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A foxhound standing outside.

Breed overview

  • Breed group — Hound group (AKC)
  • Height — 21-25 inches
  • Weight — 60-70 pounds
  • Coat length & texture — Short, hard, glossy
  • Coat color — Coat color may be solid or a combination of any of the following: white, black, blue, brown, tan, or red.
  • Exercise needs — High
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Very vocal
  • Life span — 11-13 years
  • Temperament — Independent, affectionate, sweet
  • Hypoallergenic — No
  • Origin — United States

Foxhound fun facts

  • Foxhounds have their own unique language. When hunting, they use a variety of barks, howls, and whines to communicate with each other and their handlers. This communication system is called “baying.”
  • Foxhounds are highly social animals and thrive in packs. They are known for their friendly, outgoing personalities and make great companions for both humans and other dogs.
  • A breed from North America. The American foxhound is largely considered to be one of oldest breeds originally developed in the United States. It is also the state dog of Virginia.
A group of foxhounds outside.

Foxhound temperament and characteristics 

One of the foxhound’s most notable characteristics is their sense of smell. These dogs have an incredibly strong sense of smell which makes them excellent at tracking and hunting prey.

In terms of temperament, foxhounds are generally friendly, outgoing, and affectionate. They are also very loyal and make great companions for those who enjoy an active lifestyle. However, due to their hunting instincts, foxhounds may have a high prey drive and may not always get along with smaller animals. You will want to use caution and train dogs as puppies to get them used to small pets.

Despite their strong hunting abilities, foxhounds are also known for being great with children. They are patient and gentle and can be quite playful when given the opportunity. Foxhounds usually have a friendly and relaxed attitude toward strangers and visitors. They also tend to be very cautious, as they are alert guard dogs.

The best home environment for this breed is one that features plenty of room for them to run around and explore, with other playful or working dog companions or family members to keep them company. This is the right dog for you if you want an active breed with good manners that also gets along with adults and young children.

Common foxhound health problems

The foxhound is largely considered to be a healthy breed, but they are still susceptible to a few common health issues. Keep in mind that responsible dog breeders will be able to tell you more about genetic health problems as well.

  • Hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is a condition where a dog’s femur bone does not fit properly into their hip joint. This can cause severe pain and mobility problems for the dog. Elbow dysplasia is another joint-related issue that foxhounds can develop, which will also affect their movement and daily activities.
  • Hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a condition where the dog’s thyroid gland is underactive. Symptoms of hypothyroidism can vary greatly but may include weight gain, lethargy, and hair loss.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy. Eye problems such as progressive retinal atrophy are also issues that foxhound owners should watch out for, as they can lead to vision loss and impaired eyesight if left untreated.

Cost of caring for foxhounds

Owning a foxhound can be a truly rewarding experience, but it’s important to understand the financial commitment involved in caring for this breed. The cost of caring for a foxhound can vary depending on a number of factors like location, lifestyle, and the dog’s age.

The cost of care for treating health conditions can be anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousands of dollars. For example, surgery for hip dysplasia will be upwards of $3,500 per hip. On the other hand, long-term medication treatment for hypothyroidism is typically taken daily or twice daily and the medications are not too expensive.

Unexpected medical emergencies can also occur. It’s important to have a financial plan in place for these situations, such as investing in pet insurance or setting aside a dedicated emergency savings fund.

A young foxhound panting.

History of the foxhound

The history of the foxhound is intertwined with the story of George Washington, one of the United States’ Founding Fathers. Washington played a pivotal role in the development of the American foxhound, which has become a symbol of both national pride and hunting heritage.

Washington was an avid hunter and outdoorsman who was deeply interested in breeding superior hunting dogs. In 1770, he imported a pack of hounds from overseas, including several other breeds of foxhounds, which he used to hunt foxes and other game on his Virginia estate.

Washington quickly recognized the potential of the French hounds and came up with a good idea. He began to crossbreed them with his own dogs, resulting in a new breed of dog that was uniquely suited to the American landscape. The American foxhound was faster, more agile, and more adaptable to different terrains than its counterpart from England.

The American foxhound quickly became a popular hunting dog throughout the United States, prized for its speed, endurance, and competitive spirit. American dog breeders continued to refine the breed, focusing on traits such as size, strength, and stamina. Today, the American foxhound is recognized as one of the premier hunting breeds in the world.

Caring for your foxhound

Your dog parenting journey should start with a few to-dos. Get your first trip to the veterinarian scheduled, where you may also get your dog’s vaccinations along with worming medications and parasite control products. You can also prepare a list of simple questions— or more in-depth ones—for this visit.

Want to protect your furniture and keep your foxhound safe? You should puppy-proof your home before their arrival and prepare for teething, too. These are all important aspects of your dog-owning experience. Here are some other basics specific to the foxhound breed.


The energetic and athletic foxhound breed definitely requires a great deal of exercise to stay happy and healthy. They were originally bred for hunting, so they have high endurance and require regular opportunities to run and explore their surroundings rather than just sitting in the house. As long as your pup gets enough exercise, they will be happy.

A daily walk is a good place to start, but they will definitely need more than that to meet their exercise needs. Going long distances for a jog, hike, or bike ride alongside their owner can be great ways to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. Your pup may also be interested in dog sports that allow them to use their hunting skills.

It’s important to keep in mind that foxhounds have a strong instinct to follow their noses, so it’s best to keep them on a leash or in a fenced area when exercising in unfamiliar areas. While your main focus might be getting your pup plenty of exercise, they can easily become distracted and run off if they catch a scent that interests them.

A foxhound exercising outside.


This breed has a short, shiny coat that is relatively easy to maintain. However, they do shed quite a bit, so regular brushing is recommended to keep their short coat looking healthy and shiny.

It’s also worth noting that foxhounds have long, floppy ears that can trap dirt and moisture, which can lead to infections if not properly cleaned. To prevent this, it’s important to clean their ears regularly using a mild, vet-approved ear cleaner.

In terms of bathing, foxhounds don’t need to be bathed too often unless they’ve rolled in something particularly smelly or dirty. When bathing, try to use a gentle, soap-free shampoo that won’t irritate their skin or large eyes, and avoid getting water in their ears.

Finally, it’s important to keep up with your foxhound’s nail trimming, as their nails can grow quite quickly and may become uncomfortable for them to walk on. Also, remember that dental health is extremely important in dogs; brush your pup’s teeth during your grooming routine.

Diet and nutrition

As a larger breed, foxhounds require a significant amount of high-quality dog food to maintain their health and high-energy levels.

Talk to your vet about the specific feeding guidelines and daily food servings for your new dog, as their age, size, and underlying health concerns will impact their diet. However, it’s generally recommended to feed your foxhound twice a day rather than leaving food out all day to prevent overeating and promote healthy digestion. Be sure to measure their food portions to avoid overfeeding, as obesity can lead to several health problems such as joint issues, heart disease, and diabetes.

In addition to a balanced diet, make sure your foxhound has access to clean drinking water at all times. Hydration is important for maintaining their overall health and preventing heat stroke during exercise.

Training your foxhound

Dog training is essential. Foxhounds are intelligent dogs that can be trained with proper guidance and consistency. However, it’s important to note that they can be very independent and exhibit stubborn behaviors at times, so patience and positive reinforcement are key when training them.

One particular tactic that works well for foxhounds is using their love for sniffing to your advantage. Using scent-based training techniques like tracking and nose work can help channel their natural instincts in a positive way, and keep them engaged in the training process. Not to mention it can burn off energy.

When you train dogs, it’s also important to establish clear boundaries and rules early on. This is especially true as foxhounds can become easily distracted if they sense ambiguity or inconsistency in their training. Basic obedience training such as sit, stay, and come can help establish a strong foundation for more advanced training down the line.

A sad looking foxhound.

Breeds similar to the foxhound

Unsure if this is the right puppy for you? There are several popular dog breeds that share similarities with the foxhound, both in terms of physical appearance and temperament. These breeds were selectively bred for hunting and have a strong sense of smell, high endurance, and a friendly disposition. A reputable breeder or adoption agency can help you find the best match.

  • Basset hound. The basset hound is another dog breed that evolved for hunting purposes. They have a similar build to a bloodhound, but with legs a few inches shorter and a more compact body. Basset hounds are friendly and affectionate dogs that make excellent family pets.
  • Bloodhound. Known for their incredible sense of smell, bloodhounds are often used in law enforcement to track missing persons or suspects. They have a distinctive appearance with loose skin and long, droopy ears.
  • Beagle. Like the foxhound, beagles were originally bred for hunting, and they share the same friendly and outgoing nature. However, beagles have a small size and tend to have a more compact build. Their size also makes them great apartment dogs.

Frequently asked questions

Aside from the foxhound, what other breeds are in the Hound group (AKC)?

This group includes pack hound breeds that are typically used for hunting, such as the English foxhound, beagle, bloodhound, coonhound, and basset hound, among others. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes over 30 different breeds within the hound group. You can find a purebred puppy for sale on the AKC Marketplace.

Do foxhounds shed a lot?

Yes, foxhounds are known to shed a lot. They have a short, dense coat that sheds year-round with seasonal increases in shedding during the spring and fall. Proper grooming can help to manage their shedding, with regular brushing recommended to remove loose fur.

Do foxhounds have a loud bark?

Foxhounds are known to have a distinct bark that is loud and deep. While foxhounds are very vocal, they are not typically considered to be excessive barkers. They are intelligent dogs that can be trained to bark on command, which can help to reduce unwanted barking.

Are foxhounds good with cats?

Foxhounds are not generally known for being good with cats due to their hunting instincts. However, with proper socialization and training, they can learn to peacefully coexist with them. It’s essential to keep in mind, though, that each animal has their own unique personality, and extra care should be taken to ensure that they are compatible.

Should I get two foxhounds?

Foxhounds are pack animals, which means they are inherently good canine social skills and prefer to be in the company of other dogs. Having two foxhounds can help keep each other entertained, and they’ll have a built-in playmate to exercise and interact with.