Hounds

Breeds

Hound breeds are split into two factions – those long-limbed canines that hunt by sight (aptly enough referred to as sighthounds or, occasionally, gazehounds) and those that hunt by scent, not surprisingly called scent hounds. Their quarry is the furred and four-footed variety.

Activity level

Whether sighthound or scent hound, these dogs are bred to pursue game. The sighthounds do it in bursts of top speed, running down everything from gazelle to rabbits, always keeping them in their sight. Scent hounds follow the scent trail, moving at a slower speed but working relentlessly and with determination. When not running at a mind-boggling gallop, sighthounds are often content to be couch potatoes. Scent hounds are more likely to cover greater distances in their pursuits and tend to need more exercise to keep in shape for the long haul.

Size

No group has a greater size variation than the Hound Group. From the diminutive Miniature Dachshunds, which, at 4.5 kilograms (10 pounds), are smaller than many Toy breeds, to the Irish Wolfhound that towers over the rest of dogdom with a minimum height of 81 centimeters (32 inches) and a minimum weight for males of 54 kilograms (120 pounds), Hound breeds run the full gamut of sizes.

Trainability

Instinct often means more to hounds than pleasing their owners. Give them something to pursue and they may conveniently forget all the obedience commands they’ve ever been taught. Patient perseverance pays off.

Characteristics

The thrill of the chase is in their blood.