The scent hound, as you would expect, is a type of hound that hunts by using its powerful sense of smell rather than sight. Once they identify a scent, they are able to track their prey, or humans, over long distances and rough terrain. They do need to be fast runners but do need the endurance to follow scents over long distances.
Most scent hounds have long, droopy ears, large nasal cavities, and moist mouths. These traits may help them to trap scent particles.
Scent hounds also commonly have loud baying voices that carry over long distances. This may not be good in urban areas, but it is very useful for the hunter to follow his dogs when they are out of sight. Scent hounds are often used in packs when hunting.
Scent hounds, especially the Bloodhound, are frequently used in search and rescue missions and can follow scents that are days old. And who hasn’t seen a movie where Bloodhounds relentlessly track down an escaped convict.
The Beagle, Dachshund, and Basset Hound are the most popular hounds and are common family pets. Most other scent hounds are less popular and are most likely to be seen in the countryside rather than a city.
Scent Hounds in Order of Popularity
Beagles are 6th of 197 AKC-recognized dog breeds. They are very popular family pets. They are smaller than most other hounds. They are about 15 inches tall and weigh between 20 to 30 pounds. They were developed in England in the first half of the 18th century primarily to hunt rabbits (hare).
They were bred to hunt in packs, so they generally are easy-going and get along well with other dogs. They are affectionate and happy companions. The most popular fictional Beagle is probably Snoopy from the comic strip Peanuts by Charles Shultz.
Dachshunds are also a smaller breed, built low to the ground and long in the body. Their shape has earned them the nickname of “Sausage” and “Weiner” dogs. They are typically friendly little companions but maybe a bit on the stubborn side. They were bred in Germany for hunting badgers. “Dachs” is the German word for badger.
Dachshunds come in two sizes, miniature and standard. Minis are 5-6 inches tall while the Standard is 8-9 inches. The Mini should weigh up to 11 pounds and the Standard can weight as much as 32 pounds. They also may have different coat types which include short, long, and and wire-haired. Solid red is a very common coat color but they sometimes wear black and tan, red and tan, brindle or merle.
Basset Hounds are also a long, low dog breed and rank number 39 in popularity according to the AKC. Their have long ears, a furrowed brow, and mournful eyes that gives them a sad looking expression as if the weight of the world is always on their shoulders. Their sense of smell is second only to the Bloodhound.
Basset Hounds originated in France (the French word “bas” translates to “low” in English). They are up to 15 inches tall and weigh 40 to 65 pounds. They can be stubborn at times but usually are amiable and friendly companions. They are frequently show up as characters in cartoons and movies.
Bloodhounds have the keenest sense of smell of all dog breeds. They have an incredible ability to distinguish the scent of individual humans. There are almost 8 billion people in the world today, and the Bloodhound can tell the difference between all of us. How amazing is that? They are relatively popular and rank 49 by the AKC.
Bloodhounds are large dogs that can weigh up to 110 pounds. Their origin is somewhat in doubt but is commonly thought to have been developed in Western Europe. For many years, the monks at the Abbey of Saint-Hubert sent an annual gift of Bloodhounds to the King of France. The Bloodhound is the go-to dog for search and rescue efforts and tracking down escaped criminals or persons of interest.
Bluetick Coonhounds originate from the United States (Louisiana) where they were bred to primarily hunt raccoon. They rank number 130 on the AKC hit parade. They may have been bred to be hunters but they crave affection and will become deeply devoted to those who love them.
The Bluetick Coonhound is named for the color of its coat. Some will have tan markings and/or black spots. If raccoon hunting is your passion, the Bluetick may just be the dog for you. The cacophony of their baying will be your music of the night. The mascot of the University of Tennessee, Smoky, is a Bluetick Coonhound. The blue dog cartoon character Huckleberry Hound is likely (or maybe) based on a Bluetick Coonhound.
Treeing Walker Coonhound
Treeing Walker Coonhounds were bred to hunt raccoons primarily, but they are also used for hunting other game animals such as deer, bears, bobcats, and cougars. They are friendly dogs, and their gentle, calm disposition makes them excellent house pets. They are descended from the English and Amerian Foxhounds
The Treeing Walker Coonhound is a medium to a large dog weighing 50-70 pounds. They rank number 137 on the AKC’s most popular dog breeds. Don’t let the Walker part of their name fool you. (The Walker part of the name refers to Thomas Walker (explorer)) These dogs are runners and have the running endurance for which hounds are famous. This breed is known in the hound world as the “Peoples Choice.”
Black and Tan Coonhound
Black and Tan Coonhounds are large hunting dog whose coat, not surprisingly, comes only in black and tan. They can weigh up an impressive 110 pounds and stand as high as 27 inches at the withers. Coonhounds are a distinctive breed bred by settlers in the early United States to hunt the clever raccoon. Raccoons are native to North America and provided much of the meat, fur, and headwear (Davy Crockett) that Americans needed.
Like most hounds, the Black and Tan is a friendly, easy-going dog that seems tireless in the field but likes to take long naps around the homestead. They rank number 138 in AKC popularity, just behind the Treeing Walker Coonhound. A lonely Black and Tan may serenade the neighborhood which may make this breed better suited for country living.
American English Coonhound
American English Coonhounds, also know as Redtick Coonhounds or English Coonhounds, are medium to large hunting dogs that trace their ancestry to imported hunting dogs, especially foxhounds. Unlike other coonhound breeds whose coats are relatively uniform color, the American English Coonhound can wear a variety of coats.
This breed once had Fox as part of its name and could hunt the sly fox by day and the wily raccoon by night. Over time, the Fox was dropped as the dog was primarily used to hunt raccoons. They rank number 175 in AKC popularity.
American Foxhounds are only slightly taller than their English cousins, the English Foxhounds, and are very similar in appearance. The American Foxhound was bred for use by the more affluent landowners to hunt fox as a sport. George Washington was an avid dog breeder and was instrumental in developing this dog breed. George Washington was very
This breed is ranked 186 in popularity by the AKC. The American Foxhound was one of the earlier official dog breeds recognized by AKC, earning that recognition in 1886. It is the official dog breed of Virginia. It is as easy-going dog that gets along well with children, other dogs, and even cats.
English Foxhounds have the endurance necessary to chase down even the most clever fox. They were highly prized by the English landed gentry and early wealthy American landowners for the pastime of fox-hunting. It is likely that most American hounds can trace much of their DNA to the English Foxhound.
These dogs are gently and sociable, but may not be the best choice as a house pet. They rank 188 in AKC popularity.