OVERVIEW OF THE AMERICAN FOXHOUND
The American Foxhound is a medium-sized, sweet-natured hound that was among the first canine breeds to be developed in the United States. Despite its historical ancestry, it’s one of the rarest dog breeds in the country and thus not particularly popular nowadays. As a hunter breed, it stands out from the crowd thanks to its impressive combination of speed, stamina, and diligence. It’s currently most frequently found as a pack member in a foxhunting club. But that doesn’t restrict it from being a wonderful pet for your family.
Foxhounds are known for being particularly kind and patient with young people. Their approach towards strangers shifts from hesitant to protective depending on the situation. Being a pack breed, the Foxhound enjoys the companionship of other dogs and is ideally suited to a home with other dogs.
It has an extremely low-maintenance coat and needs an active family who can keep up with it, a home with sufficient space for it to stretch its long legs, and, preferably, no neighbors who will complain about its vocal abilities (because the American Foxhound is one musical pooch).
The American Foxhound is thought to be the oldest and maybe the earliest breed to be bred in the United States. European settlers arrived in America in 1650, bringing their hound dogs with them. Crossbreeding different hounds produced taller, lighter, and faster canines that were exceptional at fox chase, scent following, and working alongside mounted hunters.
George Washington’s role in the history of the American Foxhounds is notable because he was one of the first people to keep a pack of them at his Mount Vernon estate. He increased his breeding efforts by mixing with English Foxhound that he received as a gift from the Marquis de Lafayette in France. The American Foxhound gradually separated itself from the English Foxhound over time.
It’s a lesser-known fact that Washington conducted yearly hunts at Mount Vernon, where equestrians and their hounds chased foxes. The American Foxhound was the ideal canine for hunting and companionship among wealthy plantation owners in Virginia, who often kept horses and hounds together. Despite being a breed officially recognized by the American Kennel Club since 1886, it’s still relatively unknown to the general public.
AMERICAN FOXHOUND TRAITS
The American Foxhound has got perfectly developed legs to run and chase, and it knows how to use them. This tall and muscular 60 to70 pound dog is leggier and sleeker than its English foxhound kin. According to breed standards, it has a medium-short, smooth and hard coat that can be any color; but it’s most commonly found with a white, black, and tan coat.
The amount of hair on its tail is referred to as a “light brush.” Its long, silky ears and wide hazel or brown eyes give it a charming expression that reveals its sensitive nature, at least until it detects a scent. They usually keep their noses to the ground, but when they do look at you, their innocent and cute facial expression seems to suggest, “Play with me.”
The American Foxhound has a kind and friendly nature. It gets along great with other dogs, children, and even cats if it’s socialized early on in life. Yet, some Foxhounds may find it difficult to coexist with smaller pets due to their background as hunting dogs.
Due to its outgoing personality, it prefers not to be alone and would want to have a dog or human companion. And if it’s lonely, it’ll let you know it with a howl that echoes for miles and possibly by chewing up your house.
Anyone who wants an American Foxhound should be aware that they will have to put up with the howling of their pet. Although not everyone is a fan of their howling, some will love their voice reverberating through the house at 3 a.m.
They have many endearing traits, but above all, they are extremely sociable, warm, and cuddly. People have difficulty remembering what these sleek dogs were bred for, what that involves, and whether or not they will be able to give them that lifestyle.
Many dogs, including hounds, have a sensitive side. Whenever something excites them, they tend to shout it out. Whenever they catch a whiff, they’re supposed to take off running, and it’s your responsibility to keep up with them. They value their autonomy and individuality highly, and once they’re outside, they may lose track of you entirely if they catch a scent.
TRAINING AND EXERCISE
These dogs were trained to track the smell of a fox across challenging terrain for long distances, and they’re not lap dogs even when there are no foxes to hunt. They’re an active breed that demands a lot of physical activity, such as hiking, swimming, or participating in competitive dog sports. Set aside at least one hour daily, preferably more. These dogs are attuned to their surroundings and could easily wander off if not kept on a leash or within a secure location. Remember that if the Foxhound does not receive sufficient physical and mental stimulation through exercise, it can become destructive. In other words, a well-behaved Foxhound is a tired Foxhound.
Mental stimulation is also essential. To keep them amused, teach them new behaviors, give them plenty of opportunities to sniff during walks, and provide them with food puzzles to complete when they are indoors.
For training to be effective, break down skills into baby steps and reward with treats, toys, or praise upon completion of each step. American Foxhounds have a high amount of energy. Thus, training them rapidly can prevent them from growing bored.
It’s also a good idea to enroll in obedience classes and work on your dog’s recall. Your American Foxhound pup will benefit greatly from obedience training in which it will learn basic commands like “sit”, “stay” and “come,” as well as proper leash manners. Leashes and fences help ensure they don’t get lost by following a scent. Keep in mind that if they are off-leash and smell something attractive, they may ignore your calls even if you have trained them to come.
Even if you are not into hunting, there are plenty of entertaining methods to assist your Foxhound in burning off some steam. A large, secured yard is a good starting point, but remember that “secure” is the important word; a modest deterrent will not prevent it from tracking a scent.
These dogs have great stamina and can run for miles, making them ideal hiking or trail running companions, but be careful about letting them off-leash, as they are prone to chasing scents. Physically, there is no reason why an American Foxhound cannot participate in canine sports, but its distractibility makes it unlikely that it will be the top pupil.
Layering in distractions should be done methodically and intelligently. Also, remember that they may not be completely receptive to your verbal recall cues in the great outdoors, especially if they have their attention elsewhere.
Don’t discount the importance of making friends. Although these puppies are quite sociable, it’s still important to socialize them well with people and other dogs from an early age because it will help their energetic personalities shine as they mature. Enroll them in a puppy preschool where they can meet other puppy parents and learn to socialize with other puppies. Despite being an old breed, American Foxhound dogs often adapt quite well to many facets of contemporary living. They enjoy the company of adults, children, and other animals but might be apprehensive of strangers. Socializing an American Foxhound puppy from a young age will help it feel more at ease with new people.
They are typically not stressed, disturbed, or frightened by situations. A Foxhound is unlikely to be bothered by loud, energetic conversations, making them an excellent choice for a noisy household.
FOOD AND HEALTH OF THE AMERICAN FOXHOUND
Commercial dog foods that are formulated for specific life stages are ideal for American Foxhounds. Consult with your veterinarian about selecting a formula for energetic breeds to ensure that your high-energy dog receives the necessary calories for maximum health. Foxhounds are energetic eaters who may overeat (and gain weight) if left to graze all day. To prevent this, measure their kibble and give them one to two meals daily. Your vet can prepare a feeding chart to assist you in determining how much to give your American Foxhound.
Even though these dogs are quite active, obesity is still a danger if they consume an excessive amount of food. Remember to restrict snacks to no more than 10 % of daily calories to prevent weight gain. Consult your vet if you observe your dog’s weight increase. They can assist you in balancing mealtimes, snacks, and exercise to aid your dog in losing weight and receiving the necessary nutrients.
HEALTH CONCERNS OF THE AMERICAN FOXHOUND
A healthy American Foxhound can live between 11 and 13 years. They are generally considered to be in good health, especially when compared to breeds that are predisposed to a variety of illnesses, but this does not mean that they are immune to common ailments.
This disorder is a telltale indicator that the ball and socket of the hip or elbow aren’t fitting together properly and should be checked out. Although large dog breeds are more likely to experience joint dysplasia, American Foxhounds are not immune. The risk factors include heredity, excessive growth, weight, and diet. In severe cases, your veterinarian may offer physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, or surgery to address joint dysplasia.
American Foxhounds, due to their floppy ears, are susceptible to ear infections. Their ears seal their ear canals, retaining moisture and providing the ideal environment for the growth of germs and yeast. Remember to dry their ears after a swim and a bath properly, and consult your vet for advice on how to properly clean their ears to avoid infection to dry their ears after a swim or a bath.
Due to their deep chests and small waists, American Foxhounds are more susceptible to gastric dilatation-volvulus. GDV happens when the gas expands and twists the stomach. Get your dog to the vet immediately if you think it has GDV because the ailment can be fatal. You can stop it by giving your dog smaller, more frequent meals during the day, using a slow feeder to stop them from inhaling their food, and refraining from strenuous activity for an hour before and after mealtime.
Thrombocytopathy is a condition that lowers platelet counts in the blood. Since these platelets are dysfunctional, blood cannot clot. Most cases of thrombocytopathy are acquired, most typically as a side effect of medication. Symptoms of this illness often include nosebleeds, profuse bleeding from wounds, and blood in the urine or feces.
American Foxhounds can be affected by a rare genetic disorder called the Pelger-Huet anomaly, which affects their white blood cells. In this disorder, the development of the immune system is disrupted. Most cases of this disease show no outward symptoms and can be identified with a simple blood test.
The less prevalent variant frequently ends in fetal mortality. Because this is a recognized congenital issue affecting American Foxhounds, you should ask your breeder whether it has ever been observed in your puppy’s line.
GROOMING INSIGHTS FOR AMERICAN FOXHOUND
The American Foxhound is a low-maintenance breed that doesn’t require frequent trips to the groomer for a professional bath and blowout. The short coats of American Foxhounds make them very easy to maintain. These dogs have “wash-and-go” coats that require little maintenance and shed significantly less than other breeds.
Every week or so, give them a once-over with a brush similar to a rubber mitt, bathe them if they become very unclean, and keep their nails cut to prevent clicking noises from their toes on the floor. Keep an eye on your hound’s ears, particularly if your dog enjoys swimming or splashing around in the water, and wash them out with a safe ear-cleaning solution after any swimming experience to avoid an ear infection.
You should also keep an ear out for howling from your American Foxhound. In the event that it is increasing, you may want to consult your veterinarian to determine if its increased vocalizations are the result of stress. Talk to your vet about ways to help calm your dog down if it is causing sleepless nights for you or your neighbors.
Dental care is very crucial. As with many breeds, American Foxhounds benefit from a home routine that involves dental chews and rinses, as well as brushing their teeth several times per week (daily, if possible). Remember to schedule an annual dental cleaning with your vet.