You Ain’t Nothing But A Hound, Dog

cutest dog houndA lot of people tend to throw the term “hound” around when referring to their favorite four legged companion, although it doesn’t always quite fit the bill. Often times when they’re using the term hound, it’s actually relating to “mutt” or mixed breed dog. However, a Hound dog actually has a much more distinct difference, and a very rich lineage to boot.

So let’s take a moment to sniff out the truth about hounds.

Release the Hounds!

You might have heard this phrase a few times in passing, however that phrase was used for quite some time in the past. When you’re referring to a hound dog, you’re actually referring to a dog bred for hunting. These dogs have a very keen sense of smell, high amounts of stamina, and are typically very fast. Hound breeds can include a wide variety of dogs ranging from beagles to whippets. Hounds play a very important role when hunting, assisting in finding and tracking game to retrieving game from brush and thickets.

There are Different Classifications of Hound

Not only is there an impossibly long list of hound dogs, but there are also different types of hounds, based on how they aid in the hunt. Sighthounds track their quarry visually and rely on tremendous running speed to be able to keep pace with whatever it is you’re hunting. Sighthounds are capable of keeping pace with deer, elk and foxes.

Scent hounds on the other hand, work a little differently, and are often what people think of when referring to a hunting dog. Scent hounds, often being basset hounds, bloodhounds and beagles, aren’t typically very fast. However, what they lack in speed, they make up for in smell. These dogs have a super sniffer that can track game by scent, and quite accurately as well. Scent hounds are also used to find missing persons making them a very versatile pup.

A Hound in the House

While hound dogs are typically meant to be hunting dogs, that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. There are a good number of families that enjoy having a hound around as they do make for lovable pets. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when you’re looking at getting a hound.

  • Stronger Doggy Smell– Hounds typically have an oiler coat, which helps to keep them warm and dry when they’re out hunting. This however, does make them a bit more pungent without proper grooming.
  • Baying– If you’ve ever heard a dog on the hunt, you’ll realize that they don’t really bark, per se. Hunting dogs vocalize by way of baying, which is more of a howl then a bark. Make sure you socialize your hound when they’re young to keep them from howling at inappropriate times.
  • Love of the Chase– Almost all dogs love to chase things, it’s just part of their nature. The difference is that hounds can be stubborn and if you’re not careful, they’ll haul after whatever got their attention. Again, proper training is the key.

All in all, if you’re looking for a good family dog, a hound is a pretty solid bet. If your family enjoys going hunting then you’re presented with a unique opportunity to train your dog to be a hunting dog. Whatever the case may be, with a little love and attention, your pup will hound after your heart.


+Neil Kilgore is the Jack (Russell) of all trades at Greenfield Puppies in Lancaster Pa. He regularly blogs about dogs, breeders and puppies on the Greenfield Puppies website.