English Foxhound

Table of Contents

english foxhound portrait
Welcome to the world of the English Foxhound, a breed that's as unique as it is captivating. Known for their keen sense of smell, unmatched stamina, and sociable nature, these dogs are a bundle of joy wrapped in a handsome coat.

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 English Foxhound is the ideal companion for active families and individuals who love outdoor adventures. With their energetic spirit and friendly nature, they make excellent jogging buddies and hiking partners. If you’re someone who appreciates a loyal friend with a zest for life, an English Foxhound might just be your perfect match!

Overview

OFFICIAL NAMEEnglish Foxhound
OTHER NAMESFoxhound
ORIGINEngland
BREED GROUPHound Group
BREED SIZELarge
HEIGHT20-25 inches
WEIGHT60-75 lbs
LIFESPAN10-13 years
LIVING SPACELarge
SENSITIVITY TO COLD WEATHERModerate
SENSITIVITY TO WARM WEATHERModerate
GROOMING NEEDSLow
EXERCISE NEEDSVery High
TRAINABILITYModerate
BARKING TENDENCYModerate
BITING TENDENCYLow
DROOLING TENDENCYLow
SHEDDING LEVELModerate
POPULARITY RANK199th
english foxhound standing on grass
Photo: slowmotiongli/Getty Images

Appearance

The English Foxhound is a breed that embodies nobility and strength in every inch of its being. Standing tall at 21-25 inches for males and 20-24 inches for females, these dogs are a captivating sight. Weighing in at around 65-75 pounds for males and 60-70 pounds for females, they exude a robust and sturdy presence.

As you look closer, you’ll discover a body that’s built for endurance and agility. Their muscular shoulders, strong back, and well-boned legs hint at their hunting heritage. This is a dog that was born to run, and their physique is a testament to that.

Moving on to their tail, the English Foxhound sports a high-set, stout tail that carries an air of pride. It’s usually straight but may have a slight curve, wagging enthusiastically as they trot around, exploring their surroundings.

Now, let’s talk about their head. The Foxhound’s skull is broad and slightly domed, giving way to a long, straight muzzle. Their large nostrils are a nod to their exceptional sense of smell, a trait that’s been honed over centuries of fox hunting.

Their ears are one of their most endearing features. Set low and close to their head, their ears are medium in size with a rounded tip. They have a soft, velvety texture that’s simply irresistible to touch.

The Foxhound’s eyes are a window to their soul. Medium-sized and set well apart, they carry an expression of gentle alertness. Their eyes are usually brown or hazel, radiating warmth and intelligence.

Finally, let’s not forget their beautiful coat. The English Foxhound sports a dense, short coat that’s designed to protect them from harsh weather conditions. Their coat comes in a variety of colors including tri-color (white, black, and tan), bi-color (white and tan), and even a mix of white, black, tan, and blue.

Overall, the English Foxhound is a breed that beautifully blends functionality with elegance. Their physical characteristics not only highlight their capacity for endurance and agility but also reflect their noble and friendly nature.

Temperament

Once you’ve spent time with an English Foxhound, you’ll understand why they’re so adored. Their temperament is a delightful blend of energy, friendliness, and a touch of nobility. Let’s peel back the layers to uncover the personality of this charming breed.

At the heart of the English Foxhound is a sociable spirit. These dogs love being around people and other dogs. They’re not just social butterflies, but also incredibly affectionate. They enjoy being part of family activities, whether it’s a picnic in the park or a quiet evening by the fireplace. They’re known to get along well with children, making them excellent family pets.

Despite their hunting past, Foxhounds are far from aggressive. They have a gentle nature and are generally patient and tolerant. However, remember that every dog is an individual and early socialization plays a significant role in shaping their temperament.

The English Foxhound has a cheerful disposition. They’re often seen with a wagging tail and an eagerness to explore. They carry an infectious enthusiasm that can instantly brighten up your day. Whether they’re chasing a butterfly in the yard or greeting you at the door after a long day, their joy is palpable.

These dogs are also known for their loyalty. Once a Foxhound forms a bond with you, it’s a friendship for life. They’re the kind of dog who’ll stick by your side through thick and thin, offering their unwavering companionship.

Don’t let their energetic and playful side fool you into thinking they’re all about fun and games. The English Foxhound is an intelligent breed. They have a keen sense of intuition and are quick to pick up on their family’s emotions. They’re the type of dog who’ll sit by your side when you’re feeling blue, offering their silent support.

However, it’s worth noting that the English Foxhound has a streak of independence. They like having the freedom to explore and satisfy their curiosity. This doesn’t make them any less affectionate, but it does mean they appreciate having some ‘me’ time.

They are also known for their perseverance. Once an English Foxhound sets their mind on something, they’ll pursue it with relentless determination. This trait is a remnant of their hunting days, where they had to track scents for hours on end.

Lastly, English Foxhounds are known for their melodious voice. They have a unique bay, which they use to express various emotions – from excitement to boredom. While some find this endearing, others might find it challenging, especially if living in noise-sensitive neighborhoods.

english foxhound walking on grass
Photo: slowmotiongli/Getty Images

Ideal Environment

Physical Environment

Imagine a dog that loves the great outdoors as much as you do, and you’ve got the English Foxhound. This breed thrives in environments where there’s plenty of room to stretch their legs and satisfy their keen sense of smell. A home with a large, securely fenced yard is an ideal playground for these energetic dogs.

One thing to remember is that English Foxhounds can be quite vocal. They have a melodious bark, which they won’t hesitate to use, especially if they’re bored or lonely. Therefore, they might not be the best fit for apartment living or areas with noise restrictions.

Climate Adaptability

As for climate adaptability, English Foxhounds are pretty versatile. Their dense coat protects them from cold weather, but that doesn’t mean they’re immune to extreme temperatures. In colder climates, ensure your Foxhound has a warm place to sleep. During hot summers, provide plenty of shade and fresh water to prevent overheating. Avoid exercising them during peak heat hours to prevent heatstroke.

Ideal Owner

When it comes to pet parents, English Foxhounds need someone who can match their energy levels. They’re perfect for active individuals or families who enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, jogging, or playing fetch. They also appreciate a good puzzle toy or brain game to keep their intelligent minds occupied.

Other Pets

English Foxhounds are not just physically active, they’re socially active too. They love being part of a pack, whether it’s a human family or a group of other dogs. They get along well with other pets, especially if they’ve been socialized from a young age. However, due to their hunting heritage, they might chase smaller animals. So, supervision is necessary when they’re around small pets.

english foxhound on a walk with his owner
Photo: Coatesy/Getty Images

Grooming

Grooming an English Foxhound is like taking care of a well-maintained sports car. They’re built for performance, but they still need a little TLC to keep their coat gleaming and their health in top shape. So, let’s dive into the world of grooming this handsome breed.

Coat Care

First things first, the English Foxhound’s coat. It’s short, dense, and designed to protect them from the elements. This makes it relatively low maintenance compared to breeds with longer or curly hair. A weekly brush should be enough to remove loose fur and keep their coat looking its best. A bristle brush is your best friend here. It’s gentle on their skin, yet effective in removing dead hair.

During shedding seasons, usually in spring and fall, you might need to brush them more frequently to manage the extra loose hair. A grooming tool like a deshedding blade can be helpful during these times.

Bathing your Foxhound is quite straightforward. They don’t need frequent baths, only when they’re particularly dirty or start to emit a doggy smell. Remember to use a dog-specific shampoo that won’t irritate their skin. After the bath, dry them thoroughly to prevent any skin issues.

Dental Care

Now, let’s talk about dental care. Just like us, dogs can suffer from gum disease and bad breath if their teeth aren’t regularly cleaned. Brushing your Foxhound’s teeth a few times a week with dog-specific toothpaste can help maintain their oral health. If your dog isn’t a fan of the toothbrush, dental chews can be a good alternative.

Nail Trimming

Next up, their nails. English Foxhounds are active dogs and if they’re regularly running on hard surfaces, their nails will naturally wear down. However, if you hear a clicking sound when they walk on the floor, it’s time for a trim. Dog nail clippers or grinders can do the job, but make sure to be careful not to cut into the quick, as it can be painful for your dog.

Ear Care

Don’t forget their ears. The Foxhound’s floppy ears can be prone to infection. Regularly check for any signs of redness, bad smell, or excessive wax. Cleaning them with a vet-approved ear solution can help prevent problems.

Additional Grooming Tips

Lastly, keep an eye on their skin. Check for any bumps, rashes, or signs of parasites during your grooming sessions. Regular grooming is not just about maintaining their appearance, but also an opportunity to spot any potential health issues early.

a group of english foxhounds in a kennel
Photo: mauinow1/Getty Images Signature

Exercise

If there’s one thing you should know about the English Foxhound, it’s that this breed loves to move! Bred for stamina and endurance, Foxhounds thrive on physical activity. They are the epitome of canine athletes, always ready for an adventure.

Exercise Amount & Types

Expect to set aside at least an hour or two each day for exercise. This could include a long walk, a vigorous game of fetch, or a jog around the neighborhood. Remember, a tired Foxhound is a happy Foxhound. Regular exercise not only keeps them physically fit but also mentally stimulated.

Running is in their DNA, so if you’re a jogger or a cyclist, your Foxhound will be more than happy to be your exercise partner. Their long legs and athletic build make them excellent running companions. Plus, having a Foxhound by your side could be just the motivation you need to hit those fitness goals!

Don’t forget to mix up their exercise routine to keep things interesting. Foxhounds have a keen sense of smell, so games that involve scent work can be particularly engaging for them. Hide-and-seek with their favorite toys or treats can turn into a thrilling treasure hunt!

While physical exercise is crucial, don’t overlook the importance of mental stimulation. Puzzle toys, interactive games, and training sessions can provide a good brain workout.

Dog Sports

Foxhounds also excel in dog sports. Activities like agility, tracking, and obedience trials are great outlets for their energy and intelligence. These sports can provide a fun and challenging workout for your dog while strengthening your bond.

english foxhound with his tongue out
Photo: StephM2506/Getty Images

Training

Training an English Foxhound is an adventure in itself. These dogs are intelligent and eager to please, but they also have a streak of independence that can make training interesting.

When it comes to trainability, Foxhounds are generally receptive. They enjoy learning new things and respond well to positive reinforcement. A treat, a toy, or a simple pat on the head can work wonders in motivating them.

Start with basic obedience training. Commands like sit, stay, come, and heel are essential for every dog. Not only do they help in managing your dog’s behavior, but they also serve as a foundation for more advanced training.

Socialization is another crucial aspect of training. Introduce your Foxhound to a variety of people, places, and situations from a young age. This helps them grow into confident, well-adjusted adults. Remember, Foxhounds are a social breed and they thrive on interaction.

Foxhounds were bred for hunting, which means they have a strong instinct to follow scents. Training them to have a reliable recall command is essential, especially in areas where they can be off-leash. You wouldn’t want your Foxhound following an interesting scent and forgetting to return!

Due to their active nature, Foxhounds excel in dog sports. Training them for activities like agility, tracking, or obedience trials can be a rewarding experience for both of you. It’s a great way to channel their energy and intelligence into something productive.

Despite their intelligence, Foxhounds can sometimes be a bit stubborn. Patience and consistency are key when training this breed. Keep training sessions short and fun to hold their interest. And remember, it’s never a bad idea to seek help from a professional trainer if you feel stuck.

Diet & Nutrition 

Feeding an English Foxhound is like fueling a high-performance vehicle. They need the right mix of nutrients to keep their engine running smoothly. So, let’s explore the dietary needs of this energetic breed.

What to Feed & How Much

When choosing food for your Foxhound, look for high-quality dry or wet food that follows the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines. This ensures your dog is getting a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs.

Some Foxhound owners may also opt for a raw or home-cooked diet, but it’s crucial to consult with a vet or a pet nutritionist to ensure your dog is getting all the necessary nutrients.

The amount of food your Foxhound needs depends on their age, weight, and activity level. Puppies usually require more frequent meals – around 3 to 4 times a day. As they grow into adults, this can be reduced to two meals a day. Active Foxhounds will need more calories to fuel their adventures, while less active ones may require fewer calories to maintain a healthy weight.

Lastly, it’s important to monitor your Foxhound’s weight. Regular weigh-ins and body condition checks can help you spot any weight gain or loss early.

Treats

Treats are a great training aid and a way to show your Foxhound some love. However, remember that treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake. Too many treats can lead to obesity, which can cause a host of health problems.

Water

Don’t forget about water. Foxhounds are active dogs and they need to stay hydrated, especially during exercise or hot weather. Make sure they have access to fresh water at all times.

english foxhound with his tongue out
Photo: StephM2506/Getty Images

Health

The English Foxhound is a picture of canine health and vitality. They’re known for their robust constitution, with a life expectancy of around 10-13 years. But like all breeds, they’re prone to certain health conditions. Let’s delve into the health aspects of this lively breed.

Here are common health issues associated with English Foxhounds:

Hip Dysplasia: This is a genetic condition where the hip joint doesn’t fit correctly into the hip socket. It can cause discomfort and mobility issues in severe cases.

Ear Infections: Those adorable floppy ears can be prone to infections. Regular ear checks and cleaning can help prevent this problem.

Kidney Disease: Some Foxhounds may be prone to kidney conditions. Regular blood tests can help detect any issues early.

Epilepsy: This neurological condition can cause seizures. While it can be alarming, epilepsy can often be managed with medication.

Obesity: Foxhounds love their food, and without adequate exercise, they can easily gain weight. Obesity can lead to a host of other health problems like diabetes and heart disease.

While this list might seem daunting, don’t worry. Many of these conditions can be managed or even avoided with proper care and regular veterinary check-ups.

A healthy diet plays a vital role in your Foxhound’s health. Feeding them high-quality food that meets their nutritional needs can help maintain their weight and overall health. Remember to adjust their food intake based on their age, size, and activity level.

Regular vet visits are crucial for early detection of any potential health issues. Your vet can provide vaccinations, conduct routine health screenings, and offer advice on keeping your Foxhound healthy.

english foxhound's face up close
Photo: Scott Allan/Getty Images

History

The English Foxhound is a breed rich in history and tradition. Their story is intertwined with the history of Britain, royal hunts, and the classic sport of foxhunting. So, let’s travel back in time and explore the captivating history of this noble breed.

The origins of the English Foxhound date back to the late 16th century. With the decline of deer hunting in England, fox hunting started to gain popularity amongst the nobility. The need for a dog that could relentlessly pursue a fox over long distances led to the development of the English Foxhound.

The breed is believed to have descended from a mix of several hounds used for hunting in England at the time, including the now-extinct Southern Hound and the North Country Beagle. Selective breeding over centuries resulted in a dog that was fast, had excellent stamina, a keen nose, and a distinctive musical bay.

Foxhounds were not just hunting dogs but also status symbols. Detailed records of their breeding were kept, and their pedigrees were a matter of pride. Some of the oldest Foxhound packs can trace their lineage back hundreds of years!

The breed’s popularity grew along with the sport of fox hunting. They were bred by the British gentry, including notable figures like Sir John Buchanan-Jardine and Hugo Meynell, who played significant roles in shaping the breed.

The English Foxhound crossed the Atlantic and made its way to America in the 18th century. George Washington, an avid fox hunter, is known to have kept English Foxhounds. In fact, some of his dogs are considered the forefathers of the American Foxhound, a breed that was later developed in the United States.

The English Foxhound was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1909. Despite being one of the oldest breeds, they’re relatively rare in America, especially as pets. Most of them are still part of hunting packs or show dogs.

Parent Club

The official parent club for English Foxhounds in the United States is the English Foxhound Club of America (EFCA). The EFCA is dedicated to the preservation of the English Foxhound and the sport of foxhunting. You can learn more about the association, their work, and how to get involved on their website.

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

english foxhound puppies standing behind the fence
Photo: mauinow1/Getty Images Signature

Acquiring

So, you’re ready to welcome an English Foxhound into your life? That’s great! Here are a few tips to help you on this exciting journey.

Firstly, prepare for an active companion. Make sure you have the time and energy for their exercise needs. Secure your yard, get plenty of toys, and be ready for lots of fun!

If you choose to buy a puppy, ensure you’re buying from a reputable breeder. They should prioritize health, temperament, and care over profit.

However, consider rescuing a Foxhound. Many wonderful dogs are waiting for their forever homes. The American Kennel Club and the English Foxhound Club of America (EFCA) can help connect you with rescue organizations.

Whether you choose to buy or rescue, remember, bringing home a Foxhound is a commitment of love, time, and responsibility. But the rewards of their companionship are truly priceless!

FAQs

Are English Foxhounds good pets?

Yes, English Foxhounds can make wonderful pets for the right family. They are friendly, social, and love being part of family activities. However, they require a lot of exercise and can be quite active, so they’re best suited to families who lead an active lifestyle.

How rare are English Foxhounds?

English Foxhounds are quite rare, especially as family pets. Most of them are still part of hunting packs or show dogs. They’re one of the least registered breeds in the American Kennel Club.

Is an English Foxhound a type of Beagle?

No, while they may look similar and both have a strong sense of smell, English Foxhounds and Beagles are distinct breeds. The English Foxhound is larger and was bred for long-distance tracking, while the Beagle is smaller and was bred for hunting hare.

Do English Foxhounds bark a lot?

English Foxhounds are known for their “musical” baying. While they don’t typically bark excessively, they will bark or bay when they pick up an interesting scent or if they’re bored or lonely.

How much exercise does an English Foxhound need?

English Foxhounds are an active breed and require a significant amount of exercise. Ideally, they should get at least 1-2 hours of vigorous activity each day. This can include long walks, runs, or playtime in a secure area.

Are English Foxhounds good with kids?

Yes, English Foxhounds generally do well with children. They are friendly and tolerant dogs. However, like all dogs, interactions between Foxhounds and young children should always be supervised.

Do English Foxhounds get along with other pets?

Yes, English Foxhounds are a pack breed and usually enjoy the company of other dogs. They can also get along well with other pets, particularly if they’ve been raised together. However, due to their hunting background, they might see small pets as prey, so careful introductions and supervision are necessary.

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