For thousands of years, hounds have hunted with speed, stamina, and a highly developed sense of sight and smell that allows for easy and accurate tracking of quarry. Sight Hounds rely primarily on eyesight to catch prey once spotted. Hounds that rely primarily on sense of smell rely less on speed and eyesight. Hounds have been bred to assist man with hunting and chasing small game, flushing out game, hunting vermin, tracking and to function as guard dogs. Though hound dogs are used less in modern times for these tasks, the abilities are still with the breed. Hounds are very energetic animals, and require significant exercise. There are many popular breeds of hounds. A few popular breeds from the Hound Category follow:
A glamorous breed, the Afghan Hound is a model of strength and dignity. So many people are attracted to the silky coat and Oriental expression. Sight hounds from the mountains of Afghanistan, Afghans are terrific hunters that will chase anything from a hare to the neighborhood cat. The Afghan was brought to Britain early in the 1900’s. The Afghan is an elegant dog that performs best in the showroom, and requires a great deal of grooming.
Bassett Hounds are hunters who naturally hunt hares with a slow, persistent pace successfully across long distances. In the middle ages, French monks bred Bassett Hounds for hunting in heavy cover with their noses close to the ground. The breed was further developed in the UK. Many dog lovers find the wrinkled forehead skin, long ears, and short legs irresistible, making the breed a favorite. Because the dog is happy indoors or outdoors and is calm and affectionate, the Bassett Hound is an excellent family pet.
Bloodhounds have a distinguished ability to follow human scent over most terrain. Because of this, the Bloodhound has been featured in countless detective novels. St. Hubert of Belgium originated the breed, and was introduced to England by the Normans as far back as 1066. The breed is recognized by even non dog lovers, due to it’s characteristic loose flaps of skin over the forehead, long ears, and strong, large body. The bloodhound is a low-maintenance dog that is used in law enforcement.
The borzoi is an aristocrat of the dog world. The Tzar of Russia presented the Borzoi to Queen Alexandra, launching his popularity in England. The breed is characterized by a coat with a slight wave, and comes in a number of different colours. The coat has a tendency to mat without proper grooming. The breed is swift and graceful. The Borzoi Is affectionate and faithful, though he often gives off the appearance of aloofness to strangers.
Dachshunds were originally bred to enter badger sets and bring the residing badgers out. The dachshund has been used in a great many roles throughout the years. Because of this, there are six varieties. Each of the sizes is further defined as Smooth-haired, Long-haired, or Wire-haired. There are a variety of different color variations. Dachshunds have a long, sleek body, with short legs. All types of dachshunds are ideal family pets. It should be noted, however, that the dachshund has a very independent nature that may require strong training.
The origin of this dog is not completely certain, though many experts believe it to lie somewhere in the Middle East. Drawings similar in nature to a greyhound dog have been found on ancient Egyptian tombs, and have been dated back to 4000 BC. Though the dogs were found throughout Europe, it is thought the development of the breed occurred in the UK. Show versions of the Greyhound are larger than racing Greyhounds. With a recorded top speed of 45 mph, only the Cheetah can top the Greyhound for speed. Greyhounds adapt well to human families and make gentle and faithful family pets.
Irish wolfhounds stand close to a meter high at the shoulder, making him the largest of any dog breed. Despite the appearance of the breed’s rough coat and giant size, the dogs are gentle and calm. This breed has had a shaky existence, having been affected by the potato famine and the loss of the wolf population in Ireland around 1840, but was restored in 1870. These dogs do not appear to move quickly, but can move gracefully. Because of this dog’s size, he needs space and exercise. This dog has a big appetite, and will need a robust, healthy diet. Ownership of this dog is not a small responsibility, and should be researched and considered very carefully.
This breed is big and rugged. Originally this dog was bred to spend his days in water, hunting otter. Because the dog has a rough textured double coat, he is extremely water resistant. It also means that he will bring in dirt and debris, however. Playful, fun-loving Otterhounds are not an ideal choice of indoor pet, but makes a fun outdoor pet. With his webbed feet, he is a remarkable animal that would love nothing more than to undo hours of grooming by taking a long swim with his owner as part of required regular exercise.
Pharaoh Hounds grace the tombs of ancient Egyptian tombs as paintings on walls and pottery. The elegant dog has been around and popular for thousands of years. The breed did not come to Britain until the 1970’s, but quickly established popularity. The dog breed has a rich tan color with amber eyes, and has the ability to hunt by both sight and scent. The Pharaoh Hound is a hard worker, energetic and affectionate.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a dog native to South America. As one of only two dogs in the world that has a ridge of hair growing the wrong way down it’s back, the dog is unique and sought after. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is agile and powerful. The breed was originally used by big game hunters to assist in pursuit of game, including lions. Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs are used as guard dogs on the continent of Africa as a guard dog, but the dog actually has characteristics of a good family pet, as well. The breed is affectionate, loyal, protective, and good with children, and requires little grooming, making it a good choice for busy families with kids.
Known as a prized possession for Arabs, the Saluki presents itself with grace and elegance. Salukis have a very developed hunting instinct. It is also very fast over most types of terrain, which makes him a good work dog for Middle Eastern geography. Sheikhs have kept records of Saluki ownership for hundreds of years, but the breed was not introduced to Britain until 1840, and was finally officially recognized in 1923. Because the Saluki requires a lot of attention, he does not make the best family pet. Salukis are high-strung, intelligent, affectionate, and sensitive. Easily bored, Salukis entertain themselves in often naughty ways if left alone in a home, and can damage or destroy property.
The agile, dainty Whippet has been used as a racing dog, especially in some areas of England, where records show some Whippets covering ground as fast as 180 meters in 12 seconds. The breed is gentle and affectionate. It loves the company of humans, and energetic and athletic at play. These qualities make the Whippet an ideal family dog. Similar in nature to a Greyhound, the Whippet is small enough to pick up and carry.
As noted, make sure the hound is the right dog for your family before bringing him into your home. Also make sure you can afford to feed and provide care for your new family member. Enjoy your pet!