The English Foxhound: Everything You Need to Know

If you’re looking for a dog with excellent hunting abilities, a distinct appearance, and a lovely personality, the English Foxhound might be the breed for you.

In this article, you’ll learn everything there is to know about the English Foxhound, from its history and physical characteristics to its health and temperament. Let’s start. 

A Brief History of the English Foxhound

The English Foxhound is an old breed from Britain that has been around since the early 1700s. The breed’s initial purpose was to hunt foxes, and they were bred to work in packs of up to thirty dogs, operating under the guidance of a huntsman.

The breed’s origins are not entirely known, but it is believed that it’s a descendant of the St. Hubert Hound, a breed that dates back to medieval times. Over time, the breed has evolved, and they still remain a popular breed today.

Origins of the Breed

The English Foxhound is thought to be a result of breeding a variety of hunting dogs. It was first bred for deer hunting, but when the deer population started to decline in the early 1700s, the breed was re-purposed for fox hunting.

The breed was a popular choice among the English aristocracy, who had a passion for hunting and wanted a dog that could keep up with their horses during a hunt. The breed’s popularity grew quickly, and it soon became the number one hunting dog of the upper classes.

The English Foxhound’s Role in Hunting

The English Foxhound is the quintessential hunting dog and remains one of the most efficient breeds for hunting foxes. Due to their incredible sense of smell, they can track a fox’s scent even after it has long gone.

They are also incredibly fast and have been known to reach speeds of up to 30mph. While they were originally used for hunting foxes, they’re now also used for hunting other game, such as deer and coyotes.

One of the reasons the English Foxhound is so effective at hunting is their ability to work in packs. They are trained to work together to track and corner their prey, making it easier for the hunters to catch them. 

Evolution of the Breed

The breed has experienced a few significant changes over the years, primarily in relation to their working abilities. In earlier years, the breed was bred for its keen sense of smell and exceptional endurance.

However, as hunting techniques evolved, the need for these traits decreased. Breeders then focused on breeding dogs with a more refined appearance, which led to the modern English Foxhound we know today.

Physical Characteristics of the English Foxhound

Size and Weight

The English Foxhound is a medium to large breed of dog. Breed members typically stand at around 24 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 60-75 pounds.

Male dogs tend to be slightly larger than females. Despite their size, English Foxhounds are known for their agility and speed. They can really fast and for long periods without getting tired. 

Coat and Colors

The English Foxhound has a short, dense coat that’s relatively easy to maintain. Their coats come in a variety of colors, including black, white, tan, and a combination of these colors. The breed’s coat is typically bi-colored or tri-colored.

One interesting thing about the English Foxhound’s coat is that it is designed to protect them from the elements. Their coats are thick and water-resistant, which helps keep them warm and dry when they’re out hunting in the rain or snow.

Distinctive Features

The English Foxhound has long, straight muzzle and drop ears, which give a regal and dignified appearance. The body is long, lean, and with a muscular build and a long, powerful tail.

The legs of the Foxhound are long and strong, allowing it to run at high speeds for extended periods of time. It has a broad chest and powerful shoulders, which add to its impressive physical strength.

An important and unique feature of the English Foxhound is its baying bark. This breed is known for its loud, melodious bark, which can be heard from miles away. This bark is used to communicate with other dogs during hunts.

Personality and Temperament

The English Foxhound is a breed beloved for its friendly, outgoing nature and love of human companionship. They are highly intelligent and have a happy-go-lucky personality, making them a joy to be around. 

These dogs are also highly social and thrive on interaction with their human family members. They make great companions for families with children, as they are patient and playful with kids. 

General Temperament

The English Foxhound has a friendly and outgoing nature. They are always eager to please their owners and are adaptable to different living situations. They get along well with other pets, although some are inclined to chase smaller animals.

English Foxhounds are highly intelligent and require plenty of mental stimulation to keep their active minds engaged. They are natural problem solvers and enjoy learning new tricks and commands. Their love of learning makes them a joy to train.

Socialization and Training

Early socialization and training are crucial for the English Foxhound. As natural hunters, some breed members have a high prey drive and require adequate training to control their instincts.

A positive approach using rewards and lots of praise is key, as harsh training methods can cause them to become fearful or aggressive. Training should be consistent, firm, and kind.

Compatibility with Children and Other Pets

The English Foxhound typically gets along well with other pets, especially if they are raised together from a young age. Socialization from an early age is important to ensure this dog is friendly and comfortable in different situations. 

They are also generally friendly with children, although supervision is necessary due to their large size and energy levels. English Foxhounds adapt easily and can live in both houses and apartments if provided with enough physical activity. 

Health and Lifespan of the English Foxhound

Common Health Issues

Like all purebred dogs, English Foxhounds are prone to certain health issues. These can include: 

  • Hip Dysplasia: A hereditary orthopedic issue in which the bones that form the hip joint do not grow at the same rate and do not fit properly, causing joint laxity and pain 
  • Ear Infections: Ear infections are widespread in dogs with long droopy ears because their canals tend to trap dirt and moisture, which increases the risk of frequent ear infections 
  • Bloat: Like all deep-chested breeds, this dog’s stomach is prone to accumulating gas, bloating, and twisting on itself, which is a potentially life-threatening situation 

Preventative Care and Regular Checkups

Preventative care, including regular checkups, vaccinations, and parasite prevention, is crucial to keeping your English Foxhound healthy. Proper exercise and a healthy diet are also necessary to maintain the dog’s overall well-being.

Average Lifespan

The English Foxhound has a relatively long lifespan for a large breed and can live up to 10 to 13 years with proper care.


The English Foxhound is an incredible breed that’s known for its hunting abilities, friendly personality, and distinctive appearance. It is an excellent choice for families who love the outdoors.

Proper training, socialization, and care are key to ensuring the dog is healthy and happy. If you want an English Foxhound, research the breed and make sure you can provide it with the love and care it deserves.

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