As long as there are hunters in the world, there will always be hounds known for their loyal, hardworking, and curious nature.
More than 30 dog breeds fall under the common name “hounds,” with the main purpose of helping a person during a hunt. We’ll share information and facts about the hound dog breeds to help you find the perfect puppy.
List of Hound Dog Breeds
Generally, these dogs fall into two categories: sighthounds and scent hounds. Both require plenty of exercise and food for big dogs.
Here’s our list of perfect hounds for the aspiring hunter.
The Sighthound Breeds
These dogs primarily hunt by sight and speed. Let’s take a quick look at each one:
The Greyhound is the fastest dog in the world. Initially, this sighthound was bred for hunting small game, but today it’s mainly used for dog racing and coursing in particular (chasing a mechanical hare).
Greyhounds hunt relying primarily on eyesight as their sense of smell is less acute. They were thought to originate from Africa and Egypt, as many tombs are decorated with the images of this breed, but recent DNA tests disproved these claims.
Whippets are small hounds native to England. They are a speed sighthound breed for hunting hares, small game, and gaming competitions.
The breed gained popularity in England in the 18th–19th century, when aristocrats organized dog races everywhere. The Kennel Club of England recognized the Whippet in 1891. In 1967, the British Whippet Racing Association was founded and remains active today.
Like the Pharaoh Hound, Saluki is an ancient breed and one of the oldest known domesticated dogs in North Africa. You can find the image of this breed on Egyptian tombs’ paintings dating back several thousand years ago.
This dog can develop a rapid speed comparable to a young horse. These sighthounds are still more in demand for hunting than family pets.
The official birthplace of this breed is Afghanistan. These dogs use their speed and sight for hunting in deserts and mountains. In the 19th century, they were transported to England and later to the rest of Europe. These sighthounds are among the “Einsteins” of the canine world. They are active and energetic dogs with great stamina.
Azawakh is among the ancient types of hound dogs that originated in the Sahel region of the Sahara Desert. It has been used for centuries as a hunting and guard dog since it’s resilient and can withstand high temperatures.
The breed has a sharp vision allowing it to notice even the slightest prey movement. In 1992, the UKC recognized the breed, but the AKC still hasn’t.
Borzoi dogs, also known as Russian Wolfhounds, have been used to chase wolves in Russia since the 17th century. During the hunt, these dogs rely more on eyesight than on instinct.
Throughout history, the breed served as a hunting companion to the Russian aristocracy. They can catch and pin wolves until the hunter arrives. In 1891, the AKC registered this dog, followed by the UKC in 1914.
Although the Italian Greyhound is the smallest hound breed, it has all the skills of a hunting dog with a well-developed chase instinct. Until the 21st century, they were regularly used for hunting rabbits and hares.
The Italian Greyhound retains its instinct and loves to chase small prey. It also enjoys participating in races. In 1886, the AKC officially recognized the breed.
Irish Wolfhound hound dog breeds descended from Egyptian Greyhounds brought to Ireland by Celtic tribes over two thousand years ago. They were used for hunting small and large game. These are the dogs of kings and nobles.
Nowadays, these dogs are one of the national symbols of Ireland, and they’re popular in European countries. In 1897 these dogs were officially recognized by the AKC.
Scottish Deerhounds are large hounds with athletic and strong bodies. The breed was officially recognized in the 19th century, but its history lies in the distant past.
The first mention of a Scottish Deerhound dates back to the 16th century. At that time, aristocrats bred these dogs for hunting deer. The AKC registered the breed in 1886.
Scottish Deerhounds need a roomy space and high-quality food to stay healthy.
Chippiparai is a tall hound dog with a very lean body and high speed for hunting prey. These dogs have been known since the 16th century and were among the symbols of royal power for the Madurai dynasty.
Chippiparai are used in their homeland for hunting small and large prey. They have an unusual eye placement, giving them a 270-degree scope of vision.
Scent Hounds Breeds
These dogs hunt by scent rather than their sight. Here are the most popular scent hounds dog breeds.
The American Foxhound was bred to be a skilled hunting dog. It’s famous for its incredible speed and keen sense of smell, which helps it track deer and foxes.
The AKC registered this hound dog in 1886, and it became the official state dog of Virginia in 1966. The American Foxhound resembles its British cousin, the English Foxhound, which dates back to the 13th century.
The English Foxhound is among the oldest hunting dogs, distinguished by high stamina and endurance. In the UK, breed representatives were used mainly for fox hunting, while in France, these dogs go after deer and wild boar.
Like most hunting dogs, the English Foxhound is a tireless adventurer. These dogs love walking, running, and exercising, making them perfect companions for active families. Ensure to provide plenty of fun dog toys for physical and mental stimulation to burn that energy.
Coonhounds are primarily hunting dogs, trained to track down raccoons by scent and chase them up trees. These dogs can withstand the winter cold and summer heat and work in the most challenging climates.
Due to their scent skills, Coonhounds are ideal for hunting deer, bears, cougars, and other large prey. Though good-natured and easygoing, they require lots of regular exercise like hiking or swimming. Some breeds, like the Bluetick Coonhound, live between 10 and 15 years but generally stay healthy and require little care.
Great Britain is the birthplace of these hunting dogs, which are among the most popular breeds.
Their nose is perceptive and can differentiate more than 50 smells. That fantastic sense of smell helps them chase rabbits, birds, and deer, even when the smells are mixed with other animals. Although some Beagles are still used for hunting, most are now beloved family pets.
The Basset Hound is considered an English breed, but its ancestors came from France. These dogs have a sense of smell that allows them to track for days.
Unlike other hunting dogs, Basset Hound dog breeds cannot run long for prey because of their short legs, but this feature helps them sneak up from the back. They’re very affectionate and get along well with children and other animals.
The Bloodhound or Saint Hubert hound is among the oldest and most famous breeds. Its origin dates back to the seventh century AD.
Many claim that this dog has the most powerful sense of smell in the canine world. Initially bred for hunting deer and wild boar, Bloodhound hound dog breeds have become famous for their ability to track and find people.
The Dachshund is a hunting dog breed native to Germany. They’re ideal for hunting beavers, otters, badgers, and wild birds. Despite their small bodies, these dogs are excellent at using their noses to track subtle scents.
With their tiger-striped coats, Dachshunds can fall into brindle dog breeds. As family dogs, they’re fantastic companions for games and always get along with children.
Bavarian Mountain Hound
The Bavarian Mountain Hound is a breed native to Germany, where it’s been used as a hound dog since the Middle Ages.
These purebred dogs have an excellent sense of smell, allowing them to track animals of any size. In 1912, the Club for Bavarian Mountain Hound was established in Munich, and the breed became popular in Germany and Austria.
A calm, intelligent, and loyal member of the hound group, the Plott Hound also hails from Germany. The dog got the attention of raccoon hunters as it tracked the animal, even sitting on a tree.
Plott Hounds are also used for hunting wild boar, raccoon, wolf, and bear. These dogs are incredibly hardy, with a keen sense of smell and excellent hunting instincts. Today, the Plott Hound is the symbol of one of North Carolina.
These dogs are the most popular in England and Ireland. The birthplace of the Harrier hound is still unknown, and there are many versions of how this breed came to be.
The Harrier is a fast, hardy hunting hound with an excellent sense of smell and energy. They’re used primarily for hunting hares. Also, hunters often create flocks of Harriers specifically for fox hunting.
Hound Dogs Overview
All hound breeds differ, but they share one similarity — their hanging ears. You’ll recognize them by their straight back and strong build. The coat is often short and straight in various colors.
Hounds aren’t aggressive towards people. They’re obedient and well socialized. If you want a hound breed, please note that these dogs need a lot of free space and long walks. But they’re not pretentious and quickly get used to a new place and diet.
History and Purpose of Breeding
Hounds are first mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey, but there are also images of them on ancient Egyptian monuments.
These dogs became very popular during the Middle Ages in Europe, mainly in France. Unsurprisingly, many modern hound breeds have a French origin. Aristocrats kept whole packs of them.
In England, types of hound dogs were bred for different hunts. Also, in the Russian Empire, such breeds were used for traditional gunless hunting with hounds.
Grooming and Health
Most hound breeds require the least grooming because their fur is so short. They just need a brush with a grooming mitt every few days to remove loose hairs and a bath every few months.
Give your dog access to plenty of fresh water and a balanced diet, and keep its vaccinations updated. Yearly visits to the vet are also crucial to keep track of your pet’s health.
Each of the hound dog breeds above is extraordinary in its own way, and it offers more than just hunting expertise.
From the Greyhound to the Harrier, these dogs have a warm and affectionate attitude. You can welcome them into your family without any problems if you provide them with enough daily exercise.
If you’re looking for a hunting companion, the breeds above are a wonderful choice. But if you want a watchdog that will help with livestock, check the Caucasian Mountain dog.