English Foxhound

Introduction | History & Health | Temperament & Personality | Breed Standard

English Foxhound

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Introduction

The English Foxhound, usually referred to simply as the Foxhound, has been carefully and selectively bred in Britain for hundreds of years. The English Foxhound is stockier than his American counterpart. The breed is sweet and exceptionally active. They can make loving house pets, as long they are raised and socialized properly. Most foxhounds prefer living with other dogs and are not particularly good with cats or other small animals, given their highly-developed prey instincts. The English Foxhound was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1909, as a member of the Hound Group. Its parent club is the English Foxhound Club of America.
The average English Foxhound stands 22 to 26 inches at the withers and weighs between 60 and 75 pounds. Their short, hard coat is easy to groom, and their ears should be cleaned and checked regularly to be kept free from plant matter and infection.

History & Health

History

The first stud books of the Masters of Foxhounds Association of England date before 1800. English Foxhounds probably were developed starting in the late 1500s or maybe even earlier, likely descending in part from the St. Hubert Hound that was brought to Britain by the Normans after the invasion of 1066. Before the 16th or 17th century, foxes in Great Britain were treated like other vermin, to be extinguished by whatever means was on hand. Somewhere around the 17th century, English hunters began breeding hounds to specialize in tracking, hunting and killing the native English red fox, with riders following on horseback in the traditional British fashion. This coincided with the disappearance of English forests and the corresponding dwindling deer population and led to the English Foxhound we know today. They were developed by crossing the old Southern Hound (a big, slow, deer hunter with an excellent nose) with some form of northern sighthound (then called a "gazehound"), possibly the Greyhound, for its endurance and speed. Fox-hunting eventually replaced stag-hunting as the most popular sport of the English gentry in the 18th century. By the 1800s, many large standardized packs of English Foxhounds existed in Britain. Breeders continued to refine its speed and scent-tracking abilities for the next several hundreds of years. English Foxhounds came to America in the late 1700s, where they became the forefathers of the American Foxhound and contributed to the development of other foxhounds, scenthounds and coonhounds.
Throughout the breed's existence, the Foxhound also has been used occasionally to track other types of game, but the primary focus always has been on the fox. The English Foxhound's stamina is legendary. It was bred for endurance and pack compatibility, being friendly towards other dogs and docile with people. However, any small furry animal that runs from a foxhound is at tremendous risk of not running far. The English Foxhound exists in large numbers today with a world-wide following, but it is rarely seen in the American conformation show ring. It is used for hunting and in field trials and dragging competitions and exhibitions, where its "battle scars" do not deter from its accomplishments.

Health

The average life expectancy of the English Foxhound is between 9 and 11 years. Breed health concerns may include epilepsy, hip dysplasia and kidney ailments. These are remarkably healthy dogs.

Temperament & Personality

Personality

Foxhounds are an excellent dog for an active family. They love being outdoors and have the endurance to stay active all day long. Foxhounds get along great with children and other animals, and in fact do best when they are part of a large pack (human or canine). They are versatile enough to spend all day hunting with dad, only to come home and romp around with children. Foxhounds are adaptable and easy going and are an excellent choice for rural families.

Activity Requirements

Foxhounds need a lot of exercise, and their overall temperament is shaped by how much daily exercise they receive. A Foxhound who does not get enough daily activity can become reserved, anxious, or begin to exhibit dominance, whereas a Foxhound who gets plenty of exercise will be even tempered, social, and obedient. Expect to vigorously exercise this breed at least one hour per day. Those who are not hunters or who do not already jog, hike or bike daily should look to another breed, as should apartment or condo dwellers.
Foxhounds are hard working hunting dogs and can be utilized as trackers in the field. They can move for hours on end without getting tired, and once they catch a scent they become 100% focused on tracking it. This trait can backfire in home life, so when Foxhounds aren't in the hunting field they should be kept on a leash or in a fenced-in area to keep them safe.
Foxhounds do best in multiple-dog homes. While they enjoy the company of people, they only truly thrive around other dogs, so adopting two at a time would be the most ideal situation for a Foxhound.

Trainability

Foxhounds are moderately easy to train, as are most hound breeds. They don't have the longest attention spans, so training should be conducted in short spurts and should not be overly repetitive. Patience is the key ingredient needed when training any type of hound, and calm-assertiveness is also important. Treating a Foxhound harshly will only lead to avoidance behaviors and flat out stubbornness.
Once leadership is established and basic obedience is mastered, Foxhounds can be graduated to advance obedience, tracking, or agility activities.

Behavioral Traits

Foxhounds will bay and howl, especially at night and when left alone. This is just part of their hound dog nature and can be difficult, if not impossible to train out of them, and suburban neighbors might not be understanding of this behavior.
If a Foxhound is not properly exercised, separation anxiety is almost guaranteed to develop. It is imperative that this breed be properly exercised and left with interesting activities when alone to stave off boredom and anxiousness. Companion dogs can help, but if the Foxhound has pent-up energy to burn off, the companion won't do a thing to save your furniture.

Breed Standard

Head
Should be of full size, but by no means heavy. Brow pronounced, but not high or sharp. There should be a good length and breadth, sufficient to give in a dog hound a girth in front of the ears of fully 16 inches. The nose should be long (4½ inches) and wide, with open nostrils. Ears set on low and lying close to the cheeks. Most English hounds are "rounded" which means that about 1½ inches is taken off the end of the ear. The teeth must meet squarely, either a pig-mouth (overshot) or undershot being a disqualification.

Neck
Must be long and clean, without the slightest throatiness, not less than 10 inches from cranium to shoulder. It should taper nicely from shoulders to head, and the upper outline should be slightly convex.
The Shoulders should be long and well clothed with muscle, without being heavy, especially at the points. They must be well sloped, and the true arm between the front and the elbow must be long and muscular, but free from fat or lumber. Chest and Back Ribs--The chest should girth over 31 inches in a 24-inch hound, and the back ribs must be very deep.

Back and Loin
Must both be very muscular, running into each other without any contraction between them. The couples must be wide, even to raggedness, and the topline of the back should be absolutely level, the Stern well set on and carried gaily but not in any case curved over the back like a squirrel's tail. The end should taper to a point and there should be a fringe of hair below. The Hindquarters or propellers are required to be very strong, and as endurance is of even greater consequence than speed, straight stifles are preferred to those much bent as in a Greyhound. Elbows set quite straight, and neither turned in nor out are a sine qua non. They must be well let down by means of the long true arm above mentioned.

Legs and Feet
Every Master of Foxhounds insists on legs as straight as a post, and as strong; size of bone at the ankle being especially regarded as all important. The desire for straightness had a tendency to produce knuckling-over, which at one time was countenanced, but in recent years this defect has been eradicated by careful breeding and intelligent adjudication, and one sees very little of this trouble in the best modern Foxhounds. The bone cannot be too large, and the feet in all cases should be round and catlike, with well-developed knuckles and strong horn, which last is of the greatest importance.

Color and Coat
Not regarded as very important, so long as the former is a good "hound color," and the latter is short, dense, hard, and glossy. Hound colors are black, tan, and white, or any combination of these three, also the various "pies" compounded of white and the color of the hare and badger, or yellow, or tan. The Symmetry of the Foxhound is of the greatest importance, and what is known as "quality" is highly regarded by all good judges.

Disqualification
Pig-mouth (overshot) or undershot.

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