The American Foxhound is one of the first dog breeds bred in America, and today, they are also one of the rarest dog breeds.
You can't get any more American than the American foxhound. One of the first dog breeds born in the United States (if not THE first), American Foxhounds have roots tracing back to our country's founding father, Mr. George Washington himself.
George Washington was known to be an enthusiastic dog breeder and a lover of the British lifestyle, including the English tradition of foxhunts. As an avid foxhunter, America's founder wanted to create the perfect hunting dog by breeding his pack of British hunting dogs, which were descendants of dogs brought to America from England by Robert Brooke in 1650, with French Foxhounds, which were a gift from his war buddy and close friend, Marquis de Lafayette (yYs, THAT Lafayette. "Hamilton" fans will recognize this name: "Everyone give it up for America's favorite fighting Frenchman, Lafayette!") The result was the American Foxhound we know today.
Fun fact: George Washington owned 36 Foxhounds, with, um, creative names like Tipsy, Sweet Lips, and Drunkard — talk about a paw-ty!
This purebred dog is a cousin of the just as high-energy English Foxhound, and originated from Virginia and Maryland. They are also the state dog of Virginia.
What Are American Foxhounds Like?
As the name would indicate, American Foxhounds were bred for hunting foxes; they are scent hounds that hunt their prey by picking up their scent. This dog breed is known for being easygoing and sweet, however, they are also independent and even stubborn — a classic trait in dogs from the hound group; the American Foxhound is one of the very first dog breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), and was listed under AKC's Hound Group in 1886.
They also need A LOT of exercise and not having enough will cause this extremely active and very high energy dog to be destructive and depressed. This makes them perfect for super active dog parents like runners and hunters; Be prepared to take them on multiple long walks daily and the need to have a large fenced-in yard to allow lots of exercise and running around. A typically healthy breed, it's vital to give American Foxhounds lots of early socialization — socialization since young will give you a friendly, well-adjusted, good-natured, and affectionate furry friend.
American Foxhounds are also famous for their musicality. Like all hounds, American Foxhounds are musical — their howls and bays can be heard from miles away. And while it's music to their ears for hound lovers, this melodic loud baying might not be appreciated by nearby neighbors, and for that, the breed is best suited for country living. (But contrary to what you might believe, American Foxhounds do not make a good watchdog.)
These dogs have a lifespan of 10 to 12 years, and might not be ideal for first-time dog parents, despite being affectionate and low-maintenance dogs.
Do you live, or know anyone who lives, with an American Foxhound? Please tell us in the comments!