Breed Group: Hound
Although they are well mannered in the home, traditionally the Foxhound is a working dog rather than a household pet. They get along very well with both human and canine companions, at times preferring the companionship of other canines. With their ability to get along well with everyone in the family, their average to above average playfulness and their durability, the English Foxhound is an excellent but often overlooked option for families with young children. However, they may be wary of strangers. A highly social breed, they need plenty of attention from their human companions; otherwise, 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” which is always used when tracking and which frequently leads to excessive barking as a pet. English Foxhounds do well as outside dogs as long as they are 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 ill-suited for the role of protector.
The English Foxhound has a smooth, hard coat that is short to medium in length which needs minimal care. A quick brushing once a week is all it needs, but it will still have an average tendency to shed. The English Foxhound is a large dog which should weigh between 60 and 95 pounds. Males range from 22 to 25 inches in height with females about an inch shorter. The breed should project a physical image of stamina with a deep chest and long legs. Like most hounds, their ears are broad and fairly low-set. The English Foxhound is slightly heavier in build and moves more slowly than his American counterpart.
English Foxhounds have a mind of their own and at times can seem to be quite stubborn. Like any scent hound, this trait is most pronounced when they have identified an interesting smell they would like to explore. At these times they will have difficulty being re-called 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.
The English Foxhound has relatively few health issues. About 30% develop Elbow Dysplasia. Kidney disease is also seen, though it is infrequent. Breeders recommend yearly blood tests for, and protection from ticks and heartworms since these dogs are often working in woods and fields. They normally live 10-13 years.
The English Foxhound has an AKC ranking of 154th with fewer than 100 dogs registered in a typical year. They tend to be more popular with people who live in rural areas than with city dwellers. Their low AKC registration numbers does 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.
Ever since the late 1700’s, detailed pedigrees of English Foxhounds have been kept. Even though these pedigrees have been kept longer than any other dog breed, the precise origin of the breed is unknown. The breed dates back to around 1650 when fox-chasing hounds were brought to the American colonies from England. By the 1700’s, “riding to the hounds” was popular among English gentlemen.
The English 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 an ideal choice for all but the most devoted first-time owners. Compared to the American Foxhound, the English Foxhound is less active indoors and less affectionate but has superior hunting skills and is more work oriented. George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and Andrew Jackson were all Foxhound owners. The English Foxhound National (US) Breed Club did not have a website at the time this breed description was written. You can search online for "English Foxhound AKC parent breed club" to see if they currently have one.