Hound dog breeds have been around for many centuries. First used as hunting dogs, they're now a popular family pet. So let's take a closer look at 5 types of hound dogs.
The two types of Hound breeds
Hound dogs come in all shapes and sizes, but they can be split into two categories: sight hounds and scent hounds. This relates to the way they track scent and game. Unsurprisingly, scent hounds use their noses, while sight hounds track with their eyes. But however they get the job done, hound dogs are tenacious animals that love a good challenge.
5 Types of hound dogs
1# Irish Wolfhound
The Irish wolfhound is a big dog with a long history. Irish literature from the 5th century makes reference to wolfhounds, and these dogs were used to hunt big game animals. Hundreds of years later the wolfhound become popular amongst the ruling elites and were offered as prized gifts to visiting dignitaries. Wolfhounds are intelligent, reserved creatures with a gentle nature. Like many large dogs, the Irish Wolfhound has a much shorter life expectancy than smaller breeds. The average lifespan for a Wolfhound is 7 years, although some can survive up for up to ten years.
2# Afghan Hound
Definitely the most flamboyant dog on the list, the Afghan hound has a long silky coat and curly tail. It's what makes them popular show dogs, but these sturdy animals were first bred in the cold mountain ranges of Afghanistan. A lot tougher then its looks, the Afgan hound has a life expectancy of up to 12 years, which is quite old for a dog of its size. They can sometimes appear rather aloof, but the Afghan hound can be playful and affectionate once they feel comfortable. First-time owners need to consider grooming and training. Keeping an Afghan's long coat healthy will be time-consuming and expensive, and training may require a lot of patience. In his book, The Intelligence of Dogs, psychology professor Stanley Core ranked the Afghan hound last in the ability to understand obedience commands. He showed that Afghan hounds require more than 80 repetitions to understand a new command.
Smaller types of hound dogs
The Bloodhound is a natural working dog with an exceptional sense of smell. The breed is famous for its tracking abilities and is capable of picking up a scent over huge distances. They were used in the middle ages to track deer, wild boar, and even people. The Bloodhound is still a working dog; it's used by police and law enforcement agencies to track missing persons and escaped convicts. Bloodhounds have a gentle soul, but they can also be very single-minded and stubborn. Bloodhounds are not the easiest to train, especially when it comes to walking on a leash. Again, Bloodhounds have a shorter lifespan than most other dogs. A 2013 survey by the UK Kennel Club found that the average life expectancy for a Bloodhound is 8.25 years.
4# Basset Hound
Another natural tracking dog, the Basset Hound is famous for its shorts legs, long floppy eyes, and wrinkly face. Like most hounds, the Basset can be very stubborn, but with the right training, they're loyal, affectionate, and great with other animals and kids. Of all the tracking breeds, the Basset requires the least amount of exercise, although they'll still need a decent walk to stretch their legs and noses. Their average life expectancy is around 10 years, although they’re susceptible to quite a few health issues. Their long ears and wrinkly folds around the eyes can lead to infection. Other health conditions include joint and hip problems, yeast infections, and obesity.
Also known as the sausage dog, the Daschund is a short-legged, long-bodied little hound that was first bred to flush out badgers and other animals from their burrows. In fact, Daschund actually translates as “badger dog.” These little guys are playful and loyal, but they do have a reputation for being a little disruptive. Like most hounds, the Daschund is very independently minded. Once they set their mind on something, it's hard to redirect their attention. Daschunds love chasing things, including birds, squirrels and cats. In other words, they might not be the best choice for families with other pets. Their long spines can cause some medical issues, including intervertebral disk disease - a degenerative condition that causes the spine to weaken, and even collapse.
Depending on the specific breed, a hound puppy will cost anywhere between £400 - £2,000. The top breeding lines can fetch up to £4,000! Hound puppies need training and socialisation from day one. Without it, you'll have a very stubborn dog on your hands, and they’ll soon become extremely difficult to handle.
Hounds dogs have been around for thousands of years. Although most live a much quieter life than their ancestors, any hound breed will need plenty of exercise and stimulation. Hounds need long walks in wide open areas. It gives them a chance to exercise those deep-rooted tracking instincts. Owners need to set aside a large part of each day to properly exercise a hound dog. If that isn't your thing, then a Hound breed is not the dog for you.