The English foxhound is a hunting dog and pack hound who is stockier than the American foxhound. Their ears are set low and hang near the cheeks. The ears may be rounded, a process which involves cutting the ear to remove an inch or two off the bottom (not a process we recommend, and ear cropping and tail docking is illegal in some countries).
The large eyes are brown, and the feet are round and similar to a cat. The tail is long and set high but does not curl onto the back. The coat is short, hard and weatherproof. Coat colors include black, white and tan, lemon and white or white and may have an array of markings.
- Height: 23-25 inches
- Weight: 65-70 pounds
- Life expectancy: 10-13 years
English foxhounds were recorded in stud books by the Masters of Foxhounds Association hundreds of years ago in England. The dogs were used to chase after foxes while hunters rode on horseback. They were coveted for their great sense of smell and enduring stamina.
The first recorded entry of an English foxhound in the United States occurred in 1890 in the English Foxhound Stud Book of America, although it is believed some dogs were imported before that time. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1909.
English foxhounds are hunting companions who are used to hunt foxes. They are not commonly kept as pets alone because of their pack mentality, but they can live in the home. They may also participate in tracking, agility and watchdog activities. They are usually scarce at conformation events (dog shows).
These high energy hunting dogs are independent and can be stubborn. They have strong pack instincts and should be firmly trained, although training can be challenging. The dogs are great with children, other dogs and can even get along with non-canine animals.
They do best in packs and may suffer during long periods of isolation. They are also prone to baying or howling.
English foxhounds can run for miles, so they need a lot of daily exercise. They make excellent running and cycling companions but should be kept on a lead or exercised in an enclosed area; they are likely to follow a scent and wander off quickly.
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Without exercise they can become destructive, so this daily necessity should not be ignored.
This video shows Charlie the English foxhound running alongside a bike:
The breed sheds an average amount, although there may be periods of seasonally heavy shedding (twice per year). They should be brushed weekly and can be bathed as needed. Working foxhounds should have their feet and ears inspected for debris and insects.
The nails grow very fast, and trimming should be done often. The teeth should be brushed regularly.
Common Health Problems
English foxhounds are generally very healthy dogs. The only notable health concerns include:
- Hip dysplasia
- Renal disease (kidney)
Is the English Foxhound the Right Dog for You?
English foxhounds have loving dispositions and get along with people and other animals, but they are not commonly kept as pets. Their drive to hunt in packs is very strong, and training them as pets can be challenging. However, with an active family, they make excellent jogging and cycling companions.
When outdoors, foxhounds should be kept on a lead because of their likelihood of taking off after a scent. Working foxhounds should have their ears and paws checked when coming back from outdoor areas. Grooming is minimal for their short coats, and bathing only needs to be done when really needed. There are very few health concerns for this breed.
If English foxhounds are to be kept as pets, more than one would be best. An active lifestyle is a must since these dogs can run for miles at a time. If they are not exercised, they can become destructive and exhibit negative behaviors.
Although challenging as a pet, with the right owner and routine they can be happy dogs. It is also more common to keep English foxhounds as pets after they have spent years in the fields in working roles.
Adopt, Don’t Buy
English foxhounds are difficult to find because they are not typically sold or adopted out as pets. There are many mixed breeds with similar appearances available from shelters and rescues, so start your search there.
If you choose to contact a breeder, make sure they are aware of the intention of keeping the foxhound as a pet. If they are willing to continue, make sure to view their facilities and meet the parents of the dog you intend to take home.
- American Kennel Club’s English Foxhound Page
- American Rare Breed Association’s English Foxhound Page (FCI Breed Standard)
- Masters of Foxhounds Association and Foundation
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