Pharaoh Hound Guide

Hound Dog Breeds

Although considered a sighthound in America, the pharaoh hound hunts by both sight and scent, as well as hearing. It has an unexaggerated greyhound-like build, combining grace, power and speed, which enables it to run nimbly along rocky walls and ground. It has a good nose. Its large, mobile ears help it follow animals underground. Slightly longer than tall, the gait is free and flowing, with head held high. The coat is short and glossy.

The svelte pharaoh hound is more than a gracious addition to the home (though it surely is that) — it is a keen hunter and an exuberant chaser. Although it is calm indoors, it loves to run. It is sensitive, loving, gentle and good with children and other dogs, but it may chase strange animals. It tends to be reserved with strangers; some pharaoh hounds are even timid. It is independent but willing to please. The breed has the unique characteristic of "blushing" when excited, with the nose and ears turning a rosy color.

AKC RANKING 133

FAMILY sighthound, Southern(pariah), primitive

AREA OF ORIGIN Malta

DATE OF ORIGIN ancient times

ORIGINAL FUNCTION hunting rabbits

TODAY'S FUNCTION lure coursing

AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 23-25 Weight: 45-55

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 21-24 Weight: 45-55

OTHER NAME kelb-tal fenek

Energy level Medium energy

Exercise needs High

Playfullness Moderately playful

Affection level Moderately affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Very friendly

Friendliness toward other pets Shy

Friendliness toward strangers Shy

Ease of training Moderately easy to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Not very protective

Grooming needs Low maintenance

Cold tolerance Low tolerance

Heat tolerance Medium tolerance

The pharaoh hound relishes the opportunity to stretch its legs in a safe area, although it can manage with long daily walks on leash and occasional sprints. It needs soft bedding and warmth and generally should not be expected to sleep outside except in warm climates — but it would still prefer to sleep with its family. Its coat is low maintenance, requiring only occasional brushing to remove dead hair.
• Major concerns: none
• Minor concerns: none
• Occasionally seen: none
• Suggested tests: none
• Life span: 11 – 14 years
A hunting account from the 19th Egyptian dynasty supplies an apt description of the modern pharaoh hound: "The red, long-tailed dog goes at night into the stalls of the hills. He makes no delay in hunting, his face glows like a God and he delights to do his work." Even today, the pharaoh hound is noted for "blushing": the tendency of its nose and ears to flush with blood and "glow" when the dog is excited. The breed is one of several with a legitimate claim of "most ancient breed "and appears to have changed little in the last 3,000 years. It bears an uncanny resemblance to the jackal god Anubis and dogs depicted on the tombs of the Egyptian pharaohs, as well as to dogs later featured in ancient Greek art. Phoenician traders may have introduced the dogs from Greece and North Africa to the islands of Malta and Gozo, where they became essentially secluded from the rest of the world. Here they flourished as kelb-tal fenek, or "rabbit dogs." Several hounds would be released (often at night) to find the scent of a rabbit; they would bark once the rabbit went to ground (usually in a stone wall or rocky crevice). A belled ferret would then be sent after the rabbit, and one hound would follow its progress by sound, until the rabbit was flushed and caught by the dog. The pharaoh hound is now the national dog of Malta. In the 1960s, the breed was rediscovered and imported to England and later America. The AKC recognized it in 1983.