Known for its independence and strong will, the American Foxhound is affectionate, gentle and loving at home. It gets along well with other dogs because of its pack-hunting background, and can become bored if left alone. Consider its history as an outdoor kennel hound when looking for a house pet; try show lines rather than field types, and opt for a dog that was bred and raised in a house over one that came from a pack or was raised outside.
The lineage of the American Foxhound goes back to English pack hounds imported to Virginia and Maryland in 1650. They were initially kept busy helping farmers control the fox population, which pillaged livestock and destroyed property. As the need for their exterminating services waned, their hunting abilities were employed in sport to scent and track the fox only. Crosses with French and Irish hound imports eventually produced a lighter, taller and faster dog more suitable for American hunting conditions. Noted for its great stamina, intelligence and “homing instinct,” the breed is an excellent hunting companion that’s also made a splash in the show ring.
Photo: George Washington was a dog enthusiast and passionate about fox hunting. He kept over 36 hounds including and had some favorites that went everywhere with him. Washington also helped bring into existence the American Foxhound. By crossing some French hounds with his own Black and Tan hounds, he created the original American Foxhound. The American Foxhound has changed a bit since the 1700’s but Washington was the first!
Size: Dogs should not be under 22 inches or over 25 inches (56-64 cm). Bitches should not be under 21 inches or over 24 inches (53-61 cm) measured across the back at the point of the withers, the hound standing in a natural position with his feet well under him.
Coat and Colour: The American Foxhound should have a close, hard, hound coat of medium length. Any colour.
Head: Skull should be fairly long, slightly domed at occiput, with cranium broad and full. Muzzle of fair length, straight and square cut, the stop moderately defined. Eyes large, set well apart, soft and hound-like, expression gentle and pleading; of a brown or hazel colour. Ears set on moderately low, long, reaching when drawn out nearly, if not quite, to the tip of the nose; fine in texture, fairly broad, with almost entire absence of erectile power, setting close to the head with the forward edge slightly inturning to the cheek, round at tip.
Neck: Neck rising free and light from the shoulders, strong in substance yet not loaded, of medium length. The throat clean and free from folds of skin, a slight wrinkle below the angle of the jaw, however, is allowable.
Forequarters: Shoulders sloping – clean, muscular, not heavy or loaded – conveying the idea of freedom of action with activity and strength. Forelegs straight, with fair amount of bone. Pasterns short and straight. Feet fox-like. Pad full and hard. Well-arched toes. Strong nails.
Body: Back moderately long, muscular and strong. Chest should be deep for lung space, narrower in proportion to depth than the English hound: 28 inches (71 cm) (girth) in a 23 inches (58 cm) hound being good. Wellsprung ribs – back ribs should extend well back – a 3 inch (8 cm) flank allowing springiness. Loins broad and slightly arched.
Hindquarters: Hips and thighs, strong and muscled, giving abundance of propelling power. Stifles strong and well let down. Hocks firm, symmetrical, and moderately bent. Feet close and firm.
Tail: Set moderately high; carried gaily, but not turned forward over the back; with slight curve; with very slight brush.
Faults: A short thin coat, or of a soft quality. A very flat skull, narrow across the top; excess of dome; eyes small, sharp, and terrier-like, or prominent and protruding; muzzle long and snipey, cut away decidedly below the eyes, or very short. Roman-nosed, or upturned, giving a dish-faced expression. Ears short, set on high, or with a tendency to rise above the point of origin. A thick, short cloddy neck carried on a line with the top of the shoulders. Throat showing dewlap and folds of skin to a degree termed throatiness. Straight, upright shoulders, out at elbow. Knees knuckled over forward, or bent backward. Forelegs crooked. Feet long, open or spreading. Very long or swayed or roached back. Chest disproportionately wide or with lack of depth. Flat ribs. Flat, narrow loins. Cow-hocks, or straight hocks. Lack of muscle and propelling power. Open feet. A long tail. Teapot curve or inclined forward from the root. Rat tail, entire absence of brush.
Link: American Foxhound club.