The hound group or hound dogs love to chase fast-moving objects, making them the number one choice for a hunting companion. They were originally bred to hunt down prey that humans and their horses, bows, and arrows couldn’t reach in open country. Some of these dogs hunted in a pack; some hunted alone.
Three groups of dogs fall under the hound group — scent hounds, sighthounds, and large game hounds.
The scent hounds were bred to follow a scent on the ground and in the air. They can track down prey over long distances, eventually exhausting it. Some killed the prey; others kept it cornered while barking to attract the hunters to them.
Their strong drive to follow a scent makes them hard to obedience-train because they can easily get distracted by any smell in their surroundings. They also can be very single-minded when it comes to tracking even they have to cross a thousand miles to locate the “source!” It is best to keep scent hounds on a leash during walks and confine in a securely fenced area for their safety.
Scenthounds, in general, are affectionate to their family, great with children, and get along well with strangers. They are active, energetic dogs that need plenty of exercise and mind stimulating games. They make excellent candidates for search and rescue and therapy work.
List of Scent Hounds:
- American Foxhound
- Basset Hound
- Black and Tan Coonhound
- English Foxhound
- Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen
The sighthounds are some of the earliest breeds developed by man. Sighthounds were bred to hunt by sight and to course prey. These dogs had the ability to creep up swiftly and silently, running down the prey so that the hunters could close in for the kill.
Today, they still retain these abilities making them the runners of the dog kingdom. Generally, sighthounds use their eyesight to spot prey before they go for the chase; however, they are inclined to chase almost any creature that flees from them.
Their instinct to run after prey or an object makes this breed difficult to obedience train. Like the scenthound, I do not recommend them to roam freely in an open area. Early socialization, especially with small animals such as cats and birds, is mandatory to tame down their prey instinct. They need daily exercise and proper obedience training.
List of sighthounds:
- Afghan Hound
- Ibizan Hound
- Irish Wolfhound
- Pharaoh Hound
- Scottish Deerhound
Large game hounds
The large game hounds were bred to have stamina, strength, and endurance. Their superior sense of smell makes them an excellent hunting companion. They were originally bred to hunt elk, boar, bear, African lion, and other game.
These large game hounds are not trustworthy with small animals—tend to be aggressive toward them. Early training and socialization are required to modify this behavior. They are suspicious of strangers, which makes them a great watchdog. They do not tolerate roughhousing. Children should be taught to be gentle with them; better yet, do not introduce this group of dogs until your child reaches 12. Owners of large game hounds must have time to train and exercise this active breed throughout their adult life.
List of large game hounds:
- Norwegian Elkhound
- Plott Hound
- Rhodesian Ridgeback (sighthound)
Although hounds are harder to train than some breeds, they are still a lot of fun to be with. When they are not actually hunting, many hound dogs display placid, laid-back personalities. Having said that, I do not think hounds make great companions for couch potatoes or for those who take occasional walks in the park.
Christopher D Childs works as a review writer for livecareer review service. It allows him to improve his critical and creative thinking skills. Moreover, he keeps up with modern tendencies of employee engagement, motivation, and management.