Breed At A Glance


Gentle, loyal, and dedicated to their work

Life Expectancy
10-12 years

Average Height
Males 22 – 25″, Females 21 – 24″

Average Weight
Males 65-75 lbs, Females 60-70 lbs

Coat Color
Bi- or tri-color combinations of black, white and brown

Coat Length/Texture
Short and coarse

Shedding Propensity
High, less with weekly brushing

Also known as Foxhound, Virginia Hound

General Temperament

As it’s name implies, the American Foxhound is used both individually and in packs for hunting foxes and other small game. They are prized for their speed and excellent sense of smell as well as for their even temperament and loyalty. They make excellent family pets, provided they are given plenty of exercise and room to run. This breed has tremendous stamina and would be a suitable companion for runners or families with acreage. The company of other dogs will help keep this breed out of mischief, particularly if their human family members are gone for long periods of time during the day.

The American Foxhound’s nature as a hunter, both individually and in packs, is the guiding force in it’s temperament. This breed is accustomed to pack life, and therefore requires an owner who will establish and maintain him/herself as the pack leader. In the absence of a strong leader, the dog will position itself as the head of the pack, though it should be noted that a non-aggressive form of leadership is best for this breed. An American Foxhound is likely to ignore you if you demand it’s obedience. In short, they will respect you if you respect them in return. They are sweet with children and compatible with other dogs, but early socialization is required if they will be living with other types of pets.

This breed has a melodic bark, and their bay can be heard for miles. For this reason, along with their need for exercise, the American Foxhound is usually better suited for rural environments.

Breed History

The American Foxhound found it’s origins as a hybrid of English Fox Hounds brought to America from England in the mid-1600s and French hounds given to President George Washington as a gift from General Lafayette. Irish Foxhounds were added to later breeding programs, and the resulting hound was lighter and taller than their English, French and Irish cousins, giving them substantial speed and endurance. American Foxhounds are found primarily in the Southern and Eastern United States, where hunting small game is a treasured sport.

The American Foxhound was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1886.

Body Structure and Composition

The American Foxhound is the tallest of the Foxhound subgroup, and possess an even and graceful gait. They have a short coat that is typically a bi- or tri-color combination of white, brown and/or black, and easy to maintain. The head is long and domed, with a straight muzzle and long ears, folded forward towards the nose. The back is long, straight and muscular, leading to a tail that is held high and curved slightly upward, but does not curve over the back.

American Foxhounds, like many other hunting breeds, can gain weight easily, so it’s important that individuals not be left idle.

Medical Information

This breed is resistant to most of the usual genetic disorders that can plague other breeds. Thrombocytopathy, a blood platelet disease, occasionally strikes American Foxhounds, though this problem is fairly rare. The most common ailment that affects this breed is obesity caused by lack of exercise.

Anecdotal Information

Rumors abound that American Foxhounds were at one time used by European settlers to hunt Native Americans, but there is no evidence to prove that this breed was used for any other purpose than hunting small game.

Author and activist Rita Mae Brown is a lover of fox hunting and has included American Foxhounds in many of her writings.

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