American Foxhound Guide

Hound Dog Breeds

The American foxhound is slighter of bone and higher on leg than the English foxhound, with more rear angulation and arch over the loin. These attributes give it greater speed and agility for hunting over rough terrain. It has a melodious voice when on the trail. Its coat is hard and of medium length. Its expression is gentle and pleading.

Although by tradition the foxhound is not a house pet, it is actually well-mannered in the home. It gets along best with human or canine companionship. It is a tolerant, amiable and gentle dog, even though it is not very demonstrative. Most are reserved with strangers. It is first and foremost a hunter, ever ready to hit the trail. It needs daily exercise in a safe area. Once on a scent, it will follow gleefully, heedless of commands. This is a dog that likes the outdoors; it is not a city dog. It bays.

AKC RANKING 148

FAMILY scenthound

AREA OF ORIGIN United States

DATE OF ORIGIN 1600s

ORIGINAL FUNCTION trailing fox

TODAY'S FUNCTION trailing fox

AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 22-25 Weight: 40-65

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 21-24 Weight: 40-65

OTHER NAME none

Energy level High energy

Exercise needs High

Playfullness Moderately playful

Affection level Moderately affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Very friendly

Friendliness toward other pets Friendly

Friendliness toward strangers Very friendly

Ease of training Easy to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Not very protective

Grooming needs Low maintenance

Cold tolerance Medium tolerance

Heat tolerance Medium tolerance

The foxhound needs daily exercise, preferably in the form of a long walk or jog. If allowed to run off leash, it should only do so in a safe, enclosed area. Foxhounds traditionally live outside, although only with warm shelter and bedding and in temperate climates. They are highly sociable, however, and should never be expected to live alone. The coat is easily maintained, requiring only occasional brushing to remove dead hair.
• Major concerns: none
• Minor concerns: thrombocytopathy
• Occasionally seen: none
• Suggested tests: (blood)
• Life span: 10 – 13 years
This most American of breeds dates back to 1650, with the first record of fox-chasing hounds arriving from England. By the 1700s, riding to the hounds had become extremely popular with the upper class; even George Washington found it a favorite pastime. Imports from England, France and Ireland helped shape the breed. Foxhound pedigrees have been recorded in America since 1850. Around this same time, the sport spread to the southern United States, particularly the mountains of Kentucky and Tennessee, and hunters there preferred a faster dog with the ability to start, chase and kill a fox alone, and also to give chase to deer. The dogs became more streamlined than their English counterparts. The dogs further developed into different strains, the most popular being the "Walker." This strain descends from a dog named Tennessee Lead, alleged to have been stolen from a deer chase by a dog trader, who subsequently sold him to George Washington Mauphin, who is sometimes called the father of the breed. His breeding of this fast-running foxhound produced some of the best running dogs ever seen. Dogs from that strain were subsequently called Walker hounds because the Walker brothers kept careful records of dogs produced from this strain. Other strains of foxhounds include Trigg, Goodman, July, Calhoun and Hudspeth. These dogs eventually became specialized as either running hounds or show hounds, with the former being even further specialized as competitive field trial hounds and pack hounds. The pack type is generally considered the prototypical foxhound. These dogs combine great speed, endurance and jumping ability with a strong nose and willingness to give chase as a pack member. The American foxhound was one of the earliest breeds to be registered by the AKC, although registrations have never been particularly high. The low AKC registration numbers belie the foxhound's popularity, however, because most foxhounds are kept in large packs by hunters with little interest in AKC registration. Their dogs are instead registered with foxhound specialty studbooks, most notably the International Foxhunter's Studbook, published by the Chase. The foxhound can thus lay claim to being one of the most unpopular popular breeds in America.