The American Foxhound dog breed is an easygoing, sweet, kind, and loyal companion. This dog breed belongs to a way of life that has continued for more than two centuries, but he has the potential to be a modern-day companion as well. He has great stamina and a huge love of running which makes him a great jogging partner for athletic owners. And his mild nature makes him an excellent family dog, so long as he gets the exercise that he craves.
This rare breed still lives and works the way its ancestors did when they came to this country more than 200 years ago. Bred to hunt in large packs, American Foxhounds were developed from hounds brought by English settlers, who adapted them to suit the game and terrain of their new land.
American Foxhounds like the company of other dogs but can be a single companion dog if you're committed to giving them the exercise they'd normally get running around with their canine friends, and to spending the time to help them bond with their human family. Despite their size, they're mild-mannered unless they're in pursuit of their quarry. Then they become relentless in the hunt.
Like all hounds, the Foxhound is musical. Hounds are described as having bell-like voices, and their baying can carry for miles. It's best not to bring one home unless you're sure your neighbors will appreciate the concert or live far enough away that they won't be disturbed.
American Foxhound FAQs
- Do American Foxhounds adapt well to apartment living?
- No. The American Foxhound is a very active hunting dog. And as most hunting dogs and hounds go they love to bark. These dogs do best in places like farms or rural areas where they can run and hunt prey. (See List of Dogs Not Well Suited to Apartment Living.)
- Is the American Foxhound a good dog for novice owners?
- Not really. These dogs tend to be a bit stubborn and definitely have a mind of their own. The ability for these dogs to think is what makes them such good hunting dogs. (See List of Dogs That Are Good For Experienced Owners.)
- Is the American Foxhound sensitive to stern commands and control?
- This dog breed thrives very well with stern commands and control. Owners of these dogs need to maintain good control or else these dogs will take control of the people around them. This is the basic pack drive and instance that is found in all hunting dog breeds. (See List of Dogs That Have A Low Sensitivity Level.)
- Does the American Foxhound tolerate being alone well?
- Some dogs enjoy being alone as they can entertain themselves. Other dogs, however, not only want, but also need, to be around people. The American Foxhound is no exception. If you need to leave these dogs alone for any length of time it is best to crate them. If not, you may come home to a house that has been destroyed. (See List of Dogs That Are Poorly Suited To Being Alone.)
- Does the American Foxhound tolerate cold weather well?
- The American Foxhound, even though it has a short coat, tolerates the cold weather quite well. However, these dogs should not be kept outside all day in cold weather. Also, if it is very windy on a cold day there should be some sort of shelter for the dog so that it can get out of the wind. (See List of Dogs That Are Poorly Suited To Cold Weather.)
- Does the American Foxhound tolerate hot weather well?
- The coat of the American Foxhound is short enough that it can tolerate relatively hot weather without too much difficulty. However, if you keep your dog outside during the hot weather you should provide a place where the dog can go for shelter from the heat and sun. This is true of all breeds of dogs as sun stroke and heat stroke are two conditions that plague dogs as well as other animals because most do not sweat. (See List of Dogs That Are Poorly Suited for Hot Weather.)
- Is the American Foxhound an affectionate pet with family members?
- The American Foxhound loves to be around people and other family members. They are very strong pack animals so they need to be in groups, whether with other dogs or human counterparts. (See List of Dogs That Are Not Affectionate With Family.)
- Are American Foxhounds friendly around kids?
- These dogs are quite gentle around kids. They are tough enough to handle the heavy-handed pets and hugs that kids can dish out. The thing to remember, however, is that all dogs are individuals. Just because a breed of dog is considered kid friendly doesn't mean that a particular dog of that breed is kid friendly. The best rule here is to constantly supervise children when they are around dogs. Also teach the child how to properly behave when they are around a dog or other animals. And don't forget to properly train your dog on how to get along with kids. (See List of Kid Friendly Dogs and the List of Dogs That Are Not Kid Friendly.)
- Do American Foxhounds get along with other dogs?
- The American Foxhound is a pack dog. Therefore, they actually require the company of other dogs. If there are no other dogs in the family they do tend to make their human counterparts members of their pack and can sometimes try to control them or be their leader. Just keep in mind that breed isn't the only factor; dogs who lived with their littermates and mother until at least 6 to 8 weeks of age, and who spent lots of time playing with other dogs during puppyhood, are more likely to have good canine social skills. (See List of Dogs That Are Not So Dog Friendly.)
- Is the American Foxhound friendly towards strangers?
- The American Foxhound loves to meet new people. These dogs will quite readily go up to a stranger with a wagging tail in hopes that they will give them some attention. However, the dog should be well socialized. They need to be exposed to lots of different stimuli starting at a very young age. This is basically true of all dogs. (See List of Dogs That Are Shy.)
- Does the American Foxhound shed a lot?
- All dogs shed. Some more than others. The American Foxhound sheds basically twice a year but not a significant amount. One of the things that comes with all dogs is hair around the house. Fortunately this breed of dog is a mid-level shedder. (See List of Dogs That Shed Very Little.)
- Do American Foxhounds have a high tendency to drool?
- Some dogs just love to slobber all over the place. Especially when you are preparing their daily meal. The American Foxhound is not one of these types of dog. Probably the most you'll ever see them drool is when they are in a deep sleep when the opportunity to drool is high. (See List of Dogs That Don't Drool Too Much.)
- Is the American Foxhound easy to groom?
- Being a short-haired dog, the American Foxhound is basically a brush-and-go dog. It is best to give them a light brushing about once per week and a really good brushing two or three times a year. Usually after giving the dog a bath is a good time to really give them a good brushing to help stimulate their coat. (See List of Dogs That Require More Grooming.)
- Is the health of the American Foxhound good?
- Some breeds of dogs have a high potential for health problems due to poor breeding practices. The American Foxhound is not one of those breeds. This is one reason that this breed of dog makes a great companion for the first time pet owner. (See List of Dogs Prone To Health Problems.)
- Is the American Foxhound prone to weight gain?
- This is an active breed of dog that needs plenty of exercise. If you cannot provide the exercise that they need they do have a tendency to gain weight. Another problem is that many owners tend to overfeed their dogs. As a result of this the dog tends to gain weight.
- In the world of dogs, is the American Foxhound a big dog?
- Some breeds of dog are very large while others are small. The American Foxhound is a middle-of-the-road dog breed. They are neither large nor small. However, unless you like dogs on you, the American Foxhound does not make a great lap dog. (See List of Medium-Sized Dogs and List of Small-Sized Dogs.)
- Are American Foxhounds easy to train?
- American Foxhounds are very independent in their nature. Because of this they are not recommended for first time dog owners due to the fact that they can be very difficult to train if you are not disciplined enough to train such a breed. (See List of Dogs That Are A Challenge To Train.)
- Is the American Foxhound an intelligent dog?
- This all depends on what you mean by intelligent. For the most part these dogs are middle-of-the-road in the intelligence market. Often times these dogs will play dumb while all the time they are trying to figure out their prey or master. (See List of Dogs That Have Low Intelligence.)
- Is the American Foxhound a mouthy breed of dog?
- In this sense mouthiness is the tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite. The American Foxhound tends to use their mouth quite a bit. They love to play-bite and will chew almost anything if they are allowed. They will even give a quick nip when they are annoyed. All-in-all, these dogs tend to fall in the middle for mouthiness when compared to other breeds of dogs.
- Does the American Foxhound have a high prey drive?
- The American Foxhound is a hunting dog. Because of this they will chase anything that they consider prey. Sometimes this can include children and occasionally adults too. They will chase other pets in the house if given the chance so you need to keep your eye on them at all times if you have children and/or other pets. (See List of Dogs That Have A Low Prey Drive.)
- Does the American Foxhound have a high tendency to bark or howl?
- Again the American Foxhound is a hunting dog. These types of dogs are usually let loose in the woods to locate and chase prey. Because they can often travel a considerable distance away from the hunter they have been bred to bark and howl when they are on the chase so that the hunter can find them. For the American Foxhound this is their way of letting their hunting companion, and other dogs, that they are on the chase. If you live in an area with other families, this dog may not be a good choice for you because they are rather noisy. (See List of Dogs That Are Mostly Quiet.)
- Does the American Foxhound have a high tendency to wander?
- Since most hounds are hunting dogs there is a high tendency for them to follow a scent. This is no exception for the American Foxhound. When you are out for a hike it is a good idea to keep these dogs on a strong leash. Preferable a leash that does not extend and retract. If not you could be trying to catch your dog for many hours. (See List of Dogs Less Prone to Wander.)
- Is the American Foxhound an energetic dog?
- Some dogs are very high energy. The American Foxhound falls into this category. These dogs need and crave a lot of activity. If you are not an active person this is not the breed for you. If you jog the American Foxhound would make an excellent running companion and I guarantee that you will get tired before the dog does. (See List of Dogs That Have Low Energy.)
- Is the American Foxhound an intense dog?
- An intense or vigorous dog has nothing to do with being a high-energy dog. An intense dog is one that puts its all into everything it does. And the American Foxhound is one of those dogs. Therefore, you absolutely need to have complete control over these dogs. When walking your dog be cautious as these dogs will pull and drag you down the street. Proper training should resolve this issue and teach you how to maintain absolute control. (See List of Dogs That Are Low Intensity.)
- Do American Foxhound require a lot of exercise?
- These are very active and high-energy dogs. Because of this they require at least two 20-30 minute high activity periods per day. Tossing a ball, throwing a Frisbee, and playing fetch are all great activities for this type of dog. Also, having an owner who is also high-energy is great for these dogs. (See List of Dogs That Don't Need Tons of Exercise.)
- Are American Foxhounds playful dogs?
- If you like to play games all day long with your dog then the American Foxhound is for you. However, you would probably be better off if you have a couple of other very playful dogs in the house to keep this breed of dog company. (See List of Dogs That Are Not Playful.)
- Dog Breed Group: Hound Dogs
- Height: 1 foot, 9 inches to 2 feet, 1 inch tall at the shoulder
- Weight: 40 to 60 pounds
- Life Span: 12 to 13 years
American Foxhound Highlights
Below is a list of some of the general highlights that make this breed of dog special for their owners:
- The Foxhound is famed for his musical voice and his bays and howls can carry for miles; city living is not recommended for this breed.
- Foxhounds are easily distracted by various scents. Once he has decided to follow one, you'll have a difficult time calling him off.
- Foxhounds aren't homebodies and will roam if given the chance.
- Foxhounds are extremely active and need one to two hours a day of exercise. Take them on long, meandering walks with lots of sniffing time or take them on a run with you.
- Foxhounds aren't suited to living in cramped quarters; they need a large yard or, better yet, an acre or two.
- Foxhounds love to eat and easily gain weight if their food intake isn't strictly controlled.
- Foxhounds can be stubborn and independent, making training a challenge. Obedience training is important, however, to develop a better relationship with your dog and establish your position as leader of the pack.
- Foxhounds are gentle and tolerant and love children. They enjoy the company of other dogs and can learn to get along with cats if introduced to them at an early age.
History of the American Foxhound
The American Foxhound entered America along with the first European settlers. Later on in the late 1700s, the descendants of these dogs were bred with imported Irish, English, and French hounds. The aim of the American breeders was to develop a Foxhound that would be lighter, taller, and faster than his English cousin, with a keener sense of smell, to better suit the game and terrain of their new country.
One of the most famous early American breeders was George Washington. He kept a pack of American Foxhounds at Mount Vernon and tried to improve his dogs by breeding them to imported British hounds. When he was given some French Foxhounds by his friend the Marquis de Lafayette, George started crossing his dogs with this breed as well.
Today, there are basically four types of American Foxhounds: field trial hounds, which are known for their speed and competitive spirit; slow-trailing hounds, which are known for their musical baying and used for hunting foxes on foot; drag hounds, also known as trail hounds, which are raced or hunted using an artificial lure instead of real prey; and pack hounds, used by hunters on horseback in packs of 15 to 20 or more.
Size of the American Foxhound
Males are 22 inches to 25 inches (55.88cm to 63.50cm) tall and weigh 45 to 65 pounds (20.41kg to 29.48kg); females are 21 inches to 24 inches (53.34cm to 60.96cm) tall and weigh 40 to 60 pounds (18.14kg to 27.22kg).
American Foxhound Personality
While American Foxhounds are mainly sweet and easygoing they do have an independent and stubborn nature that is common among all hounds. These are hunting dogs and require very little direction from the hunters. Because of this they tend to do things their way and not the way of their human companions.
If the American Foxhound is raised in the company of other dogs they can be very challenging because they have bonded with their pack rather than with people. Dogs raised in a pack tend to need a lot more time and attention during training to get them used to life as a family dog.
Foxhounds need early socialization. As a trainer you must expose them to as many different people, dogs, sights, sounds, and experiences as possible. This type of training will help the Foxhound puppy grow up to be a friendly, well-rounded dog.
Health of the American Foxhound
This is typically a healthy breed and isn't known to have any hereditary illnesses. On rare occasions, an American Foxhound may have contract the following condition:
- Thrombocytopathy is caused by poorly functioning platelets and results in abnormal or excessive bleeding from minor bumps or cuts. The treatment is based on the cause and severity of condition.
American Foxhound Care
These dogs are bred to be hunters who can run for miles and because of this the American Foxhound requires a substantial amount of exercise. If he is meant to be a companion dog and not a hunter her will need daily runs or some other form of exercise so that he may burn off his excess energy. It is also best that you have a large backyard that has a high sturdy fence for him to run around in. Also make sure that the fence goes below ground by about three feet so that they won't dig under it.
Often these dogs are raised in outdoor kennels with a pack of dogs and is used to roughing it. The American Foxhound can live outdoors if he's got a good shelter and another social dog to keep him company. If he's an only dog, however, he should live indoors with his human pack so he won't get lonely.
Obedience training is highly recommended to help the independent Foxhound view you as leader of the pack. He won't respond well to punishment-based training, so use treats and praise to reward him for doing as you ask. And "ask" is the operative word. Hounds will flat-out ignore you if you try to boss them around. Keep an old Southern adage in mind when training an American Foxhound: you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
Feeding Your American Foxhound
These dogs require 2 to 3 cups of high-quality dog food per day divided into two meals.
NOTE: How much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don't all need the same amount of food. It almost goes without saying that a highly active dog will need more than a couch potato dog. The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference — the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog and the less of it you'll need to shake into your dog's bowl.
Hounds like to eat. To help prevent obesity, measure your Foxhound's food before you serve it and give meals twice a day rather than leaving food out all the time. You should be able to see a waist when you look down at him. Do the hands-on test periodically to make sure your dog's in good shape: place your hands over his body, thumbs along the spine and fingers spread downward. You should be able to feel his ribs beneath a layer of muscle. If they're buried beneath rolls of fat, your dog needs more exercise and less food.
Coat Color and Grooming
The American Foxhound coat is medium-length. It lies close to the body and has a rather hard texture which protects the hound from briars and brush while hunting in the field. There is no breed-specific coat color and you can get a Foxhound in almost any combination of colors.
Caring for the coat is easy as the American Foxhound is a brush-and-go breed. Usually a good once-over each week to remove dirt and to distribute the skin oils is all that is needed to keep their coat in good condition. They also don't require regular baths. Basically, the only time that you should give them a bath is when you notice a strong doggy smell or he's gotten into something really grimy.
Other grooming needs include dental hygiene. Brush your Foxhound's teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that lurk inside it. Daily brushing is even better if you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath.
Trim nails regularly if your dog doesn't wear them down naturally. If you can hear them clicking on the floor, they're too long. Short, neatly trimmed nails keep the dog's feet in good condition and protect your legs from getting scratched when your Foxhound enthusiastically jumps up to greet you.
You should start to get your Foxhound used to being brushed and examined when he is a really young puppy. Make the grooming process a positive experience for your dog. Praise him and give him treats during this time. Make it your bonding time.
As you groom, check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the ears, nose, mouth, and eyes, and on the feet. Ears should smell good, without too much wax or gunk inside, and eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge. Your careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early.
Other Pets and Children
American Foxhounds are patient and loving with children, and it's not unusual to hear of a child learning to walk by holding onto the family Foxhound. That said, as with any breed, you should never leave a dog and a young child alone together. They should always be supervised to prevent any ear biting or tail pulling, by either party.
Bred for living in large packs, American Foxhounds are always happy to have the company of other dogs. A bored hound will find ways to entertain himself — destructive ways that you won't like — so if no one's home during the day, it's best if he has at least one canine buddy.
American Foxhounds can get along well with cats, rabbits, and other pets if they're raised with them in the home. Even so, don't leave them unsupervised with other pets until you're sure they all get along.
American Foxhound Rescue Groups
Before you purchase an American Foxhound make sure that you absolutely understand what goes into owning one. And before buying from a breeder you should check out the rescue organizations in your area as there are many dogs in need of adoption or fostering. If you can't find a rescue organization in your area, contact the national breed club or a local breed club. They can point you toward a American Foxhound rescue organization.
American Foxhound Breed Organizations
Below are breed clubs, organizations, and associations where you can find additional information about the American Foxhound.
American Foxhound Puppy Pics
American Foxhound Puppy Pics