Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Foxhound
Average Cost to keep/care for a Foxhound
Foxhounds are large, strong, highly intelligent and determined dogs and they have been specifically bred to hunt. As such, they are not traditionally thought of as being the sort of dog that people would keep as a family pet or companion dog. They are handsome dogs and in America, they are often seen in the show ring although this is not the case in the UK. Foxhounds are more commonly found in kennels where they are kept in packs although puppies are often taken on by people who "walk" them through their puppy stage which goes a long way in socialising these unique dogs.
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. 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.
During the 19th century, 250 packs of Foxhounds were to be found throughout the land and records of their breeding were established during this time. Over the years, through 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 been seen to fall, but enthusiasts of the breed will ensure that these handsome hardworking dogs do not vanish altogether. Foxhounds are recognised as a unique breed in their own right by The Kennel Club and a breed standard was established even though they are not really considered as family pets or companion dogs.
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 quite 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 in shape 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 include the following:
Foxhounds are enthusiastic, 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 as long as their owners have the time to dedicate to what can only be described as a very high energy dog, even in their latter years.
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.
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 take one of these handsome, hardworking dogs on. 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.
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 has to 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.
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:
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.
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 is allowed to build 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 has to be taken as to where and when one of these high energy hounds is allowed to 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. With this in mind, 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 has to 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.
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 £19.20 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £51.22 a month (quote as of June 2016). 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 or not 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 all 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, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree or other puppy.
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