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Dogs 101: 10 Hound Breeds

Updated on April 1, 2017

American Foxhound/ English Foxhound

Foxhounds were bred for four different functions, and there are, therefore, four different varieties: trail field hounds, lone fox hunters, drag hounds, and pack hunting dogs. The pack hunter makes the best pet.

The English Foxhound is a little stouter than its American cousin, but its appearance and temperament are almost identical. The pack hunting Foxhound is a large dog, developed to hunt in packs of 15-20 dogs. This essentially social activity has resulted in a very vigorous but submissive dog.

Behavior problems may include roaming, baying when a member of the breed hears other dogs barking, and house soiling. "Kennel dog syndrome" has been the most common complaint with this breed.

American Foxhound/ English Foxhound

Dimension of Temperament
Level of Dimension
Indoor activity
Very high
Outdoor activity
Very high
Vigor
High
Behavioral constancy
Med.-Low
Dominance to strange dogs
Low
Dominance to familiar people
Low
Territoriality
Very low
Emotional stability
High
Sociability within family
High
Sociability with children
High
Sociability with strangers
Very high
Learning rate
Low
Learning obedience
Med.
Learning problem solving
Med.
Watchdog ability
High
Guard dog ability
Low

Greyhound

The Greyhound is another dog whose function is clearly observable from its build. Greyhounds are built to run fast, to chase after deer and, more recently, to race. Descriptions include: lovable and tractable, high-strung, easily upset by sudden movements, starting readily, stubborn, and trainable only when calm. There is a divided opinion on the temperament of the Greyhound, some sources praising its friendliness and gentleness, other focusing on its potential for being high-stung and nervous.

Because of its willowy build, it is prone to tremble in cold weather. Behavior problems may include: fear biting, phobias and timidity, touch shyness, irritable snapping and house soiling.

Greyhound

Dimension of Temperament
Level of Dimension
Indoor activity
Low
Outdoor activity
Very high
Vigor
Low
Behavioral constancy
Low
Dominance to strange dogs
Med.
Dominance to familiar people
Med.
Territoriality
Med.-Low
Emotional stability
Low-Very low
Sociability within family
Med.
Sociability with children
Low-Very low
Sociability with strangers
Low
Learning rate
High
Learing obedience
Low-Very low
Learning problem solving
Low
Watchdog ability
High
Guard dog ability
Low

Harrier

The Harrier looks like a smaller version of the English Foxhound and is used for a similar purpose, hunting by scent in a pack. The Harrier's quarry was, appropriately enough, the hare. Descriptions include: easy going, solidly built, handy in size, well constructed and muscular, and both hardy and active, gentle with people, stubborn and bold, too restless for the city.

Behavior problems may include: indoor restlessness, excessive barking, roaming and house soiling.

Harrier

Dimension of Temperament
Level of Dimension
Indoor activity
Very high
Outdoor activity
Very high
Vigor
High
Behavioral constancy
Low
Dominance to strange dogs
Med.-Low
Dominance to familair people
Low
Territoriality
Low-Very low
Emotional stability
High
Sociability within family
Med.
Sociability with children
Very high
Sociability with strangers
Med.-Low
Learning rate
High
Learning obedience
Low
Learning problem solving
High
Watchdog ability
Very high
Guard dog ability
Low

Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound is an enormous animal, probably the tallest breed of dog in existence. Standing at 36 inches at the shoulders and reaching up to 7 feet when standing on its hind legs. In the past it was used for hunting wolves in Ireland and for bringing down the six-foot-tall Irish elk. Today, giving the conspicuous scarcity of Irish wolves and elk, the breed is perpetuated primarily as a pet. Descriptions include: quiet mannered and dignified, beneath the fierce looking exterior there beats a gentle heart, it treats most other dogs as insignificant, commands are slowly executed, sluggish.

Behavior problems may include clumsiness, an occasional dominant animal's challenging its owner's authority and other dominance related problems.

Irish Wolfhound

Dimension of Temperament
Level of Dimension
Indoor activity
Low
Outdoor activity
Med.
Vigor
Low
Behavioral constancy
High
Dominance to strange dogs
High-Med.
Dominance to familiar people
Med.
Territoriality
Med.
Emotional stability
High
Sociability within family
High-Med.
Sociability with children
Very high-Med.
Sociability with strangers
Med.-Low
Learning rate
High
Learning obedience
High-Med.
Learning problem solving
Med.
Watchdog ability
High-Low
Guard dog ability
High-Low

Norwegian Elkhound

Norwegian Elkhound

The Norwegian Elkhound is a medium-sized, thick-coated, powerfully built dog adapted to the severe Scandinavian winters. Originially used to hunt the huge Scandinavian elk, this breed is strong, compact and extremely hardy. Descriptions include: willingness to hunt day after day and all day long in rugged country, where stamina rather than extreme speed is called for, being able to bounce like a rubber ball when struck by elk hooves, absolutely dependable and trustworthy, may start bullying in a attempt to have its own way, easy going, reliability and quickness to learn, stubborn and bold, intelligence and eagerness for praise, staunchness, dignity and independence. The contradictions stem from the dog's potential for dominance. It may be obedient to dominant owners but disobey submissive ones. Its tendency to hold its quarry at bay makes it a potentially effective guard dog.

Behavior problems may include: excessive barking, roaming, dominance problems and stealing and guarding food.

Norwegian Elkhound

Dimension of Temperament
Level of Dimension
Indoor activity
High
Outdoor activity
Medium
Vigor
Very high
Behavioral constancy
High
Dominance to strange dogs
High-Med.
Dominance to familiar people
High-Med.
Territorality
High
Emotional stability
High
Sociability within family
High-Low
Sociability with children
Med.-Low
Sociability with strangers
High - low
Learning rate
Very high
Learning obedient
Low
Learning problem solving
High
Watchdog ability
Very high
Guard dog ability
High

Otterhound

The Otterhound is an unusual looking hound with its rough, shaggy coat. The coat is waterproof, and this breed can track its quarry by scent through rough, wet terrain, running and swimming tenaciously to the end of the hunt. Descriptions include: sagacity and unfailing devotion, amiable and boisterous, extremely sensitive nose, inquisitive and persevering in the investigating scents, easygoing, occasionally stubborn.

Behavior problems may include: house soiling, roaming, food stealing, clumsiness and tenacious sniffing.

Otter Hound

Dimension of Temperament
Level of Dimension
Indoor activity
Low
Outdoor activity
High
Vigor
Low
Behavioral constancy
Medium - low
Dominance to strange dogs
Medium
Dominance to familiar people
Medium - low
Territoriality
Low
Emotional stability
High
Sociability within family
Very high
Sociability with children
Very high
Sociability with strangers
Very high
Learning rate
Low
Learning obedience
Medium - low
Learning problem solving
Low
Watchdog ability
High
Guard dog ability
Low

Rhodesian Ridgeback

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a large dog bred in Africa as a guard, scent hunter and big-game hunter. It is characterized by a ridge of hair growing in the opposite direction of the rest of its coat along the length of its spine. It is a powerful, agile dog that can pull down a wounded buck or worry a cornered lion until the hunter arrive. Descriptions include: strong, muscular and active dog, capable of great endurance and a fair amount of speed, stubborn and bold, disobedient to submissive people.

Behavior problems may include: dominance related problems, challenging family members, aggression and house soiling.

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Dimension of Temperament
Level of Dimension
Indoor activity
Low
Outdoor activity
Very high
Vigor
Very high
Behavioral constancy
High
Dominance to strange dogs
Very high - high
Dominance to familiar people
High - medium
Territoriality
High
Emotional stability
High
Sociability within family
Medium - low
Sociability with children
Low - very low
Sociability with strangers
Low - very low
Learning rate
High
Learning obedience
Low
Learning problem solving
High
Watchdog ability
Very high
Guard dog ability
Very high

Saluki

The Saluki, the royal dog of Egypt, is considered by some authorities to be the oldest known breed.

Salki

Dimension of Temperament
Level of Dimension
Indoor activity
Low
Outdoor activity
Very high
Vigor
Low
Behavioral constancy
Low
Dominance to strange dogs
Medium
Dominance to familiar people
Medium - low
Territoriality
Low
Emotional stability
Low - very low
Sociability within family
Low - very low
Sociability with children
Low - very low
Sociability with strangers
Low - very low
Learning rate
Low
Learning obedience
Medium
Learning problem solving
Low
Watchdog ability
High
Guard dog ability
Low

Scottish Deerhound

The Scottish Deerhound is a large dog reminiscent of, but smaller and slimmer than, the Irish Wolfhound. Its long legs and Greyhound build, slightly obscured by its shaggy coat, are designed for high speed and endurance. Descriptions include: tremendous courage, gentle dignity, quiet, keen scent, not aggressive, great persistence, not a sparkler, somewhat timid, not very quick to obey, devoted and loyal to its masters.

No potential behavior problems were mentioned in the literature or by breeders.

Scottish Deerhound

Dimension of Temperament
Level of Dimension
Indoor activity
Low
Outdoor activity
High
Vigor
Low
Behavioral constancy
High
Dominance to strange dogs
Medium
Dominance to familiar people
Medium - low
Territoriality
Low
Emotional stability
Very high
Sociability within family
High - medium
Sociability with children
Very high
Sociability with strangers
High
Learning rate
Low
Learning obedience
Medium - low
Learning problem solving
Low
Watchdog ability
Low
Guard dog ability
Low

Whippet

The Whippet is a small dog that looks like a miniature Greyhound. It is a small sight hound used for racing, coursing rabbits and killing rats. Descriptions include: high strung and timid, not very demonstrative or playful and poorly padded for roughhousing and the cold, should be trained gently, never bullied or harshly punished.

Behavior problems may include: phobias, house soiling, timidity and irritable snapping.

Whippet

Dimension of Temperament
Level of Dimension
Indoor activity
Low
Outdoor activity
Very high
Vigor
Low - very low
Behavioral constancy
Low
Dominance to strange dogs
Low
Dominance to familiar people
Low
Territoriality
Low
Emotional stability
Unknown
Sociability within family
Medium - low
Sociability with children
Low - very low
Sociability with strangers
Low
Learning rate
High
Learning obedience
Medium
Learning problem solving
Medium
Watchdog ability
High
Guard dog ability
Low

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