Hound Dog Group
Most hound dog breeds share the common ancestral trait of the love of hunting. Some have powerful senses of smell and follow trails. Others have lots of stamina and chase prey. Hound dogs are all different because the group contains many different breeds that vary in size, personality, long/short/medium coats, and much more.
This guide describes 27 hound dog breeds. Some are sighthounds, also called gaze hounds, and chase prey by speed and sight. They helped hunters in catching game. Now, these pups are used less for catching game and more for catching a ball, walks, or cuddling.
Scent hounds search by smell (like missing people) and endurance. Sleek Greyhounds are sighthounds, while Bloodhounds are scent hounds. Scent hounds wander away to follow any smell they detect. They don’t speed but will search for hours or days.
Bassett Hounds, Beagles, Bloodhounds, and Foxhounds make a throaty baying sound to tell their humans they’ve found the victim of the hunt. Before obtaining one of the hound dog breeds, make sure the baying sound doesn’t make your ears hurt. My neighbor’s dog did that, and it always sounded like a murder in progress.
Hound Dog Breeds
A lot of hound dog breeds need exercise and walks because they were bred for the physical activity of chasing vermin and large animals.
These remarkable hound dog breeds are known for their incredible tracking abilities and distinctive traits. Let’s embark on a journey to explore the fascinating world of hounds.
1. Afghan Hound
The Afghan hound breed is elegant with a silky, long coat that flows as they move and keeps them warm in the mountains. Afghans are also instantly recognizable, silly, and loyal. Afghans are agile, aloof, strong, and energetic. They are athletic hunters. Known for their glamour now, their beautiful coats grew to protect them from rough brush.
Afghan hounds live to 12-18 and weigh 50-60 pounds. They do have to be brushed a few times a week to keep their gorgeous fur smooth. The Afghan hound was originally bred in Afghanistan and brought to Europe by British soldiers in the late 19th century.
2. American Foxhound
The American Foxhound breed is low maintenance, good-natured, and great with other dogs, kids, and cats. They were popular in Virginia during Revolutionary times because they are fast, hardworking, and have stamina.
American Foxhounds need lots of exercise (playtime and/or walks) so they don’t become depressed and destructive, and their prey drive has to be controlled.
The American foxhound tends to bawl loudly, which neighbors may not enjoy. It may be a bit challenging to train and housebreak them because they are very independent. American foxhounds live to 11-13 years and weigh 60-70 pounds. They are a nice breed for families.
3. American English Coonhound
The American English Coonhound (AEC) breed is sleek and has adorable faces but will run after raccoons from dawn to dusk. They are fast and have impressive stamina. AECs are calm at home but are stubborn and tenacious when acting as hunting dogs. They weigh 45-60 pounds and live to be 11-12.
AECs breed are sociable, sweet, energetic, and require minimal grooming. English Coonhounds were brought to America during the 17th and 18th centuries. Fox hunting was popular in Great Britain’s southern colonies in America beginning in the late 1600s.
The Azawakh breed is independent, fast, loving, and loyal. They weigh 35-55 pounds and live to be 12-15. They are a West African sighthound with a short, fine coat. They are wonderful companions and guardians as well as lean ancient hunting hounds.
Azawakhs are elegant and hardy hunters who have been chasing gazelle in the hot sand of the Sahara for a thousand years.
The Basenji breed, or Africa’s Barkless Dog, is poised and independent. They weigh 13-14 pounds and live to 12-16. Basenjis have lots of energy, need a great deal of mental stimulation, and lots of exercise — walks and/or playtime. They are also known to be catlike and fast.
The Basenji is a compact, sweet-faced hunter with intelligence and poise. They have long coats and are unique, and the American Kennel Club calls them “beguiling pets.” They were also one of the first in the domestication of dogs.
6. Basset Hound
Known for their characteristic long and droopy ears that make them instantly recognizable, the Basset hound breed is great with small kids and other canines because they are calm, faithful, charming, and patient. They can be a little stubborn but have stamina and a keen sense of smell — only second to the Bloodhound. They weigh 40-65 pounds and live to 12-13.
Basset hounds were created in France and Belgium (“basset” is French for “low”) to hunt badgers. Historians think that friars crossed strains of older French breeds to create a short scent hound to track rabbits and deer. French aristocrats loved the Basset hound, which is laid-back with family at home but strong-willed on the trail.
The Beagle hound breed, one of America’s top dog breeds, is also very good with dogs and kids in addition to being curious, friendly, loving, and happy. They are playful, adaptable, full of energy, and need mental stimulation. They live to be 10-15, weigh 20-30 pounds, and are an incredibly loyal companion. The Beagle is also among the easiest dogs to train.
The Beagle was bred in England in the 1830s from several dog breeds, including the Talbot Hound, the Northern Hound, the Southern Hound and the Harrier, to pursue bunnies and rodents. The Beagles were brought to the southern United States in the 1840s as hunting dogs and are one of the best family dogs.
8. Bavarian Mountain Hound
The American Kennel Club’s full name for them is Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound. They are versatile, reserved with strangers, fast, persistent, courageous, and faithful. The traits that they rank highest on are trainability, energy level, and need for mental stimulation. They weigh 37-66 pounds and live to 12-15.
The Bavarian Mountain Hound breed was bred by mating a Hanoverian Scent hound with a Red Mountain Scent hound. The breed excels at locating injured game that’s shot down. They have a black/brown head and a tan body.
9. Black and Tan Coonhound
The Black and tan coonhound breeds are easygoing, friendly, brave, cuddly, and adaptable. Hounds bark to let hunters know when they find the target, so the hound dog breeds tend to bark a lot. Black and tan coonhounds are great with kids and dogs. They weigh 65-110 pounds and live to be 10-12.
Black and tan coonhounds were bred in America after the Revolution to hunt raccoons, which were used for their fur, meat, and fat. The frontiersmen bred European hounds like foxhounds and bloodhounds to create a hound suitable for raccoon hunting and willing to run through marshes and woods at night because raccoons are nocturnal. They are athletic hunters.
Famous for their strong sense of smell, the Bloodhound breed is independent, friendly, and inquisitive. They are good at training and loving. They weigh 80-110 pounds and live to 10-12. Bloodhounds were used in the breeding of the black and tan coonhound and other coonhounds (poor Rocky raccoon). Bloodhounds are so good-natured that they let kids pull on their extremities.
Although their origins are mysterious, a third-century scholar, Aelian, mentioned “a hound of unrivaled scenting powers, so intensely devoted to his work that he could not be pulled off the trail until his quarry was found.”
Bloodhounds were perfected by monasteries of England and France a thousand years ago and hunted deer. They’ve been serving humans almost since the dawn of civilization.
11. Bluetick Coonhound
The American Kennel Club characterizes the Bluetick coonhound breed as affectionate, smart, tenacious, and devoted. They respond well to training, and they’re peppy and good with dogs. The Bluetick coonhound lives to 11-12 and weighs 45-80 pounds.
French staghounds were bred with English foxhounds and other hounds in the 1700s to make a dog with endurance and an extraordinary sense of smell. Bluetick coonhounds hunt raccoons and larger animals. They need exercise like walks and/or rigorous playtime.
The Borzoi hails from Russia, where they were bred to hunt wolves. They are strong, fearless, faithful, graceful, loving, stubborn, sometimes aloof, and glamorous. They run 35-40 miles per hour. Borzoi are sighthounds, weigh 75-105 pounds, and live for 9 to 14 years.
They were bred in the 1600s from the Arabian Greyhound and thick-coated Russian breeds. Russian aristocrats hosted elaborate wolf hunt extravaganzas. Dog breeders in England and the United States imported Borzois before the Russian Revolution and preserved the breed.
13. Cirneco dell’Etna
Egyptians crossbred “sighthounds” using Greyhounds, and Cirneco comes from a Greek word meaning “dog of Cyrene (Libya).” Researchers believe that Cirneco dell’Etnas were brought to Sicily 3,000 years ago by the Phoenicians. They are loving, sweet, gentle, calm, faithful, good with dogs, trainable, playful, and adaptable. They weigh 17-26 pounds and live to be 12 to 14.
The sleek and athletic breed has been chasing rabbits, hares, and game birds by Mount Etna for thousands of years and can go for hours without food or water.
“Dachshund” means “badger dog” in German. Dachshunds were created around 600 years ago to dig into badger dens. Dachshunds had to be clever, strong, persistent, and courageous. Dachshunds, one of the most popular dog breeds, were crossbred from a miniature French pointer and a pinscher and are a loyal companion that makes pet parents laugh.
Dachshunds breed are vivacious, smart, vigilant, affectionate, good with dogs, friendly, playful, and good watchdogs. Dachshunds weigh 11-22 pounds and live to be 12-16, and Dachshunds have long coats. I have a precious Dachshund neighbor and can’t imagine her tearing into a badger den!
15. English Foxhound
In the 1600s in England, the “Masters of Hounds” crossbred big stag-hunting hounds with Greyhound-type hounds and created the English foxhound to course red fox.
English foxhounds are social, gentle, affectionate, good with kids and dogs, playful, trainable, adaptable, energetic, and need mental stimulation. They weigh 60-75 pounds, and they live to 10-13.
The Greyhound breed is noble, independent, friendly, gentle, affectionate, good with dogs, peppy, and adaptable. They weigh 60-70 pounds and live to 10-13. The greyhound has a high prey drive and is the fastest of the dog breeds. They are one of the ancient dog breeds and lived in Egypt 5,000 years ago.
17. Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen
The Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen (GBGV) hound breed is affectionate, playful, adaptable, energetic, and good with dogs. They weigh 40-45 pounds and live to 13-15. It is a wiry-haired dog that evolved to adapt to its geography.
The Vendeé is dense, rocky, and thorny, and the GBGV is a robust dog with physical and mental stamina and a coat that is prickly brambles-resistant.
The Harrier breed appeared in England in the 1200s and has been in America since colonial times. They are rare and specialize in tracking hares. Foxhounds were probably used to develop Harriers. They look like beagles and are doting, friendly, high energy, fast, good with kids and dogs if trained early, playful, adaptable, and zippy.
19. Ibizan Hound
The Ibizan hound breed makes great family dogs. They are polite, good with dogs, peppy, adaptable, sweet, and need mental stimulation and space. They weigh 45-50 pounds and live to 11-14. Ibiza is an island near Spain’s Mediterranean coast.
Around 3,000 years ago, Phoenician traders brought Egyptian hounds to the island. Ibizans were used to hunt rabbits and wild boar. Food was scarce because of the rugged terrain, so Ibizans were instrumental in feeding humans and saving them from starving.
20. Irish Wolfhound
The Irish wolfhound breed is relaxed, kind, dignified, doting, good with dogs, protective and courageous. They weigh 105 to 120 pounds and live six to eight years. They are very fast, tall, and have long coats. They hunted large animals, including deer.
Irish wolfhounds were bred from indigenous large dogs of Britain with Middle Eastern coursing hounds and bartered around the world when international trade began. They existed in 391 A.C. when the Roman consul received seven of them as a gift. In the 15th century, Irish wolfhounds were imported to kill wolves.
21. Norwegian Elkhound
The Norwegian elkhound is friendly, confident, dependable, cuddly, playful, protective, adaptable, trainable, energetic, and needs mental stimulation. The Norwegian elkhound weighs 48-55 pounds and lives to be 12-15.
The Norwegian elkhound is an ancient breed of dog that was a friend of Vikings and is in Norse art. Norwegian elkhounds hunted elk and moose. Norwegian elkhounds’ skeletons were found dating from 4000-5000 B.C.
Otterhounds are cuddly, friendly, relaxed, adaptable, and trainable. They weigh 80-115 pounds and live to be 10-13. Otterhounds have long hair and date back to medieval England when otters were eating all the fish, and people couldn’t catch fish for their own sustenance. Otterhounds killed all the otters, making them the heroes of the hungry British.
23. Pharaoh Hound
Pharaoh hounds are friendly, smart, noble, affectionate, obedient, good with dogs, trainable, peppy, and need mental stimulation. They weigh 45-55 pounds and live to 12-14.
The pharaoh hound is from Egypt and was distributed throughout the world by the Phoenicians, who sailed the Mediterranean 2,500 years ago selling luxury items. Pharaoh hounds participated in lure-coursing rabbits. They are good at navigating difficult terrain and pursuing small animals.
24. Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen
Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen hounds are alert, happy, vivacious, good with children and dogs, friendly, playful, protective, adaptable, peppy, and need mental stimulation. They weigh 25-40 pounds and live to 14-16. Their rough coat developed from chasing rabbits in the rocks and dense underbrush of coastal France.
25. Plott Hound
The Plott hound is loyal, alert, intelligent, cuddly, good with other dogs, friendly, protective, trainable, and adaptable. They weigh 40-60 pounds and live to 12-14. According to AKC, they descended from German Hanover hounds bred in 1750 and were created by a German who immigrated to the US and hunted bears with them.
26. Rhodesian Ridgeback
Known for a ridge or stripe of backward-growing hair on their backs, Rhodesian ridgebacks are dignified, cuddly, elegant, calm, good with children, protective, adaptable, trainable, and need mental stimulation. Unlike most other hounds, they rarely bark. They are hardy, weighing 70-85 pounds, and can keep up with horses. They live to 10-12.
The Rhodesian ridgeback is from southern Africa, where they were mated with the native ridged Khoikhoi dog and European dog breeds brought by Dutch colonists, including Greyhounds and various Terriers.
27. Whippet Dog Breed
The Whippet is a playful, cuddly, calm, elegant, good with kids and dogs, playful, peppy, hunting dog that needs mental stimulation and exercise time for walks and/or playtimes. The Whippet dog breed weighs 25-40 pounds and lives to be 12-15.
Whippets were crossbred by miners in Victorian England who couldn’t afford to feed and house greyhounds. They crossbred greyhounds with smaller dogs (no one knows which dog breeds) and created whippets — mini greyhounds.
What Breeds of Dogs Fall Into the Hound Category?
Hounds are exceptional hunters, using their sharp senses and remarkable stamina to chase down prey. We have featured 27 of the most popular hound dog breeds above.
Is a Hound Dog a Suitable Choice as a Pet?
Many hound dog breeds make great pets. Some are full of energy, so they’ll need playtime or walks. Some have a high prey drive and shouldn’t live with little animals, but they are cuddly and playful.
Which Hound Breed Is the Calmest?
The American Kennel Club names the Irish wolfhound the calmest hound dog breed.
Hound dog breeds’ common ancestral trait is hunting, but now that people don’t have to hunt for food, many hunting dogs are non-working pets enjoying a life of belly rubs, walks, and treats.
They make great family dogs and have important domestic jobs like kissing their human family members, taking them out to exercise, and letting them know when someone’s at the door.