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English Foxhound

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The English Foxhound is a large purebred from the United Kingdom bred to be a scent hound, ie to track its prey, usually the fox, by scent. Today it is used still as a hunting dog but also in conformation rings and Foxhound Performance Trials. It is less often kept as solely a companion dog but with the right home it could be a great fit. It is a spirited and happy dog and very handsome too. But do not let that stately look fool you, it is always ready to play, romp and get going.

The English Foxhound at A Glance
Name English Foxhound
Other names None
Nicknames Foxhound
Origin United Kingdom, Canada
Average size Large
Average weight 55 to 75 pounds
Average height 23 to 27 inches
Life span 10 to 13 years
Coat type Short, rough, dense, harsh
Hypoallergenic No
Color White, black, tan
Popularity Not popular – ranked 189th by the AKC
Intelligence Average – needs 25 to 40 repetitions before it learns a new command
Tolerance to heat Good – can live in warm to somewhat hot climates but nothing too hot or extreme
Tolerance to cold Good – can live in colder weather but nothing too cold or extreme
Shedding Moderate – some hair around the home and vacuuming will be needed
Drooling Low – not a breed prone to slobber or drool
Obesity Low – not prone to gaining weight
Grooming/brushing Low to moderate – brush once or twice a week
Barking Occasional – it does bark, but it is more occasional than constant, however it does have a very distinctive and loud voice valued when hunting but perhaps less so in a pet!
Exercise needs Very active – only suitable for active owners if not being used as a hunting dog
Trainability Moderately easy – use positive methods
Friendliness Very good with socialization
Good first dog Moderate – best with experienced owners
Good family pet Very good with socialization
Good with children Very good with socialization
Good with other dogs Excellent with socialization – this is a pack dog
Good with other pets Moderate to good – needs socialization has strong prey drive
Good with strangers Good but needs socialization
Good apartment dog Low – needs room and at least a big yard of not land
Handles alone time well Very good – can be left alone as long as it has other companions like pets or other dogs
Health issues Generally a healthy breed, some issues include deafness, hip dysplasia, epilepsy and renal disease
Medical expenses $485 a year for basic health care and pet insurance
Food expenses $270 a year for treats and a good quality dry dog food
Miscellaneous expenses $245 a year for license, basic training, miscellaneous items and toys
Average annual expenses $1000 a year as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $800
Rescue organizations Several including the Foxhound Relocation and Retirement
Biting Statistics None reported

The English Foxhound's Beginnings

The English Foxhound was bred and developed in the late 1500s in England. It came about because deer numbers were very low in England at the time due to being over hunted by royalty and nobility. They were hunted not just for food but as sport too. During Tudor times it was realized that hunters needed something else to hunt and the red fox was decided upon. As result the dog breeders need to breed a foxhound that would be fast enough, have tenacity, stamina and be able to hunt by scent. The English Foxhound was developed using breeds such as the Fox Terrier, Greyhound and Bulldog with possible Bloodhounds and Staghounds in the mix too.

From the 1700s studbooks were kept for this breed and the English Foxhound as we know it today began to be seen more in the 1800s. They were used to hunt foxes in packs while accompanying hunters were on horseback. They were also used to hunt stags and there have been over 250 packs of English Foxhounds over the years. Today it is not used in its original intention anymore in England as that form of fox hunting has been banned.

New Lease on Life

British colonists brought the English Foxhound with them to America in the 1600s, there is even record of a Robert Brooke bringing English Foxhounds with him in 1650 when he arrived in Maryland. George Washington was said to be a fan of the breed and the pack of foxhounds Lord Fairfax brought with him in 1738 are the ones used in the American Foxhound's development. The English Foxhound was recognized by the AKC in 1909 and today is ranked 189th, making it one of the least popular registered dogs.

The Dog You See Today

This is a large dog weighing 55 to 75 pounds and stands 23 to 27 inches tall. It has a strong and powerful build, is large boned and it is a stouter dog than the American version which was developed to be sleeker and faster. It had straight and muscled legs with paws that are round and almost like a cats. It has a high set tail that is long and it holds it straight up. Its coat is hard, short, dense and shiny. Common colors are tricolor, black, tan white, red, bicolored, yellow and grey. It has a wide skull and a long muzzle. Its nose has nostrils that are wide open and is 4 inches long. It has ears that hang down, are set low and are rounded, often by a surgical procedure done to it. The eyes are large and brown.

The Inner English Foxhound


English Foxhounds are very alert dogs so make great watchdogs. It might not act to protect you or the home but it will bark to let you know of any intruders. That bark is something that happens occasionally and is deep and loud, a bay sound. For a hunting dog it is great, for a pet in a home with close neighbors it could be an issue. This is not a breed suitable for new owners as it can be dominant and it is certainly a very active breed, some experience with dogs and even specific experience with hounds can be very helpful. Around strangers it tends to be somewhat reserved until it gets to know you or has a proper introduction.


With the right owners and the right care it is a friendly, gentle and somewhat sensitive dog but very exuberant. It loves company, whether that is its dog pack around it, or its human family and it needs an owner who is the clear pack leader. Because of that pack aspect it is not good left alone for long periods of time and can suffer from separation anxiety. It has a brave heart and a great deal of stamina and energy. There are actually two types you can get, show lines and field lines. Field types are bred to do better in field trials and to be good at hunting. Show types are bred for appearances in conformation shows. If you have a field line dog it will be more energetic but in general the dogs temperament can vary across both types.

Living with a English Foxhound

What will training look like?

Training an English Foxhound should be moderately easy for those with experience. Expect it to be a gradual process but usually this breed does well taking commands as long as your leadership is clear and consistent. Be fair but firm and use positive techniques to encourage and motivate. Make sure that the rules you set are clear and that you stick by them. For foxhounds not out hunting regularly having very good training and socialization, along with plenty of activity is a must. Make sure as soon as you have the puppy home you expose it to different places, people, sounds and situations. Give it a chance to adjust to these things and learn what the proper responses should be. It can be a stubborn dog and the sooner you start socialization and training the better it will go, as the older it gets the more set in its ways it will be.

How active is the English Foxhound?

The English Foxhound is a very active breed. This is absolutely not a breed suited to people who are not very active themselves, and who cannot commit to seeing the dog get the level of activity it needs. It is not suited to apartment living and needs a large yard at least, or some land even for it to run on. It has a great deal of stamina so only consider this breed as just a pet if you are looking for a partner to join you for your own lengthy exercise sessions. It will happily join you in jogging, cycling or hiking. It is not a dog that can just be walked a couple of times a day, even longer walks. It is not enough.

If all you can do are long walks you will need to supplement it with other exercises in the day too like a safe place to let it run off leash, a good intense play session or two. This is a breed that can run at a set speed without stopping or tiring for up to 6 hours. While it does slow down a bit when it reaches about 6 or 7 it will still be energetic. If it does not get what it needs and some mental stimulation along with it, then you will have a miserable dog, destructive, hard to control and more potential for being aggressive. It would be best if you are keeping it as a pet to get a show dog rather than a field or hunting type as the latter are the more active.

Caring for the English Foxhound

Grooming needs

There is not a lot of maintenance or grooming needed to look after an English Foxhound and it is moderate in terms of shedding. There will be hair around the home that needs daily vacuuming and it should be brushed using a rubber curry brush or hound mitt at least a couple of times a week. Regular brushing not only takes care of some dirt and debris it also helps with the loose hair and moves the natural oils around its body, keeping the coat healthy and shiny. You can give it a wipe down if it needs a light cleaning and only bathe it when it really needs it to avoid damaging those oils. Always only use a dog shampoo when bath time comes around.


Since it has hanging ears it is important after bathing or if it gets wet to give them a dry to prevent infection. Those ears should be check weekly for infection signs such as redness, sensitivity, bad odor and such. Then clean them by wiping with a dog ear cleanser and cotton ball, or a warm damp rag, never by inserting anything into them. Its teeth should be cleaned two to three times a week to prevent tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath. Its nails too need to be taken care of if they get too long and its activity does not wear them down naturally. There are dog nail clippers and it can be cut by you just do not cut too low as it will cause bleeding and pain due to the nerves and blood vessels there.

Feeding Time

Only feed it according to what it needs based on its level of activity, metabolism, size, age and build. This could be somewhere between 2½ to 3½ cups of a good quality dry dog food a day, divided into two meals to prevent issues with bloat.

How is the English Foxhound with children and other animals?

It is good with children being energetic which makes for a great and almost endlessly tireless playmate! It is also affectionate but it does help for it be socialized and to have been raised with them. It can be gentle but is best not around toddlers who can easily get knocked over with its antics or even its tail. It is very good though with other dogs as it likes to be a part of a pack especially other foxhounds. It can get along with other pets when raised with them, but is likely to see strange ones as something to chase. If you are unsure about leaving it alone with other pets in the home, do not! Make sure children are taught how to be kind and how to touch them with care and that teasing is not acceptable.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

The English Foxhound has a life span of about 10 to 13 years. It can be prone to certain health issues and they include hip dysplasia, kidney problems, epilepsy and deafness. If you use a decent breeder you can question them about the health of its parents before you purchase to have a better chance at having a healthy dog.

Biting Statistics

Reports that look at dogs causing bodily harm to people in Canada and the US over the last 35 years do not mention the English Foxhound. It is not a common breed though so chances of an incident happening are going to be more likely in places where it is a more common dog to have. The English Foxhound is not an aggressive breed but it does have very high needs when it comes to exercise and stimulation. While this breed is not one to be worries about in terms of attacks it does not mean it is not capable of it. Any dog can have an off day, and dogs who are not having their needs fulfilled are more likely to have those. Be very sure and committed if this is the breed you are looking to keep, especially if you are not keeping it as a hunting dog.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

An English Foxhound puppy can cost around $800 for a pet quality dog and that can triple in price for a show quality or field quality dog from a top breeder. Be prepared to be put on a waiting list for 6 months or even more by good breeders. That wait is worth preparing for though as at least from a decent breeder there is better knowledge about its health, its background and how the breeder treats its dogs. Prices from places like pet stores, puppy mills and backyard breeders can fluctuate wildly and how they treat their animals can be quite appalling. These are not places to give your money to, if less of us used them, there would be less around in fact. Another option is to check out rescues and shelters though being rare there is less chance of finding one.


Once you have your puppy or dog you need to get some items for it, initial buys that have to be done for all dogs. It will need a crate for example, food bowls, possibly bedding and a collar and leash. Initial costs for items will be around $190. It will also need to be taken to a vet for a physical, some blood tests, shots, deworming, micro chipping, spaying or neutering and so on. Medical initial costs will be about $290.

Then there are yearly costs when looking after a dog that cover things like medical needs, food and other miscellaneous items or costs needed. Dog food should be a good quality type as it is better for your dog. This along with some nutritious but tasty dog treats is going to cost about $270 a year. Basic medical care like vaccinations, tick and flea prevention and annual or 6 monthly check ups as well as pet insurance or emergency savings is going to be another $485. Then other miscellaneous costs like miscellaneous items, toys, license and basic training are going to be about $245 a year. That gives a starting figure each year of $1000.


Looking for an English Foxhound Puppy Name? Let select one from our list!

English Foxhounds are certainly not the right dog for most people looking for a new pet. It has large needs in terms of exercise and mental stimulation, it bays loudly and it will leave hair around the home. Before you even look at puppies make sure you have really understood the commitment owning one entails. It is not suited to apartment living and needs at the least a large yard, but preferably some land to run on. If you are a clear and consistent leader able to give it the activity it needs it can be a great dog to have around. It is loyal, gentle, driven and brave.

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