English Foxhound Guide: Family Pet & Hunting Partner

If you're on the hunt for a canine companion that's both noble and affable, you might just fall in love with the English Foxhound. I've always been fascinated by this breed's storied past and its seamless blend of stamina and sociability.

Known for their impressive stamina and keen sense of smell, English Foxhounds have been the heart of British fox hunting for centuries. But there's more to these dogs than meets the eye. They're also incredibly friendly, making them excellent family pets.

History of the English Foxhound

When I delve into the past, I find that the English Foxhound's history is as rich as it is captivating. Their lineage dates back to the late 1500s, where the need for a dog capable of tracking foxes over long distances led to their development. Nobles and hunters looking for a hearty, diligent hound, bred a variety of dogs, including the St. Hubert Hound and the Fox Terrier, to produce this iconic breed.

By the 18th century, fox hunting had become a popular sport among the British upper class, and the English Foxhound was at its heart. Their incredible stamina and strong build allowed them to pursue their quarry for hours, a trait highly valued by hunting enthusiasts. Packs of Foxhounds became a common sight, with each dog playing a crucial role in the chase.

As hunting traditions in Britain grew, so did the desire to perfect the English Foxhound's abilities. This led to meticulous record-keeping, with one of the oldest pedigree records, the Foxhound Kennel Stud Book, established in 1800. Breeders began to focus on enhancing specific traits, such as speed, agility, and a keen sense of scent, ensuring the Foxhound's proficiency in hunting.

The breed's reliability and favorable disposition also gained recognition beyond hunting circles. The English Foxhound's friendliness and sociability were noted, which later made them suitable as family pets. However, it's important to remember that their need for regular exercise and open space remains deeply ingrained, stemming from their historical role in the hunting fields of England.

In modern times, although fox hunting with hounds has seen many changes, the English Foxhound's attributes remain just as relevant. These dogs still carry the same hardworking spirit and affability that were cultivated by breeders hundreds of years ago. My understanding of the breed's rich past not only informs their present but also hints at why they continue to be cherished by dog lovers around the world.

Characteristics of the English Foxhound

English Foxhound Guide: Family Pet &Amp; Hunting Partner

When I delve into the defining traits of the English Foxhound, it's clear that this breed is a remarkable example of canine agility and endurance. Standing 21 to 25 inches tall at the shoulder, the English Foxhound is a well-proportioned dog, with a stately appearance that resonates with nobility and purpose. They typically weigh between 65 to 75 pounds, with a muscular build that's neither too heavy nor too light for their size.

The coat of an English Foxhound is short, dense, and weather-resistant, which allows them to traverse through challenging environments during hunts. Traditionally, their coats exhibit a combination of black, white, and tan colors, although variations do exist. Their hardy coats require minimal grooming, which makes upkeep a breeze for owners.

Looking at their temperament, English Foxhounds are as amiable as they are resilient. They're known for their good-natured disposition and are surprisingly sweet and affectionate with their families. While they do enjoy lounging at home after a long day of activity, it's imperative to remember they have a high energy level and require ample exercise to stay happy and balanced.

Socialization is another important aspect of their character. English Foxhounds excel in packs and are inherently sociable creatures, both with other dogs and humans. This attribute stems from their hunting lineage where working in groups was essential. However, prospective owners should note that this sociability is a double-edged sword; the breed can become lonesome without companionship, which emphasizes the importance of being part of a lively home environment.

The breed's intelligence should not be underestimated. English Foxhounds are smart and have the capacity for strong obedience, yet their independent nature bred for decisive hunting can sometimes translate into a stubborn streak. They respond well to patient, consistent training tactics, and engaging their minds is just as essential as exercising their bodies.

Regarding health, English Foxhounds are generally hardy, but like many purebreds, they have a predisposition to certain hereditary conditions. Common health concerns include hip dysplasia and ear infections. Regular check-ups and a keen eye for any changes in behavior are crucial in maintaining their well-being.

Clearly, the English Foxhound isn't just a testament to the rich history of dog breeding for specific roles but is also a versatile companion that thrives with proper care and attention.

The Role of English Foxhounds in Fox Hunting

The illustrious history of the English Foxhound is deeply intertwined with the tradition of fox hunting. Originating in the late 16th century, this breed was meticulously developed to create the ideal canine hunter. As my research delves into the specifics, it's clear that their role in this sport was not merely participatory, but foundational.

First and foremost, English Foxhounds are revered for their stamina and strength which make them capable of sustaining long chases across diverse terrains. Their keen sense of smell equips them to track scents over miles of countryside. This exceptional ability to follow a scent trail, known as their ‘scenting ability', is second to none and has been a prized characteristic throughout their history.

Coupled with their physical prowess, English Foxhounds possess a distinctively robust build. They're endowed with long legs that are muscular and perfectly suited to the enduring nature of fox hunts. Their stamina is showcased in the way they can charge through fields and woodlands, maintaining pace even as the hunt extends throughout the day.

Moreover, their role in packs is a testament to their sociable temperament. The dynamic of the English Foxhound working in unison with other hounds is a sight rooted in centuries of hunting tradition. Their ability to collaborate effectively during hunts, responding to the huntsman's horn and voice commands, underscores their intelligence and trainability.

The historical significance of the English Foxhound cannot be overstated. As fox hunting evolved, so did the breed's prominence within it. Foxhounds were not only central to this aristocratic pastime but helped shape the cultural landscape of hunting in England and many other countries. The skills and traits that English Foxhounds exhibit are a culmination of dedicated breeding and training efforts aimed at perfecting this role.

As I explore the transformation of foxhunting into regulated drag hunting and other scent-related sports, the adaptation skills of the English Foxhound come to the fore. Their involvement in these modern versions of the sport demonstrates how the breed continues to thrive in activities that engage their primary instincts.

Training and Exercise for English Foxhounds

Training English Foxhounds requires consistency, positivity, and patience. Given their history, pack mentality is deep-rooted, so I always recommend early socialization to ensure these dogs can adapt to various environments and get along with other dogs and pets. They respond well to reward-based training, and it's vital to establish oneself as the pack leader to garner their respect and attention effectively.

A key aspect of training English Foxhounds ought to include teaching them to follow commands keenly. Their inherent traits such as enthusiasm and their keen sense of smell may lead them to wander if they catch an enticing scent. It's why I emphasize the importance of recall training from a young age. Utilizing activities like scent work or tracking exercises can also be a strategic way to engage their natural instincts in a controlled manner.

When it comes to exercise, English Foxhounds are high-energy dogs that thrive on vigorous daily exercise. They're not just any regular pet; they require an owner who will actively partake in their need for physical activity. Activities such as:

  • Long, brisk walks
  • Jogs
  • Hiking
  • Interactive play sessions

should be a part of their daily routine. I've found that these dogs are happiest when they have a large, secure area to run and play. Without adequate exercise, they can become bored and potentially destructive.

Routine exercise also aids in managing their weight, as the breed can be prone to obesity without proper diet and activity levels. Balancing their energy intake with their exercise is an equation I spend time perfecting for each dog's needs. Alongside physical exercise, mental stimulation is just as crucial. They’re intelligent dogs, so puzzle toys and obedience games will help keep their minds as active as their bodies.

English Foxhounds as Family Pets

English Foxhound Guide: Family Pet &Amp; Hunting Partner

While English Foxhounds are celebrated for their hunting prowess, they can also make affectionate family pets. These dogs have a gentle and sociable temperament which means they generally get along well with children and other pets, especially when they've been raised together from a young age. Remember, early socialization helps foster a more adaptable and friendly dog.

Many families find the English Foxhound's loyalty and protective nature to be endearing qualities. However, they're not known to be overly territorial, which can be an advantage for families who frequently have guests. It's their social inclination that can make them a hit in family gatherings, as they relish in the attention and companionship.

Yet, prospective owners should be aware that their energy levels are not a myth; English Foxhounds require ample yard space and frequent interactive play to stay content. They mesh best with families who lead an active lifestyle or those who can commit to their exercise needs. This can mean regular trips to the dog park or having a robust play schedule at home.

When it comes to their care, English Foxhounds are comparatively low maintenance in terms of grooming. Their short coat requires minimal brushing, and they generally remain clean with occasional baths. However, they do shed, which is something to keep in mind for family members with allergies.

In multi-pet households, it's important to monitor the English Foxhound's interactions, especially with smaller animals. Their hunting instincts can sometimes take over, but with proper training, this behavior can be managed. As pack-oriented dogs, they often enjoy the companionship of other dogs and can thrive in an environment where they're not the only pet.

At home, these dogs benefit from having roles or tasks to keep their bodies and minds engaged. Including them in family activities or giving them specific jobs, like fetching the newspaper or waking up the kids, taps into their natural work ethic and keeps them mentally stimulated.


I've found that the English Foxhound's blend of athleticism and friendliness makes them a standout choice for active families. Their need for exercise pairs well with their affable nature, ensuring they're not just pets but true companions. With a low-maintenance grooming routine, they're a practical addition to any household. Just remember, their hunting heritage requires a watchful eye around smaller animals. If you're ready for the rewarding challenge of channeling their energy and providing the companionship they crave, an English Foxhound might just be the perfect new member of your family.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the English Foxhound known for?

English Foxhounds are primarily known for their role in fox hunting but are also affectionate family pets known for their gentle and sociable temperament.

Do English Foxhounds need a lot of exercises?

Yes, English Foxhounds require significant exercise and interactive play to stay content due to their high energy levels from their hunting heritage.

Are English Foxhounds good with children?

Yes, English Foxhounds generally get along well with children, especially when raised together from a young age.

Can English Foxhounds live in a house without a yard?

English Foxhounds are best suited to homes with ample yard space, as they are active dogs that need room to roam and play.

How much grooming do English Foxhounds require?

English Foxhounds are low-maintenance in terms of grooming, needing only minimal brushing owing to their short coat.

Are English Foxhounds territorial?

English Foxhounds are not known to be overly territorial, making them suitable for homes that have frequent guests.

Is it necessary to monitor English Foxhound interactions with other smaller pets?

Yes, given their hunting instincts, it is important to monitor English Foxhounds when they are around smaller animals to prevent any instinctual chasing or hunting behaviors.

Do English Foxhounds enjoy the company of other dogs?

English Foxhounds often enjoy the companionship of other dogs and benefit from having roles or tasks to help keep them mentally stimulated.

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