American Foxhound For Riding to The Hounds, A Howling SuccessHome » Dog Breeds » American Foxhound
This dog from the southern United States has made a comeback from near extinction because a man named Buck had a dog named Otto, and loved it too much to let the line disappear.
|Here is the American Foxhound at a Glance|
|Average weight||65 to75 pounds|
|Average height||21 to 25 inches at the shoulder|
|Life span||10 to 12 years|
|Coat type||Rough, medium length|
|Color||Various combinations of black, white, tan|
|Tolerance to heat||High|
|Tolerance to cold||High|
|Drooling||Not a drooler|
|Exercise needs||Very high|
|Trainability||Average, a little stubborn|
|Good first dog||Not the best|
|Good family pet||Average|
|Good with children||Yes|
|Good with other dogs||Yes|
|Good with other pets||Average|
|Good with strangers||Standoffish|
|Good apartment dog||No|
|Handles alone time well||Okay|
|Health issues||Obesity prone, thrombocytopathy|
|Medical expenses||Annual average $260|
|Food expenses||Annual average $235|
|Miscellaneous expenses||Annual average $35|
|Average annual expense||$600|
|Cost to purchase||$475|
The American Foxhound’s Beginnings
Part of the roots of this breed traces back to the mid-seventeenth century, when an Englishman named Robert Brooke sailed to the colonies. Brooke was a hunter and he brought a sizeable pack of dogs with him. These dogs became the progenitors of several breeds in North America, including the American Foxhound.
Another part of the mix was French. The Marquis de Lafayette, who crossed the Atlantic to help the colonists in their fight for independence, brought dogs, too, and gave at least one of them, a Grand Bleu de Gascogne, to a friend of his—George Washington.
Americans were looking for a hunting dog that would be lighter, faster and better scent hounds than the mostly English canines available in the colonies, and thus better suited to the wilder and more open terrain of America. They experimented with different mixes to achieve this goal. One of those was a blend of Brooke’s dogs, the Grand Bleu, and the Irish Foxhound. The result was today’s American Foxhound. There are actually three or four versions of this dog, but all are recognized by the American Kennel Club as a single breed.
From day one the American Foxhound was bred for one purpose, to accompany hunters who ride to the foxes. This is still about the only place you will find these dogs.
The Dog You See Today
The American Foxhound is a tall, rangy dog with long, slender legs. It has a long muzzle, a large, domed head, and a narrow chest. The ears are wide, set low on the head, and drop straight down. The eyes are large and wide set, and typically brown or hazel.
The Foxhound’s coat is rough and of medium length. It is usually a mix of black, white or tan.
The Foxhound’s bark is one of its most distinguishing characteristics. It is a howl, and very musical. It is also relatively constant, especially when the hound is on track, and it can be heard for miles.
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The Foxhound is a very sweet-tempered, docile dog with no tendencies toward aggressiveness. It gets along generally with other dogs, other animals, and pets, and people. It is somewhat reserved around strangers, but is friendly once it gets to know someone.
This is a pack dog, and is happiest surrounded by other hounds. Many Foxhound owners will tell you that this is a dog that actually bonds more closely with dogs than it does with people. Still, it is a friendly, gentle animal, and playful, and does well with children.
More than anything, the American Foxhound is a hunting dog. It is happiest in the field, surrounded by other hounds, doing what it was bred to do—chase foxes. It is a scent hound, and once it is on track, it can be obsessive about sticking with the scent until the end. Also, Foxhounds are howlers. They howl at the drop of a hat, and their howl is loud. A fox hunter will assure you that the sound of an American Foxhound on chase is beautiful, and it surely is, when heard across a field. But in an apartment, or even inside the house? Not so much.
The American Foxhound is also an extremely high energy dog. It always wants to be on the go, and is not happy penned up. It requires a lot of space to roam, and is a top-grade escape artist. It is also a big eater, and one of the problems it is prone to is obesity because it will eat everything in its path and then beg for more.
Living with an American Foxhound
Training the American Foxhound
American Foxhounds are smart enough, but they are also stubborn and not that easy to train. Working with them as hunters will get results, but they will not be particularly interested in learning cute tricks. This is a dog where patience pays dividends. Once again, any person who plans to own an American Foxhound should be prepared to make working with this dog pretty much a full time job.
How active are they?
First of all, the Foxhound is really an outdoor dog. It is definitely not meant for apartment life. It needs a large amount of space around it, and a place where it can work off its considerable energy. Being confined to a small area like an apartment leaves it frustrated and unhappy, and if the only way it has to use up energy is to chew up the furniture, that is what it will do. It also has a massive need for exercise, especially running, and any owner needs to be willing and able to dedicate a lot of time to working with a Foxhound. This hound is essentially tireless, and so the owner needs to be tireless as well.
Ideally, the American Foxhound should be on a farm, or in some other rural setting. On the other hand, it does need to be securely fenced, whether its living space is large or small, because it is unable to resist doing its scent hound thing—going on track. It is an escape artist, and will always try to get out and go on run. Also, except when it is actively hunting, the Foxhound needs to be kept on a leash, once again because of that obsessive need to track and hunt. It will be distracted by any exciting scent and will take off, and even if it has been pretty well trained, it will often ignore its owner’s efforts to call it back.
Caring for the American Foxhound
The American Fox hound will shed a moderate amount so will need regular brushing to remove loose hair and keep it shiny and healthy. Expect to spend some time three times a week maintaining the coat. Should it get especially dirty it can be given a bath but use only a dog shampoo so that the natural oils in the skin are not damaged. Avoid bathing too frequently for the same reasons. Dogs can be prone to ear infections so check its ears weekly and wipe them clean. There are solutions that are made specifically for dog ear cleaning that can be purchased. The teeth need to be brushed at least two to three times a week.
The Foxhound is a big eater, and prone to obesity, so its diet needs to be well managed. Giving it extra snacks and treats is not a good idea, because it will decide that it deserves them all the time, and being a stubborn beast, will beg or steal them whenever it can. Expect to feed it in excess of 3 cups of good quality dry dog food daily. That should be split into two or three meals to avoid overeating. Make sure the quality is high as it is more filling and nutritious.
Getting along with other dogs, pets and children
The American Foxhound is good with children and great with other dogs. It is okay with other, smaller family pets as long as it is carefully socialized. It can even get along with cats in that case. It is not, however, the ideal family pet. It really is a hunter, and extremely active, and does not do well just lying around.
What Might Go Wrong
Generally, an American Foxhound is a healthy, tough dog. Because it loves to run, it can be prone to injuries, but it is not particularly vulnerable to some of the joint problems that can take down other dogs. Obesity can be a problem because the Foxhound will always eat to excess if it is allowed to; but attention its diet will make this a non-problem.
Some American Foxhounds are known to suffer from a disorder known as thrombocytopathy, which a serious problem if it occurs. This is a disease of the blood platelets, which leads to easy and excessive bleeding when the dog is cut or even bruised, and it is genetic. However, it is also rare, and a competent, ethical breeder will have carefully screened for it.Advertisement
They are not known for being especially aggressive and there are no reports of attacks in recent years. But any dog can become aggressive when mistreated and not raised well.
Your Pup’s Price Tag
Just finding an American Foxhound pup may require some effort. There are not a lot of them; the breed is listed as one of the rarest by the American Kennel Club. That’s not surprising, as they are mostly owned by people who hunt foxes, and there aren’t that many of those around. By the same token, you are not likely to find one at a pet shelter, although there are some rescue organizations around the country that deal with Foxhounds.
If you do manage to locate one, you can expect to pay in the neighborhood of $475 for your new pup.
Once you have purchased a Foxhound, the next step will be to have it spayed, if it is female, or neutered if it is male. The typical price for that work these days is around $220. At the same time, of course, you will need to pay for a first round of puppy shots and other standard medical procedures such as de-worming, for about another $70. Add to that $15 or $20 for a pet license, and $40 or so for a collar and leash for your new pet.
Obedience training comes next. Unless you have experience at this yourself, you are better going to a professional, preferably one who is experienced in training working dogs like the American Foxhound. An initial set of obedience training sessions will usually cost you in the neighborhood of $110. After that, you may want to work in the kind of additional training in tracking and trailing that fits a Foxhound’s talents.
Food comes next. A highly active dog like the American Foxhound deserves a quality diet, probably one that is not extra high in calories, given this hound’s tendency to overeat and get fat. Expect to spend about $235 a year on food. That does not include treats, which you will want at least for training and rewarding good behavior. How much you spend there is up to you. You can buy basic treats for a little, or designer treats for a lot. Frankly, you dog won’t notice the difference.
All in all, you can figure to spend about $600 a year keeping your American Foxhound fed and happy.
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The American Foxhound is a breed with roots in dogs from England, Ireland and France. It was bred to be a better fit than the European dogs when it came to hunting in the rougher terrain of the New World—lighter, faster, stronger and tougher.
The Foxhound is very much a hunting dog, meant to chase down foxes, and is a favorite of the fox hunting crowd, but not much beyond that. The American Kennel Club rates it as one of the rarest breeds around.
American Foxhounds are reasonably friendly. They get along well with children, and can be socialized to do well with small pets; but they mainly prefer the company of other dogs. They are pack hounds, and do best in that setting.
Foxhounds are obsessive hunters, and don’t really care to do anything else. They are somewhat willful, and stubborn, and can be difficult to train. They are extremely active, and especially need to run. Anyone who plans own taking in a Foxhound needs to be prepared to spend a lot of time with the dog, working with it and making sure it gets enough exercise.
This is a dog for rural areas, and needs as much space as possible. This is not a dog for someone who wants a cute family pet. It does well with children, better with other dogs, and is not particularly interested in pleasing people, learning cute tricks, or cuddling.