Popular Types of Hound Dog Breeds

Hound Dog Breeds

Hound dogs have been used for centuries to help hunters track and flush out prey. There are many different types of hound dogs, each with its own unique set of skills and abilities. But do you know what a hound dog is?  What types of hound dogs there are?

Hound dogs are working dogs that help hunters in the field by retrieving a game that has been shot, sniffing out prey, or flushing the game out of hiding so that the hunter can get a clear shot. They can find their prey – either using their keen eyesight or following a scent. Some of these hounds work in packs while others work individually.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular hound dog breeds used for hunting today.

Types of Hound Dogs

There are a variety of hound dog breeds, each with its own unique set of skills but all share a common purpose: hunting. Though they may vary in size, shape, and color, all hound dogs share certain characteristics that make them ideally suited for this task.

There are three main types of hound, with several breed types: Sighthounds, which follow prey by sight; Scenthounds, which follow prey by smell; and a third group that uses both sight and smell to track their quarry.

1. Sighthounds (Gazehounds) 

Sighthound is a hound group of dogs that are bred for their speed and agility and are able to outrun most other types of dogs. They rely on their vision to track prey and are typically used to hunt small game like rabbits, foxes, and raccoons

General Description

Sighthounds are characterized by their long legs, deep chests, and flexible back, which enable them to run at high speeds for long distances. Their deep chest and efficient lungs help them take in more oxygen, allowing them to run for extended periods of time while lean and wiry body types help them to be agile and change direction quickly.

Sighthounds typically have large, floppy ears that help to funnel sound towards their highly sensitive hearing, allowing them to better locate their prey. They also have a long neck that allows them to keep their head low to the ground while running, enabling them to see as much of the area around them as possible.

List of Sighthounds

Afghan HoundGreyhoundMudhol HoundSaluki
AzawakhChortaiRampur GreyhoundWhippet
Irish WolfhoundGalgo EspañolPatagonian GreyhoundSilken Windhound
Italian GreyhoundKaikadiLevriero SardoSloughi
BorzoiScottish DeerhoundPolish GreyhoundTaigan
ChippiparaiKombaiRajapalayamTazy
KanniMagyar agárOld CroatianPharaoh hounds

Common Sighthounds Breeds

The most common types of sighthounds are Afghan Hound, American Foxhound, Borzoi, Greyhound, Irish Wolf

I. Afghan Hound
CharacteristicsDescription
Height25-27 inches
Weight50-60 pounds
Personality Independent, proud
Activity Level Moderate to High
Shedding Factor Low
Life Expectancy12-18 years

The Afghan Hound is an ancient breed with a tall, sleek, and elegant structure that always turns heads with its beautiful gait and flowing locks. This dog breed is known for its fleet feet and long locks of hair that flow down its back.

The Afghan Hound is an independent dog with a regal carriage and an aloof personality that can be difficult to train, but it is also clownish and lazy, which can make it a bit ditzy. 

Despite its independent nature, the Afghan Hound is very sensitive to harsh commands and can be easily discouraged so it needs a gentle yet firm hand to guide its behavior.

These sleek companions have a long and storied history, according to ancient myths. It’s said that a brace of these dogs represented the canine species on Noah’s Ark.

Afghan Hound
Afghan Hound
II. Greyhound
CharacteristicsDescription
Height28-30 inches (male)27-28 inches (female)
Weight65-70 pounds(male)60-65 pounds(female)
Personality Independent and sweet
Activity Level High
Shedding Factor Low to moderate
Life Expectancy10-13 years

Greyhounds are one of the most popular breeds of dogs that are known for their champion speed and streamlined body. Greyhounds is a large-size hound dogs with narrow heads, long necks, lean structures, and strong muscular legs making them fast dogs that can reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour.

They are considered sighthounds that can get their prey by their vision and can pursue for a longer period of time. So they have been used for hunting since ancient times. Nowadays, they are mostly seen as family pets and participate in various dog sports like racing and coursing.

While Greyhounds are popular as couch potatoes at heart and love nothing more than curling up on the couch with their humans. They are not hyper or yappy dogs and are content to lounge around the house all day. However, they do need some daily exercise to stay in shape, and a good walk or run will suffice.

Greyhound
Greyhound
III. Saluki
CharacteristicsDescription
Height23-28 inches
Weight40-65 pounds
Personality Independent, gentle
Activity Level Moderate to High
Shedding Factor Low to moderate
Life Expectancy10-17 years

The Saluki is an ancient dog breed that has been cherished by royalty for centuries. Known for their speed, agility, and composure, Salukis are able to outperform most other types of dogs in a race. 

Furthermore, the physical features of the Saluki make it an ideal hunting dog; The large oval-shaped eyes give impeccable vision while on the hunt, and the strong muscular legs allow for quick bursts of speed to capture hidden prey.

Sighthounds come in many different colors and patterns, but typically they have a very light coat of fur that helps them stay cool as they run. They may also have markings around their eyes and chest that help them camouflage in the grasslands where they typically hunt.

Saluki is an affectionate breed that can adapt to any climate, making them a good choice for people who live in different parts of the world. 

Saluki
Saluki
IV. Borzoi
CharacteristicsDescription
Height28 inches & up (male)26 inches & up (female)
Weight75-105 pounds(male)60-85 pounds(female)
Personality Proud, loyal
Activity Level Moderate
Shedding Factor Moderate
Life Expectancy9-14 years

Borzoi is a Russian sighthound that is also known as a “Russian Wolfhound”. These gentle giants were once bred to hunt wolves, but they are now more commonly used for hunting smaller game.

The Borzoi is a tall and slender dog with a long neck, head, and legs. They have a silky coat that can be either wavy or straight, and come in a variety of colors including white, black, brown, and red. Their elongated snout, short ears, round black shiny eyes, and strong robust legs make them best suitable for running down prey.

The Borzoi is an independent dog that needs plenty of space to run, so they are best suited for people who live in rural areas with large yards. However, they are also known to be very affectionate and will bond closely with their family.

Borzoi
Borzoi
V. Whippet
CharacteristicsDescription
Height19-22 inches (male)18-21 inches (female)
Weight25-40 pounds
Personality Calm and playful
Activity Level Moderate
Shedding Factor Moderate 
Life Expectancy12-15 years

The sleek, sweet-faced Whippet is one of the most popular dogs in the U.K that are characterized by a classical ‘inverted S’ shaped body. These dignified and amiable souls have large round sparkling eyes, elongated snouts, arched necks, deep chests, slim waists, large legs, and sturdy build; making them appear as an agile runner.

Despite their bursts of high energy during play or exercise, they also enjoy relaxing for prolonged periods and make great companions. 

They will do fine in apartments as long as they have a fenced yard to run around in and city dwellers won’t have to worry about them barking all the time.

Whippet
Whippet
VI. Irish Wolfhound
CharacteristicsDescription
Height32 inches minimum (male)30 inches minimum (female)
Weight120 pounds(male)105 pounds(female)
Personality Calm and brave
Activity Level Moderate
Shedding Factor Moderate 
Life Expectancy6-8 years

The Irish Wolfhound is a historic sighthound dog breed from Ireland that has been used to pursue game by speed; it was also famed as a guard dog, specializing in protection against and for the hunting of wolves. 

As the name suggests, these dogs were once used to hunt wolves, but they are now more commonly used for hunting smaller game.

The Irish Wolfhound is a large and muscular dog with a shaggy coat that can be either grey, brindle, red, black, or white. They have a long head and snout, short ears, and dark eyes. Their large size and strength make them best suited for running down prey.

Irish Wolfhound
Irish Wolfhound

2. Scenthounds

These dogs use their keen sense of smell to track prey, instead of relying on sight. These are not as active as Sighthounds and can be used to find the missing person.

General Description

Scent hounds use their keen sense of smell to follow tracks. They have large nasal cavities and long, drooping ears that help trap scent particles, allowing them to pick up on even faint traces of a trail. Their wet muzzle also absorbs scent particles and channels them to the olfactory glands helping them to identify smells.

These dogs are also built for endurance, so they can stay on the hunt even over tough terrain or great distances. They typically have long legs and large feet that help them cover ground quickly, and their sleek coat helps them move through brush without getting snagged.

However, experts disagree on which breeds should be called scent hounds or sighted hounds, as there are no strict criteria to distinguish them.

List of Scenthounds

Anglo-French houndsBloodhoundFoxhoundsOtterhound
AriegeoisBlue LacyFrench houndsPorcelaine
Basset HoundHoundTrigg HoundDachshundTyrolean Hound

Common Scenthounds Breeds

There are many other names for scenthound dogs as well, the list can cross the hundred, but here we will discuss some of the most common hound dog breeds.

I. Beagle
CharacteristicsDescription
Height13-15 inches
Weight20-30 pounds
Personality Friendly, doting
Activity Level Moderate
Shedding Factor Moderate
Life Expectancy10-15 years

The Beagle is a small hound dog with an adorable face, brown or hazel eyes, long floppy ears, and a broad head. They are compact and solidly built dogs, with short coat that comes in a variety of colors.

These little guys are used as scent hounds in many hunting applications, including the tracking of a game such as deer, rabbits, and fox. They are also used to track missing persons, especially children, owing to their keen sense of smell and ability to follow a trail even after it has gone cold.

Beagles are a gentle, loving, and intelligent dog that is perfect for families with children. They are certainly capable of living in apartments or other small spaces, but they do need a fair amount of exercise. 

A daily walk or run is essential, and Beagles also love to play fetch and other games. Without enough mental and physical stimulation, Beagles can become bored and destructive.

Beagle
Beagle
II. American Foxhound
CharacteristicsDescription
Height22-25 inches (male)21-24 inches(female)
Weight65-70 pounds(male)60-65 pounds(female)
Personality Sweet and athletic
Activity Level High
Shedding Factor Moderate
Life Expectancy11-13 years

The American foxhound is a medium-sized scent-hound dog that is closely related to the English foxhound and is bred to hunt foxes by tracking their scent. 

American foxhounds have a strong hunting instinct and are known for their endurance, which makes them excellent hunters. American foxhounds are also used in search and rescue operations, as well as in law enforcement.

The American foxhound is a muscular dog with a short, thick coat that is typically black, tan, or white. Their long muzzle, broad nose, floppy but active ears, and short stature with strong legs make them ideal hunters to chase the burrowing foxes.

They are good-natured hounds who require low maintenance and get along well with kids, dogs, and even cats but novice owners may have a tough time with training and housebreaking these dogs since they tend to be quite independent.

American Foxhounds
American Foxhounds
III. Basset Hound
CharacteristicsDescription
HeightUp to15 inches
Weight40-65 pounds
Personality Mellow and charismatic
Activity Level Low 
Shedding Factor Low
Life Expectancy12-13 years

Basset Hounds are short-legged dogs that appear much bigger than they actually are because of their heavy bones and large paws. 

Basset Hounds can be easily characterized by their large, domed heads with extremely long ears, mournful eyes, and wrinkled brows – which often gives them the appearance of a sad clown.

Despite their comical appearance, Basset Hounds are serious hunting dogs that were originally bred in France to track down small game such as rabbits and hares. These dogs have an excellent sense of smell and can follow a trail even after it has gone cold. They are also used in search and rescue operations, as their short legs make them

They are also relatively easy to train, although their stubborn streak can sometimes make this a challenge. As long as you are consistent and use positive reinforcement, most Basset Hounds will eventually learn what you want them to do.

Basset Hound
Basset Hound
IV. Dachshund (Badger Dog)
CharacteristicsDescription
Height8-9 inches (standard)5-6 inches (miniature)
Weight16-32 pounds (Standard), up to 11 pounds (Miniature)
Personality Curious, affectionate
Activity Level Moderate 
Shedding Factor Low 
Life Expectancy12-16 years

These spunky little pups are known for their big personalities, which often rival their more diminutive size. Though they come in two different coat types, smooth and wirehaired, and three different size varieties, standard, miniature, and a kitchen (rabbit), Dachshunds all share the same general proportions.

These dogs were originally bred in Germany to hunt rabbits, wild boars, and other small prey, and they continue to be used for this purpose in many parts of the world. Their long bodies and short legs make them well-suited to digging and crawling into tight spaces, and their acute sense of smell helps them track down prey.

Dachshunds are lively and playful dogs that make great companions for families with children. They can be a bit stubborn, but they are intelligent and can be trained to do tricks and obey commands. 

These dogs do need a fair amount of exercise, as they were bred for hunting, but a daily walk or run should be sufficient. Dachshunds can also be prone to obesity, so it is important to monitor their food intake and make sure they get enough exercise.

Dachshund
Dachshund
V. Bloodhound
CharacteristicsDescription
Height25-27 inches (male)23-25 inches (female)
Weight90-110 pounds(male)80-100 pounds(female)
Personality Independent, vocal
Activity Level Moderate
Shedding Factor Moderate
Life Expectancy10-12 years

Bloodhounds are large, substantial dogs originally bred in Belgium to track down deer and other large game such as wild boar. These dogs have an excellent sense of smell and can follow a trail even after it has gone cold so they are mostly used in law enforcement to track down criminals and missing persons.

Bloodhounds are most commonly recognized by their large, wrinkled faces with drooping skin, big floppy ears, and warm eyes that give them a look of wise sadness. They come in liver and tan, black and tan, or red coats. 

They were bred for hunting small quarries like deer over vast expanses of punishing terrain–which they can do because of their long legs designed to cover diverse ground quickly. Bloodhounds love being part of a pack (be it other dogs or kids) and enjoy having company around them.

Bloodhounds
Bloodhounds
VI. Otterhound
CharacteristicsDescription
Height27 inches (male)24 inches (female)
Weight115 pounds(male)80 pounds(female)
Personality Friendly, sensitive
Activity Level Moderate 
Shedding Factor Low to moderate
Life Expectancy10-13 years

Otterhounds are large, shaggy dogs that were originally bred in England to hunt otters. These dogs have a very strong sense of smell and can track an animal even after it has gone into the water.

Otterhounds are most commonly recognized by their shaggy, waterproof coats, big floppy ears; and medium size heads with small round black eyes covered with facial hairs. They come in black, grizzled (a mix of black and gray), or wheaten (light tan) colors. 

They are a friendly breed that gets along well with other dogs, but they can be a bit too vocal for some people.

Otterhound
Otterhound

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Best Hound Dog?

Beagles are one of the best hound dogs because they make great family pets. They also have good temperaments and only require moderate exercise, which makes them a good choice for many people. Beagles are relatively easy to train as well, further adding to their appeal.

Are Hounds Difficult Dogs?

Although some hounds may be more stubborn than others, most are good-natured and easygoing, making them great family pets. With patience and consistency, most hounds can learn basic obedience commands as well as tricks.

Can Hounds Be Trained off Leash?

In general, it is considered that hounds can not be trained without leashes but this is not always the case. There are many hounds who have been obedience and agility trained without any problems.

Final Thoughts

Though all of these hound breeds are great companions, they each have their own unique personalities and needs. So before you decide on one of these dogs as your new companion, make sure you are aware of what you’re getting into and are prepared to meet those challenges. 

These dogs are not for everyone, but if you have the patience and energy to provide them with the exercise and attention they need, they can make wonderful, loyal friends.