Easygoing, sweet, kind, and loyal, the American Foxhound dog breed belongs to a way of life that has continued for more than two centuries, but he has the potential to be a modern-day companion as well. His stamina and love of running make him a great jogging partner for athletic owners, and his mild nature makes him an excellent family dog, so long as he gets the exercise he craves.
When you see foxhunters in movies or on television — or out in the field if you live in hunt country — packs of American Foxhounds are leading the chase. Or perhaps you were introduced to the breed through Rita Mae Brown’s Mrs. Murphy mystery series, set in Virginia hunt country with a number of American Foxhounds as key characters.
This rare breed still lives and works the way its ancestors did when they came to this country more than 200 years ago. Bred to hunt in large packs, American Foxhounds were developed from hounds brought by English settlers, who adapted them to suit the game and terrain of their new land.
American Foxhounds like the company of other dogs but can be a single companion dog if you’re committed to giving them the exercise they’d normally get running around with their canine friends, and to spending the time to help them bond with their human family. Despite their size, they’re mild-mannered unless they’re in pursuit of their quarry. Then they become relentless in the hunt.
Like all hounds, the Foxhound is musical. Hounds are described as having bell-like voices, and their baying can carry for miles. It’s best not to bring one home unless you’re sure your neighbors will appreciate the concert or live far enough away that they won’t be disturbed.
The Foxhound is famed for his musical voice and his bays and howls can carry for miles; city living is not recommended for this breed.
Foxhounds are easily distracted by various scents. Once he has decided to follow one, you’ll have a difficult time calling him off.
Foxhounds aren’t homebodies and will roam if given the chance.
Foxhounds are extremely active and need one to two hours a day of exercise. Take them on long, meandering walks with lots of sniffing time or take them on a run with you.
Foxhounds aren’t suited to living in cramped quarters; they need a large yard or, better yet, an acre or two.
Foxhounds love to eat and easily gain weight if their food intake isn’t strictly controlled.
Foxhounds can be stubborn and independent, making training a challenge. Obedience training is important, however, to develop a better relationship with your dog and establish your position as leader of the pack.
Foxhounds are gentle and tolerant and love children. They enjoy the company of other dogs and can learn to get along with cats if introduced to them at an early age.
While they’re mainly sweet and easygoing, American Foxhounds have the independent and stubborn nature that’s common to hounds. They’ve been bred to hunt with very little direction from their human companions, and they don’t necessarily see why they should have to do things your way.
Foxhounds who’ve been raised in the company of other dogs, rather than with a human family, can be challenging because they’ve bonded more with their pack than with people. They’ll need more time, attention, and training to help them get used to life as a family dog.
Like every dog, Foxhounds need early socialization — exposure to many different people, dogs, sights, sounds, and experiences — when they’re young. Socialization helps a Foxhound puppy grow up to be a friendly, well-rounded dog.