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English Foxhound

At first glance, you might mistake an English Foxhound for his American cousin. Since the 1600’s foxhunting was a favorite pastime among British aristocricy. It was the job of the Master of the Hounds to carefully breed their bloodlines for purity and performance…

English Foxhound Photo
English Foxhounds Waiting For Command 

Among British fox hunters today, this hound is simply known as “the English.” When the aristocrates of England “rode to the hounds,” they would generally have packs of as many as 50 English Foxhounds. Critics of fox hunting regard this practice today as un-sportsman like; what chance does a single fox have when pursued by a pack of Englishes and strong, tireless horses? Yet the English people continue to hunt foxes and can easily pull down a fully-grown deer in seconds. In the 1700s, an estate kept chickens, ducks, geese and pheasant on their property; foxes became a nuisance in stealing these birds. Since stopping at a grocery store on our ways home from work was unheard of, the aristocrisy relied on their flocks for food. When foxes became bold enough to steal from the coops, the English Foxhound was an extremely valuable asset.

The English is slightly different in looks and physiology from the American Foxhound. The English has a heavier bone structure that makes him slower in the chase. The difference in his color is not just tri-colored of black, brown and white, he is also piebald (freckled) and all-tan. His paws and ankles are sturdier than the Am Fox, giving him the essential stamina of traveling quickly over very rough terrain without injury.

In temperament, the English is dignified and well-mannered in the home. He is moderately affectionate and does well with children although he isn’t demonstrative of his affection for his family. The English is not suited for apartment or city life. He is highly social with his pack and becomes lonely and destructive without human and/or canine company. His keen sense of smell can effortlessly detect the approach of a stranger, and he’ll “give voice” to sound the alarm. However he is not a protective dog and when properly introduced, the English is friendly with strangers. Since it’s impossible to breed out the English’s hunting nature, he should not be unsupervised with rodents that are household pets.

The words “training” and “English” are oxymorons! As puppies, they easily learn good household and pack manners, but treat obedience training with disdain; why should he stay in a “down, stay” position when there is game to be sented? However, he is easily trained to compete in field trials since this is his instinctive behavior. He’s seldom trained as a show dog except in major shows like Westminster. Since his AKC recognition in 1900, and way before, the English had but one thing on his mind: hunting. In this regard, he is unchanged from his origins in the early 1700s.

Englishs’ have no major health problems and are easy to care for. Occasionally he might have a bought with hip dysplasia or kidney disease, but he can live his 10-13-year life span free of major health problems. His coat needs only weekly brushing to remove dead hairs and dirt from his protective coat.

If you should visit rural England, listen after dark for the distinctive bay - the Foxhounds are out, and on the hunt!

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