Dogs included in the American Kennel Club(AKC) Hound Group are a diverse collection of sight hounds and scent hounds. They range in size from the very short Dachshund to the very tall Irish Wolfhound. Some are very ancient breeds, such as the Pharoah Hound and the Saluki, while others are more recent developments, such as most American coonhound breeds.
While they may vary greatly in size and appearance, they all have one thing in common, they were born to hunt.
Listed below are the dogs currently include in the AKC Hound Group.
The Afghan Hound breed began in Afghanistan and is a sight hound. When all dressed up for a show, few other dogs are as regal in appearance. The Afghan Hound is an ancient breed and has a reputation for not being the brightest dog in the doghouse. It ranks dead last, according to Sidney Coren in his book The Intelligence of Dogs.
American English Coonhound
If you want to hunt raccoons, the American English Coonhound is the dog for you. This breed was developed in the United States, primarily in the South, from foxhounds imported from England. These dogs bark loudly while pursing the wily raccoon, and this tendency to bark may be a problem if you live in a big city.
The American Foxhound, the state dog of Virginia, is the American version of the English Foxhound.
The early immigrants to Virginia and Maryland brought many customs and dogs with them from England. This included the sport of fox hunting and the American Foxhound was the result. George Washington helped developed this breed whose distinctive bark can carry for miles.
The Azawakh (pronounced oz-a-wok) is a is tall and so thin that you can definitely see its bone structure under its skin. It has a short, smooth coat with fine hair that needs occasional brushing. Coat colors can be black, brindle, cream, white, shades of brown, and white.
The Azawakh is a sight hound.
The Basenji is a small, short-haired dog that is very curious and groom themselves much like a cat (which they will chase). They don’t bark like other dogs but instead make a yodel sound. Only the Afghan Hound is ranked longer in doggy intelligence.
Their sense of smell is second only to the Bloodhound. They are built low to the ground and have more endurance than speed when chasing prey.
Black and Tan Coonhound
This scent hound was bred to hunt raccoon and was created by mixing a Bloodhound with the Black and Tan Virginia Foxhound (a breed not recognized by any Kennel Club including the AKC). When they get lonely, they will howl a mournful song that your neighbors may or may not enjoy. Probably not a dog for you if you live in a city.
The Bloodhound has the best sense of smell of any dog breed and is well known for its ability to track just about anyone from a lost hiker to an escaped prisoner.
This peaceful dog is laid back at home but relentless when on the hunt. It is used by police and rescue organizations all around the world.
The Bluetick is another of several coonhound dogs developed in the United States, primarily in Lousiana. They also like to bay, especially when hunting, so may be better suited for a country lifestyle unless you spend time training them not to be so vocal.
They are intelligent dogs and are well-behaved if properly trained.
The Borzoi is a Russian sighthound and not a dancer for the Bolshoi Ballet company. They are tall, swift dogs that were bred to chase and catch hare and sometimes wolves. Like the Afghan Hound, they are selectively intelligent (they learn what they want to learn) and may be difficult to train. They are affectionate dogs but too sophisticated for rough play.
The Dachshund was bred to scent and chase badgers. Flushing a badger from its burrow is not for the faint of heart and the Dachshund’s bravery may sometimes border on the foolhardy. Dachshunds, nicknamed weiner or sausage dogs, also hunt small game such as rabbits.
Dachshund is German for “Badger Dog.” Owners of Dachshund tend to become very devoted to the breed.
Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen
The Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen is a French hunting dog that is a couple of inches taller than the Basset Hound.
They were bred to hunt boar, deer, and rabbits but now are mainly household pets. They are happy, confident, and sometimes stubborn companion dogs.
The Greyhound was originally bred for hunting as a sighthound and now more commonly for the sport of dog racing. Adopting retired racing dogs has become popular and has made the Greyhound a well-loved family pet.
The Greyhound is a very fast dog, the fastest in the world, and can reach speeds up to 45 miles per hour (still well short of the Cheetah‘s top speed of almost 80 miles per hour however),
The Harrier is a medium-size scenthound bred in the United Kingdom to hunt rabbits. It larger that a Beagle, but smaller than a Foxhound, both of which it resembles in appearance.
The Harrier is an old dog breed and made it way to Colonial America. It is possible that George Washington used the Harrier to create the American Foxhound.
The Ibizan Hound is from Ibiza, an island in the Mediterranean Sea about 90 miles off the mid-eastern coast of Spain. It is an ancient, perhaps from Egypt, and was used to hunt rabbits and other small game.
The Ibizan Hound is a versatile hunter, and hunts by both scent, sight, and sound.
It is also a guard dog, especially against wolves. It is too friendly to be a top guard dog against humans, but its great size is probably enough to scare away most intruders. The Irish Wolfhound is the tallest of all dog breeds.
The Norwegian Elkhound, the national dog of Norway, is a prized hunter of large game animals such as bear, elf, and moose. Brave and fearless, this breed is also a great companion dog and displays affection and loyalty to its human companions.
Unlike coonhounds who bark almost continuously during the chase, the Norwegian Elkhound only barks when the quarry is standing still.
The Otterhound is a large scenthound from England which was used to hunt otter before that hunting was outlawed. This is a rare breed and is listed as a vulnerable native breeds of the United Kingdom.
The Otterhound has a thick, shaggy coat, webbed feet, and loves to swim.
Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen
The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen (PBGV), pronounced “Puh-TEE Bah-SAY Gree-FOHN VON-day-uhn”, is a small to medium scenthound, bred to hunt rabbits in the brambles that cover fields in the Vendée area of France.
The PBGV is known to be a happy, friendly dog with a constantly wagging tail and a loud bark befitting any hound.
The Pharaoh Hound hails from the Maltese Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. It is the national dog of Malta. An ancient breed, it may have been imported to Malta by the Phoenicians over 2,500 years ago. This hound was used to hunt rabbits.
When the Pharaoh hound is happy or excited, it is know to “blush” and its ears and nose become bright pink.
The Plott Hound was developed in North Carolina and is named after the Plott family who were responsible for starting the breed. The Plott Hound is the state dog of North Carolina.
The Plott Hound is a scenthound bred to hunt bear int the mountains of North Carolina. The Plott family emigrated to the United States from Germany and brought several dogs with them.
Portuguese Podengo Pequeno
The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno is a small hound from Portugal that hunts by both sight and scent. In its native country, there are three sizes of the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno, but the AKC only recognized the smaller one. The different size dogs in Portugal are not interbred.
The Phoenicians likely brought this breed to Iberia a long, long time ago. This dog loves to run, play, and chase things.
The Redbone Coonhound hunts raccoon but also is used to hunt larger game such as deer, bear, boar, and cougars. It is descended from dogs brought from Scotland to the southern state of Georgia.
The Redbone Coonhound is mellow and laid-back around the homestead, but is a tireless hunter when on the chase.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback comes from southern Africa and was bred to hunt large game. It hunts but did not try to kill lions. This hound tries to keep prey animals at bay until the hunter is able to shoot.
They can be trained to be excellent guard dogs. They may be wary and aloof to strangers but are not aggressive. Their name comes from the way hair grows on their backs.
The Saluki may not be quite as fast as the Greyhound over shorter distances, but can run at speed longer that the Greyhound. It is often seen in the dog competition events such as coursing.
The Sloughi a North African (Morocco) sighthound very similar in appearance to the Saluki but is a separate breed. The Saluki was bred to hunt game in the deserts of North Africa.
The Sloughi is usually aloof with strangers, but is very friendly to the people it knows. When you first meet a Sloughi, the dog will expect you to not to try to be too friendly as you might with another breed such as the Golden Shepherd.
Treeing Walker Coonhound
The Treeing Walker Coonhound is a scenthound bred to hunt primarily raccoon but is also used to hunt other game animals.
Most hounds were bred to hunt in packs, so they usually get along will with other dogs and humans. The Treeing Walker Coonhound is no exception and is a loyal and affectionate companion dog.