and faster than their English counterparts. They were bred to have incredible stamina and a keen sense of smell to excel in their role as hunting dogs in the diverse American terrain.

Despite their impressive lineage and hunting prowess, American Foxhounds remain relatively unknown compared to other breeds. They’re often mistaken for their cousin, the Beagle, though they are considerably larger and more athletic.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) first recognized the American Foxhound in 1886, making it one of the earliest breeds to be registered. Despite this, they remain quite rare, even in the United States. According to AKC’s popularity ranking, the American Foxhound comes in at 196 out of 200 breeds.

But don’t let their lack of popularity fool you. American Foxhounds are a true hidden gem. They are sweet-tempered, intelligent, and incredibly versatile. Whether they’re tracking a scent, competing in a dog sport, or just lounging around with their human family, they do it all with an endearing mix of enthusiasm and grace.

Parent Club

The parent club for American Foxhounds in the United States is the American Foxhound Club, Inc. It was founded to promote and preserve the breed’s unique qualities. The club also provides valuable resources for owners, breeders, and enthusiasts, and organizes events and shows for Foxhounds.

Breed Standard

A breed standard is a set of guidelines established by breed clubs or kennel organizations, defining the ideal appearance, temperament, and physical traits of a specific breed.

It serves as a reference for breeders, judges, and enthusiasts to evaluate and maintain a breed’s unique qualities. Covering aspects like size, appearance, and temperament, breed standards are used in dog shows and competitions to assess individual dogs against the ideal representation of their breed.

Check out the American Foxhound’s breed standard as set by the American Kennel Club (AKC). 

american foxhound's face up close
Photo: Sheila Brown/Getty Images

Acquiring

Deciding to welcome an American Foxhound into your home is an exciting journey! Before diving in, do your research and prepare your home for this active and sociable breed.

If you choose to buy a puppy, always go for reputable breeders who prioritize the health and temperament of their dogs over profit. They should provide health clearances and allow you to meet the puppy’s parents.

However, consider rescuing an American Foxhound. There are many wonderful Foxhounds out there waiting for their forever homes. Rescuing not only gives a dog a second chance but also makes space for another one in need. The American Kennel Club and the American Foxhound Club can help you find rescue organizations where you can adopt a Foxhound.

Remember, whether you buy or rescue, bringing home an American Foxhound means gaining a loyal, energetic, and loving companion!

FAQs

Are American Foxhounds good family dogs?

Absolutely! American Foxhounds are known for their gentle, affectionate nature. They get along well with children and other pets, making them a great addition to the family. However, due to their high energy levels, they do best with active families who can provide plenty of exercise.

Do American Foxhounds bark a lot?

American Foxhounds have a melodious voice that they’re not afraid to use, especially if they catch an interesting scent or feel bored. Regular exercise, mental stimulation, and training can help manage their barking.

Are American Foxhounds the same as Beagles?

While they share a similar ancestry and appearance, American Foxhounds and Beagles are different breeds. Foxhounds are larger, taller, and more athletic than Beagles. They also have higher energy levels and a stronger prey drive.

Are American Foxhounds smart?

Yes, American Foxhounds are intelligent dogs. They’re quick learners, especially when training involves their natural tracking instincts. However, their independent nature might sometimes come across as stubbornness.

What are the differences between the American Foxhound and the English Foxhound?

American Foxhounds are taller, lighter, and faster than their English counterparts. They were bred for endurance to hunt over the vast American landscape, while English Foxhounds were bred for shorter, faster hunts. There are also slight differences in their appearances and temperaments.

Do American Foxhounds need a lot of exercise?

Yes, as a hunting breed, American Foxhounds have high energy levels and require one to two hours of physical activity each ada. Daily walks, runs, and playtime are essential to keep them happy and healthy.

Are American Foxhounds easy to train?

American Foxhounds are eager to please and can be trained relatively easily. However, their independent nature means they may require a bit more patience and consistency. Positive reinforcement methods work best with this breed.

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