Pharaoh Hounds


Pharaoh Hounds

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Breed Notes

As his name suggests, the Pharaoh Hound comes from ancient Egypt where he was bred to hung gazelle. His likeness in Egyptian art resembles the Egyptian god, Anubis, the Watchdog of the Dead. The Pharaoh Hound is the oldest domesticated dog in written record, dating to 3000 B.C. Phoenician merchants brought the breed to the islands of the Mediterranean long before the birth of Christ. On the island of Ibiza, he became known as the Ibizan Hound (see Ibizan Hound) but on Malta, he retained his name of Pharaoh Hound. These are considered separate breeds today. A hunter by scent and sight alike, he was used on Malta to hunt rabbit. He has been bred pure to type there for over 2,000 years. The Pharaoh Hound gives a striking impression of elegance, power, and grace. In 1979, he was declared the National Dog of Malta. He was recognized by the Kennel Club of Great Britain in 1968 and the American Kennel Club in 1983.
The Pharaoh Hound is intelligent, friendly and affectionate. Cheerful and gentle, he is very good with children. Because of his strong hunting instincts, he will chase and catch neighborhood cats and rabbits if not restrained. He is not a breed for apartment life.
The skull of the Pharaoh Hound is long, lean and chiseled. There is only a slight drop off (stop) between the skull and muzzle. The ears are set medium high, broad at the base and carried erect. The eyes are amber in color, oval and moderately deep with a keen, intelligent expression. The nose is flesh colored, blending with the coat. The jaws are powerful with a scissors bite. The neck is long, lean and muscular. The chest is deep, reaching almost to the elbow. The legs are long and straight. The gait is free and flowing with the head held high. The dog should cover ground well without apparent effort. The topline is straight. The tail is thick at the base and tapers whip-like. It is long enough to reach the hock. The coat is short and glossy. Coat color ranges from tan to rich tan to chestnut with white markings on the tip of the tail, the chest and possibly the toes. Average height is between 21 and 25 inches. Average weight is between 40 and 60 pounds.


akhanubis@tesco.net of UK writes:

Living with Pharaoh Hounds ...
Even as I write this I have to smile to myself. The Pharaoh Hound is truly the "joker in the pack" of Primitive breeds. This breed will make you laugh, and sometimes wonder about your own sanity.
as it is so difficult not to join in when they are being mischievous. They are a playful, inquisitive breed. There is a lovely poem that describes the Pharaoh Hound: "The red long tailed dog goes at night into the stalls of the hills, he is better than the long faced dog. He makes no delay in hunting, his face glows like a god and he delights to do his work." (taken from ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics). A wonderful description indeed.
The Pharaoh Hound is a dog of medium size, bred primarily to hunt rabbit and small game. They are an ancient hound and like the Ibizan, have strong links to ancient Egypt. They come in various shades of tan, any white markings should be minimal, a little star on the chest or small white hairs on the feet is forgivable. Although a white tip to the tail is highly desirable. Taken to Malta by traders, they are known there as the "Kelb tal Fenek," which loosely means "rabbit dog." They are the national dog of Malta. The Pharaoh is not a dog for the fainthearted; they have a way of reading your next action and seem to be able to get there that little bit ahead of you. They can be fairly vocal, and being a very sociable breed really enjoy the company of other dogs or preferably humans. Not a breed suited to someone who has little time.
The Pharaoh is a sighthound "par excellance" and this must be considered by anyone wishing to be owned by this charming breed. They are excellent hunters, and like many sighthounds once the chase is in hand, not much else matters. They are highly trainable, sounds like a contradiction, but indeed several Pharaoh Hounds have become highly successful in the fields of obedience and agility. The trouble with the Pharaoh Hound is that they think far too quickly for us humans to comprehend! Like the Ibizan, they possess the pink nose. Pharaoh Hounds have a habit of "grinning" at you, not easy to tell a Pharaoh Hound off when it is doing the famous Pharaoh "grin," you just end up grinning back! When chastised the Pharaoh Hound is capable of blushing, and the insides of their ears glow a wonderful red.
They are a relatively healthy breed, and the only problem here in the UK was patella luxation, although no cases have been recorded for several years now. They are a long-lived breed, around fourteen years as an average. They are quite popular as a show dog in the UK and a fair few can be found entered at most Championship Shows.
If you are contemplating this breed, you will be well rewarded. They are not the easiest breed in the world, but in my opinion one of the most charming and entertaining of the Primitive hound breeds and the sighthounds as a whole.


Name withheld by request of Berkeley, CA writes:

Only for owners with lots of time.
First, the good news: I researched every AKC breed before getting two Pharaoh Hound pups, and they are the joy of our lives. I cannot imagine having any other breed. Their independence, curiosity, entertaining and mischievous personality, and extreme intelligence are a constant delight. Now the bad news: If you can't spend at least one hour per day devoted solely to exercising this dog (which wants to run at 35 mph), don't get a Pharaoh. If you can't handle a dog who won't instantly obey, don't get a Pharaoh. If you can't handle a dog who has a mind of its own and will challenge you, don't get a Pharaoh. They are a very special breed which demands a special owner.


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