The foxhound is a large hunting hound that was of course traditionally used for hunting foxes as part of mounted hunt meets. Since hunting with dogs became outlawed within the UK, the numbers of foxhounds and working packs themselves have dropped dramatically, although many hunts remain extant and provide alternative pest control services for farmers, or take part in drag hunts and other simulated hunting events.
The foxhound is a scent hound, which finds and pursues its pray using its superior sense of smell, and works well in a large pack with other dogs. They are tenacious, intelligent and have bags of stamina, as befits a working life of hunting all day.
Even up until recent years, it was extremely rare to find foxhounds kept as domestic pets within the UK, and the breed is still widely used as a working, outdoor dog kept in packs in kennels. However due to their lively natures, good temperament with other dogs and outgoing personalities, they are now beginning to be kept as pets in some cases, which is not without its challenges, but can also be infinitely rewarding for their owners.
In this article, we will look more at the core traits of the foxhound, and whether or not they can truly make for good domestic pets. Read on to learn more.
The foxhound is a bold, courageous and highly energetic dog, which responds well to clear direction and leadership but is not as biddable as some other breeds. They have open, friendly personalities and are very inquisitive, and like attention, playing, and often, are excellent with children.
They are relatively noisy dogs, prone to barking and baying, particularly when working in a pack and pursuing a scent. They are extremely amenable to pack work, and within a pack situation, will soon find their natural role in the pack order and follow the leader, both canine and human.
It would be hard to overstate the prey drive and natural hunting instincts of the foxhound, as they have been prized and bred for these traits for many centuries. Aside from the various sighthound breeds, few dogs have the determination and commitment to chasing prey that the foxhound has, and it is extremely hard to curb this trait or train the dog for good recall.
This means that they must always be walked on the lead other than when within permitted enclosed spaces for running, and may also need to be muzzled for the protection of smaller animals.
Aside from the Siberian husky and other sled dogs, the Foxhound is pretty much at the top of the table when it comes to their need for exercise. When hunting, foxhounds will be on the go with only short, irregular breaks for up to five or six hours, without flagging or tiring. Matching this level of need for exercise within the domestic home can almost become a full time job, and unless you lead a very active lifestyle, are outside for much of the day and have plenty of time to spend exercising the dog, the foxhound is likely to become bored and unhappy.
Foxhounds tend to get on well with other dogs, and are rarely kept alone or away from contact with other canines. They are happiest when in a pack, and are among the most social of all of the dog breeds when it comes to their own kind! Foxhounds are not good with smaller animals such as cats, however, due to their strong prey drives and tendency to chase.
Notably, the foxhound is very good with children, being playful, kind and friendly with people of all ages and from all walks of life.
A suburban home or small apartment is a poor fit for a domestic foxhound, and they need both a large home and plenty of safe, outdoor land to exercise on. If you live in the country and have your own land that you can fence to contain a foxhound or two, however, you might be able to make things work! Foxhounds are perfectly happy being kennelled out of doors, and many foxhounds go their whole lives without ever living inside. They are hardy, not prone to feeling the cold, and ready to work, regardless of the weather.
Foxhounds need significant amounts of exercise, and can be challenging to train for the normal commands that most dogs achieve, but it is important to view each dog and their abilities on an individual basis. If you can channel their energy, tenacity and skills into canine sports such as flyball or agility, this will go a long way towards keeping the dog happy, but as they can be stubborn to train, this may not be possible.
It is also worth noting that the foxhound is a rather noisy dog, so if this bothers you, they would not be a good pick! Similarly, if your neighbours are likely to be bothered by barking and baying, you might need to look elsewhere to find your perfect companion.