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  • Temperament: Independent, Easy-Going, Sweet-Tempered
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 189 of 192
  • Height: 22-25 inches (male), 21-24 inches (female)
  • Weight: 65-70 pounds (male), 60-65 pounds (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 11-13 years
  • Group: Hound Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

American Foxhound sitting facing forward
American Foxhound standing sideways facing left
American Foxhound head facing left
American Foxhound coat detail
American Foxhound lying in three-quarter view.

Find a Puppy: American Foxhound

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APPEARANCE

Skull-Should be fairly long, slightly domed at occiput, with cranium broad and full. Ears-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. Eyes– Eyes large, set well apart, soft and houndlike-expression gentle and pleading; of a brown or hazel color. Muzzle-Muzzle of fair length-straight and square-cut-the stop moderately defined.

BODY

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. Defects-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”.Shoulders sloping-clean, muscular, not heavy or loaded-conveying the idea of freedom of action with activity and strength. Chest should be deep for lung space, narrower in proportion to depth than the English hound-28 inches (girth) in a 23-inch hound being good. Well-sprung ribs-back ribs should extend well back-a three-inch flank allowing springiness.

TAIL

Set moderately high; carried gaily, but not turned forward over the back; with slight curve; with very slight brush. Defects-A long tail, teapot curve or inclined forward from the root. Rat tail, entire absence of brush.

FORELEGS AND FEET

The forelegs are straight from elbows to feet, well boned and muscular, with pasterns strong, flexible and very slightly sloping. Feet-Fox-like. Pad full and hard. Well-arched toes. Strong nails. Defects-Straight, upright shoulders, chest disproportionately wide or with lack of depth. Flat ribs. Out at elbow. Knees knuckled over forward, or bent backward. Forelegs crooked. Feet long, open or spreading.

COAT

A close, hard, hound coat of medium length. Defects-A short thin coat, or of a soft quality.

HIPS, THIGHS, HIND LEGS AND FEET

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. Defects-Cowhocks, or straight hocks. Lack of muscle and propelling power. Open feet.

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American Foxhound Illustration

About the American Foxhound

American Foxhounds are sleek, rangy hunters known for their speed, endurance, and work ethic. You can tell the American Foxhound apart from their British cousin the English Foxhound by length of leg—the American’s legs are longer and more finely boned—and by the American’s slightly arched loin (back end). American Foxhounds have large, soft eyes with an expression described as gentle and pleading.

So far, so good. But Foxhounds come with special considerations. They need lots of exercise or they can get depressed and destructive. A Foxhound’s single-minded prey drive must be managed. Their loud bawling is melodious to hound lovers but can be a nuisance to neighbors, and training and housebreaking these independent souls can be a steep challenge for novice owners.

National Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
American Foxhound lying in three-quarter view.

Find a Puppy: American Foxhound

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
Find American Foxhound Puppies

Care

NUTRITION

The American Foxhound should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Foxhounds love to eat and can be prone to getting overweight, so to prevent obesity it can be better to feed an adult two measured feedings per day rather than allowing him to free-feed all day. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

GROOMING

The American Foxhound’s handsome coat is short and lies close to the body. The coat’s hard texture protects the dog from the underbrush he courses through while on the hunt—and the coat also happens to be extremely easy to take care of. A short, once-a-week session with a bristle brush, a rubber grooming mitt or tool, or a hound glove is usually all that is needed. The Foxhound should not need to be bathed unless he gets into something particularly messy while outdoors. As with all breeds, the American Foxhound‘s nails should be trimmed regularly.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
Occasional Bath/Brush

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Seasonal

EXERCISE

Foxhounds were bred specifically to spend long hours chasing after prey. That’s why an American Foxhound needs at least a solid hour or two of exercise every day—if he doesn’t get it, he may become bored and destructive. If they get all the activity they need, they can fit in pretty much anywhere. While they are happiest living indoors with their human family, American Foxhounds make great companions on long walks or hikes. Because they were bred to hunt and chase animals and to follow a scent, they should only be allowed loose in areas that are securely fenced, and any walks must be taken on a leash. The breed also exercises mind and body by participating in canine sports such as tracking, rally, coursing ability tests, and other activities that can be enjoyed together by dog and owner.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Energetic

TRAINING

American Foxhounds are easygoing and amiable. They also can be stubborn and independent, however, which can make training an exercise in patience. Obedience classes are recommended, and as scenthounds, it may never be safe to have them off-leash, because their noses can lead them into trouble. Foxhounds raised in the home tend to be wonderfully mild-tempered, devoted, and easygoing companions, and they get along well with children. Even so, owners will need patience and persistence when training them, and hounds can develop unwanted behaviors if not given enough exercise.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Independent

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Friendly

HEALTH

The American Foxhound is typically a healthy breed, and a responsible breeder will test breeding stock for health conditions such as hip dysplasia and thrombocytopathy, which is a blood disorder.  Long-eared breeds can develop ear infections, and a Foxhound’s ears should be checked regularly to remove foreign matter and avoid a buildup of wax. Regular brushing will keep the hound’s teeth healthy as well.

Recommended Health Test from the National Breed Club:

No recommended health tests

American Foxhound head and shoulders facing forward.
American Foxhound
American Foxhound
American Foxhound
American Foxhound
American Foxhound

History

George Washington can be seen as the ultimate American. But he and other wealthy Virginia planters who came of age in pre-Revolutionary times considered themselves in most ways thoroughly British. George and Martha Washington’s life at Mount Vernon was modeled on the customs of British elites who inhabited England’s vast country estates. The Washingtons played English music on their English-made pianoforte, danced English dances, and entertained their guests with English chinaware and crystal. The general even had his pre-Revolutionary uniforms made by a London tailor.

Another cherished British institution upheld at Mount Vernon was the traditional English foxhunt, with scores of equestrians and hounds thundering across the countryside in pursuit of the wily fox. Washington was an avid foxhunter. He kept a pack of hounds bred from British imports and kept meticulous records of his breeding program. He refined his pack with French breeding stock given to him by his friend the Marquis de Lafayette. Washington didn’t invent American Foxhounds single-handedly, but he was a key player in the breed’s development. The Jeffersons, the Lees, and the Custises were among other famous families of America’s founding generation for whom horses and hounds were a way of life.

In post-Colonial times, further refinements were made to the American Foxhound throughout the South until the breed was distinctly separate from its cousin the English Foxhound. Until the coming of the Civil War, foxhunting with hounds was the principal field sport of the American gentry. Today, the American Foxhound is the state dog of Virginia.

Did You Know?

The American Foxhound has achieved great renown for his musical voice. His bays and howls can carry for miles.
American Foxhounds can be extremely difficult to call back once they get on a scent.
The American Foxhound was bred to chase a fox, but not to kill it. Additionally, the breed has always worked closely alongside horses.
The American Foxhound was one of the first dog breeds developed in the United States, if not the first.
George Washington owned 36 Foxhounds. Some of their names were Sweet Lips, Tipsy, Tipler, Chloe, Searcher and Drunkard.
Jewel, a 3-year-old American Foxhound, won Best in Show at The National Dog Show presented by Purina in 2013 in Philadelphia. She was first dog in the Hound Group to capture the top honor in the history of the show.

The Breed Standard

APPEARANCE

Skull-Should be fairly long, slightly domed at occiput, with cranium broad and full. Ears-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. Eyes– Eyes large, set well apart, soft and houndlike-expression gentle and pleading; of a brown or hazel color. Muzzle-Muzzle of fair length-straight and square-cut-the stop moderately defined.

BODY

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. Defects-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”.Shoulders sloping-clean, muscular, not heavy or loaded-conveying the idea of freedom of action with activity and strength. Chest should be deep for lung space, narrower in proportion to depth than the English hound-28 inches (girth) in a 23-inch hound being good. Well-sprung ribs-back ribs should extend well back-a three-inch flank allowing springiness.

TAIL

Set moderately high; carried gaily, but not turned forward over the back; with slight curve; with very slight brush. Defects-A long tail, teapot curve or inclined forward from the root. Rat tail, entire absence of brush.

FORELEGS AND FEET

The forelegs are straight from elbows to feet, well boned and muscular, with pasterns strong, flexible and very slightly sloping. Feet-Fox-like. Pad full and hard. Well-arched toes. Strong nails. Defects-Straight, upright shoulders, chest disproportionately wide or with lack of depth. Flat ribs. Out at elbow. Knees knuckled over forward, or bent backward. Forelegs crooked. Feet long, open or spreading.

COAT

A close, hard, hound coat of medium length. Defects-A short thin coat, or of a soft quality.

HIPS, THIGHS, HIND LEGS AND FEET

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. Defects-Cowhocks, or straight hocks. Lack of muscle and propelling power. Open feet.

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American Foxhound Illustration

Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
Black White & Tan Check Mark For Standard Color 034
White Black & Tan Check Mark For Standard Color 219
Black Brown & White 022
Blue 037
Brown White & Tan 066
Red 140
Tan 195
White 199
White & Cream 206
White & Red 214

Other Breeds to Explore

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