Hound Dog Breeds
Among the several American Kennel Club categories, the hound group sticks out for the phenomenal powers these dogs are blessed with. Whether they use their powerful noses or their amazing sight, breeds within this category share a history of being hunters at heart. If you are looking for a mellow companion or a hunting partner, many of these dogs have what it takes to make you happy. However, because the hound group is comprised by many different breeds, generalizations cannot be made.
A Look Back in History
The hound group is mostly comprised by scent hounds and sight hounds. Scent hounds were selectively bred to follow scent. Most of these dogs have long, dropping ears and deep, booming voices. The short-legged hounds had hunters following them on foot; whereas, the longer-legged hounds had hunters following them on horses. Regardless, scent hounds were built for endurance, so they could follow a trail for long distances and over rough terrain.
Sight hounds, on the other hand, were selectively bred for speed and agility. With their keen vision, they were capable of detecting motion quickly so they could react and capture fast prey such as deer and hare. Their flexible backs, long legs and efficient lungs allowed them to sprint quickly into action so they could overpower their prey.
Who Should Own a Dog from the Hound Group?
- People who live in the country. Scent hounds enjoy sniffing around for a good part of the day, nothing makes them happier. These dogs aren’t much suitable for apartment living because some of them are prone to baying which definitively won’t make neighbors happy. However, they can be trained to be quiet. Several sight hounds are quite high-strung and need to run in large spaces.
- Families with kids. Because many scent hounds are very friendly, mellow and patient they have the potential to make excellent family dogs. Some sight hounds can be sweet and affectionate, but not all do well with children.
- Folks with a fenced yard. If you don’t live in the country, a nice fenced yard may do, but make sure it’s well fenced! Because scent hounds are attracted by scent and sight hounds are attracted by movement, these dogs are predisposed to roaming if they detect wildlife. It can be challenging to call them back once their mind is onto something. A fenced yard will provide peace of mind—and hounds should always be on leash when on walks!
- Patient owners. Scent hounds and sight hounds aren’t the easiest dogs to train. Scent hounds follow scent and may act oblivious towards the owner’s recall. Sight hounds may get easily distracted and run off to chase anything that moves. Both benefit from reward-based training as harsh training methods cause them to feel intimidated and make them shut down.
- Hunters. As mentioned, these dogs were selectively bred for their hunting qualities. You won’t have to put much training as these fellows hunt by instinct.
It’ important to consider that the hound group is comprised by a variety of types of dogs ranging from the small dachshund to the gigantic Irish wolfhound. Because there are several types of specimens, it’s important for perspective owners to conduct research on the individual breed to see if it’s a good match for their lifestyles.