Dog Health & More
The English Foxhound was originally a hunting dog breed, designed to pursue foxes in the English countryside. Today he also enjoys life as a family companion and competes in the conformation ring. Many English Foxhounds also compete in Foxhound Performance Trials, which grade the dogs on their pack hunting skills.
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Although most of us have never seen one in person, movies, books, and cartoons have familiarized us with the image of a pack of English Foxhounds in hot pursuit of a red fox.
Wearing the familiar tricolor coat of black, white and tan, they have hanging ears that lie close to their cheeks, and a long tail — known as the stern and carried up — that tapers to a point. A description of Belvoir Gambler, recognized as the greatest English Foxhound ever bred, says, "Next to an old Greek statue, there are few such combinations of grace and strength as a fine Foxhound."
This rare breed has never made the leap to popular companion dog, but he is certainly a dog to consider if you're a jogger or runner or would like a canine friend to accompany you on horseback rides. This intelligent, courageous hound can cover long distances without a break. Foxhunters prize him for his stamina, good nose, and determination.
Those characteristics have pros and cons for people who are interested in him as a companion. For example, his stamina and determination make him a good pal for marathon runners, but his powerful scenting ability can make him desirous of following an interesting trail rather than going where you want.
He needs daily exercise, so he's not a good choice for the weekend warrior. And being a hound, whose job it is to go after prey, he must be kept on leash in areas where he could run in front of a car. On the up side, he's gentle, social, and tolerant, making him a good family dog for people with an active lifestyle who have plenty of time to devote to keeping him busy.
Because of his high energy level, he's not really suited to apartment life. He needs a daily exercise partner and a large fenced yard or, better yet, an acreage where he can run.
English Foxhounds are working dogs. If you are looking for an English Foxhound as simply a companion, seek out one that has been bred for the show ring rather than for hunting. He'll have a little less energy and drive than a field dog.