English Foxhound

English Foxhound
John Walton
Written by John Walton

The English Foxhound breed has been prized among English hunters for their impeccable work ethic and stamina which allowed them to continue the hunt for hours at the time as well as their keen nose. They were actually developed around the 1600’s for red fox hunting.

Breed characteristics

AdaptabilityAbove Average
Health and GroomingHigh
All Around FriendlinessHighest
Exercise NeedsHighest

Dog Breed Group:Hound Dogs
Height:17-18 inches tall at the shoulders.
Weight:37-55 lb.
Life Span:10 to 15 years

Although, they were bred to be a hunting dog, today they are most likely to be found in a conformation ring or competing in dog sports. Unfortunately, today their numbers dwindled and they are increasingly harder and harder to find. Even if one found a breeder, they most likely would have to be put on a lengthy waiting list.

They make a perfect jogging, biking, hiking or a hunting partner because of their high energy levels. This is something to consider if you have your sights set on an English Foxhound as they are not satisfied with the occasional jog, they require daily mental and physical stimulation.

The English Foxhounds get along with children, pets and especially other dogs. They are independent, kind, gentle and curious.

Main Highlights
  • The breed originated in England and as the name might suggest they were developed to hunt red foxes.
  • They were popular and prized among hunters for their boldness, stamina, work ethic and excellent sense of smell.
  • They are considered a rare and hard to find breed.
  • The English Foxhound are a high energy breed and require daily vigorous exercise.
  • They enjoy human company but thrive on dog interaction. They are not recommended for a single dog home, better adopted in pairs or to homes with other dogs.
  • The breed is not suitable for apartment dwellers because of their high energy levels and the hound bay, which is something to consider especially if you have neighbors.
  • They are not recommended for first-time dog owners as they require an individual with a natural air of authority who is consistent and firm and can establish themselves as a pack leader.
  • They get along with children and most other pets, although they might chase smaller animals due to their prey drive.
  • They are a good watch dog but don’t have guarding instincts.
  • The American Foxhound was developed from the English Foxhound and there are only have a few minor differences.
  • The breed was developed by crossing the Terrier, Greyhound and the Bulldog.
Breed History

The English Foxhounds are one of the four Foxhound breeds and they originated in England in around 1600’s where they were specially developed to hunt red foxes. They were creating by crossing multiple breeds, such as:

  • the Bulldog for perseverance during the hunt,
  • Greyhound for agility and speed,
  • the Terrier for their instincts in the field.

The breed was prized among hunters for their keen sense of smell, stamina and work ethic, being able to run and work for hours at the time.

They were first introduced in the United States by Lord Fairfax in 1738 where they helped develop the American Foxhound. One of the major differences between the English Foxhound and the American Foxhound is that the English Foxhounds are bolder and slightly slower than their cousins.

The breed has been officially recognized by the AKC in 1909 and today, they are more likely to be found in homes as a companion, or competing in Foxhound Performance Trials as well as in a conformation ring. They are considered rare and hard to find and they rank 189th most popular breed according to the AKC.


The English Foxhound males measure 22-25 inches tall at the shoulder, with the females being slightly smaller and measure 21-24 inches tall at the shoulder. Individuals weigh 37-55 lb on average.

Personality and Character

Many people say the English Foxhounds have that typical stubborn hound character. They are intelligent, kind and curious. Even more, they have great stamina and energy in spades which make them great additions for the active family.

The English Foxhounds get along with most people, although they tend to be more suspicious of strangers, but this is a great quality for a watchdog. The breed enjoys the company of their humans but they thrive on interacting with other dogs and it is not recommended to have them as the only dog in the house.

They do better when they have a four-legged friend to spend time and play with. They get along with most other critters but might chase smaller animals every once and a while.

Being a hound, they follow their noses whether you like it or not, so they must be leashed at all times when they are not in a fenced and secure area to avoid potentially dangerous situations for them and others.

They are independent thinkers, social, gentle, and fairly easy to train for the right individual.

Health and Potential Problems

This is usually a stout breed, although some individuals are more prone to certain health problems than others. When it comes to adopting, you should know that most reputable breeders test the adults prior to breeding as well as the litters for any hereditary and genetic issues and make sure the puppy has received a clean bill of health prior to the purchase, the same goes for most reputable shelters.

Be cautious of backyard breeders who often don’t have the sufficient knowledge and understanding of the breed and may cause future generations to develop behavioral problems or health issues. Never purchase a puppy or a dog from a puppy mill as these organizations usually don’t care properly for the animals in their care.

With a proper diet, sufficient exercise and regular vet visit, your loyal companion will remain by your side for many years to come.

Here are some of the conditions you should be careful about with this breed:

  • Kidney Disease: A condition which occurs when the kidneys don’t function properly and fail to clear toxins from the blood stream.
  • Epilepsy: A condition found in both humans and dogs and causes unpredictable seizures. There is no cure but it can be managed with medication. Most dogs diagnosed with epilepsy go on to live full and long lives.
  • Hip Dysplasia: A common condition in dogs, occurs when the femur doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint and may cause arthritis in old age, pain and lameness. The condition is typically treated with pain medication or surgery in severe cases.
Care Features

An important thing to consider is that the English Foxhounds are a highly active breed; they are not couch potatoes and require consistent daily exercise. They enjoy hiking, biking, running and hunting and are not happy unless they are out and about.

In the past they were highly prized by hunters for their stamina and were known to go on for hours at the time to get the job done. Therefore, they are the perfect fit for active families or individuals who can keep up with their energy levels on daily basis. Putting a backpack on the English Foxhound during their daily exercise will help vent and drain their excess energy.

Without proper exercise they may become loud, anxious, dominant, destructive, generally hard to handle and might even develop separation anxiety. It is highly recommended enrolling them in doggy sports as well such as tracking and agility, that way they can enjoy and interact with other dogs, vent their energy, keep their mind stimulated and form a deeper bond with their humans.

They are not suitable for apartment dwelling as they are moderately active indoors as well. Their perfect home would have a large fenced yard or an acreage where they can safely roam around.

They can live outdoors as long as they have a fellow companion and proper shelter, although they do better living inside with their families.

They have a keen nose and tend to follow it even if the handler doesn’t agree. It is important to keep them leashed when they are not in a secure area and also provide them with identification methods such as a microchip and a tag with the owner’s recent contact information such as the address and a phone number for a safe and quick return in case they do wander off.

The breed has a stubborn streak but they are fairly easy to train as long as the handler proved themselves to be a firm and consistent pack leader that can set clear rules and boundaries and follow through using positive reinforcement in the form of praise and treats.

Obedience training is highly recommended for the English Foxhound. They might not be the best choice for inexperienced or novice owner as the English Foxhound is an intelligent breed, but they also have a short attention span so training sessions should be kept short and interesting.

The majority if not all breeds require socialization and the English Foxhounds are no exception. The process of introducing the dog to the new world, environments, different scenarios, people, children and other animals should begin as soon as possible.

It is recommended to involve your new member of the family in as many activities and daily routines as possible. Taking them for car rides and running errands, meeting strangers and taking them to dog parks when they are fully vaccinated as well as inviting friends and family over to meet the new arrival will help them grow up to be a well-adjusted and balanced adult.

Enrolling them in a puppy kindergarten is also recommended where they can be introduced to the world under professional guidance and support.

Crate training is also an efficient training tool. It is believed to cut housetraining time in half as long as the puppy is provided with regular bathroom breaks in the same time and in the same spot, followed by plenty of praise and treats.

Crate training also helps certain dogs with their separation anxiety and provides a special spot where the dog can retreat to when tired or needing space. The crate may protect your possessions from being destroyed in a moment of boredom.

Still, as long as the English Foxhounds are properly socialized and sufficiently exercised, they are a well-mannered and obedient breed.

Feeding Schedule

2-3 cups of high-quality food is the daily recommended amount for the English Foxhound. The daily consumption is individual to each dog and depends on their age, size and energy levels. For instance, puppies and active dogs generally consume more food than couch potatoes and senior dogs.

It is important to research the type of diet best fit for your companion and also notice which brand or flavor they tend to favor. Picking a high quality, free of unnecessary additives such as grain and corn, as well as rich in meat protein dog food will go a long way in providing your four-legged friend with healthy skin and bones, luscious coat, mental and physical vitality and longevity.

It is also recommended to divide the daily consumption into 2-3 meals instead of leaving the food available at all times, eliminating boredom eating.

Coat, Color and Grooming

The shiny coat is dense and short, and common colors are usually tan, white, and black in a tricolor, hare or a badger pattern. The coat is easy to maintain and usually only requires brushing or combing a couple of times a week to limit the loose hair floating around in the house as they are average shedders.

Children And Other Pets Compatibility

The English Foxhounds get along fantastically with children! They are kind and gentle and have plenty of energy to romp around in the yard with the children. Sometimes they are better suited to homes with older children as they tend to be very playful and rambunctious when puppies and might accidentally knock the child off their feet. They have lots of love to give and make amazing best four-legged friends.

The foundation for mutual love and respect should be laid down before even introducing the English Foxhound to the home. Many dogs are being put down, surrendered to shelters or abandoned simply because the adults failed to educate the younger members of the family on proper dog handling techniques.

Any ear or tail pulling as well as general teasing should be discouraged immediately and play time between dogs and children should be supervised by an adult at all times.

Individuals in this breed are pack animals and tend to get along with other dogs, cats and other furry pack members. In fact, they do better in homes with other companion dogs, which is why it is highly recommended not to adopt or purchase the English Foxhound as an only dog. It does wonders to their happiness levels and minimizes stress and destruction levels.

It is recommended to supervise interactions with smaller critters — due to the English Foxhound’s background in hunting they might chase the animal. There are certain similar traits in every breed but it is important to treat each dog as an individual, their character and behavior strongly depend on their breeding, socialization, environment, handler and training.

The English Foxhounds are rare as a breed and one of a kind character. They have astonishing energy levels and can go on and on and on for hours at the time.

Whether its doggy sports or human sports, as long as it keeps their paws moving and brain thinking, they are happy. They are an intelligent breed and need to be occupied. Otherwise they might develop temperamental and behavioral issues.

The breed gets along with almost everyone. They are wary of strangers and might give chase to smaller animals so they would need plenty of early socialization. However, this dog is a wonderful addition to the active family or individual and the only thing better than one English Foxhound is two.

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.