English Foxhounds are similar in appearance to the better-known American Foxhound, but they are shorter and stouter in build. These medium-sized, athletic dogs come in any "hound color," including tan, black, and white, plus combinations of these three colors. Their coat is short, dense, and glossy, and their brow is pronounced. These dogs have a long and wide nose, low-set ears, long muzzles, and brown eyes. They measure about 24 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 60 to 70 pounds.
These dogs are bred to run, and they therefore make great jogging companions. They are ideally suited to active families or singles who will include them in walks, hikes, and other activities.
Although English Foxhounds are primarily pack hounds, they make great housedogs and companion animals, provided they are given plenty of attention, affection, and socialization. These dogs get along very well with children, other dogs, cats, horses, and other pets.
The English Foxhound is a very uncommon breed, and it may take a long while to locate one of these puppies for purchase or adoption. Sometimes, the wait lasts six months or longer when attempting to obtain one of these dogs from a breeder. It's important to wait the necessary time, as acquiring from a disreputable breeder can have serious, unwanted consequences.
English Foxhounds get along well with children, other dogs, horses, and other pets. They are friendly, tolerant, and gentle dogs, although they may not be very giving with their affection. These dogs need plenty of exercise to remain healthy and happy, and this may make them unsuitable for apartments or homes without yards.
These dogs are bred to run, and they therefore make great jogging companions. They are ideally suited to active families or singles who will include them in walks, hikes, and other activities. They very much enjoy the company of other dogs, and do very well with a canine companion in the home.
English Foxhounds should be allowed to run around, explore, and hunt. Without this stimulation, they may act out and misbehave. Giving them a job to do can also provide much needed mental and physical stimulation.
As a relatively healthy breed, English Foxhounds are less prone to many common health conditions than other dogs of similar size and type. The breed is known to be affected by congenital hip dysplasia and renal disease, however, and these should be checked for during routine veterinary examinations.
Additionally, English Foxhounds are prone to congenital deafness. This condition usually becomes obvious during the first few weeks of life, but it may take longer to develop in some dogs. Because of the risk of this problem, puppies being considered for adoption or purchase should be screened for hearing problems very early in life.
With proper nutrition, regular exercise, routine veterinary care and health screenings, and standard canine vaccinations, English Foxhounds generally live 10 to 13 years.
Like other hounds, the English Foxhound tends to be stubborn and independent. These traits can make training difficult. However, these dogs are very intelligent, biddable, and quick learning, which means they can be trained with enough patience. Positive reinforcement, especially food rewards, generally produces the best results. It's important that the English Foxhound respects anyone involved in the training process, and that trainers are firm and fair at all times.
Because of their high need for exercise and their tendency to bay, English Foxhounds are not suited to apartment life. Ideally, they'll live in a rural area with a large area to run and hunt. When this is not possible, training and socialization can minimize the vocalizations and pack behavior that these dogs are prone to exhibiting.
English Foxhounds should be trained not to pull on the leash to help ensure their safety during walks. They tend to take off after a found scent without concern for traffic or other hazards. A securely fenced yard is a must for these dogs; fences should be high and solid, as underground electronic fences cannot contain this breed.
English Foxhounds have low-maintenance coats that require only a weekly brushing and wipe-down to remain clean, healthy, and attractive. If shedding is a problem, more frequent brushing can remove loose hair before it ends up on floors and furniture. A rubber curry brush or hound mitt is an ideal choice to manage dead hair and distribute skin oils.
These dogs don't need frequent baths unless they land in something smelly or sticky while outside. When bathing is necessary, it's essential to use a pH-balanced shampoo designed for use on dogs to prevent skin drying and irritation.
The nails need trimming every few weeks to prevent breaks and snagging, and the teeth require regular brushing to protect oral health and prevent gum disease. Once weekly, it is important to check the ears for excess wax and signs of infection, such as odor, discharge, redness, or pain. Problems with ear or skin health should be reported to a veterinarian right away so treatment can begin.
This breed has a long history that dates back to Great Britain. While many records of breeding were kept throughout the years, the exact origin of the English Foxhound is unknown. It is clear, though, that these dogs were praised and beloved for their impressive tracking ability, and they were bred to be versatile and dependable hunting companions.
The breed probably first came to the United States during the late 1600s or early 1700s. Over time, most were bred with other breeds to produce what is now called the American Foxhound, a breed that has surpassed the English Foxhound's popularity. Notable fanciers of the English breed include George Washington and Thomas, Lord Fairfax, of Virginia.
Currently, most English Foxhounds in America are found in the Southern United States or along the Atlantic. They are primarily kept by foxhunting clubs and used for pack hunting, although some are considered companion animals.
The American Kennel Club recognized the English Foxhound in 1909.