One of the most extraordinary and talented groups of dogs is the Hound Dog breed. Consisting of a wide range of specific breeds such as Norwegian Elkhounds, Beagles, and Basset Hounds, the Hound Dog breed is extremely versatile in physical build and characteristics.
The Hound Dog breeds are known for their hunting background as well as their phenomenal stamina and energy. But aside from being fantastic hunters, Hound Dogs make for great family pets because of their friendly personality and level of affection.Let's take a closer look at what makes this dog breed so unique, the breed's history, trainability, and much more.
What Are Hound Dogs?
Hound Dogs are one of the most popular groups of dogs in America. According to the American Kennel Club, the Beagle, one of the most recognized Hound breeds, is the 6th most popular breed in America. Hound Dogs are known for their excellent hunting skills, charismatic personality, and friendly behavior with family.
As with any breed of dog, there is a rich history behind the Hound Dogs. They were originally bred to hunt. One of the oldest and perhaps the first purebred hunting dog is the Afghan Hound. The Afghan Hound breed is at least a thousand years old and was developed in the Asian mountains as Sighthounds. As Sighthounds, they were used to spot prey and use their hunting abilities to catch it.
The oldest existing scent Hound is possibly the Bloodhound breed. The Bloodhound was developed from the St. Hubert Hound and bred by monks in Belgium around 1000 A.D. The monks of Saint-Hubert Monastery used the Bloodhounds to carry supplies and help travelers stuck in unpredictable weather.
As time went on, the handful of Hound Dog breeds became over a dozen modern dog breeds with different skills and physical characteristics. As of today, the American Kennel Club recognizes 32 Hound Dog breeds.
What Types of Characteristics Make Hound Dog Breeds Unique?
Hound Dogs come in various shapes and sizes, from the smallest breed being the miniature Dachshund to the largest being the Irish Wolfhound. Some Hounds are short-legged with floppy ears like the Basset Hound, and other breeds are lengthy with a well-balanced frame like the American Foxhound.
There are two types of Hound Dogs: Scent Hounds and Sighthounds. Both types of Hounds have their own unique set of skills.
This breed uses their sense of smell to follow trails over long distances, hunting, and play games. They have impressive stamina and make for excellent walking partners. Scent Hounds are perfect for finding hidden objects and enjoy playing games like hide-and-seek with their incredible sense of smell. Typically, Scent Hounds have long-hanging ears and a smooth or wiry coat.
These Hounds are extremely playful, fast runners, and incredible hunters. They need plenty of exercise and time outside to stay fit and healthy. Physically, this breed is athletically built with a slender and streamlined shape with long legs and a long, narrow face. However, they enjoy having downtime and relaxing indoors. When outside, a Sighthound is constantly on the move and will chase after anything it sees.
Aside from being incredibly active, there are many other aspects of a Hound's personality. Hound breeds tend to be single-minded, meaning that they can only focus on one task at a time. So if they see something running outside, their only instinct is to chase it, and they won't stop until they capture it. This can be challenging when trying to train your dog, but they can adapt with a bit of patience and consistency.
Hound Dogs are usually very independent when out hunting and rely more on their instincts than their owner's commands. This also carries over to when you need to leave your dog alone at home. They are usually okay when left by themselves but can get anxious when you are gone for too long.
Do Hound Dogs Bark a Lot?
As with any breed, Hound Dogs use barking as a means of communication. Barking is a completely natural reaction for any dog and should not always be considered a negative behavior.
Because Hound Dogs are natural hunters, their bark is usually used as a warning or an intimidation tactic. However, there are instances when barking can be excessive and should be dealt with immediately. Training and socializing your pup when they are young and providing plenty of opportunities to socialize with other dogs is key to reducing their amount of barking, especially around strangers and other pets.
Are Hound Dog Breeds Easy to Train?
Because there are so many different breeds of Hound Dogs, their trainability can vary. But generally, Hound Dogs can be a handful when it comes to training. Although they are extremely intelligent, Hound Dogs typically have a mind of their own and can be difficult to work with. However, with a bit of patience and consistency, you should be alright.
Starting training when they are a puppy is crucial to learn how to behave at an early age. If you provide them with plenty of opportunities to socialize with other dogs at a young age, it will be beneficial in the long run. As long as you are always encouraging and using positive reinforcement with your pup, a Hound Dog will work with you and bring you a sense of fulfillment in training.
How Many Hound Dog Breeds Are There?
Currently, the American Kennel Club recognizes 32 dogs under the Hound breed. Let's take a look at some of the most popular dog breeds amongst the Hound.
The Most Popular Types of Hound Dog Breeds
Generally, the Hound Dog breed is a popular type of dog because of their vibrant energy and exuberant personality. Here are some of the most popular Hound Dog breeds.
The Beagle is one of the most recognizable dog breeds with a curious and friendly personality. Beagles make for excellent show dogs and love to be a part of any family.
Dachshunds are a small yet spunky dog breed. They have flowing, long fur and are overall remarkable show dogs. Dachshunds love being affectionate and are typically social with other dogs.
Basset Hounds are most recognizable for their droopy face and long-hanging ears. They have a smooth coat, a long body, and short legs. Basset Hounds tend to be low-key and love spending time with the family and relaxing.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a muscularly built breed that enjoys being active and playing outside. Rhodesian Ridgebacks have long legs, a slim physique, and attentive facial features. Ridgebacks are usually dignified and even-tempered dogs that make for fantastic pets.
These Hounds are fantastic hunting dogs with their inquisitive nature and keen sense of smell. Bloodhounds are extremely loyal and make for amazing companions. This breed tends to drool excessively, so be prepared to find stains all around the house.
Irish Wolfhounds are a very curious and dignified dog breed that enjoys the outdoors. A taller dog breed, ranging at about 30 to 32 inches in height, the Irish Wolfhound is a beauty with wiry fur, a long body, and well-balanced facial features.
An intelligent and poised breed with erect ears, a multi-colored coat, and great agility. Basenjis love to play and be outside as much as possible. They are quick runners and can probably tire you out before they tire themselves.
Norwegian Elkhounds are lovable, friendly, furry dogs. They enjoy being affectionate and cuddling up with the family while also being protective of their loved ones. Elkhounds have a fluffy, double coat that can stand all kinds of terrain and may have a slight tendency to shed.
These Hounds are a breath-taking breed with their long-flowing hair, elegant stance, and naturally sweet personality. Afghan Hounds are typically poised in posture and make fantastic show dogs.
This breed is gentle and non-threatening with their long legs, thin physique, and large, floppy ears. Salukis are independent but have an affectionate side as well. They have a lot of energy and always need to be performing a certain activity, or else they will get bored.
Additional Hound Dog Breeds
In addition to the most popular Hound Dogs, many other breeds from all over the world fall in this category:
- American English Coonhound
- American Foxhound
- Black and Tan Coonhound
- Bluetick Coonhound
- Cirneco dell'Etna
- English Foxhound
- Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen
- Ibizan Hound
- Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen
- Pharaoh Hound
- Plott Hound
- Portuguese Podengo Pequeno
- Redbone Coonhound
- Scottish Deerhound
- Treeing Walker Coonhound
Is a Hound Dog Breed Right For You?
If you are prepared for an extensive amount of training with a high-energy pup, then a Hound Dog is perfect for you. Of course, certain Hounds are low-key and less maintenance, but generally, Hounds can be a handful.
Hounds are also very affectionate to their owners and can be quite rewarding as a companion. One thing is for certain is that you will never have a dull moment with your Hound Dog!
Famous Hound Dog Breeds
Throughout the Hound Dog breed history, there have been countless instances where a Hound was cast in a Hollywood feature. Hounds can be found in all kinds of media, from movies to television and commercials.
Starting with the famous Beagle, there have been plenty of times throughout pop culture where we can spot this pup. One of the most famous and recognizable characters, Snoopy, is a Beagle. The Peanuts character first appeared in a comic strip in the 1950s by Charles M. Schulz and has become one of America's most beloved cartoon characters.
Another more modern cartoon Beagle is Cartoon Network's Courage the Cowardly Dog. Courage was a famously dark and twisted cartoon show that tested the fears of Courage in every episode. The show first aired in November 1999 and lasted for four seasons.
Disney has featured The Basset Hound in several movies and television shows. You can spot a Basset Hound in the original The Dukes of Hazzard television show, Disney's The Great Mouse Detective, and the 2009 animated movie The Princess and the Frog.
Aside from movies and television appearances, many notable people owned Hounds like the Dachshund. 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, had a Dachshund briefly while in Germany named Dunker. American artist and film producer, Andy Warhol, owned a pair of Dachshund dogs named Archie and Amos. And Hollywood couple Carole Lombard and Clark Gamble had a Dachshund named Commissioner.
Final Thoughts - Hound Dog Breeds
The Hound Dog breed is a talented and extremely versatile set of dogs that can bring happiness to any family. From the Afghan Hound to an English Foxhound, each Hound Dog promises owners a loving and exciting relationship that they can cherish for years to come.