AKC Dog Breeds: Pharaoh Hound

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Hound Group
Height:21-25 inches  Weight: 45-55 pounds  Color: reddish tan color

This native of Malta harkens back to the hounds depicted in 4,000-year-old Egyptian artworks. The Pharaoh Hound is among the oldest breeds of dog on Earth. As such, they are uniquely suited to the climate and circumstance of their origin. It is believed the Pharaoh hound was bred from a wild dog - perhaps the jackal and another type of dog from the Middle Eastern region. Evidence of dogs in the Mid-East have been found as far back as 11,000 years and the recorded evidence of these dogs as companions of the Pharaohs can be found on tomb walls over 4,000 years old. These dogs are as imperious as their regal background would suggest, though quite loving in their own way. They were introduced in the UK in the 1920s and in the 1960s finally made it to America. The breed was registered with the AKC in 1983.

General Appearance
The Pharaoh Hound is a graceful, athletic sight hound. The muscles are lithe, never heavy. The head is wedge-shaped and chiseled. The flat skull and muzzle are long and slim. The small eyes are amber or light brown. The ears are very large and stand erect. The nose is tan and speckled with pink. The teeth should meet in a scissors bite. The jaw is powerful. The neck is fairly long and slightly arched. The brisket is deep and the abdomen moderately tucked up. The whip-like tail is carried down, thick at the root, tapering to a point. The front legs are straight. Removal of the dewclaws is optional. The coat is short and glossy in red or tan, often with white markings. A white tip on the tail is preferred. A white star on the chest, white on toes and/or a thin white line down the center of the face are permitted.


Graceful, elegant, and dignified, the Pharaoh Hound is an agile and energetic dog with plenty to offer to the right family or owner. These dogs often like to bark, and although this makes him an effective watchdog he may not be the right choice for those looking for a quiet life. The Pharaoh Hound does need a fair amount of exercise, but should only be allowed to run free in a properly secured and safe area if he is not on a leash, as he will chase most things that run. Although the Pharaoh Hound likes to play and exercise, he is also fond of his creature comforts and will make himself comfortable indoors. He is not a dog that likes to be overly cuddled, but he is an affectionate creature that enjoys the companionship and interaction. The Pharaoh Hound gets along very well with children, and will always be ready to play and have some fun. He usually gets along well with other pets, but smaller pets may be in danger as he has very strong chasing instincts. He tends to be cautious yet polite and inquisitive when strangers are around. In order to minimize the risk of timidity, which can run in some lines, early socialization is recommended with the Pharaoh Hound. These dogs have excellent eyesight, as you would expect from a sight hound, and are also very intelligent with a fairly good learning rate. However, training can be a challenge and this breed is best suited to those with some experience of dog ownership.


The grooming for this very shorthaired dog is very simple, since they don't even need a combing unless you're trying to get something very specific out of their hair. Usually all that's required for coat maintenance is a weekly rub with a rough rag, sometimes called a hound cloth. Their nails are dark colored and special care will have to be taken to make sure they're properly trimmed without cutting the quick.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy
The life expectancy of the Pharaoh Hound is around 12-15 years, and this is a very healthy breed in general. There are just a few health problems to look out for with these dogs, and this includes optic nerve problems and sensitivity to chemicals and drugs.

Activity Level

The Pharaoh hound absolutely requires a great deal of exercise every day, otherwise they get very anxious and their already frequent barking may become excessive. While walks certainly are helpful and a nice activity for you and your Pharaoh Hound, they really need some nice, hard running to be happy and to expend the energy that makes them such effective small-game hunters. Running alongside a bicycle is an especially good option for city dwellers.


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