American Foxhound History, Personality, Appearance, Health and Pictures

American Foxhound

This breed, developed from imported English Foxhounds, was at first used to hunt the grey fox, hut was later pitted against the faster, imported English red fox.

History

The American Foxhound is a taller, slimmer version of its English ancestor, with lighter bones and less rounded ears. Its story begins in 1650, when Robert Brooke imported The American Foxhound is a taller, slimmer version of its English ancestor, with lighter bones and less rounded ears. Its story begins in 1650, when Robert Brooke imported the first pack of English Foxhounds and established them in Maryland. He became the first Master of Hounds in America and his family kept the tradition going for many years after his death. His dogs were of black-and-tan colouring, rather than the more usual tricolour, and at one stage in their history were used as the ancestral stock in the creation of the Black-and-Tan Coonhound (see separate entry).

Early in the 18th century, more packs were imported, this time to Virginia. The local grey fox was found to be rather slow for good hunting, and the American red fox did not extend its range into the eastern US where hunting was gaining a foothold. So the speedy English red fox was imported and released, giving the hounds a much better run for their money. (Later on, the imported and indigenous red foxes met and interbred.)

In 1770 George Washington imported his own pack from England. Then, in 1785, his friend the French Marquis de Lafayette sent him some French hounds which were crossed with the English ones to produce bigger dogs. In the 1830s Irish hounds arrived, this time to grow up the speed of the pack. These three genetic types together comprised the foundation stock that was ultimately to lead to the highly efficient, new American Foxhound. From Maryland and Virginia, it spread outwards to Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas.

Like all foxhounds, the American breed excelled at keeping to its allotted task. Even if deer, raccoon, rabbits, or other kinds of game presented themselves as easy targets while the pack was on the hunt, the dogs were trained to ignore them and seek out only the fox. And if a hound was lost at the end of a long hunt, it was expected to be able to find its own way home to its kennels, without any help.

Appearance

Beautifully built, the foxhound has a horizontal top line. The short, hard, dense coat is similar to that of other hounds in color and markings. The strong-willed English foxhound is an excellent field dog who hunts in a pack. The American foxhound, on the other hand, prefers to hunt alone. Gentle in nature, foxhounds make good family dogs. Provided with a good space for exercise, they can live in the city.

Care and Exercise

The coat should be massaged with a cloth or a gloved hand. If kept as a hunter, the foxhound needs a great amount of exercise. Dogs kept in a group of twenty to thirty tend to gain weight and require special attention to avoid it.

Puppies and Training

Five to seven puppies are born in a litter. Usually the mother has enough milk, and the puppies mature without any problems.

Gallery of American Foxhound