There's no doubt that hounds are very distinctive breeds of dog, they are after all among the oldest on the planet. It's not just their striking looks that gets them noticed, but the way they tend to howl rather than bark like other of their canine cousins. They are broken down into two groups and there are plenty of gorgeous dogs within each of the groups to choose from, so if you are thinking about sharing a home with a hound, you'll soon discover they come in many shapes and sizes.
Hounds fall into two groups which are as follows:
The majority of hounds were originally bred as hunting dogs because of their excellent scent and sight skills. However, each breed is unique with some being incredibly laid-back by nature whereas others are a lot more energetic and active, but with this said, they tend to be calm even when things get a bit hectic. One thing most of them have in common is their ability to dolefully howl which many people put down to these lovely dogs being sad or lonely. In truth, hounds howl much like other dogs bark. The good news is that with proper training, hounds can be taught to be quiet and not to howl at everything they hear or see!
With this said, other traits often seen in hounds are their wonderfully friendly and happy natures. They are also known to be patient when they’re around noisy and often over exuberant children. As a breed, these dogs are fiercely loyal too which more than makes up for the fact they can be a little vocal at times.
Sight hounds have a very long ancestry that dates way back. These intelligent dogs originate from the Middle East and Asia where many breeds are still highly prized hunting dogs. However, as a family pet their high prey drive can often be a little problematic and if allowed, a sight hound will happily run off after another animal choosing not to obey a recall command. With this said, in the home environment, you couldn't ask for a more relaxed character to have around, it's like a light switch has been turned off when they get home and their instinct to hunt evaporates.
Scent hounds have not been around for as long as sight hounds with the majority of them having been bred in Europe and North America. The problem with these dogs is once they put their noses to the ground, there is very little that will stop them or get in their way when they track anything down. As such they often put themselves in danger when crossing rough terrains, but roads too can be a real issue. A few breeds were bred to track injured animals whereas other breeds were bred to track prey that went up trees. One thing both sight and scent hounds have in common is the way they bay when they’ve tracked down their prey, it’s their way of telling everyone they’ve successfully done their job.
For many years, the Beagle has proved a popular choice of hound and they’ve found their way into many people’s hearts and homes. They are smallish dogs, only standing at anything between 13 to 15 inches at their withers. The dogs we see today were developed here in the UK back in the thirties, but they still excel as scent hounds because they are highly trainable and boast excellent stamina. The real bonus with these charming dogs is they boast such sweet personalities, which makes them a brilliant choice as a family pet.
The Dachshund is another very popular “hound” that’s found favour with many owners all over the world. They are great fun characters to have around and are known for being clowns. Despite their small stature and short legs, these little dogs can be quite ferocious when they decide to hunt and chase anything down. However, they are also known to have quite a stubborn streak in them which means when they want or don't want to do something, it can be really hard to get them to change their minds!
Another glorious character and one that's renowned for their skills for tracking things down with their noses, the Basset Hound is another popular breed that's found its way into many people's hearts and homes. Known to be natural “clowns”, these great looking hounds are known to be very good around children, which is why they make such wonderful family pets. However, they tend to be ruled by their stomachs so you have to watch how much they eat or you could end up with a very overweight dog something that’s never good for their overall health and well-being.
Renowned for their turn of speed and being incredibly quick off the mark, the Greyhound boasts a super character. They have extraordinary eyesight and can spot things in the far distance with no trouble at all which means you have to be extremely careful where and when you let them off a lead. However, like many “hounds” when they are at home, these great dogs turn into couch potatoes and the same can be said of their smaller cousins, the Whippet and the Italian Greyhound.
If you live in the country and love spending time in the great outdoors, choosing to share your home with a hound could be a great idea. These lovely charismatic characters have a lot to give and with so many breeds to choose from with each of them boasting unique traits, you're bound to find a dog that will not only suit your lifestyle, but be a faithful and loyal companion for years to come.