The word “hound” is one that not all dog lovers fully understand, and in some instances, this word is simply used interchangeably with the word “dog.” However, the word “hound” is correctly used to describe a dog or dog breed that is used for work with hunters, to find, trace or track prey.
The Kennel Club divides pedigree dog breeds that are eligible for registration with them into several broader sub-categories of dog breeds that share similar origins or core traits, and the hound group is just one of the Kennel Club’s designated dog type groups.
There are around eighty different individual breeds of hound recognised across the world by different dog breed authority bodies and organisations, which is many more than most people realise – and in the UK, we don’t see all of them very commonly if at all.
There are around 25-30 hound dog breeds that can be found and purchased in the UK, and some of these are naturally a lot more common and popular than others. In this article, we will share some information on the most popular hound breeds in the UK.
If you are trying to pick a breed of dog for your next purchase or are just trying to establish what sort of traits you’re looking for in your next dog, there is a lot of variety and diversity to be found within the hound dog group, providing a lot of potential choices.
Knowing which hound breeds are the most in demand among puppy buyers, how much they change hands for and why they’re in such demand can help people trying to choose their next dog to narrow down their viable options and discount others, as part of researching the right choice of dog to buy.
If you want to know what hound dog breeds are the most popular in the UK, their pros and cons, and how much you might need to spend to buy a dog of the hound type, we will list the most popular hound dog breeds in the UK below, with some insights and guidance on each of them to get you started.
Read on to learn which hound breeds are in greatest demand in the UK.
Let’s start with the basics, and explain in more detail what makes a hound a hound.
The short explanation of a hound is “a dog used by hunters in the pursuit of prey,” but this is a very broad description that requires some further clarification.
Hounds are working dogs first and foremost, and this is a working dog breed grouping. However, whether or not any dog is considered to be a hound depends on their breeding and ancestry, rather than their own performance within any given working role.
A dog that has never been used for hunting and whose recent ancestors were never used for working roles either is still considered to be a hound if they come from a breed that is or was originally bred and developed for hunting. On the flip side, theoretically any type of dog could or might display the type of skills required for hunting and be used in such roles; however, if they are not from a breed that is formally classed as a hound, they are not counted as hounds either.
It is also worth mentioning the difference between hounds and gun dogs, as these two dog type groupings sometimes work together or appear to perform similar roles at a glance. Gun dogs also work with hunters, but they do not pursue live prey. They might flush out prey or “point” for it, and recover downed game birds and small prey to carry back to their handlers, but they never pursue or attempt to catch fresh prey themselves.
A working hound’s duties and roles can be highly varied, and designed to enhance or utilise specific skills the dog possesses, which can apply in practice in various different ways. The hound group itself is further divided up into three sub-categories, each of which possess their own unique combination of skills and core traits. These sub-categories are:
Sighthound dog breeds are able to catch prey thanks to their incredibly fast sprinting speed and ability to take off from a standstill at high speed, and the fastest-running dog breeds of them all are all sighthound breeds.
The dog breeds with the very best senses of smell in the canine world are scenthounds.
In terms of the types of prey that hounds might pursue, this can be quite variable, and not all hound roles are tasked with catching and killing prey either. Everything from small prey like rabbits to large game animals like deer and elk can be hunted with hounds, and fox hunters hunt with hounds, but there are a number of other working roles that some hounds are adept at performing too.
Greyhound racing, for instance, harnesses the sighthound’s core traits to pursue a fake rabbit around a track to identify the fastest dog, even though there is no live prey involved. Drag hunting and other forms of following a deliberately lain false scent trail is another application for hound work as well. Search and rescue dogs that look for missing persons, evidence, or fugitives are often scenthounds seeking prey, but not to kill it!
Hounds can and often do work as sniffer dogs and detection dogs, searching for things like crime scene evidence, buried bodies, missing persons and fugitives, and even potentially working with the police and military to sniff out things like drugs, weapons, bombs, and trafficked persons.
The full range of applications for hounds of all types are diverse and varied, and given the number of hound breeds there are in the UK and their various different skill sets, lots of options available to choose from.
Remember, it is a dog’s type and breed that dictates whether or not they are classed as a hound – not whether or not any individual dog has ever worked in a hound-type role.
Whilst hounds were originally bred and developed for working roles, most hound breeds kept in the UK today are kept mainly or wholly as pets and companions rather than as working dogs. Even many dog breeds that were up until very recently in their history kept more or less exclusively as working dogs have made a successful transition to domestic life. However, hounds retain a great number of core traits that reflect their hunting origins, and which manifest in various different ways in domestic hound dogs.
Perhaps the main uniting trait that all hound dog breeds have in common is an incredibly strong prey drive and an instinctive urge to pursue what the dog perceives as prey. This means that the owners of hounds need to take care to protect wild animals and other pets like cats when out and about with their dogs, using close supervision, leads and potentially muzzles when running freely, as well as training the dog to exhibit reliable recall skills.
Before we get to listing the UK’s most popular hound dog breeds, first of all it is a good idea for us to explain how we determined the rankings, and the information that we used to do so.
Pets4Homes is the biggest and busiest pet classifieds website in the UK, hosting more adverts for dogs for sale in the UK than any other website. When people place an advert for dogs for sale here, we collate anonymous information about the adverts themselves to collate statistics on the wider trends happening across the site as a whole.
This includes metrics such as what breed advertised dogs come from, whether they are pedigrees or non-pedigrees, and the asking prices for each dog too, where supplied. This in turn enables us to build up a database of information on what dog breeds are advertised here in the greatest numbers, how many dogs advertised over the course of a year for each breed are pedigrees, and the average asking prices for each dog breed offered for sale.
The information that we share with our readers is compiled from data and statistics collated here on Pets4Homes, and does not take into account dogs for sale advertised on other platforms instead of here. However, as the largest pet classifieds site in the UK, our own data provides a comprehensive snapshot of the wider state of the market, which is as true as possible to an accurate picture of the UK market as a whole as any platform or website would be capable of achieving.
This means that our figures on the number of dogs of each hound type advertised in any year here (and their advertised prices) don’t reflect all dogs in the UK – only the ones showcased here.
The list of the UK’s most popular hound dog breeds that we’ll share below was formulated based on the recognised hound dog breeds that were advertised in the greatest numbers here on Pets4Homes throughout the entire course of 2018, the most recent year for which we have a full set of data to work with.
To expand on the insights that this information provides, we’ve also divided up the pedigree and non-pedigree numbers of our mentioned hound breeds to give an indication of the popularity of pedigree dogs of each breed versus non-pedigrees, based on the information given by advertisers.
In terms of the pricing details we will provide for each hound dog breed, we have provided the averages for 2018 adverts based on the advertised price across the board for dogs of each respective hound breed. Please note that this is the averaged asking or advertised price, rather than the eventual sale price that may be achieved by the breeder.
Not all puppy sellers indicate pricing information within their adverts, and so we have discounted ads with no price given in order to ensure that this does not artificially alter the accuracy of the results. We also discounted dogs that were advertised for sale at less than £100 or more than £8,000 each, again, to ensure that errors, unusual anomalies or the occasional dogs that fall well outside of their breed’s usual pricing norms don’t skew the results.
Finally, the figures that we provide for the number of dogs of each hound type based on their popularity reflects the number of adverts for each breed placed here during the twelve months of 2018, rather than the exact number of individual dogs for sale.
Many breeders use one advert to showcase a whole litter together rather than creating individual adverts for each puppy from within a litter, and so our figures are based on the number of adverts placed during the given time period, and not the precise number of individual dogs.
With this in mind, we’ll now present Pets4Homes’ list of the most popular hound dog breeds in the UK in reverse order, along with some insights into the pricing averages for each breed and a little more information about each of them.
The greyhound is one of the best-known dog breeds in the world, and their distinctive physical appearance ensures that they are easily spotted when out and about. They are also really well established within the UK, largely as pets but also of course for greyhound racing, although the popularity of dog racing in the UK and greyhound racing in particular has been falling for many years now.
Given the fact that the greyhound is perhaps one of the better-known hound dog breeds and that most dog owners know of at least a couple of dogs of the breed living in their local area, it may be something of a surprise to see them at the bottom of our hound popularity list in eighth place. We’ll get into an explanation of the potential causes for this relatively low ranking shortly, but first, let’s look at the figures.
As you can see, the total number of greyhounds advertised here in 2018 was just 53 dogs, which is a very low number, and if you tend to notice which types of dogs you spot most commonly out and about in the UK, you may have expected the figure to have been significantly higher.
As we mentioned in the greyhound’s introduction, this is a dog breed that is popular as a racing dog a well as a pet, which is the cause of some controversy within the breed as a whole because of the welfare implications for racing dogs, and the treatment of dogs used for racing. Retired greyhounds that are no longer considered to be suitable for racing tend to be offered for rehoming rather than kept by their racing owners, although this is of course by no means always the case.
There are a large number of charities and organisations in the UK tasked specifically with rehoming retired racing greyhounds and other ex-racing dogs, and a high number of available greyhounds for adoption at any one time does of course help to ensure that a significant number of people looking to own a greyhound will choose to adopt rather than buy.
Greyhound racing is less popular in the UK today than it was a couple of decades ago, and so the number of racing greyhounds retired each year is lower too – but a lot of racing dogs are imported (often from Ireland) rather than bred here, and so many of the greyhounds within the UK’s whole population will be dogs that were never offered for sale or registered with the Kennel Club in the UK.
This is a very broad, generic picture of course, but might go some way towards explaining the low-ish number of dogs of the breed advertised here in 2018. It also helps to contribute to the relatively competitive average prices commanded by greyhound sellers in the UK, at under £300 for non-pedigree dogs. Even the £600 figure average for pedigree Greyhounds for sale is a fairly low cost for a large dog breed.
Next, let’s talk a little bit more about what type of hounds greyhounds are, and their core traits.
The greyhound is a sighthound, and perhaps the best-known sighthound breed of all of them. The breed is also widely recognised as being the fastest dog breed of them all, which is why they became so popular as racing dogs. Greyhounds are very tall and large dogs, but they are not heavy or stocky. The greyhound build is long, sleek and narrow, with very long, finely built legs. These traits help to enable the greyhound to get up to top speed quickly and achieve running speeds of up to 40mph when going flat out!
However, despite the amazing running speed greyhounds are capable of reaching, this is one breed that has a real reputation for laziness, and greyhounds are some of the most shameless couch potatoes of all dogs! Assuming that the dog has the chance to go for a couple of daily walks and run off the lead to stretch their legs and work off their excess energy, this is a breed that is very calm and quite within the home, and many greyhound owners will tell you that their dogs can rival cats in terms of how long they are willing to sleep for.
However, greyhounds like to have company, either of other dogs or people, and they don’t really like being left alone at home for very long and may become anxious or destructive.
The greyhound coat is easy to care for, not needing a lot of maintenance and not being prone to shedding heavily, which makes them a good choice of pet for domestic homes. They also have a reputation for being laid back and lovely with children, and they are as a whole very loving and affectionate dogs that enjoy spending lots of time with their families.
The breed falls firmly in the middle of the pack in terms of canine intelligence, and this actually makes them quite straightforward to teach basic commands to, and dogs of the breed tend to be obedient and reliable in their reactions. However, like all hounds and particularly sighthounds, greyhounds have an incredibly strong instinctive prey drive, and they can and will pursue all manner of smaller animals when out and about if they are not prevented from doing so.
This means that the greyhound can pose a real threat to pets like cats and also of course wildlife, and it is unusual to be able to train a greyhound for fully reliable recall when they are in pursuit of another animal.
Greyhound owners need to provide opportunities for their dogs to run safely off the lead, and so need to identify local enclosed areas where this can take place, keeping their dogs on the lead in other areas and potentially muzzling their dogs when loose to protect other animals.
In terms of greyhound health, the average lifespan of dogs of the breed is around 9-11 years, which is around the slightly low side of the average range for equivalent dog breeds of a similar size. Whilst greyhounds do tend to be fairly healthy dogs as a whole, their lean builds and fine legs can be vulnerable to damage when the dog runs, and there are also a number of hereditary health issues that can be found in some dogs of the breed too.
Greyhound breeders are strongly advised to undertake pre-breeding health screening for congenital deafness and also neuropathy in their breeding stock, and any greyhound seller you are considering buying a puppy from should be able to advise you at length on their health of their breed lines, and share the results of any health tests they have undertaken on their breeding stock.
The Saluki is a lean, lithe and leggy hound breed that falls very firmly within the sighthound group, and which has a very typical sighthound appearance that enables most dog lovers to pinpoint the dog’s type, if not their exact breed. The Saluki is also sometimes known as the gaze hound or gazelle hound.
The first thing you’ve probably noticed when you look at the number of adverts placed and the average Saluki advertised prices in 2018 is that this appears at a glance to be another very cheap breed of dog to buy, with an average cost of just £327 each. However, the huge number of non-pedigree adverts compared to pedigrees is largely responsible for this seemingly low figure, and with just twelve pedigree dogs of the breed advertised in 2018, the inherently lower cost of non-pedigrees and their much larger numbers brings down the average price significantly.
Pedigree Salukis advertised here in 2018 were offered for sale at more than double the cost of non-pedigrees, and they are also a lot scarcer compared to their non-pedigree relatives.
This means that if you want to buy a pedigree Saluki specifically, it may take you some time to find a breeder with a litter for sale or a planned litter that you can express an interest in, and you may need to travel some way to buy them.
Salukis are large dogs, but their size rating comes from their height rather than their build. Salukis are tall, but very lean and lithe with long legs, deep but narrow chests, and a very aerodynamic profile, which helps them to run at top speeds of up to over 40 miles per hour. In fact, whilst the greyhound is the dog breed most widely recognised as the world’s fastest dog, the fastest individual dog ever recorded is credited by the Guinness Book of Records as a Saluki – and these dogs also have more endurance and can run for longer than most other sighthound breeds too.
This means that unlike most other sighthound breeds (which tend to be quite lazy on the whole) the Saluki is a high-energy dog that needs a significant amount of exercise every day to keep them happy, including plenty of time running safely in a secure enclosure off the lead. This is also quite a highly-strung breed that can be prone to anxiety and stress, and which is very intolerant of being left alone at home for any length of time.
Salukis are reputed for being very good with children and often, very affectionate with smaller family members, as well as being loyal, loving, and forming strong bonds with their families as a whole.
The breed is fairly low-maintenance on the grooming front, and they aren’t particularly heavy shedders either, which means that they don’t require a lot of brushing or hours hoovering up shed hair in the home.
They’re around the low to average end of the spectrum in terms of their intelligence, and can be something of a challenge to train, often taking a long while to pick up new commands and not necessarily exhibiting them reliably in all situations, although this can of course be highly variable from dog to dog.
Like all sighthounds, the Saluki has an incredibly high prey drive, and will naturally seek out and hunt prey. This means that the dog’s exercise needs to be planned in order to keep wildlife and smaller pets like cats safe from the dog, and that they should be kept on a lead outside of the home other than when in a safely enclosed area to protect the dog from injury if they run off after prey, and to protect other animals too.
The Saluki has an average lifespan of around 12-14 years, and this is a very ancient dog breed that has not been hugely altered from the breed’s original traits and appearance. However, Salukis have elevated risk factors for a few breed-specific hereditary health issues that can present in individual dogs, including heart problems, and hereditary deafness.
Saluki breeders are advised to undertake heart testing and BAER deafness testing on their breeding stock, and also encouraged to register their dogs in the Saluki DNA database, which monitors and records the breed’s health across the entire population of participating dogs to secure the breed’s future in good health.
Participation in Saluki health schemes is much more common amongst breeders who produce pedigree Salukis, and this is something that anyone considering buying a non-pedigree dog of the breed in particular should bear in mind. However, not all breeders of pedigree Salukis necessarily go through all of the recommended health testing protocols themselves, so ensure that you understand what tests and schemes your breeder of choice participates in before you commit to a purchase.
The Rhodesian ridgeback is a large and quite imposing-looking dog breed from the hound group, which has a lot of presence and self-assurance, as well as a handsome appearance that appeals to many different types of dog lovers.
Rhodesian ridgebacks have a long and distinguished reputation as very fearless hunting dogs, and in their home country of Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia), were prized for their ability and willingness to hunt and take on lions and other big game animals that might threaten livestock or even people within the dog’s territory.
The Rhodesian ridgeback breed as a whole is one that is the topic of some debate and discussion in terms of what type of hounds they actually are, and some arguments can be made that they are not hounds in the traditional sense at all, because they don’t share all of the most common and universal hound traits.
Generally, Rhodesian ridgebacks are considered to be either scent hounds or mixed-use hounds, using both scent and sight to hunt. Ridgebacks don’t share the typical conformation of scent hounds, which tends to be stocky and muscular to provide endurance rather than lean and lithe to provide the type of speed sighthounds need to hunt, and the debate over the proper classification of the breed’s hound status continues today. Additionally, when the Rhodesian ridgeback first began to achieve recognition as a pedigree breed internationally, they were classed as gun dogs in the first instance in many countries before being moved to the hound group.
The Rhodesian ridgeback’s name refers to a very unique trait that most dogs of the breed possess, which is a line of fur along the spine that grows in the opposite direction to the rest of the coat, providing a distinctive ridge along the dog’s profile.
Ridgebacks are large, confident dogs that can be very territorial and wary of strangers, and which require a confident and experienced owner to manage them and provide an appropriate lifestyle for dogs of this type.
They have an extremely high need for exercise and play, and require a lot of walks and varied entertainment every day to keep them happy and fulfilled. This, along with the large size of dogs of the breed, means that they’re not a good fit for all types of homes and owners, and they are not a dog breed to choose lightly.
Rhodesian ridgebacks are around the middle of the pack in terms of their intelligence and working ability, and they have a strong prey drive and watchful nature that means that they will usually spot potential prey before their handlers, and so owners need to take care to keep the dog on the lead where appropriate, muzzle if running loose in unenclosed areas, and/or train the dog for excellent recall ability, where possible.
On the plus side, the Ridgeback coat isn’t particularly heavy shedding, and dogs of this type don’t need a lot of grooming. Rhodesian ridgebacks are also very loyal dogs that form strong bonds with their families and are often very protective over them, and they are very gentle and affectionate with people that they love and trust, which makes them very rewarding to own.
However, they are better suited to families with older children than those with very young ones, as they can be dominant with younger family members.
In terms of Rhodesian ridgeback health, the average lifespan for dogs of the breed is quite variable, ranging between 9-15 years which is quite a large range. There are a collection of hereditary health conditions that can affect Rhodesian ridgebacks too, one of which relates to the breed’s signature ridge of fur along the back. This is called dermoid sinus, and may require surgical correction.
There are also quite a number of other health issues that can be found within the breed, some of which can be tested for prior to breeding any two parent dogs. Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme members are required to undertake several health tests to retain their Assured Breeder status, and other ridgeback breeders are strongly encouraged to do the same.
Whether you are considering buying a pedigree or a non-pedigree Rhodesian ridgeback, researching the breed’s health is really important, and you should talk to breeders at great length about the health tests they undertook on their own dogs prior to breeding.
You should also ensure that you understand the breed well enough to make an informed decision on buying one, and being able to manage them and provide an appropriate lifestyle too.
The Basset hound is a medium sized scent hound that was originally bred and developed for hunting hare. Many of us over a certain age know Basset hounds as “Hush Puppies,” after the shoe brand of the same name that used Bassets as their mascots and as part of marketing campaigns.
Whilst they’re not among the most commonly seen dogs in the UK today, their distinctive looks make Basset hounds very memorable, and most dog lovers would recognise the breed on sight.
Basset hounds are scent hounds, and have one of the most acute senses of smell of any dog breed – second only to the bloodhound, the best scenting breed in the world. This makes Bassets very useful