The English Foxhound dog breed is one of the popular scent hound breeds employed in foxhunting, which was a great sport of the English gentry. Today, they are popular as family dogs and companion dogs, as well as in show circles.
These highly energetic dogs are best for equally energetic people with large spaces at their disposal for providing proper freedom of movement and exercise to these extremely active dogs.
The English Foxhound dog breed originated in England sometime in the 16th century when foxhunting became an alternative to deer hunting with the numbers of deer declining due to overhunting. The breed was probably developed from Greyhounds that were known for their speed, and from a few other breeds such as the English Bulldog and the Fox Terrier. Foxhunting required not only speed, but the ability to track the prey by its scent, and to run it down with several hours of chasing that required great stamina.
Not only participating in foxhunts, but watching the hunts too had become a sport in those days. The English Foxhounds were usually used in packs for hunting expeditions, and the breeders of that time took care to make the dogs visually appealing as well for the sake of the audience. They were mainly bred for tan body with black saddle and white limbs and white on the tip of the tail. The pedigree of these dogs was well documented in 1800s, and there were as many as 140 packs, with about 50 dogs each, registered in the Kennel Club at that time.
The American Foxhound dog breed evolved from the English Foxhounds that were introduced to the United States in the 18th century, but the American breed was interbred with other breeds to make them look racier, albeit smaller.
The English Foxhound dog breed has a stouter body compared to the American Foxhound, measuring 25 inches at the withers, and weighing up to 75 pounds on an average, but some can weigh as high as 100 pounds. The long muzzle and the muscular legs help the dog scent out foxes and chase them down. The ears are folded, and the tail is thin and long. Tail is typically white-tipped, and mostly held high at the back, helping hunters trace the dogs easily among the undergrowth.
The coat is short and dense, in a combination of white, brown, and black, mostly in solid color patches, but sometimes with the white speckled with brown or black.
The English Foxhound dog breed is known for its extremely friendly nature, not only towards its owners, but also to other dogs and even strangers. This makes them excellent family dogs, especially for families with very active lifestyles. They love nothing more than a hunt, and can chase foxes all day long, if given a chance. However, they are very gentle creatures otherwise.
These dogs are highly people-oriented, and need constant company, without which they will get lonely and bored. They get along with all kinds of pets, including horses. Because they have high energy levels and stamina, they happily join in the games of children and never seem to get tired. On the other hand, lack of activity can make them destructive.
Grooming and exercise
The English Foxhound dog breed is very easy to groom as the dogs require only a light brushing of the coat once a week or so to get rid of loose hair.
As typical of the Hound breeds, the English Foxhound dog breed should ideally have wide open spaces for fast-paced running to expend its tremendous store of energy. Hence these dogs are more suitable for rural and suburban areas. Vigorous exercise regimens, in addition to jogging or brisk-walking with the owners, should take care of their need for high amounts of daily activity.
These robust dogs are capable of outdoor living round the year, as long as they have protection from extremes of temperature. Cool shade in summer and a warm and sheltered kennel in winter would suffice.
Common health issues of English Foxhound dog breed
The English Foxhound dog breed is as healthy and free of major health issues as the American Foxhound breed. Its robust constitution is attributed to the breed’s purebred status that has been kept mostly intact over several centuries. They are not known to have any breed related problems. Even common canine problems rarely affect these dogs. They have an average life expectancy of 12 years, with many dogs living for around 15 years.