5 Things to Know About English Foxhounds

English Foxhounds have loving personalities and need a lot of exercise. Learn more in this breed profile.

English Foxhound breed profile
Foxhounds are pack animals and don’t do well if isolated for long periods of time. Photo: ccho
AKC GroupAKC Group
Hound
WeightWeight
60-75 lbs.
HeightHeight
24 in.
Life ExpectancyLife Span
10-13 years

1. Key Characteristics of English Foxhounds

The English Foxhound (a cousin of the American Foxhound) is a hunting dog and pack hound whose low-set ears hang near the cheeks. Rounded ears means they’ve been cropped — a practice that, along with tail docking, is illegal in some countries.

The large eyes are brown, and the feet are round, like a cat’s. The tail is long and set high.

The coat is short, hard and weatherproof. Colors include black, white and tan, lemon and white, or white. Markings are also sometimes seen in this breed.

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2. Where English Foxhounds Came From

English Foxhounds were recorded in stud books hundreds of years ago in medieval England.

According to the United Kennel Club, the dog was developed for purposes of fox hunting as long ago as the 1200s. This involved mixing in breeds like Bloodhounds (for scent mastery) and Greyhounds (for quickness) in the hopes of more successful hunting. The dogs chased foxes while hunters rode on horseback.

The first recorded entry of an English Foxhound in the United States occurred in 1890 in the English Foxhound Stud Book of America, although some of the dogs may have been imported before then.

“Colonial American sportsmen, including George Washington and his wealthy Virginia neighbors, re-created a bit of their mother country by staging English-style fox hunts on their plantations,” explains the American Kennel Club, which recognized the English Foxhound in 1909.

English Foxhound
English Foxhounds are pack dogs and don’t like being isolated. Photo: Tom Blackwell

3. How Friendly Are English Foxhounds?

These high-energy hunting dogs are independent and can be stubborn. They have strong pack instincts, so you may find that training your English Foxhound is challenging.

Beth Gyorgy, “very proud owner” of a pair of foxhounds, explains it this way in a blog post:

“Foxhounds are very attuned to people, as anyone who has worked and/or hunted with a fox-hunting pack knows. The leader of the pack is the huntsman, who leads the hounds while out hunting and who gives the hounds their orders and provides discipline and direction using a series of voice commands and calls on the hunting horn.”

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“Even the poorly socialized hounds that occasionally make their way into pet homes can usually be trained, with enough patience and discipline, and blossom as pets,” she adds. “Rescues and shelters will already have begun this process of socialization, but it still requires fine-tuning when the dogs are adopted and enter a home.”

English Foxhounds are great with children, other dogs and even other animals. They do best in packs and may suffer during long periods of isolation, so if you’re looking to adopt an English Foxhound, think about getting a pair of them (or more) instead.

Note that these dogs also like to bale or howl.

4. Is This the Right Dog for You?

Exercise Needs

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HIGH: English Foxhounds can run for miles, so they need lots of daily exercise. Without regular exercise, foxhounds can get destructive, so don’t ignore this daily necessity.

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These dogs make excellent running and cycling companions, but keep yours on a lead or exercise them in an enclosed area — they are likely to follow a scent and wander off quickly.

“Fences are a necessity,” says Gyorgy, who notes that “most hounds will leave any non-fenced area, wandering off, chasing a deer or picking up another line of scent that extends out beyond the yard.”

Grooming Needs

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MEDIUM: An English Foxhound sheds an average amount, with periods of seasonally heavy shedding (twice a year). Brush your pup weekly and bathe them as needed. Inspect their paws and ears for debris and insects if they spend lots of time outside.

Their nails grow very fast, so trim the nails often. Also, be sure to brush your dog’s teeth regularly.

Health Problems

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LOW: English Foxhounds are generally very healthy dogs. Some notable health concerns include:

More Stats About English Foxhounds

Friendliness★★★★☆
Ease of Training★★★☆☆
Barking/Howling★★★★☆
Shedding★★★☆☆
Tolerate Being Alone★★★☆☆
Very Good With Kids★★★★☆

This video shows Charlie the English Foxhound running alongside a bike:

5. How to Adopt an English Foxhound

English Foxhounds are sometimes hard to find because they’re not typically sold or adopted out as pets.

However, there are many mixed breeds with similar appearances available from shelters and rescues. Start your free online search now at our Pet Adoption Center.

If you contact breeders, make sure they know you’re keeping the puppy as a pet. View the facilities and meet the parents of the English Foxhound puppy you intend to buy. Be on the lookout for any puppy mill warning signs.

“Adopting a foxhound has been one of my life’s most rewarding experiences,” says Gyorgy. “No doubt it could be the same for anyone adopting one of these wonderful creatures.”

References


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