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Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Foxhound
Average Cost to keep/care for a Foxhound
Breed Specific Buying Advice
Foxhounds are large, strong, highly intelligent and determined dogs specifically bred to hunt in packs alongside man. As such, they are not traditionally thought of as being the sort of dog that people keep as family pets or companion dogs. They are handsome, proud dogs and in America, they are often seen in the show ring although in the UK they are more commonly found in the hunting field with more being exhibited over recent times.
Foxhounds are social by nature and are typically kept in packs by kennels. With this said, puppies are taken on by people who "walk" them through their puppy stage which goes a long way in socialising these unique dogs and is one of the ways their education and training begins. Over recent times, some people do decide to take on a Foxhound when they retire from hunting and with a lot of care, lots of exercise and strong leadership, they do well in a home environment, bearing in mind that a Foxhound is not a good choice for novice dog owners.
Foxhounds have been bred in the UK for centuries and they were highly prized in times long past for their hunting abilities and stamina out in the field. The breed has existed since the 16th Century with meticulous records having kept by kennels in their stud books. With this said, the actual origin of the breed remains unknown, but in the 17th Century, Foxhounds were highly prized by the fox hunting fraternity throughout Great Britain. Foxhounds were carefully and selectively bred with an end goal being to produce only the best when it came to stamina, strength and looks with coat colour playing an important role. Many Foxhounds in a same “pack” would have the same colours which was typically dogs having black saddles on tan bodies. Fox hunting became so popular that by the 19th Century, there were 140 registered packs in the UK.
These handsome dogs were developed by crossing Greyhounds, Fox Terriers and Bulldogs with an end goal being to create a dog that had a very good turn of speed and a dog that showed a tremendous amount of determination and an extremely high prey drive. Over the years and thanks to careful breeding, Foxhounds have become one of the healthiest breeds and therefore they don’t suffer from hereditary health issues that seem to affect so many other pedigree dogs.
Since the ban on hunting, their numbers have fallen, but breed enthusiasts will ensure that these handsome hardworking dogs do not vanish altogether. Foxhounds are recognised by The Kennel Club and a breed standard was established even though they are not really considered as family pets or companion dogs. However, more people familiar with the needs of a Foxhound are now rehoming dogs when they retire or when they can no longer work in the hunting field and as previously mentioned providing they are handled correctly and have strong leadership, Foxhounds generally do well in the home environment.
Height at the withers: Males 58 - 64 cm, Females 58 - 64 cm
Average weight: Males 29 - 32 kg, Females 29 - 32 kg
The Foxhound is a large, handsome dog and one that has a lot of presence about them. They are well balanced dogs that boast an alert, keen expression. Their heads are nicely balanced in relation to the rest of their bodies. They have long, square muzzles and their nostrils are large with dogs having a slight stop, and nicely well-developed flews. Their eyes are usually hazel or brown and medium in size with Foxhounds always having a keen, alert expression in them.
Their ears are long and hang down close to a hound's head being set high. The Foxhound has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. They have long, well developed necks which are slightly arched. Shoulders are muscular, well laid back. Front legs are straight, well boned and long.
A Foxhound has an athletic body with a deep chest and well sprung ribs. Their backs are level and broad rising slightly over a dog's strong loins. Hindquarters are muscular and strong, with dogs having powerful, well-muscled back legs. Their feet are strong, tight and round being well padded and with strong nails. Tails are set high which hounds always carry gaily.
When it comes to their coat, Foxhounds boast having short, dense coats which offer a tremendous amount of protection from the elements. The accepted breed colours for Kennel Club registration are as follows:
It is worth noting that the accepted breed colours for Kennel Club registration can differ from those set out in the breed standard.
When a Foxhound moves, they do so with free-moving strides and exhibit tireless stamina at the gallop and powerful drive from behind.
The Kennel Club frowns on any exaggerations or departures from the breed standard and would judge the faults on how much they affect a dog's overall health and wellbeing as well as their ability to perform.
Males should have both testicles fully descended into their scrotums and it is worth noting that a dog can be a little lighter or heavier as well as slightly taller or shorter than set out in the Kennel Club breed standard which is only given as a guideline.
Foxhounds are enthusiastic and brave by nature, but they are not the most obedient dogs only really answering to the Master of the Hounds and whippers-in. They are social and thrive on being around other dogs and people. They get on with everyone and this includes horses. They also like the sound of their own voices and will bark just for the pleasure of it.
They boast having an enormous amount of energy and are known for their tremendous stamina. Foxhounds can run with the horses for hours on end. They are not typically kept as pets, the reason being they are not like other dogs and therefore not very well equipped to deal with living in a home environment. However, once a Foxhound reaches their golden years, many of them are rehomed and they do make good pets providing their owners have the time to dedicate to what can only be described as a very high energy dog, even in their golden years. Foxhounds must have strong handlers, so they know who to follow to be truly happy, well-rounded dogs in a home environment.
It takes a lot of time and patience as well as a good understanding of the breed, to successfully train a Foxhound and as previously mentioned, they are not the most obedient dogs although, they are known to be well-behaved and will respond to commands they are given by the huntsmen who train them.
They are intelligent dogs, but their high prey drive usually always gets the better of them which is perfectly normal considering that for generations, these handsome hounds have been bred to hunt. They are not known to be a good choice as family pets or companion dogs, but as previously mentioned, once a Foxhound retires from a pack, there are charities around that do their best to rehome them with people, so they can live out their lives in a home environment which they generally adapt to extremely well.
It is worth noting that once a Foxhound puppy is weaned off their mother, they are allocated to people who “puppy walk” them during the first month or so of their lives. Sometimes puppies are taken on by people in pairs, but they can also be “walked” on their own too. Once the puppies are 6 months old, they return to the kennels to join the pack.
Foxhounds must be handled by people who are familiar with their specific needs which means that once they can no long work in a pack, they can be rehomed but generally this is not to novice dog owners.
For centuries, Foxhounds have been bred and trained to follow a “scent” and as such, they have an extremely high prey drive. Even in their golden years and rehomed, they retain a strong desire to follow a scent which means care must be taken as to where and when they can run free.
Foxhounds have a very playful side to their natures and love to entertain and be entertained which is why “packs” are often used to raise money by putting on exhibitions at local and national shows. They are known to be a little mischievous when the mood takes them and being so clever, a Foxhound quickly learns how to get their own way which includes sneaking off to a food stand at a showground.
Foxhounds as previously mentioned, have been always been bred in the UK to work in packs alongside horses in the hunting field. Once retired, they can be rehomed, but kennels do not generally offer puppies to people.
Foxhounds form strong ties with their packs and handlers and are never happy when they find themselves on their own. With this said, when retired and rehomed, they are better suited to people who are not only familiar with their specific needs, but also with people who work from home or in households where one person stays at home when everyone else is out, so a hound is never left to their own devices for too long.
Foxhounds “cry” or “tongue” which is their way of alerting other hounds and huntsman that they have found a scent. Even in a home environment, a Foxhound will voice an opinion about something when they think they need to.
Foxhounds will take to the water without hesitation especially if they are following a scent. As such, care should always be taken when walking a hound off the lead anywhere near more dangerous watercourses just in case a dog decides to leap in and then needs rescuing because they cannot get out of the water on their own.
Foxhounds are not natural watchdogs although this is not to say a dog would not be quick off the mark to let an owner know when there are strangers about although they would rarely do this aggressively because they are just too social by nature.
Foxhounds are intelligent, but their hunting instinct is extremely strong and having been bred to track down scents for generations, it can make training them rather challenging. Puppies start out in homes where they are "walked" through their puppy stage, which goes a long way in socialising them. However, once they go back to their "pack", their training begins in earnest, so dogs learn how to work with other hounds and to bring out their natural hunting abilities.
Older, retired Foxhounds can be "retrained" to live in a home environment with many success stories of dogs living out their lives with families who have decided to share a home with one of these handsome, hardworking dogs. They adapt very well to living in a home and usually do so remarkably quickly, thanks to the fact they are quick to learn new things providing they are given the right kind of guidance and leadership.
Foxhounds are naturally social dogs and they get on with everyone which includes children and other dogs. However, because they are not used to being kept in a family environment care must be taken when they are around children not because a Foxhound would show any sort of aggressive behaviour towards a child, but rather because they might well knock them over albeit by accident.
Young Foxhounds are boisterous and love to play rough, as such any interaction between a dog and the children should always be supervised by an adult to make sure things stay nice and calm when they are being “puppy walked”.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Foxhound is between 13 and 14 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
The Foxhound is known to be a healthy and robust dog and one that does not seem to be as affected by the usual hereditary health issues that often plague other breeds. With this said, the conditions that affect Foxhounds the most include the following:
Foxhound puppies would have been given their initial vaccinations before being sold, but it is up to their new owners to make sure they have their follow-up shots in a timely manner with the vaccination schedule for puppies being as follows:
There has been a lot of discussion about the need for dogs to have boosters. As such, it's best to talk to a vet before making a final decision on whether a dog should continue to have annual vaccinations which are known as boosters.
A lot of vets these days recommend waiting until dogs are slightly older before spaying and neutering them which means they are more mature before undergoing the procedures. As such they advise neutering males and spaying females when they are between the ages of 6 to 9 months old and sometimes even when a dog is 12 months old.
Other vets recommend spaying and neutering dogs when they are 6 months old, but never any earlier unless for medical reasons. With this said, many breeds are different, and it is always advisable to discuss things with a vet and then follow their advice on when a dog should be spayed or neutered.
As with other breeds, some Foxhounds gain weight after they have been spayed or neutered and it's important to keep an eye on a dog's waistline just in case they do. If a dog starts to put on weight, it's important to adjust their daily calorie intake and to up the amount of exercise they are given. Older dogs too are more prone to gaining weight and again it's essential they be fed and exercised accordingly because obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years. The reason being that it puts a lot of extra strain on a dog's internal organs including the heart which could prove fatal. With this said, because Foxhounds are regularly exercised in packs and go hunting, they tend to be very fit and healthy.
Foxhounds are not known to suffer from allergies, but it's important for a dog to see a vet sooner rather than later if one flares up. Allergies can be notoriously hard to clear up and finding the triggers can be challenging. With this said, a vet would be able to make a dog with an allergy more comfortable while they try to find out the triggers which could include the following:
All responsible Foxhound breeders would ensure that their stud dogs are tested for known hereditary and congenital health issues known to affect the breed by using the following schemes:
Apart from the standard breeding restrictions set out for all Kennel Club recognised breeds, there are no other breed specific breeding restrictions in place for the Foxhound.
There are no Kennel Club Assured Breeder requirements in place for Foxhounds.
As with any other breed, Foxhounds need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Foxhound puppies are boisterous and full of life which means it's essential for homes and gardens to be puppy-proofed well in advance of their arrival. A responsible kennel would only allow puppies to be taken on by people who are familiar with the specific needs of Foxhound puppies during the “puppy walking” stage of their lives which can last up to 6 months.
It's best to pick a puppy up when people are going to be around for the first week or so which is the time needed for a puppy to settle in. Puppy-proofing the home and garden means putting away any tools and other implements that a boisterous puppy might injure themselves on. Electric wires and cables must be put out of their reach because puppies love chewing on things. Toxic plants should be removed from flowerbeds and the home too.
Puppies need to sleep a lot to grow and develop as they should which means setting up a quiet area that's not too out of the way means they can retreat to it when they want to nap and it's important not to disturb them when they are sleeping. It's also a good idea to keep "playtime" nice and calm inside the house and to have a more active "playtime" outside in the garden which means puppies quickly learn to be less boisterous when they are inside.
All puppies are sensitive to noise including Foxhound puppies. It's important to keep the noise levels down when a new puppy arrives in the home. TVs and music should not be played too loud which could end up stressing a small puppy out which could end up with them being withdrawn, timid and shy.
Anyone who decides to puppy walk a Foxhound would be given all the instructions they need by the Kennels who would take care of all a puppy’s veterinary needs as well. Huntsman typically visit a puppy every 10 days or so, to make sure they are okay and settling in.
Retired Foxhounds are often rehomed to people and like other dogs when they reach their golden years, they need more in the way of care because they are more at risk of developing certain health concerns. Physically, a dog's muzzle may start to go grey, but there will be other noticeable changes too which includes the following:
Living with a Foxhound in their golden years means taking on a few more responsibilities, but these are easily managed and should include looking at their diet, the amount of exercise they are given, how often their dog beds need changing and keeping an eye on the condition of their teeth.
Older Foxhounds need to be fed a good quality diet that meets their needs at this stage of their lives all the while keeping a close eye on a dog's weight. A rough feeding guide for older dogs is as follows bearing in mind they should be fed highly digestible food that does not contain any additives:
Older Foxhounds don't need to be given the same amount of daily exercise as a younger dog, but they still need the right amount of physical activity to maintain muscle tone and to prevent a dog from putting on too much weight. All dogs need access to fresh clean water and this is especially true of older dogs when they reach their golden years because they are more at risk of developing kidney disorders.
Foxhounds have short, tight coats which are low maintenance. With this said, a weekly brush and wipe over with a chamois leather will keep their coats tidy with a nice sheen to them. When Foxhounds get dirty, the mud just seems to drop off them coats thanks to the fact they are so weather resistant. They shed their coats throughout the year, only more so during the Spring and then again in the Autumn when most dogs tend to shed the most.
It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax builds up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.
The Foxhound is a high energy, intelligent dog and as such they need to be given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-rounded dogs even in their golden years. They need to be given anything from an hour to 2 hour's exercise a day with as much off the lead time as possible. If they are not given the right amount of mental stimulation and exercise every day, a Foxhound would quickly get bored and could even begin to show some destructive and stressed out behaviours.
It's important that owners never forget a Foxhound's strong hunting instinct and their incredible sense of smell. As such care must be taken as to where and when one of these high energy hounds can run free. Foxhounds are definitely not a good choice for first time owners because they are not like other dogs and therefore need to be handled and trained by people who are familiar with the needs of this very capable hunting dog.
Anyone who rehomes a Foxhound would need to have the time to dedicate to their canine companions. A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden as often as possible, so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing must be extremely secure to keep these high energy dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape out and get into all sorts of trouble. Foxhounds are remarkably good at climbing fences and walls too which is another thing to bear in mind when letting loose in a back garden.
With this said, Foxhound puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing. This includes not letting a dog jump up and down from furniture or going up or down the stairs. Too much pressure placed on their joints and spines at an early age could result in a dog developing serious problems later in their lives.
If you are the sort of person who would be able to have a Foxhound puppy in your home so they can be "walked" through their puppy stage, you would have been given a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
Because Foxhounds are known to suffer from bloat, it is really important for them to be fed twice a day instead of giving a dog just one larger meal a day. It's also a good idea to invest in a stand for their feed bowls which makes it easier for these large dogs to eat comfortably without having to stretch their necks down to reach their food. Dogs should never be exercised just before or just after they have eaten either because this puts them more at risk of suffering from gastric torsion.
Puppies need to be fed a highly nutritious, good quality diet for them to develop and grow as they should. As a rough guide, a Foxhound puppy can be fed the following amounts every day making sure their meals are evenly spread out throughout the day and it's best to feed them 3 or 4 times a day, bearing in mind that the Huntsman would recommend what to feed a puppy during the “puppy walking” stage of their lives:
Once a puppy is 15 months old they can be fed adult dog food.
Once fully mature, an adult Foxhound should be fed a good quality diet to ensure their continued good health. As a rough guide, an adult Foxhound can be fed the following amounts every day:
If you are looking to buy a Foxhound, you may find it a bit of a challenge to find any puppies for sale because they are not traditionally bred to be kept as family pets or companion dogs. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Foxhound in northern England would be £22.65 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £53.87 a month (quote as of March 2018). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a dog's age and whether they have been neutered or spayed among other things.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry making sure it suits the different stages of a dog’s life. This would set you back between £30 - £40 a month. On top of this, you need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Foxhound and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £1000 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Foxhound would be between £60 to £100 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, bearing in mind that most people only share a home with an older, retired Foxhound.
Foxhounds are not generally sold by Kennels, but anyone wanting to rehome a retired hound or one that can no longer work in the hunting field should contact Huntsman in charge of Kennels to see if they would be eligible to take a Foxhound on. Kennels do not generally “sell” a hound, but some may ask for a donation. The other thing to bear in mind is that a Huntsman would “vet” anyone wanting to rehome a retired Foxhound to make sure they would be able to manage a hound, bearing in mind that they need strong leadership to be truly happy and well-rounded in a home environment.
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