Hounds: Dogs Bred for Hunting
Many outdoorsmen are already aware of hounds. Every dog that has been accepted by the American Kennel Club (AKC) is sorted into one of seven groups.
The hound is well known for helping hunters and trappers to catch their game. They’ve been purpose bred to help too!
Today we take a closer look at the different breeds that fall into the hound category and we look at what makes these breeds so special.
Hounds: Dogs Bred for Hunting
The term hound is used for basically any dog that is used for hunting. The problem with this classification is that it leaves the classification very broad. Can any dog be considered a hound?
The AKC has only accepted about 32 different breeds into the hound classification, but different organizations accept different breeds. These breeds have been used for centuries to help manhunt. And they take their jobs very seriously. Hounds are notorious for being stubborn and one of the more difficult breeds to train well.
That said, they are also exceptionally loyal. They are also very trusting, that is, once you earn their trust. Therefore, so many police or military dogs are hounds. Their incredible speed helps them catch criminals, and their powerful sniffer allows them to find things that humans cannot.
Two Types of Hounds
For the most part, if a breed is used for hunting, there are going to be two different ways they hunt. This places breeds into one of two camps. Most hounds are either sight hounds or scent hounds.
What this means is either the dog observes then stalks its prey, or they give chase by following their prey’s smell. One is not necessarily better than the other, it’s just a matter of preference.
If you are using a dog for hunting, choosing the right kind of dog will depend on how you like to hunt. A sight hound makes a great choice if you are hunting birds. You’ll want your dog to see you shoot the bird and have them either lead you to the kill or have the dog retrieve your kill.
A scent hound on the other hand will be a great choice if you are expecting to go on a prolonged hunt. A scent hound will be heartier and will help you give chase to prey even when you can’t see them.
Which Hound is Better?
Again, one is not better than the other. But there are very big differences between how these dogs look and operate. If you are trying to imagine in your mind the differences between these dogs, here’s a good example. Picture in your mind the differences between a Greyhound and a Basset Hound.
We all know the Greyhound is the peak of speed for dogs. No human could even hope to run as fast as a Greyhound. Their sleek body, aerodynamic shape, short coat, and nails that dig into the turf make this dog the king of speed. What you might not see is that sighthounds also have the biggest hearts and super-efficient lungs to ensure their lean muscles get as much oxygen as possible while they stalk down anything from hares to deer.
The Basset Hound on the other hand doesn’t look very fast, and they’re not. But they weren’t bred to be fast. They were bred for endurance. Scent hounds were bred to be sturdy and to chase until their prey tires out. They also have a large nose and big floppy ears. While the Basset Hound might look “soft” compared to a Greyhound, they can track their prey relentlessly. In fact, some scent hounds have even been known to track prey across running water.
Different Breeds of Hound
- Afghan Hound – This breed has an air of elegance that surrounds it. The flowing coat makes the dog seem to float as it walks. This dog has a very sweet nature and had been used by chieftains, royals and aristocrats.
- American English Coonhound – This dog was invaluable to the American frontiersmen to hunt racoons. This dog has some serious speed, so they are great running partners.
- American Foxhound – These powerful dogs are known for their speed, endurance and work ethic. That might be why they were a favorite of George Washington. This dog was so beloved in early America that it was named the official state dog of Virginia.
- Basset Hound – The Basset Hound is the epitome of droopy dogs. They may seem a bit sloppy, but they are built for endurance. While the Basset Hound may take a bit to get where they’re going, they are certain to get there with their excellent nose.
- Beagle – Possibly one of the most famous hound breeds, the Beagle is a great dog for families. The dog does have an interesting voice, so make sure you get a chance to meet a Beagle before you decide to get one.
- Bloodhound – The Bloodhound is one of the very best when it comes to tracking. The breed is one minded when it comes to tracking and is intensely devoted to their work.
Hunting for Resolution
The Hound category is an interesting one to be sure. Hounds are a breed group that are single minded in their task, which is hunting prey. They are hard working. While this is an admirable trait, it can become tiresome for owners. If you’ve been considering a Hound, be sure you can meet their needs for seeking.