The American Foxhound is a breed of dog that is a cousin of the English Foxhound.
It is one of the oldest of American breeds but also one of the least known.
He’s found most frequently on the Atlantic Seaboard or Southern United States, usually as a member of a pack owned by a foxhunting club.
As pack animals, American foxhounds also aren’t happy to lead a solitary life. They crave companionship — whether it’s human or animal. They do best in a home with people around most of the day, or when paired with another dog or two for constant company.
The American Foxhound is taller and rangier than its cousin, the English Foxhound. It stands from 53 to 64 cm (21 to 25 in) high and weighs 25 to 32 kg (55 to 71 pounds).
The legs of a Foxhound are long and straight-boned. The foxhound’s chest is rather narrow. It has a long muzzle, and a large, domed skull. The ears are wide and low-set. The eyes are hazel or brown, and are large and wide-set.
A close, hard hound coat of medium length, and any color, though the combination of black, white and tan is prevalent. American Foxhounds do tend to shed a good amount of hair, but a weekly brushing will decrease shedding.
The average lifespan of the American Foxhound is 14 to 16 years.
This breed is known to have a musical bark, called a bay, when it is hunting that can be heard for miles, probably inherited from the Grand Bleu de Gascogne’s signature howl.
While not known as a popular household pet, the American foxhound has been bred and prized for its sporting ability and seemingly endless stamina. The sport of foxhunting has greatly contributed to the breed’s longevity. In fact, early American history shows that foxhunting was one of the most popular sports for American gentry until the time of the Civil War. Even today, the sport is popular in equestrian society and relies on the participation of pack hounds—many of which are the classic American foxhound.
In 1650, Robert Brooke sailed from England to Maryland with his pack of hunting dogs, which were the root of several strains of American hounds. Dogs of this bloodline, known as “Brooke Hounds,” remained in the Brooke family for nearly 300 years, possibly one of the longest documented breeding records for a single breed and family.
Perhaps the most famous breeder of the American foxhound was George Washington — it turns out that America’s founding father is also key to developing the American foxhound as we know it today. Like his military victories, Washington’s development of the American Foxhound was aided by the Marquis de Lafayette. The French general, who commanded American troops during the Revolutionary War, came from an aristocratic family, and knew the value of a good hound. In May 1875, he sent Washington seven massive hounds, a gift from his gentleman friend Count d’Oilliamson in Normandy. Many of the dogs Washington kept were descended from Brooke’s, and when crossed with the French hounds, helped to create the present-day American Foxhound.
The breed was developed by landed gentry purely for the sport of hunting foxes. With the importation (or migration) of the red fox, Irish Foxhounds were added to the lines, to increase speed and stamina in the dog, qualities still prevalent in today’s dogs.
The breed was first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1886.
Today, there are many different strains of American Foxhound, including Walker, Calhoun, Goodman, Trigg, July and Penn-Marydel. Though each strain looks different, they are all recognized as members of the same breed. Most show hounds are Walkers, many of the pack hounds (used with hunting foxes on horseback) are Penn-Marydel and hunters use a variety of strains to suit their hunting style and quarry.
American Foxhounds don’t seem to cost all that much. You are probably going to be spending between $500 – $1,000 a puppy, again depending on where the breeder is located and the other factors.
The Trigg Hound is a variety of the American Foxhound, developed in Kentucky by Colonel Haiden Trigg. The Trigg Hound originated in Barren County, Kentucky, in the 1860s, when fox hunting enthusiast Colonel Haiden C. Trigg wanted to develop a faster hound than those available in his area. He used dogs from the Birdsong, Maupin, and Walker lines to develop his strain.