Like its English cousin, the American Foxhound is an excellent hunting companion developed for club hunting in packs. However, the American Foxhound is lighter on its feet and taller than its European relations and faster in the chase. The American Foxhound is a sweet and affectionate breed who is calm while indoors but loves to run outdoors. This breed has a short, smooth coat and is considered an average shedder who requires little grooming, though brushing its coat with a firm-bristle brush is recommended. The American Foxhound is also known for its musical bay and tones have enchanted owners for years. Owners are said to be able to distinguish their Foxhound’s individual voice in large packs.
The American Foxhound is one of the first and few breeds to originate in the United States. Its name is borrowed from the English Foxhound who was known as a fox hunting pack dog throughout western Europe. The first American Foxhounds were brought to the Americas in the mid-1600s and were established as a black-and-tan variety. The working pack of Robert Brooke was the ancestral group for all current day American hounds, including the Foxhound's cousins, the Coonhounds.
In the 1700s, French hound imports, which were slightly larger than the American Foxhound, were brought in to increase the Foxhound's size. Most notable for record keeping on breed selection is first President of the United States, George Washington, who bred and hunted with Foxhounds throughout his life. Once established as a larger breed, Irish-descended hounds were later imported in the 1830s to increase the speed of the American Foxhound. Today's American Foxhound is an all-American, having been crossed with English, French, and Irish hounds.
The American Foxhound was originally bred as a pack hunting dog, particularly for fox club hunting. Today, the dog remains a pack hunter and favorite among American hunters for its speed and scenting abilities. The American Kennel Club officially recognized the American Foxhound in 1886, but registration numbers remain extremely low for this breed. However, the American Foxhound is one of the most popular, unpopular dogs because it many owners do not register their pedigree. These dogs serve their owner as a member of large hunting packs and are often registered with the International Foxhunter's Studbook, published by The Chase.
The American Foxhound standard is tri-colored, either black, white, and tan or white, black, and tan, though a Foxhound can be born with any color combination, including red and blue. The tail of the Foxhound is set high and ends with a slight brush but does not curl over the back. His coat is medium length, close to the skin, and hard in order to protect him while running through rough terrain. The American Foxhound’s head is long and with floppy ears set moderately low. When drawn out, the ears nearly touch the tip of the nose, but not quite.
The American Foxhound has a deep chest to accommodate a great lung capacity for running. His back is straight, long, and muscular. His forelegs are straight from the elbows to the paws with foxlike feet and thick, hard pads. This breed's hips and thighs are heavily muscled leading into straight thin legs, which demonstrate the Foxhound's great fleet ability and powerful propulsion.
Maintaining your American Foxhound is relatively easy if you lead an active lifestyle. The Foxhound’s coat is hard, and he sheds moderately so you don’t have to groom and brush him as often as other breeds. However, brushing your Foxhound can help you bond and reduce the frequency of required baths. Brushing your dog will also help reduce the dog odor smell so often characteristic of hounds. A dog’s skin is far more sensitive than people’s, and the Foxhound should only be bathed when necessary; like after running through the mud or rolling in a dead animal.
The American Foxhound is made for speed, so he needs a lot of space to run. Without proper exercise, your Foxhound may develop depression and is susceptible to weight gain. Foxhounds, like all other hounds, like to eat so you should measure his food properly and feed him twice daily rather than leave food out for him to prevent overeating.
Apartment living is not ideal for the American Foxhound because he needs to run. Exercise will keep your Foxhound mentally and physically healthy. Though the Foxhound is utilized mostly as a pack hunter, he can be very content as a running or cycling companion, but city living is not for this canine. The Foxhound can tolerate any climate, though he does better in cooler climates. Due to his fleet abilities and love of running, your Foxhound can become overheated in warmer climates. Make sure you always have fresh water and shade available to prevent dehydration and overheating.