Examples of long, lean limbed dogs can be seen scattered through Egyptian history and true to its name, the Pharaoh Hound has extensive links with noble families in that magnificent land.
The Pharaoh Hound is thought to be one of the oldest domesticated dog breeds in the world. Estimated to have originated around 4000 to 3000 BC, the exact origins have been lost to the sands of time, but many experts believe it has its' roots firmly embedded in Ancient Egypt. Numerous Egyptian artefacts from tombs and hieroglyphs show a dog that is undoubtedly an ancestor of this breed.
The dogs were used to chase and hunt small game and were also a loyal companion of the Royal Pharaohs of these ancient lands. Another theory is that travellers from the Mediterranean island of Malta brought the dogs into Egypt. Whichever way, the dogs are now the national dog of Malta. In Malta this breed is known as the Kelb Tal-Fenek, which literally translated means 'Dog of the rabbit' as it was used (as a sight hound) for the task of coursing and catching rabbits for their masters.
Average height to withers: Males generally up to 25 inches with females being up to 23 inches.
Average weight: Males and females between 20-25 kgs.
This dog can be described in one word - majestic. Tall, slender, athletic and noble, this sight hound possesses an elegance few dogs can boast of with an almost swan like neck supporting a wedge shaped head which is chiselled and tapered at the nose. The nose is usually an approximation of the coat colour with small, oval eyes which are moderately deep set, and amber in colour. The large ears are a stand out feature, being a larger size, erect and broad at the base, tapering to a point. The long tail is whip like. The front legs are straight, slender and strong.
The coat is short, glossy and fine and in colour this dog is usually a tone of red or tan, often with white markings, sometimes just the tip of the tail. A very interesting point to note is that this is probably the only dog which 'blushes'! When the Pharaoh Hound becomes excited or is enjoying a good petting, this endearing trait is exhibited and displays as a rosy blush over the ears and nose.
Many owners and breeders of this dog call it 'the smiling dog'. Indeed, the Pharaoh Hound does seem to have a smiley expression on its face much of the time. People orientated, friendly, fun loving and kind; this is a dog which enjoys life. Often given to 'clowning' around, this breed is in fact very intelligent but rather independent. Easy to train, the Pharaoh Hound sometimes develops selective hearing when engaged in a chase if it spies something it regards as fair game and will refuse to give up the game, much to the frustration of its owner. With this in mind, a good recall is essential if you plan to let the dog off the lead in an unfenced area.
While it can be aloof, this is mainly reserved for strangers and its overall sunny disposition makes this dog an excellent family companion, being very patient with children. It can also live with other animals, but due to its strong prey-chase drive, it needs extensive socialisation if it is to live with them, especially cats and other small furries such as rabbit.
A robust dog bred to live in harsh climates, the Pharaoh Hound usually lives a very healthy life with no known hereditary defects or illnesses, however, it can be prone to skin disorders and allergies. They also need extra protection in cold weather as their fine coat and skin afford little protection against wind, snow and rain. On average, they live up to around 14 years of age.
Like many other sight hounds, the Pharaoh Hound is given to lazing around when it wants to, but once on a walk it loves nothing more than a good bolt around a safe area. They need at least one good walk per day and then are happy to slink back to their comfy, well padded bed (a must for any bony, fine coated dog to prevent damage to muscles and bones by lying on a hard floor). The short coat requires little attention or grooming.