AKC Dog Breeds: American Foxhound

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Hound Group
Height: 21-25 inches   Weight: 65-75 pounds  Color: tri -colored

A descendant of the English Foxhound, the American Foxhound was developed in the USA. Bred to hunt foxes, deer, and coyotes, these dogs were a favorite with George Washington. Bred to hunt in packs, this breed has a long history, and was first registered with the AKC in 1886.

General Appearance
While similar to its English cousin, the American Foxhound has been developed by its breeders to be lighter and taller, to have a keener sense of smell, and to be even faster in the chase. A large, handsome hound, its front legs are long and very straight-boned. The head is long with a slightly domed, large skull. The ears are broad and pendant, framing the face. The eyes are large and wide-set - either brown or hazel, with a sweet, imploring expression. The ears are wide, flat to the head and its tail is carried cheerfully with a slight upward curve, like a sickle. The short, hard coat may be any color. The coat is close but a bit wiry. Excessive softness is considered a liability for show dogs, though. The only bit of fluffiness allowed on show ring foxhounds is a slight poofing out at the tip of the tail. Bred to accompany their masters on the hunt, the American Foxhound is known for its stamina and shrewd nose. They were once used to chase and flush game while their masters remained on horseback ready to dispatch the fleeing beasts. Should they catch it, they very rarely maul their quarry in the course of a hunt, preferring the chase itself.

Also like a beagle,  American Foxhounds are a bit high strung and are known for their howls and yips. It is difficult or impossible task to convince these dogs that some people are not to be barked at. When they do set up a howl, it is quite loud, though music to the ears of many who love hounds. Their demeanor is cheerful and, as such, they make wonderful family dogs provided they have enough room to run around and expend some of their excess energy. They are also very pack oriented, and will readily call a human family its own and demanding daily affection. Sometimes, foxhounds are a bit nervous around loud noises and situations where they're overwhelmed by scents and sounds. This can actually send a foxhound into a frenzy of sorts, often resulting in some destructive behavior.


Although the American Foxhound does shed, he is not a very high shedder, and grooming requirements are not very high. You should brush the coat of the American Foxhound around once a week, and make sure that his ear canals are clean and dry. You can also wipe the short, hard coat with a damp cloth occasionally to keep it looking glossy and in good condition.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy

Do not overfeed this breed as he has a tendency to put on weight. The life expectancy of the American Foxhound is around 10-12 years. There are a number of health problems associated with the breed, and some of the health issues to look out for include bleeding disorders, deafness, spinal problems, and hip problems.

Activity Level

Just about any type of exercise is suitable for this very active dog, though they are definitely at their best when running through the woods. The American Foxhound's long legs and natural agility allow it to cut through undergrowth faster than you might think possible. For hounds that don't have regular access to their preferred terrain, regular exercise in a yard or even frequent walks are an absolute must for a hound kept in the relative confinement of living in a house. Apartment dwellers would do better with another breed of dog, since the foxhound is prone to very serious bouts of misbehavior when bored. Though not typically a destructive breed, they are sure to wreck havoc on a typical household when left alone too long without exercise. Many people give them free access to an outdoor pen, but be forewarned: they are well known as escape artists. Their agile minds, "soft mouths" and tall cartridge allow them to pick even rather complicated locks.


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