American Foxhound

Breed Group: Hound

Temperament and Behavior

Although they are very well mannered in the home, traditionally the Foxhound is a working dog rather than a house pet. They get along very well with both human and canine companions, at times preferring the companionship of other dogs. With their ability to get along well with everyone in the family, their average to above average playfulness and their durability, the American Foxhound is an excellent but often overlooked option for families with young children. They tend to be wary of strangers. A highly social breed, they need lots of attention from their human companions. If human companionship is not available, they should be kept with other dogs. Highly active both inside and out, they need a healthy dose of daily exercise to keep them from becoming bored. They can be stubborn but are not willfully disobedient. They have the hallmark hound “bay” always used when tracking and which frequently leads to excessive barking as a pet. American Foxhounds do well as outside dogs if provided with shelter and warm bedding. With appropriate care, they are tolerant of both heat and cold but should be protected from extremes of either. They make excellent watchdogs reliably sounding the alarm if their domain is intruded upon. But with their gentle nature, Foxhounds are not protection dogs.

Physical Characteristics

The American Foxhound has a smooth, hard, coat that is short to medium in length that needs minimal care. Although brushing once a week is enough, brushing twice weekly will minimize the breed’s above average tendency to shed. The American Foxhound, an average size dog, should weigh between 40 and 65 pounds. Males range from 22 to 25 inches in height, with females about an inch shorter. Members of the breed should project a physical image of stamina with deep chests and long legs. Like most hounds, their ears are broad and fairly low-set. The American Foxhound is slightly lighter in build and faster than his English Foxhound cousin.

Trainer's Notes

American Foxhounds have a mind of their own and at times can be quite stubborn. This trait is most pronounced when they have identified a scent they would like to explore. At these times they will have difficulty being recalled so a fence is recommended for off-leash activities. They are sensitive dogs that train best with persistence and patience. They are receptive to learning basic manners at their own pace and respond best to training that fosters small improvements over time. With this type of training and their eagerness to please, they should be able to make consistent progress. Like most training, the housebreaking process can be a challenge. As difficult as training may be, the breed needs only modest socialization to eliminate the possibility of shyness.
Photo © by Svenska Mässan available under the GNUFDL
American Foxhound
American Foxhound


This breed has no major health issues. Occasionally they develop thombopathia, a blood-clotting disorder. If used in the field, yearly blood tests, along with heartworm and tick protection are recommended. Their lifespan normally ranges from 11-13 years.


The American Foxhound has an AKC ranking of 128. They tend to be more popular with people who live in rural areas than with city dwellers. Their low AKC registration numbers do not mean they are an unpopular breed. Frequently they are kept in large packs by hunters who have no interest in AKC registration. Instead, they are registered in stud books such as the International Foxhound Stud Book. Ironically, the American Foxhound is one of the earliest breeds to be registered by the AKC.

Breed History

The American Foxhound dates back to around 1650 when fox-chasing hounds were brought to American colonies from England. By the 1700’s, “riding to the hounds” was popular among American gentlemen including George Washington. They were developed in Maryland and Virginia by landowners by breeding similar hounds from France and Ireland, thus establishing the American Foxhound as one of only a few breeds originating in the United States.

Additional Information

The American Foxhound is among the best choices for families with small children living in rural areas or with a large fenced yard that can be used to meet the dog’s exercise needs. With that said, because of the training issues and need for space, this is not the ideal breed for all but the most devoted first-time owners. Compared to the English Foxhound, the American Foxhound is more affectionate and active indoors. Notable contributors to the Foxhound as a breed include George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison. The National (US) Breed Club is the American Foxhound Club.

Is An American Foxhound THE BEST Dog For YOU?

Recommended Articles

Three Mistakes Most People Make Looking For A Dog

Six Questions You Must Be Able To Answer Before You Can Find Your Best Dog


The Complete Dog Selection System