The term “hound” is one that is sometimes used interchangeably with “dog,” but it is also used as a designation for certain types of dogs too, which share a range of common traits whilst still retaining their own individual breed characteristics as well.
Used correctly, the term hound describes a breed of dog that is, or historically was, used to either track or hunt for prey. This means that hounds were originally used as working dogs, and in some cases, still are today.
The hound group itself can be further divided down into three sub-categories, being sighthounds, scenthounds and finally, other hound breeds.
Sighthounds, as the name implies, hunt by sight; they have acute eyesight for picking up even small movements, and are fast and fleet about pursuing it. Scenthounds, on the other hand, hunt by scent, by picking up a scent trail or being given something to sniff, and then following the trail either in the air or on the ground to chase down their quarry.
The third and final group consists of dogs that hunt by using both sight and scent combined.
The hound group is one of seven broad groupings used by the UK Kennel Club for registration, breeding and showing purposes, and currently, 37 different breeds of dog can be found within the group.
The Afghan hound is a sighthound, most distinctive for its tall, lean, leggy build and signature long, flowing coat that can take quite a lot of time and attention to maintain in good condition.
The Azawakh is an African bred of sighthound, which is not commonly seen in the UK but that is still recognised by The Kennel Club for showing and competition.
The Basenji is another African dog breed, which is sometimes known as “the barkless dog,” because they rarely bark-but they do instead have an interesting yodelling voice that once heard, is never forgotten!
The Basset Bleu De Gasgogne is easily mistaken for the more common Basset hound, thanks to their long backs, very long drooping ears and soulful eyes! This French breed is much less common in the UK than they are on the continent, and is just one of several Basset breeds that fall within the hound grouping.
The Basset Fauve De Bretagne is another French hound, which falls into the scenthound grouping. Like all Bassets, they have a highly attuned scenting ability, and lots of endurance.
The Basset Griffon Vendeen comes in two sizes-small and large, and both fall within the hound group. They have the signature Basset appearance, and once again, a highly attuned scenting ability.
The Basset Hound is one of the most distinctive and recognisable British dog breeds, although they are similar to most of the other Basset type hounds too! Better known by some as the “Hush Puppy dog,” the Basset has a form of canine dwarfism known as achondroplasia.
The Bavarian Mountain hound is a German scenthound breed that was originally created from the crossing of the Hanover hound and the Bavarian hound.
The Beagle is a small-ish, very vocal scenthound that is used to pack work, and today, is more popular as a pet than as a working dog breed.
The Bloodhound is one of those breeds that you might not see very often, but when you do, you will recognise them straight away! The Bloodhound has the most highly developed scenting ability of any dog breed in the world, and they are still widely used by law enforcement and search and rescue organisations worldwide.
The Borzoi dog is a Russian sighthound that looks a little like a longhaired, somewhat shaggy greyhound.
The Cireneco Dell’Etna hails from Italy, and is a red-coloured, very finely boned sighthound that is very unusual in the UK, but hugely popular in their home region.
Dachshunds come in a wide variety of different sizes and coat variants, but all of them fall within the hound grouping. With their short legs and long bodies, Dachshunds were originally used to pursue badgers!
The Deerhound is a large, tall shaggy dog that was historically used for hunting deer-however, their numbers have declined gradually alongside of the sport’s fall from favour.
The Finnish Spitz is sometimes known as a “bark pointer” as their behaviour mimics that of pointing breeds when they come upon their prey.
The Foxhound is a scenthound that was most widely used for hunting in the UK until the hunting ban, and today, the number of dogs of the breed have fallen dramatically as a result of the ban.
The Grand Bleu De Gasgogne is a French scenthound with a wiry, shaggy coat and distinctive beard!
The Greyhound is perhaps the best known of all of the sighthound breeds, and today, can still be seen showing off their high speed on the racetrack as well as making for a great family pet.
The Griffon Fauve De Bretagne is a French dog breed that hails from Brittany, and is a medium sized dog with a shaggy, wiry coat.
The Hamiltonstovare is a sleek, Swedish scenthound that is used to working in packs.
The Ibizan hound originated on the island of Ibiza, and is a very lean, thin coated dog of the sighthound type.
The Irish Wolfhound is the largest of all of the hounds, and is in fact one of the world’s tallest dogs!
The Norwegian Elkhound hails from Norway, and has a lot in common with Spitz dog breeds, including a thick coat and an independent streak!
The Otterhound was once a common sight in the UK, but they are now an endangered species as otter hunting is no longer a common pastime!
The Pharoah Hound is a sighthound that is similar in appearance to the Ibizan hound, being very lean, leggy and fast!
The Portuguese Podengo can hunt by both sight and scent, and comes in three different sizes to suit all homes!
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a large, assertive dog breed from Rhodesia, with a distinctive ridge of hair along the back.
The Saluki is a lean, tall and muscular sighthound with feathered ears, and a very playful streak!
The Segugio Italiano is an Italian scenthound, which is not commonly seen in the UK.
The Sloughi is an Arabian dog breed, also sometimes known as the Arabian greyhound and with the speed to match!
Finally, the whippet is a popular sighthound breed in the UK, which is essentially like a greyhound but a little smaller!
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