ALL DOG BREED PROFILES

American Foxhound

American Foxhound
John Walton
Written by John Walton

The American Foxhound is known as a “scent” hound, which means they are a breed that is made to hunt foxes by following their scent. They are the cousin to the English Foxhound and they are extremely sweet, loyal dogs that love to run and get attention from their family. Known to be a pack dog, they enjoy being around other dogs, so having more than one dog in the home is a plus for them! One fun fact is that their breed dates back to the early 1700s in Maryland and Virginia, and they were bred by first President of the United States, George Washington!

Breed Characteristics

AdaptabilityBelow Average
TrainabilityHigh
Health and GroomingHigh
All Around FriendlinessHighest
Exercise NeedsHighest

Dog Breed Group:Hound dog 
Height:1 foot, 9 inches to 2 feet, 1 inch tall up to the shoulders
Weight:40 to 60 pounds
Life Span:12 to 13 years

The American Foxhound prefer the company of other dogs due to their nature of being in a pack. This has been in their blood since the breed began in the 1700s. The cousin of the English Foxhound, the American version still lives as it did back in the old times. They love to hunt and search out a scent. They were made to hunt game in various terrains and can withstand both hot and cold temperatures. Unless they are pursuing a fox or other game animal, they are very sweet dogs that have a mild-mannered attitude and will be loyal forever.

One thing to mention about this breed is that they are somewhat “musical” with their hound or howls. They sound a little like bells but the sound can carry on for wide distances, thus city living is not recommended. Having a wide open space with nobody around is preferred with this breed so the neighbors are not disturbed. You can tame this natural occurrence with training, but it may not work all the time.

This breed can be stubborn and they do have an independent streak, so when they are on the prowl, you will have a hard time catching their attention. Obedience training will be needed as puppies, plus being a firm but fair, loving owner, will keep them on track. Do keep an eye on their food intake as they love to chow down and are prone to gain weight very easily. They still need to be exercised about two hours per day. They prefer to go on walks where they can sniff things the entire time, and they are great jogging companions.

The characteristics of this breed include a short, hard coat that comes in either red, black and tan, blue, or tri-colored. There is not a “preferred” color for the majority of people, as they all are beautiful. They will grow upwards of 2 feet and can weigh between 40 and 60 pounds. This breed generally lives 12 to 13 years and can have a litter size of up to a dozen. The best part is they are easy to groom and only need a brushing once a week and he will rarely need to be bathed unless smelly.

The American Foxhound could be a great dog for your if you have lots of energy to burn, can give lots of attention to him, have other dogs within the home, and even have children, as they are loving and gentle towards kids. If you have a lot of yard space, possibly fenced in, with no nearby neighbors, then this breed could be perfect for you!

Main Highlights
  • Be aware that this breed has a musical howl that can carry for large distances. City living is not recommended as neighbors will get upset with the noise. Having a more secluded home with a large yard is preferred, having wooded areas would be excellent.
  • This breed has a short coat and comes in the colors of red, black and tan, tri-colored, and blue. They can live upwards of 12 to 13 years and grow to about 2 feet tall at the shoulder.
  • This breed is not lazy. If they are outside, they are sniffing around or running off some of their energy. They love to play with kids and other dogs, which gives them a sense of family, bonding and friendship.
  • The American Foxhound is a cousin of the English Foxhound and was founded in the 1700s in Maryland and Virginia. The settlers bred these dogs for hunting and adapted them to the new terrain of what would later be the United States. First President George Washington was known to breed these Foxhounds and housed them at Mt. Vernon.
  • In current times, there are four types of American Foxhounds. These are known as the field trial hounds, known for speed; the drag hounds, raced with a lure instead of the live animal; pack hounds, used by hunters on horses; and slow trailing hounds, which are used for hunting on foot.
  • This breed is known to be very active and needs lots of exercise, upwards of two hours per day. They like to go on either really slow walks so they can sniff things out, or go on jogs with their owner, because they love to run! Because of their intense need to be active, having a big yard is recommended.
  • Known to love to be among other packs of dogs, this breed really loves children. They enjoy being around them by playing and running. They are gentle, and they can get along with cats very easily, especially if raised with them.
Breed History

The European settlers that originally came to America brought their English Foxhounds with them and in the 1700s, they were bred with other Foxhounds from France and Ireland and what came from those was the American Foxhound. The idea was to make a hound that was taller and faster than the English version and who would have a better sense of smell which would help them in the new terrain they were navigating.

First President George Washington was one of the early breeders in the United States of them. He housed some at his home in Mt. Vernon and he used French Foxhounds that were gifted to him by Marquis de Lafayette who was in the American War of Independence with Washington. During this time, many foxes were migrating or were imported to the United States and the breed began hunting various foxes. This Foxhound was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1886 and has many types of variations of the breed including the Calhoun, Goodman, Walker, and Trigg strains.

Size

The males of this breed generally grow to about 22 to 25 inches and can weigh 45 to 60, or even 65 pounds if given proper nutrition. The females will grow up to 21 to 24 inches and weigh in at 40 to 60 pounds. Having proper protein from kibble and exercising daily are very important to this breed as they gain weight very easily and need to have their food monitored.

Personality and Character

If your American Foxhound is raised around humans from birth, there will be no trouble in them adapting to their environment. They will be loving and calm for the most part. But if you get one that has been raised only around other dogs then they need a lot of time and patience to adjust to a human environment. Socializing them is important so that they get familiar with not only other people and animals, but sounds and various encounters outdoors. This helps keep them happy, friendly dogs.

They thrive when they are around their human family or their dog packs. They need attention and socialization and generally do not like to be alone. Though very sweet and gentle, they do become stubborn from time to time, such as when they catch a scent. They can develop an independent streak and will think their ideas are better than yours, which is why being a strong but calm leader is important.

This breed also gets along with children very well due to their calm nature and easy going personality. They love to play with kids and spend time with them, especially since they are full of energy!

Health and Potential Problems

The American Foxhound is overall a healthy dog breed that is not prone to any known genetic diseases or illnesses. If your dog is given proper exercise and nutrition, he or she will live a long healthy life of 12 to 13 years on average. This breed is susceptible to Thrombocytopathy, however and can also get common dog diseases and illnesses.

  • Thrombocytopathy: The one condition that this breed is known to acquire is this one, and it is caused by low functioning blood platelets which then causes lots of bleeding from ordinary cuts, scrapes or bumps. Treatment is generally case by case due to the level of severeness.
  • Parvo Virus is a viral and very contagious disease that is either defined as the intestinal form, which is most common, or the cardiac form. The intestinal form has symptoms of weight loss, vomiting and diarrhea. The cardiac form will affect the muscles in the heart. Parvo can lead to death and the dog should have shots to prevent this from happening.
  • Ear infections are common in all dogs and can be prevented by proper and regular checking of the ears. Using cotton swabs and ear cleaner can be beneficial. The most common ear issues are from allergies, mites, yeast and deep hair growth. If the dog keeps messing with their ears and you see redness, smell an odor, and see swelling, then your dog may have an infection.
  • Hip Dysplasia is a condition in which the bone in the thigh does not fit correctly into the hip joint. One way to tell if this is hurting your dog is to check for pain and lack of use of that area. While this condition is hereditary, it can be attained from other factors like diet, falling, or any injury. A veterinarian can help to provide comfort for a dog with hip dysplasia.
  • Cataracts, which occurs in the lens of the eye, causes cloudiness and therefore will give your dog blurry vision. When they become thicker, the dog can go blind if surgery is not an option. Most times, genetics are the cause of this but injury, age, and other diseases can inhibit this type of degeneration.
  • Food allergies can be avoided if they are eating a proper dog food. Contact allergies could be from shampoos, powders and other chemicals in the house. Also, inhalant allergies can affect your dog because of pollen outside or dust and mildew.
  • Diabetes is a condition in which the body is unable to process sugars correctly. Check for the symptoms which include increased appetite, being really thirsty, and going to the bathroom a lot. A dog will live with diabetes for the rest of its life so it is important to get them on insulin shots and control what they eat.
  • Elbow Dysplasia is a condition that is also common in dogs, and it occurs when the cartilage does not naturally develop, which then leads to terrible arthritis and overall pain in the affected area.
Care Features

The most important care feature for this breed is exercise, because they tend to gain weight quickly if they get lazy or are over fed. They should have about 2 hours per day of exercise, whether it is jogging, walking, or playing in the yard with the kids. This breed is naturally full of energy, especially if he catches a scent!

Getting training for obedience may be a good idea, especially if you have a real stubborn dog that does not respond well. If training at home, it is best to use treats as rewards, as well as praising them for doing what you requested. Also, this breed is known to balk if you are bossy to them, so be kind!

Feeding Schedule

It is not recommended to leave food out all day for the American Foxhound as they like to eat and are known to gain weight quickly if they do indulge themselves too much. The best thing to do is get protein filled kibble and feed your dog twice per day, using 1 to 1.5 cups of kibble for each meal. Always remember to leave fresh water out for your dog to keep them hydrated. Be watchful for any food allergies, as you may have to search out a new kibble to use. Contact your vet if your dog’s eating habits change at all.

Coat, Color and Grooming

This breed is known to have a short but hard coat that helps to protect them while they are hunting fox or other game. Their fur is perfect for being out in nature brushing up against trees and brush. While most of the time you will see a black, white and tan coat, there are other colors to choose from such as red, tri-colored, and blue.

As far as grooming this breed, they are fairly easy to care for as they involve little maintenance. They should be brushed once a week to release dirt from the coat and they can be bathed a few times per year, or when they become stinky. It is recommended to brush their teeth a few times per week, as well as monthly nail clippings. You should check their body for sores and rashes or redness once per week and the eyes, ears and nose, which can show signs of possible sickness.

Children And Other Pets Compatibility

The sweet and gentle demeanor of the American Foxhound makes them great for people who have children. They love to play and interact with the kids, as well as relax with them when they are not out running in the yard, which makes for a great family dog. They may act mild and shy around strangers, so socializing them will prevent that as they need to learn to interact with other humans. This breed also gets along, and prefers to be around, other dogs due to their pack nature. So if you have a home that has kids and at least one other dog, this breed would be a perfect fit for your home and family.

All around, the American Foxhound is a great dog that really enjoys being in a pack, whether it is with dogs or humans. They love kids and have the energy to match them, which is great. This breed can be stubborn, but using training techniques can keep that at bay. If you have a wide open space for this breed to play and howl, then you may find their sweet, gentle nature to be a perfect match for your home and family!

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

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