The American Foxhound is one of the oldest and most regal breeds in the United States. The dog has a rich history that ties it to people such as George Washington and the old hills of Virginia. The American Foxhound is a friendly and sturdy hunting dog originally bred to hunt foxes. While the popularity of the breed has dipped in recent years, it remains a pillar of history in the American breeding community being one of the first dogs bred in the United States by Americans for Americans.
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The American Foxhound was one of the most popular dogs for the country’s Founding Fathers. American Foxhounds were prized for their intelligence and sweet nature and were used in elite hunting parties during the earliest days of the United States. Today, the American Foxhound can still be used as an adept hunting dog or as a loving family companion. The American Foxhound blends its rich history with a great personality to be one of the most versatile dogs in the United States.
American Foxhound Characteristics
American Foxhound Puppies
The best way to get an American Foxhound puppy is to source one from a reputable breeder. Unfortunately, American Foxhounds are very rare in modern America. The American Foxhound only ranks 196 out of 201 recognized breeds, according to the AKC. That means that finding an American Foxhound by accident in a shelter or rescue group is going to be very difficult. American Foxhound puppies are very sweet and adorable due to their big eyes and floppy ears. Young American Foxhounds are highly energetic and rambunctious and will need plenty of training and attention in their earliest months.
Temperament & Intelligence of the American Foxhound
The American Kennel Club describes the American Foxhound as independent, easy going, and sweet. This is a good summary of the breed’s overall temperament. As a hunting dog, the American Foxhound is open to training, is goal motivated, and can be very independent. Sometimes, this independence can translate to stubbornness, which can be frustrating. Overall, these dogs are not aggressive, and when they receive the proper amount of exercise, training, socialization, and stimulation, they are very sweet and laid back. American Foxhounds that do not get enough exercise can become anxious, hyper, and disobedient, but good training and plenty of physical stimulation will easily diffuse these potential problems before they take root.
Are These Dogs Good for Families?👪
Yes. American Foxhounds are excellent family dogs. The American Foxhound’s personality, temperament, and friendly disposition make them easy to get along with. The American Kennel Club rates the American Foxhound a perfect 5 out of 5 when it comes to being good with young children, which is always a concern for families looking for a new dog. American Foxhounds are gentle with their owners and children, and they love a good outdoor romp, making them perfect for families of any size.
Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?🐶 😽
Yes. Many hunting dogs do not get along with other pets, but the American Foxhound is an exception. These dogs get along very well with other dogs and even small pets like cats. Every dog is different, and some foxhounds will retain their predatory drive toward small animals, but most owners report great results in blending their American Foxhounds with other pets in the home. American Foxhounds are very friendly and get along with dogs, cats, and small children, which makes them excellent family dogs.
Things to Know When Owning an American Foxhound
Food & Diet Requirements🦴
American Foxhounds require a diet of high quality, high calorie dog food. This food will fuel its energy levels and muscular bulk. It is recommended to feed food based on your dog’s age (puppy, adult, and senior). It is also suggested to feed specialized joint supplement food to keep your Foxhound’s joints limber as the dog ages. American Foxhounds are prone to obesity, so it is recommended to use proper portions and feeding directions when feeding your dog. Treats are also an important part of an American Foxhound’s training regime, but you have to be careful about feeding too many treats, which can also contribute to obesity in the breed.
American Foxhounds are working dogs. They were bred to spend hours out in the field or on trails tracking wily and nimble foxes. Fox hunting was done from horseback, so American Foxhounds also had to be fit enough to keep up with mounted people. This means that American Foxhounds require plenty of exercise to keep them trim and fit. It is recommended to take your American Foxhound on two long walks per day (one in the morning and one in the evening) along with a number of shared activities spread throughout the month. American Foxhounds love to hike, and they can still be trained to hunt. They will also benefit from structured play and rigorous outdoor games. Exercise is very important for the American Foxhound, and it is something that should be addressed.
American Foxhounds are highly trainable, but they can also be stubborn, independent, and obstinate. Training should be started early with a focus on obedience. Since American Foxhounds are food motivated, treats are a powerful incentive during training. American Foxhounds that do not receive proper training when they are young can become hard to manage as they age. Once a dog gets older, it will be harder to instill proper training in them, so be sure to be consistent and start as early as possible. Once the training sets in, these dogs are amazing, but there are times when their stubbornness can get in the way of proper training.
The American Foxhound has a hard coat that lies close to the body. The coat is rugged and designed to protect the dog from minor brush while out hunting. The American Foxhound does not need regular bathing. It only needs infrequent brushing with a grooming glove or hard-tipped brush to break up loose or dead fur. American Foxhounds need their nails trimmed regularly and their ears checked for dirt that can become trapped. Overall, the American Foxhound is a very low maintenance dog when it comes to grooming and general upkeep.
Health and Conditions🏥
The American Foxhound is considered to be a healthy dog breed. The two biggest health concerns are Thrombocytopathy and hip dysplasia. Thrombocytopathy is a blood disorder that causes prolonged bleeding and poor clotting due to a deficiency in the platelets in the blood. Hip dysplasia is a deformity of the hips that causes pain, mobility issues, and arthritis as the dog ages. Both of these conditions are genetic and can be screened and eliminated by responsible breeders.
American Foxhounds have cute floppy ears, but these ears can trap dirt and dust in the ear canal, which can make American Foxhounds more prone to ear infections than other breeds. Regular ear cleanings can work to mitigate this risk.
Male vs Female
Male American Foxhounds are slightly larger than females. The males are stockier, heavier, and more muscular than their female counterparts. They also stand a couple of inches taller than the females. Outside of size differences, male and female foxhounds are typically very similar. Some claim that females are sweeter and more laid back than males, but this has not been definitively proven.
3 Little-Known Facts About the American Foxhound
1. The American Foxhound Has Deep British Roots
Despite its name, the American Foxhound is deeply connected to the English Foxhound. In the earliest days of the United States, many of the landed gentry were still striving to emulate British traditions and behaviors. Fox hunting was the pastime of the elite in both Britain and the United States for decades after the American Revolution. The American Foxhound was bred to continue this tradition in the New World. Without the connection to the United Kingdom, there would likely be no American Foxhound. Fox hunting remained popular for multiple generations and still retains a niche place in American rural life to this day. That is thanks to the influence of the British in the United States.
2. George Washington Owned American Foxhounds
The American Foxhound gained early popularity due to its connection to the Founding Father, George Washington. Washington was an avid fox hunter who kept numerous American Foxhounds at his estate at Mount Vernon. At one point, Washington owned 36 American Foxhounds with names like Tipsy, Drunkard, and Searcher. When Washington was spending time at home in Mount Vernon, he was often seen interacting and hunting with his foxhounds.
3. The American Foxhound Is the State Dog of Virginia
The American Foxhound is the official dog of the state of Virginia. This is due to the fact that the American Foxhound is connected to places like Mount Vernon and famous Virginians such as George Washington. The American Foxhound was officially enshrined as the state dog of Virginia in 1966 by an Act of the 1966 Session of the Virginia General Assembly. The American Foxhound represents Virginia’s rural past, famous forefathers, and continued dedication to these things.
The American Foxhound is a dog with one of the richest histories in the United States. These dogs have been a part of American dog culture since the very earliest days of the Republic. Today, they are mostly kept as specialized hunting dogs or as family companions. These dogs are very versatile and can be trained to do certain jobs but will also be more than happy to spend their days playing with children outside and sleeping on the couch in the evenings. American Foxhounds are great family dogs and come with a fascinating history that every American Foxhound owner should know about.
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