The American Foxhound: A Brief Overview of This Loyal and Enduring Breed

The American Foxhound’s history dates back to Colonial America when this dog was primarily used for hunting foxes. Today, the breed is still highly regarded for its hunting abilities and its loyalty to its owners.

Let’s take a closer look at the fascinating history, physical characteristics, temperament, and health of the American Foxhound so you can decide if it is the right breed for you.

A Brief History of the American Foxhound

Origins of the Breed

The American Foxhound is a breed with a rich history that can be traced back to the English Foxhound. The English Foxhound was brought to America by European settlers in the 17th century.

The breed was then refined over several generations to develop a dog that was well-suited to the unique terrain and climate of the American colonies. The American Foxhound was specifically bred to hunt foxes, which were a common nuisance for farmers and landowners in the newly settled areas of North America.

The Role of George Washington in Developing the Breed

One of the most important figures in the history of the American Foxhound is George Washington. Washington was an avid hunter, and he recognized the value of the breed for hunting foxes in the American colonies.

He spent many years carefully breeding and refining the American Foxhound, and his efforts led to the development of a dog that was well-suited to the harsh conditions of the American wilderness.

Washington’s breeding program was focused on creating a dog that was not only fast and agile but also had a strong sense of smell and a tenacious spirit.

He was known to be very selective in his breeding choices, only choosing the best dogs for his program. Washington’s efforts paid off, and the American Foxhound became a breed that was highly valued for its hunting abilities.

The American Foxhound’s Journey to Recognition

Despite their long history and their importance to the early settlers of America, it wasn’t until 1886 that the American Kennel Club officially recognized the breed, and since then, the American Foxhound has become a beloved companion and hunting dog for people all over the world.

The American Foxhound is still used today for hunting, particularly in the southern United States, where fox hunting is a popular sport. They are also used in search and rescue operations, as their keen sense of smell and endurance make them well-suited for this type of work.

In addition to their hunting and working abilities, the American Foxhound is also a popular family pet, with a friendly and outgoing personality.

Physical Characteristics of the American Foxhound

The American Foxhound is a breed of dog that is known for its physical prowess and athletic build. They are medium to large-sized dogs with lean and muscular bodies that are well-suited to hunting and other outdoor activities.

Size and Build

Female American Foxhounds typically stand between 21 and 24 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 60 and 65 pounds. Male breed members are taller and heavier – they stand between 22 and 25 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 65 and 70 pounds.

The American Foxhound has a long, lean body and strong, muscular legs that allow easy running and jumping. The breed’s sleek and athletic build makes them well-suited to hunting and other outdoor activities that require endurance and agility.

Despite their size, American Foxhounds are graceful and agile, with a light and springy gait. They can cover a lot of ground quickly, which makes them ideal for hunting in large open spaces.

Coat and Color Variations

The American Foxhound has a short, dense coat that is typically a mix of white, black, and brown. The breed may also have tan or red markings on their face, ears, and legs. The coat is easy to maintain and requires minimal grooming.

The American Foxhound’s coat is designed to protect them from the elements while they are out hunting. The short, dense fur keeps them warm in cold weather, while the lighter coloration helps to reflect the sun’s rays in hot weather.

Distinctive Features

The American Foxhound has several distinctive physical features that make them easily recognizable. Perhaps the most notable of these is their long, drooping ears, which are a hallmark of the breed. The ears help funnel scents toward the dog’s nose.

The breed also has a strong, broad chest and powerful legs. The deep chest allows for taking in large amounts of air, which is important for hunting and other outdoor activities that require endurance.

Finally, the American Foxhound is known for their expressive eyes, which are usually brown or hazel in color. These eyes are intelligent and alert and give the breed a distinctive and appealing look.

Temperament and Personality Traits

Loyalty and Affection

American Foxhounds are known for their loyalty and affection towards their owners. They are social dogs that enjoy spending time with their family.

Breed members can become very attached to their human companions. The breed is also known for being good with children, and they make excellent family pets.

Intelligence and Trainability

The American Foxhound is an intelligent breed that can be trained to do a variety of tasks. They are highly skilled at tracking scents, and they excel at hunting and other outdoor activities.

However, they can also be trained to do more domestic tasks, such as obedience training, agility training, and even therapy work. The breed responds well to positive reinforcement and other reward-based training methods.

Energy Levels and Exercise Needs

The American Foxhound is a high-energy breed that requires plenty of exercise and outdoor activity to stay healthy and happy.

They are well-suited to activities like running, hiking, and hunting, and they thrive in environments where they can explore and play outdoors.

The breed should be given plenty of opportunities to exercise and burn off their excess energy in order to prevent boredom and destructive behavior.

Health and Lifespan of the American Foxhound

Common Health Issues

The American Foxhound is generally a healthy breed, but like all dogs, they can be prone to certain health issues, such as:

  • Hip Dysplasia: An orthopedic and genetic condition in which the hip joint is malformed, thus causing pain and limited mobility 
  • Ear Infections: Ear infections occur when dirt and moisture get trapped in the ear canal; they are painful and challenging to manage 
  • Dental Diseases: Plaque and tartar buildup are possible and, unless managed, cause periodontal disease and early tooth loss 
  • Thrombocytopenia: The breed is prone to thrombocytopenia (low platelet numbers) which results in a clotting inability and an increased risk of bleeding 

Preventative Care and Regular Checkups

To keep your American Foxhound in good health, it is important to provide them with regular preventative care and veterinary check-ups.

This includes regular vaccinations, parasite prevention, and dental care. It is also important to monitor the dog’s weight and diet, as obesity can lead to a variety of health problems in dogs.

Life Expectancy

The American Foxhound has a lifespan of between 11 and 13 years on average. With proper care and regular veterinary check-ups, however, the breed can live a long and healthy life.


The American Foxhound is an exceptional hunting dog whose bays and howls can be carried for miles. When not on the field, this dog is an excellent family pet that enjoys spending time with its humans.

If interested in the American Foxhound, research the breed and see if it is a match for your lifestyle. Also, make sure you find a reputable breeder that tests both parents for genetic conditions.

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