Types of Hound Dog Breeds
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Hound dogs are the original hunting dogs, used to help their human guardians chase down prey. This was a particularly important role for many communities who needed all the help they could get in providing food for survival. While they are still used in hunting, many hound dogs are more common as a companion animal. Despite making great pets, hound dogs still have much of their hunting instinct in tact. This means potential guardians will have to be considerate of certain behaviors and guide them accordingly.
At AnimalWised, we discover 15 types of hound dog breeds. We learn a little about the character and appearance of each dog, as well as provide photos for further reference.
What is a hound dog breed?
A hound dog is a type of hunting dog that is used to chase down and track prey. This means they have to have certain traits which make them particularly adept at this task. A very acute sense of smell is one of the most important abilities in a hound dog. So too is a high intelligence since it allows them to both track an animal, as well as learn how to interact with their human guardian when doing so.
Hound dogs are grouped according to various criteria, something which is carried out by breed standard organizations. These include the International Canine Federation (FCI), the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Royal Kennel Club (RKC) and others. Group 6 of the FCI contains all hound dogs, as well as trail dogs and similar breeds. Generally speaking, hound dogs are grouped according to the following abilities:
- Scent hounds: scent hound dog breeds are those which relies mainly on their sense of smell to track and chase prey. It doesn't mean they have poor vision, but it does mean their sense of smell is dominant.
- Sighthounds: in comparison to scent hounds, sighthound dog breeds are more reliant on their sense of vision to track and chase.
- Mix: the remaining hound dog breeds rely on a mixture of both sight and vision.
Although hound dog breeds are canines which enjoy education, some of them can be a little obstinate. Training and education are essential for all dogs, but hound dogs will need strict guidance to ensure they avoid behavioral problems. This means hound dogs are not always the best choice for all families thinking of adopting a dog.
Also known as the St. Hubert Hound, the Bloodhound is originally from Belgium. Soon after their original development, they were brought to various Anglo-Saxon countries where they developed into the breed they are known as today.
It is a dog with a very recognizable appearance. They are also one of the largest types of hound dog breeds, with some weighing over 120 lb/54 kg. Their hangdog look is perhaps their most recognizable physical traits, since their skin is loose and wrinkled. They are thought to be the dog with the best sense of smell in the world, so they require a lot of tracking and scent stimulation exercises.
As a pet, they are a calm, noble and very faithful animal to their family. They love to spend a lot of time with people close to them. They can also be quite vocal and somewhat stubborn, two characteristics which need to be considered when training and educating them.
Discover more dogs with a similar appearance in our article on the most wrinkly dog breeds.
The Foxhound is a breed of hound dog of British origin. Despite these British origins, they have had such a significant development in the US that there are currently two varieties recognized by the FCI, the English Foxhound and the American Foxhound.
This exceptionally athletic and hardy dog arose more than two hundred years ago. In the 19th century, English monarchs and highborn lords organized hunts on horseback in which large packs of Foxhounds participated. These dogs spent long days tirelessly chasing the trail of wild foxes. To this day, this breed is still closely linked to big game hunting, so there are few specimens that live with families as pets.
Foxhounds are high-energy, sociable and expressive dogs. They look similar to Beagles, but are taller and more slender. They can reach over 71 lb/32 kg in weight in some cases.
Just as the Foxhound is a type of hound dog specially bred and selected for fox hunting, the Coonhound is a breed that specializes in finding and chasing raccoons. This is an abundant prey in their country of origin, the United States of America.
Also similar to the Foxhound, there are different types of Coonhound breeds. They include the following:
- English Coonhound
- Redbone Coonhound
- Red and Black Coonhound
- Bluetick Coonhound
- Treeing Walker Coonhound
The Coonhound originated with the aim of obtaining a breed of dog capable of working under extreme temperature conditions and in difficult terrain. The result is a very powerful and resistant dog. This hound dog breed arises directly from other hounds such as the Foxhound and Bloodhound, dogs with which it shares many physical and temperamental characteristics.
The Coonhound is a large, muscular dog with floppy ears and a long muzzle. Although it can have a coat of various colors, the most characteristic is black and tan.
Learn more about one type of Coonhound with our American English Coonhound breed file.
Known in its native tongue as Sabueso Español, the Spanish Hound is the only hound dog originating from Spain. It is a medium-sized dog with a long-lined body and relatively short legs compared to its torso. Like many different types of hound dog breeds, it has large, drooping ears, an elongated muzzle and a thin tail.
This breed was first written about in the 14th century. Since then, Spanish hounds have been bred and frequently used in hunting different animals, including wild boars, bears, wolves and hares. Accustomed to living in a pack, these dogs are excellent trackers and tend to bark when something catches their attention. This means they can be noisy at home.
Although some dogs may be naturally more vocal, discover when this can be a problem with our article on why a dog is barking so much.
The Beagle is probably the most famous type of hound dog in the world. This is due to many factors, including the fact they were bred with the aim of being a relentless tracker of rabbits and hares. It has become one of the most valued dogs as a family and companion animal.
The Beagle is a small-to-medium-sized dog, with a weight ranging from around 20-26 lb/9-12 kg. They can have a tricolor or bicolor coat and have characteristic floppy ears and a robust body. They are also very vocal and can be quite stubborn.
They are small in size, docile, playful and sociable. They will prefer life in the country, but have adapted well to living in more populated areas and can even be considered good apartment dogs. However, they can become stubborn and will need plenty of exercise and stimulation to have health and wellbeing. They are a dog breed prone to obesity, so we need to be extra careful with their diet and exercise.
The Harrier is a hound dog breed that is physically very similar to both the Beagle and the Foxhound, but with an intermediate size between the two breeds. The Harrier is another type of hound dog of British origin. They were meticulously bred and genetically selected to enhance their sense of smell, which it uses to search for tracking. The Harrier has been used since the 13th century in hunting rabbits and other small animals.
Although these types of hounds descend from the Foxhound, their current great similarities with the Beagle is due to to the fact that Harriers have been regularly crossed with the latter since the 19th century, especially in France. This has given rise to a breed recognized by the FCI under the name of Beagle-Harrier.
The Basset hound is an easily recognizable hound dog breed due to its curious morphology that has made it a much-loved breed all over the world. This is especially in Anglo-Saxon countries where it is common to see them as pets.
The Basset Hound descends from the Bloodhound. The two breeds have a very similar appearance, but the Basset Hound is much smaller in size. Their body is very robust and elongated, but the legs are very short in proportion to the rest of their body. This makes them a somewhat delicate dog and a breed sensitive to being overweight, which should be avoided at all costs. They are generally tricolor although there are also bicolor Basset Hounds.
As a companion animal, the Basset Hound is a calm, friendly and affectionate dog. It is also usually very stubborn and strong-willed, so it is a more appropriate dog for people with some experience in dog training.
Discover how to tell the difference between a Beagle and a Basset Hound with out comparative guide to these breeds.
Other types of hound dog breeds
Although this article has collected the characteristics of the best-known hound dogs in the world, the FCI alone recognizes a total of 65 dog breeds which are classified as ‘hounds’. They are divided by size into small, medium and large hound dog breeds.
Some examples of other types of hounds are:
- Brazilian Tracker
- Polish Hound
- Slovak Hound
- Finnish Hound
- Hamilton hound
Learn more about different types of hunting dog with our article on the types of Setter dogs.
If you want to read similar articles to Types of Hound Dog Breeds, we recommend you visit our Comparisons category.