The Pharaoh Hound: A Dog Prized By The Egyptians

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The Pharaoh Hound: A Dog Prized By The EgyptiansHave you heard of the beautiful Pharaoh Hound? This ancient breed, though still relatively unknown in the United States, can make a great pet!

What Is The Pharaoh Hound?

The Pharaoh Hound is a striking, red-coated sight-hound bred for hunting rabbits. Owners prize this ancient breed for its loyalty, stamina, and distinctive looks.

An Egyptian Dog? This Pooch Actually Comes From Malta

A brown pharaoh hound dog standing beside a creek

Although the Pharaoh Hound’s name would suggest an Egyptian heritage, this dog, in fact, hails from the Mediterranean island nation of Malta. The breed’s Maltese name, Kelb tal-Fenek, means “Rabbit Dog”, and hunters bred these dogs especially to chase rabbits across rough terrain.

Some believe that the Pharaoh Hound’s roots go back 5,000 years, as far as Ancient Egypt. This is due to the Pharaoh Hound’s similarity to the Tesem dogs shown in Ancient Egyptian tomb paintings.

The story goes that the Phoenicians brought these dogs to Malta, where they still live to this day. This story is not proven, however, and the earliest references to Pharaoh Hounds in Malta dates from 1647.

The Pharaoh Hound breed is still relatively rare outside of the Maltese islands, and the American Kennel Club (AKC) only recognized the breed in 1983.

5 Facts You Need to Know About The Pharaoh Hound

  1. Pharaoh Hound puppies are born with striking blue eyes, which turn yellow and then amber as they grow into mature dogs.
  2. Pharaoh Hounds can blush when happy or excited! Their ears and nose turn bright pink—a trait that is unique to the breed.
  3. These dogs traditionally hunt in female-male pairs. The hunter releases the dogs in opposite directions to hunt by scent and send the rabbit to ground. The hunter then releases ferrets to chase the rabbit out, whereupon one of the dogs will catch it. This ancient hunting technique dates back to Roman times.
  4. If hunting without ferrets, the Pharaoh Hound can be known to bounce up and down on the burrow to force the prey out.
  5. The Pharaoh Hound is believed to be one of the oldest dog breeds, with direct links to the dog’s ancient predecessor, Canis Familaris Leineri. 

Appearance and Personality of The Pharaoh Hound

The Pharaoh Hound is a medium-sized dog known for its sleek and elegant, yet powerful appearance. These dogs are lithe, with long legs and a smooth gait that allows them to cover ground quickly. The Pharaoh Hound has a smoothly sloping nose, amber eyes and an intelligent expression.

The AKC breed standard for Pharaoh Hound dogs sets their size as 21 to 25 inches, with a weight of 45 to 55 pounds. Males are typically larger than females.

One of the Pharaoh Hound’s most striking features is its beautiful red coat, which is short and glossy with no feathering. The shades of red can vary from deep chestnut to a light tan, and many shades in between. Some of these dogs have white markings on their faces, chests, sides or tails.

Pharaoh Hounds typically have a friendly, loyal temperament, though they can be prone to getting over-excited and boisterous.

Black Pharaoh Hound

Pharaoh Hounds can be crossed with black Labrador Retrievers to produce a striking Black Pharaoh Hound, often nicknamed Anubis after the Ancient Egyptian god of the dead. These cross-breeds typically keep the Pharaoh Hound’s build, with the black coloring of the Labrador.

These Egyptian Dogs Are Very Athletic

Pharaoh hound koiraranta on a sea side looking at something in the water

Pharaoh Hounds are very active dogs, and typically need a good amount of exercise.  Insufficient exercise can cause Pharaoh Hounds to put on weight or develop nervous or destructive behavior. A minimum of 30 minutes of exercise every day is advisable. With sufficient exercise, the Pharaoh Hound should relax and settle at home.

Pharaoh Hound Puppies Are Intelligent Pups

Pharaoh Hounds are very intelligent and independent. As such, they are highly trainable, but respond much better to positive training (that is, rewarding good behavior), rather than punishment for bad behavior.

Here Are Some Other Hound Dog Breeds Similar to The Pharaoh Hound

The Pharaoh Hound is similar to other ancient Mediterranean breeds, including the Ibizan Hound, the Sicilian Cirneco, the Podenco Canario and the Podengo Português.

Pharaoh Hound Price

Pharaoh Hound puppies do not come cheap: expect to pay upwards of $1,800 for a puppy, going up to $2,500 and more for champion show-dog bloodlines.

Pharaoh Hound Puppies for Sale

Puppies should always be purchased from reputable breeders. The AKC keeps a list of registered breeders, which can be a good place to start. The Pharaoh Hound Club of America (PHCA) can put potential owners in touch with breeders. The PHCA also runs a Pharaoh Hound rescue program.

Pharaoh Hounds Can Live Long Healthy Lives

Due to the breed being fairly unknown, Pharaoh Hounds have not suffered from irresponsible breeding to the same extent as other breeds. As such, dogs of this breed are not prone to genetic defects or diseases such as luxating patellas or hip dysplasia. Pharaoh Hounds can typically be expected to live for 12 to 15 years.

7 Tips You Need To Know About The Egyptian Pharaoh Hound

  1. Pharaoh Hounds have a strong prey drive, especially when it comes to small animals. They should be kept on a leash in unfenced areas.
  2. They can live with cats, but the two must be raised together from a young age.
  3. These dogs are great with older children and will love running and play together.
  4. The Pharaoh Hound can live with other dogs, but they can be very boisterous, and so are better with breeds of a similar size and strength.
  5. Dogs of this breed are sensitive to the cold due to their short coats, and their ears are prone to frostbite. They may need to wear coats in colder climates.
  6. Pharaoh Hounds shed very little. Although they are not hypoallergenic, some dog-allergy sufferers have reported being unaffected by their fur.
  7. Pharaoh Hounds are not as prone to separation anxiety as some breeds, but still should not be left for long periods, as they can bark a lot.

The Pharaoh Dog Is Truly A Pooch That’s Going To Be The Center Of Your Attention

Due to their striking and unusual looks, Pharaoh Hounds are not dogs for shy people or those who hate attention! However, if you are looking for a loyal, active, and beautiful pet, the Pharaoh Hound could be the dog for you!

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