The English Foxhound is one of the four foxhound breeds of dog. They are scent hounds, bred to hunt foxes by scent.
The English Foxhound is about 21-25 inches tall to the withers, and weighs anywhere between 65-75 pounds, although some English Foxhounds bred for the show ring can be considerably bigger, with some males weighing over 100 pounds. The skull is wide, the muzzle is long, and eyes carry a sweet expression. The legs are muscular, straight-boned, and the paws are rounded, almost cat-like.
The English Foxhound was originally a pack hound, therefore, it gets along well with other dogs and enjoys human companionship. It gets along with horses, children, and other pets, as it is a gentle, social, and tolerant breed.
It is a very active breed that enjoys the hunt. Though it is slower than the American Foxhound, it enjoys running and will run all day with very few breaks in between.
There are very few health problems in this breed. Occasionally seen are chronic hip dysplasia, renal disease, and epilepsy. The breed's lifespan is typically 10–13 years, although British hunts would routinely put working hounds down after 6–7 years hunting.
The English Foxhound was created in the late 16th century, as a result of the perception of the depletion of deer in England. Nobles and Royalty had hunted deer for both food and sport, using the Deerhound or Staghound for this purpose. During the reign of Henry VIII, it was perceived that a new prey was needed, and the fox was selected. The English Foxhound was then created by a careful mixing of the Greyhound, for speed, the Fox Terrier, for hunting instinct, and the Bulldog, for tenacity in the hunt.
During the British Raj, English Foxhounds were imported to India for the purpose of jackal coursing, though due to the comparatively hotter weather, they were rarely long lived.Foxhounds were preferred for this purpose over greyhounds, as the former was not as fast, and could thus provide a longer, more sporting chase. Studbooks for this breed were kept as early as the 19th century.
The dogs were meant to trail foxes and live around horses. They are still used for those purposes.
The English Foxhound is the rarest breed of dog in the United States by AKC registration, with seventeen currently registered.
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