When you think of the American foxhound, you may conjure up images of an excited baying pack of dogs surrounding horse-mounted hunters dressed in traditional scarlet coats, readying themselves for the chase.
It may sound old-school, but not much has changed in the more than 360 years since the breed was developed. The American foxhound still remains a top choice of hunters, although the dog is also a faithful family companion.
The history of the American foxhound begins in 1650, when Englishman Robert Brooke settled in the Colony of Virginia with a pack of hound dogs.
The Brooke family continued to breed their hound dogs over a period of 300 years, during which time President George Washington supposedly bred a hound descended from Brooke’s line with a French dog given to him by the Marquis de Lafayette.
Dog fanciers believe it is the combination of the English and the French hounds—along with the migration of the red fox that many believe bred with the hounds—that lead to the creation of the modern-day American foxhound.
The American foxhound was bred to be a skilled hunting dog. The bred is incredibly fast on its feet and has an excellent nose that helps track deer, foxes and quarry.
While on the hunt, the American foxhound is known to express itself by “baying,” emitting a long (and loud) melodious bark that some say sounds like singing, although the breed sometimes bays when excited or happy.
The American foxhound became the official state dog of Virginia in 1966.
The American foxhound is known to be an excellent hunting companion, show dog and family pet.The breed’s gentle, affectionate disposition makes it a good addition to families with children, as well as families with other dogs. They usually reserve themselves in the presence of strangers, waiting for a signal from their owner or needing a little bit of time to warm up to a new person.
Due to the American foxhound’s years of breeding purposes, it has a high level of energy that does not make it suitable for apartment dwelling or long periods of time left indoors without any activity. Your American foxhound will benefit from daily exercise and a healthy amount of stimulation.
It is also recommended that American foxhound owners enroll their dogs in obedience training to help control any spontaneous “scenting” that may motivate your dog to pursue a scent that ultimately leads him away from home.
The American foxhound is a medium to large sized breed, weighing on average 45 to 60 pounds.
The typical American foxhound has a lean appearance, with a narrow chest, a long body and large droopy ears. The dog’s fur coat, which is short and feels coarse, can be any color although the most common colors include red, black and tan and blue, usually set in a tri-pattern with the color white.
Although the breed has a short coat, it sheds regularly; routine grooming will help decrease shedding.
The American foxhound is considered to be an overall healthy breed. Your American foxhound will not necessarily develop the condition listed below. Choosing a reputable breeder from which to purchase your pet will help minimize the risks.
- Thrombocytopathy is also known as platelet disease caused from poorly functioning blood platelets that can result in excessive bleeding from minor bumps or cuts. Although a minor health concern for American foxhounds, some owners conduct blood tests so the condition may be discovered early on. Treatment varies on the severity of the disease.