The American Foxhound is the epitome of a noble hound. They have lean and well-muscled bodies, a tenacious attitude, and a signature hound bawl. But besides being such great hunting companions, these adaptable dogs get along well with children and other pets, making them ideal for many families.
The biggest consideration when thinking about adopting this breed is whether or not you are ready to commit to giving your dog plenty of exercise. These athletic dogs have lots of energy and won’t do well in a home that can’t give them lots of opportunities for physical movement. But give them this and you will have an excellent and loyal companion for life. Read on to learn more about the American Foxhound.
Description of the American Foxhound
The American Foxhound differs from its cousin, the English Foxhound, by its form. This graceful breed has longer legs and a slightly more delicate figure. But this doesn’t mean they are any less rugged or fiery. The American Foxhound is still as tough and fearless as his other hound relatives.
Like many hounds, these dogs have many typical qualities so distinct to this group. They have long and soft ears, an often-pleading expression, an acute prey drive, and a melodic howl. But the American Foxhound tends to be even more houndy than most. These dogs are extra prey motivated, and require even more exercise than most of their cousins. But on the flip side they are extremely gentle and patient at home.
Aptly named, the American Foxhound was developed by key breeders in colonial America – including George Washington. Having been refined in the South, these dogs remain the state dog of Virginia.
The coat of this breed is like many other hounds. It is close, smooth, dense, and of short/medium length. They come in all colors and combinations.
Life Expectancy and Size
Often healthy, these larger hounds live a respectable average lifespan of 11 – 13 years. Working with a reputable breeder is the best chance for getting a healthy puppy.
Rangy and sleek, the American Foxhound is a well sized breed. Males stand 22 – 27 inches tall, and weigh 65 – 70 pounds. Females stand 21 – 24 inches tall, and weigh 60 – 65 pounds.
These vigilant dogs can be great watchdogs. They are often quick to alert you to the presence of strangers. But the friendly American Foxhound is often open and gentle around new people.
The American Foxhound is an amiable dog, but can have some hound-like independence. Patience and consistency are key for training these dogs.
Positive rewards-based training is a must for this breed. These dogs are highly food and game motivated, so using treats, toys, or games are great ways to get your dog eager to learn.
Exciting and active, canine sports are a great energy outlet and training opportunity for this breed. This will also provide some added bonding time, which is always a plus.
These hounds are especially active and will require even more exercise than most. Bred to work very long days in the field, the American Foxhound loves to move and will become incredibly unhappy if not given enough daily exercise.
These active dogs are a great choice for hunters, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts. Sedentary families will find they have bitten off more than they can chew with this breed. Be sure you are ready and willing to commit at least an hour or two a day to this breed’s exercise needs.
What Living with an American Foxhound is Like
This is a true hound breed.
These dogs love to be out on the hunt or on long walks with their humans. On top of being excellent athletes, the American Foxhound is a sweet and gentle companion at home. They do well with kids and other pets.
But even though they may be an ideal home companion for many, these dogs do not come without their flipside of being very active. Do not expect to have just one of these traits. Be sure you can give them plenty of daily exercise before considering adopting this breed.
Care of the American Foxhound
Low maintenance and adaptable, these dogs do well so long as they have plenty of exercise and attention. They are quite mild when these requirements are met.
These hardy dogs do well in both hot and cool climates. Expect your American Foxhound to adapt well to most weather, but keep an eye on him in extreme temperatures to be sure he doesn’t overheat or become too cold.
Exercise is the main dealmaker or breaker for this breed. Active people will find the American Foxhound to be a dream dog. This dog’s love of the outdoors and limitless energy make them ideal for those who love to hunt, run, hike, or just be outside and active. More sedentary families may feel overwhelmed and upset when their sweet dog becomes destructive or depressed from a lack of exercise. Be very certain you can give this breed plenty of daily activity before adopting.
Multiple long walks, backyard playtime, canine sports, and hunting are all great ways to give this breed exercise. Expect to commit, at a minimum, one to two hours every day to this breed’s exercise needs.
Shedding and Grooming
While they may need lots of time for exercise, grooming is definitely something that will be quick and easy. The short coat of the American Foxhound only needs a weekly brush through to keep it healthy and clean.
This breed sheds some, but not heavily.
Ear infections are common in this floppy-eared breed. Weekly cleaning will help prevent this. Nail trimming is also important to prevent discomfort.
Ideal Home Environment
The American Foxhound does best in a home where he will get plenty of exercise. They are loving and easy-going dogs, very sweet when they are tuckered out after a long day playing. Any family that can give this dog exercise and loves will be a great fit for this breed.
This breed can have health issues that may be expensive or time consuming to deal with.
Hip dysplasia, thrombocytopathy (blood disorder that is characterized by dysfunctional platelets), and ear infections are common issues in this breed. Working with a reputable breeder and bringing your dog in for regular checkups can help catch, treat, or prevent these issues.
As extremely prey-driven dogs, the American Foxhound needs a fenced yard, or on leash when not hunting. These dogs won’t hesitate to follow their nose and can end up in trouble if they wander off.
Exercise is another big factor for this breed. These dogs need plenty of daily activity or they will become destructive and miserable. Be sure you can commit plenty of time every day to your dog’s physical and mental stimulation.