Pharaoh Hound

by Michelle Jones

Looking at the graceful, muscular Pharaoh Hound is like looking back in time at least 5,000 years ago. He’s unique in being both a sight and scent hound. Depictions of him can be found as far back as the XIX Egyptian dynasty…Manuscripts from ancient Malta describe the Pharaoh Hound: “The red, long-tailed dog goes at night in the hills…his face glows like a God and he delights to do his work.” Indeed, this dog is known for blushing when he’s excitedly on the hunt; his nose and inner ears are flushed with blood and seem to glow! He bears a strong resemblance to the Egyptian jackal god Anubis, and during the time of Ramses the Great, he was worshiped as such. It’s thought that Phoenician traders introduced the Pharaoh Hound to Greece, North Africa and the island of Malta where he became virtually secluded from the rest of the world. In the 1960’s he was discovered and brought to France, England and America, being recognized by the AKC in 1983.

The Pharaoh Hound is an extremely elegant-looking dog with his short red-gold coat, long pointed ears and alert eyes. Although slim in appearance, he is muscular and hardy. His body structure resembles that of a Greyhound, but he cannot quite match the Greyhound’s speed and endurance. Today you’ll find him in field trials hunting rabbits and in the sport of lure coursing.

This is a dog not well-suited for apartment living. He does well in the city as long as he has a wide back yard to satisfy his energy level and exercise needs. On a long leash, he loves romps in the dog park and endless games of fly-ball and frisbees, leaping to astonishing heights to snatch his prey from the air.

In temperament, the Pharaoh Hound is calm and well-mannered in the home. He’s very loving, sensitive and gentle with his family. He likes children and other dogs, but should be strictly supervised around small animal pets lest his hunting instincts rob the family of a pet rabbit or guinea pig. His intelligence and alertness towards anything happening around him makes him a good watchdog, but he has little protection ability. Yet he is wary of strangers, warning his family with his sharp bark when the doorbell rings.

The Pharaoh Hound takes well to socialization and obedience training. With his keen intelligence and desire to please his family, you’ll often see him in field, agility and obedience trials. He loves to run and takes well to lure coursing trials. His training should begin in puppyhood; as an adult he can be too set in his ways to respond well to training. His owner/trainer should make obedience training fun, lest the Pharaoh Hound’s high intelligence cause him to be bored easily.

This is an extremely hardy, healthy dog with no major health concerns. A well-informed vet who spays or neuters a Pharaoh Hound will know that he is sensitive to barbituate-based anethesia. With a life span of up to 14 years, this dog is an ideal family companion dog who loves to stake out a sunny place and sprawl out for a nap! Because of his long back, hip dysplasia is sometimes, but rarely, seen.

If you’re looking for a unique dog that dates back to antiquity, runs and courses like lightening, and is also a wonderful family dog, you may want to give the noble Pharaoh Hound a look!