The Cretan Hound: Everything You Need to Know About the Dog Breed

Hailing from the Greek island of Crete, the Cretan Hound is perhaps the oldest European hunting dog. Despite the rich heritage, the breed is very rare in modern times. 

In this article, we will explore the Cretan Hound breed and discuss everything you need to know – from ancestry and initial roles to personality and health issues. 

History of the Cretan Hound 

The Cretan Hound is one of the oldest hunting dog breeds in Europe, with a history starting well before written records – probably, sometime before 3200 BCE and Neolithic times. Therefore, the history is breed is not very well known.

The Cretan Hound Dog Club says that ancient artworks discovered in prehistoric settlements in Crete depict Cretan Hounds. In the Heraklion Archeological Museum, there are stones, utensils, and objects featuring the breed’s ancestors. 

Physical Characteristics of the Cretan Hound

The Cretan Hound is a slender and incredibly agile dog with a distinctive appearance that sets them apart from other breeds. Here is a closer look at the breed’s physical traits. 

Size and Weight 

The Cretan Hound is a medium-sized dog and surprisingly lightweight. Breed members typically weigh between 33 and 49 pounds, which makes them easy to carry and transport.

Male Cretan Hounds stand between 20 and 24 inches tall at the shoulder, while females around 20 to 23 inches. The height allows them to navigate over tall grasses and other obstacles when hunting.

Coat Type and Color 

The coat of the Cretan Hound is short, smooth, and flat. It comes in a range of colors, such as white, cream, sandy, grey, black, fawn, or brindle. Bi and tri-colored coat options are also possible. 

In terms of maintenance, the Cretan Hound requires moderate grooming. Weekly or bi-weekly brushing and monthly bathing are enough. Nail trimming, ear cleaning, and dental care are also imperative. 

Distinctive Traits 

The Cretan Hound has a lean build with a deep chest and long, muscular legs. This body type allows them to move quickly and easily, making them great hunting companions.

Perhaps the most striking feature of the Cretan Hound is its ears. They are often large, pointed, and typically stand erect when the dog is alert, giving a regal appearance.

Temperament and Personality

While the physical characteristics of the Cretan Hound are certainly impressive, it’s their temperament and personality that truly set them apart. These dogs are known for their high energy levels, intelligence, and loyalty to their owners.

General Disposition 

Cretan Hounds have a unique set of personality features – they are great hunting companions but also make wonderful family pets. On the field, they are skilled and focused, and at home, relaxed and affectionate. 

Socialization and Training 

Cretan Hounds are incredibly social dogs and thrive on human interaction. They are great with children and other pets but may be wary of strangers. Early socialization is essential to ensure healthy behavior in different situations. 

They are also very independent and can be stubborn at times, which makes training a bit of a challenge. Positive reinforcement techniques and consistency are essential for the successful training of Cretan Hounds. 

Physical and Mental Stimulation

Cretan Hounds have go-all-day stamina, and they require plenty of exercise and stimulation each day. Breed members are happiest when they have a job to do, whether it’s hunting or playing fetch in the backyard.

Developed to work without much rest, the Cretan Hound thrives on physical and mental stimulation. If not properly challenged, the breed gets bored and destructive – prone to digging, barking, chewing, etc. 

Health and Lifespan

Common Health Issues

The Cretan Hound can be prone to several health issues, such as:

  • Hip Dysplasia: A hereditary condition in which the bones forming the hip joint grow at different rates causing joint laxity, which results in pain and impaired mobility 
  • Ear Infections: Because of the anatomy of the ears, the breed is susceptible to ear infections, which can be painful and hard to treat, especially if they affect the middle ear 

Lifespan Expectancy

The Cretan Hound has a lifespan of 14 years, which is relatively long for a medium-sized dog. With proper care, many members of the breed live for over 14 years. 

Tips for Maintaining Good Health

To keep your Cretan Hound in good health, it’s important to provide them with a balanced diet, regular exercise, and plenty of mental stimulation. It’s also important to keep up with their routine veterinary care. 


If you need a loyal, intelligent, and affectionate companion, the Cretan Hound may be the perfect breed for you. With its ancient roots and striking physical traits, these dogs are truly one-of-a-kind.

Whether you’re looking for a hunting partner or a family pet, the Cretan Hound is sure to make a wonderful addition to your home. Just ensure you get a Cretan Hound puppy from a reputable breeder. 

Scroll to Top