Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Pharaoh Hound
Average Cost to keep/care for a Pharaoh Hound
Breed Specific Buying Advice
Pharaoh Hounds are thought to be one of the oldest breeds on the planet. They are elegant, noble dogs that over the ages have found their way into the hearts and homes of many people throughout the world thanks to their distinctive looks, kind and loyal natures. However, the breed is still quite rarely seen in the UK and anyone wanting to share a home with a Pharaoh Hound would need to register their interest with breeders for the pleasure of doing so.
Pharaoh Hounds, true to their breeding are never happier than when they are kept busy and as such they are not the best choice for first time owners because they need to be trained and handled by someone who is familiar with the needs of this type of energetic hound. They thrive in households where one person usually stays at home when everyone else is out and they make great companions and family pets for people who boast large, secure, very high fenced back gardens.
The Pharaoh Hound is thought to be one of the oldest domesticated breeds in the world with similar hounds having been around since the Ancient Egyptians. However, the exact origins of the breed remain a bit of a mystery. With this said, artefacts have been found in Pharaoh's tombs and hieroglyphs on walls show a similar type of hound that could well be the Pharaoh's Hounds ancestor.
It was in the 1950s that the remains of a hunting dog were discovered while excavating Queen Her-Neith’s tomb in Saqqara. The skeletal remains are very similar to that of the Pharaoh Hound. In ancient times, these hounds were used to hunt small game, but they were also the loyal companions of Pharaohs. Some people believe these hounds were introduced to Malta by the Phoenicians when they occupied the island in 1000 BC. With this said, there is some evidence of the breed originating in Malta and that they were taken to Egypt by travellers and traders in ancient times. Today, the Pharaoh Hound is Malta's national dog and are known as the Kelb Tal-Fenek, which literally translated means 'Dog of the rabbit'.
What is known is that the Pharaoh Hound was developed in Malta even though the breed may have originated in Egypt over the following 2000 years after which they were introduced to the island of Malta. These hounds have always been highly prized by Maltese farmers for their hunting skills and as such, the breed was carefully preserved to ensure lines remained pure.
A lady called Pauline Block who was living on Malta purchased a Pharaoh Hound called Bahri which she bought back to the UK with her in 1963. Another hound called Luki and a female called Chu-Cha was imported by a family called Liddell-Grainger the same year. They were to produce the first litter to be born in the UK. With this said, it is thought that the first Pharaoh Hounds were imported to England during the 1930’s, but the hounds were never bred from. Today, anyone hoping to share their homes with one of these proud and noble dogs might find it hard to find a breeder because very few puppies are registered every year with the kennel club here in the UK. The good news is that once prospective owners register their interest with breeders and go on a waiting list, the wait would be well worth it.
Height at the withers: Males 56 - 63 cm, Females 53 - 61 cm
Average Weight: Males 20 - 25 kg, Females 20 - 25 kg
Pharaoh Hounds are elegant, noble looking medium sized dogs that boast an extremely athletic and graceful appearance about them. A unique trait of these lovely hounds is that they blush when they get excited and this sees the skin on their noses and on the insides of their ears turn a rosy pink colour. Their heads are quite long, yet lean and nicely chiselled which adds to their noble appearance. Their forefaces are slightly longer than a dog's skull with dog's only having a slight stop.
Their eyes are an amber colour to match their coats and are quite deeply set with dogs always having an intelligent, alert and keen look in them. Ears are set quite high which dogs carry erect when they are excited being broader at the base, large and fine to the touch. The Pharaoh Hound has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. Their noses are flesh coloured so they blend in with a dog's coat.
Their necks are lean, well-muscled and long which dogs carry slightly arched and which adds to their noble appearance. Shoulders are long, well laid back and strong with Pharaoh Hounds having straight and powerful front legs. Their body is athletic, lithe with a virtually level topline although it slopes slightly from the croup to the root of a dog's tail. Their brisket is deep with dogs having well sprung ribs.
Hindquarters are muscular and strong with dogs having well developed second thighs and strong back legs. Feet are well knuckled, strong and firm with pads being nicely padded. Their tails are thicker at the root but taper to the tip which dogs carry high and curved when they are excited and lower when they are relaxed and at rest.
When it comes to their coat, the Pharaoh Hound boasts having a short and very glossy coat that can be anything from quite fine and close to the touch right through to having a slightly harsher feel to it. The accepted breed colours for Kennel Club registration are as follows:
Pharaoh Hounds should have a white tip to their tail as well as a white star on their chests. Dogs are allowed to have a bit of white on their toes and a very slight white blaze is allowed on the centre of their faces.
It is worth noting that the accepted breed colours for Kennel Club registration can differ from those set out in the breed standard which are as follows:
When a Pharaoh Hound moves, they do so with a tremendous amount of grace. They take free moving, flowing strides holding their heads quite high and covering a lot of ground when they do.
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.
Pharaoh Hounds are known to be quite independent thinkers, but they form strong bonds with their owners and families. They are quite placid although they are also known to be quite fun-loving in a home environment too. They enjoy being around people and if they have grown up with children in the house, they generally get on very well together.
However, they are extremely high energy hounds and as such they are not the best choice for people who lead more sedentary lives. They are not the best of choices for first time owners either because these sensitive hounds need to be trained and handled by someone who is familiar with the breed or similar type of dog. They are, however, a good choice for people who lead active, outdoor lives and who live in the country where a dog can run around off their lead so they can really let off steam as long as it is in a safe environment and dogs have been taught to respond well to the recall command.
If a Pharaoh Hound is not given enough daily mental stimulation or exercise, they quickly get bored and this can lead to a dog developing all sorts of behavioural issues which includes being destructive around the home and suffering from separation anxiety. Pharaoh Hounds need to be well socialised from a young age and this has to involve introducing them to new situations, people, noise, animals and other dogs as soon as they have been fully vaccinated for them to grow up into well-rounded, more confident mature dogs.
They are quite demanding and as such are not suitable for people who do not have the time it takes to care for such high energy dogs. They are best suited to households where at least one person usually stays at home when everyone else is out. They tend to be a little wary and standoffish when they meet anyone for the first time, but rarely would a Pharaoh Hound show any sort of aggressive behaviour towards a stranger, preferring to keep their distance until they get to know them.
Pharaoh Hounds are better suited to people who are familiar with the needs of an intelligent, high energy hound bearing in mind that they must be well-socialised from a young age, so they mature into confident mature dogs. Without the right sort of socialisation, handling and training, a Pharaoh Hound could quickly take on a more dominant role making them unruly and harder to live with.
Pharaoh Hounds have a very high prey drive which is a trait that is deeply embedded in their psyche. As such, care must always be taken as to where and when a dog can run off the lead, more especially if there is wildlife or livestock close by.
Pharaoh Hounds are real clowns and are known to have a very playful side to their natures. They love to entertain and be entertained which is why they are so much fun to have around. They are known to be a little mischievous when the mood takes them and being so clever, a Pharaoh Hound quickly learns how to get their own way when they mood takes them.
Pharaoh Hounds are better suited to people who have secure, well-fenced back gardens that a dog can safely roam in whenever possible, bearing in mind that fences must be high enough to keep an athletic, high-energy hound in.
Pharaoh Hounds form strong ties with their families and dogs are never very happy when they find themselves left on their own for longer periods of time. They are better suited to people who either work from home or in households where one person stays at home when everyone else is out, so they are never alone for any length of time which could see a dog suffering from separation anxiety. This can lead to them being destructive around the home which is a dog's way of relieving any stress they are feeling and a way to keep themselves entertained which typically includes barking incessantly to get attention.
Pharaoh Hounds are known to be the most “vocal” of all sighthounds and like the sound of their own voices a little too much. This is something that needs to be gently nipped in the bud when a dog is still young being careful not to frighten them although even with the best training, it is hard to stop a Pharaoh Hound from voicing an opinion when they want to.
Some Pharaoh Hounds like swimming and will take to the water whenever they can more especially when the weather is hot. However, if anyone who owns a dog that does not like water should never force them to go in because it would just end up scaring them. With this said, care should always be taken when walking a Pharaoh 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.
Pharaoh Hounds are natural watchdogs and are always quick off the mark to let an owner know when there are strangers about although they would rarely do this aggressively, preferring to stand their ground and bark.
The Pharaoh Hound is an intelligent dog and therefore they are quite easy to train. However, because of their high prey drive, they are not the most obedient of hounds when it comes to the "recall" command which is why their training has to start early in their lives. Their training has to be consistent and always fair with these hounds not responding well to any sort of harsh correction or heavier handed training methods because like a lot of other hounds, they are quite sensitive by nature.
In the right hands and with the correct amount of training, Pharaoh Hounds excel in all sorts of canine sports and this includes activities like agility and obedience. It would be fair to say that at times these hounds are far too quick thinking for their own good which often sees them outsmarting their owners. This is one of the reasons they are not the best choice for novice dog owners who may inadvertently send a dog the wrong signals which they quickly pick up on and which could end up with a Pharaoh Hound becoming wilful and unruly.
Like all puppies, Pharaoh Hound puppies are incredibly cute with their large ears and oversized paws which means it is all too easy to spoil them when they first arrive in their new homes. As soon as a puppy is nicely settled in, owners must start out as they mean to go on which means laying down rules and boundaries. This helps establish a pecking order in a household and it helps puppies understand what is expected of them and what is acceptable behaviour. The first commands a puppy should be taught are as follows:
When Pharaoh Hounds grow up with children in the home, they are usually very well behaved around them. However, any interaction between a dog and children and more especially toddlers, needs to be supervised by an adult to make sure things stay calm and playtime does not turn too boisterous.
Rarely would a Pharaoh Hound show any sort of aggressive behaviour towards other dogs because they are known to be quite sociable by nature. When they have been well socialised from a young age, Pharaoh Hounds enjoy the company of other dogs they meet and would rarely be the first to show any sort of aggressive behaviour. However, care should be taken when they are around any small animals, cats and other pets because of their high prey drive which would get the better of them.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Pharaoh Hound is between 12 and 14 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
Like so many other breeds, the Pharaoh Hound is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these active and noble looking hounds. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:
Pharaoh Hound 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.
Like other breeds, some Pharaoh Hounds 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.
Pharaoh Hounds are known to suffer from allergies and some may have constant flare ups so it's important for a dog to see a vet sooner rather than later. 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 Pharaoh Hound 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 for all Kennel Club recognised breeds, there are no other breed specific breeding restrictions for the Pharaoh Hound.
The Kennel Club strongly recommends that all breeders use the following scheme on dogs:
As with any other breed, Pharaoh Hounds 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.
Pharaoh Hound 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 breeder would have well socialised their puppies which always leads to more outgoing, confident and friendly dogs right from the word go. With this said, any puppy is going to feel vulnerable when they leave their mother and littermates which must be taken into account. The longer a puppy can remain with their mother, the better although it should never be for too long either.
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.
The documentation a breeder provides for a puppy must have all the details of their worming date and the product used as well as the information relating to their microchip. It is essential for puppies to be wormed again keeping to a schedule which is as follows:
There are certain items that new owners need to already have in the home prior to bringing a new puppy home. It's often a good idea to restrict how much space a puppy plays in more especially when you can't keep an eye on what they get up to bearing in mind that puppies are often quite boisterous which means investing in puppy gates or a large enough playpen that allows a puppy the room to express themselves while keeping them safe too. The items needed are therefore, as follows:
All puppies are sensitive to noise including Pharaoh Hound puppies, bearing in mind that they are a lot more sensitive than many other breeds. 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 with the result being they are withdrawn, timid and shy.
As previously mentioned, Pharaoh Hound puppies would have been given their first vaccinations by the breeders, but they must have their follow up shots which is up to their new owners to organise. The vaccination schedule for puppies is as follows:
When it comes to boosters, it's best to discuss these with a vet because there is a lot of debate about whether a dog really needs them after a certain time. However, if a dog ever needed to go into kennels, their vaccinations would need to be fully up to date.
Older Pharaoh Hounds need lots of special care because as they reach their golden years, 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 Pharaoh Hound 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 Pharaoh Hound 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 Pharaoh Hounds 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.
Because the Pharaoh Hound's coat is short, tight and close it is quite low maintenance when it comes to keeping things tidy. All it really takes to keep the sheen on a dog's coat is a weekly wipe over with a chamois leather. These hounds have very sensitive skin and as such great care has to be taken when using any sort of product on it which includes dog shampoos.
They tend to shed their coat steadily throughout the year although more so during the Spring and then again in the Autumn when more frequent grooming is usually necessary to get rid of any loose or shed hair. It has to be noted that Pharaoh Hounds are quite sensitive to the cold and as such when the weather turns very cold, dogs need to wear a coat when out on a walk to prevent them getting a chill.
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.
Pharaoh Hounds are extremely high-energy dogs and as such they need to be given a ton of daily mental stimulation and at least 2 hour's exercise for them to be truly happy, well-rounded and obedient dogs. Their exercise has to be vigorous and should include lots of interactive games to keep these hounds focused and on their toes. The old saying of a "tired dog is a good dog" is never truer than when describing a Pharaoh Hound. When they get home after a good walk, they are quite happy to chill out and relax with their owners.
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 highly active dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape out and get into all sorts of trouble. As a general rule, any outdoor time in the garden should be supervised just in case.
With this said, Pharaoh Hound puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing and too much pressure on them could result in causing a dog a few problems later on in their lives. They should not be allowed to jump up or off furniture nor should they be allowed to run up and down the stairs because these are the sorts of things that put a lot of strain on a dog’s joints and bones.
If you get a Pharaoh Hound puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
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 Pharaoh Hounds have been known to suffer from bloat, it is really important that they be fed twice a day instead of giving them just one larger meal a day. It's also a good idea to invest in a stand to place their feed bowl which makes it easier for these large dogs to eat comfortably without having to stretch their necks down low to reach their food. You should never exercise a dog just before or just after they have eaten either because this puts them more a risk of developing bloat.
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 Pharaoh Hound 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:
Once a puppy is 13 months old they can be fed adult dog food
Once fully mature, an adult Pharaoh Hound should be fed a good quality diet to ensure their continued good health. As a rough guide, an adult Pharaoh Hound can be fed the following amounts every day:
If you are looking to buy a Pharaoh Hound, you may have to go on a waiting list because very few puppies are registered with The Kennel Club every year. You would need to pay anything upwards of £500 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Pharaoh Hound in northern England would be £23.67 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £43.98 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 and a dog's age and whether they have been neutered or spayed amongst other things.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog throughout their lives making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £40 - £50 a month. On top of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Pharaoh Hound and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying your dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over a £1000 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Pharaoh Hound would be between £70 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 healthy, well-bred Kennel Club registered pedigree Pharaoh Hound puppy.
When visiting and buying any puppy or dog, there are many important things to consider and questions to ask of the breeder/seller. You can read our generic puppy/dog advice here which includes making sure you see the puppy with its mother and to verify that the dog has been wormed and microchipped.
Finding well-bred Kennel Club registered Pharaoh Hound puppies is challenging which means that puppies can command a lot of money. As such, with Pharaoh Hounds there is specific advice, questions and protocols to follow when buying a puppy which are as follows:
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