Adopted dogs are usually guessed to be one of four common breeds: Labrador, pit, terrier, or shepherd. However, we’ve noticed that hound dogs are often forgotten about in this guessing game, despite how many mutts possess the traits of hound dogs.
Who falls under the hound umbrella? The most common include beagles, dachshunds, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, coonhounds, and Whippets. The hound family is very diverse and more common than one would think!
History of Hounds
Hounds are one of the oldest breeds that exist. Historians believe as far back as 10,000 BC, hounds assisted the nomadic people of North Africa by tracking and chasing roaming bovine animals. Hounds were great hunting partners because of their strong sense of smell, sharp eyesight, athleticism, and instincts.
Historically, hounds have been bred to hunt. However, this breed’s ability to follow a scent also makes them ideal “detective dogs”. Today, Bloodhounds are commonly trained as police dogs. Their intelligence and ancient breeding make hounds an ideal working breed.
Signs your dog might be part hound:
- They make a baying noise
- If they have a strong sense of smell
- Like to follow scents
- Pointed noise
- Forward-folding ears
Hounds at Home
When they’re not working, hounds are also wonderful companion dogs. Many shelter dogs have some amount of hound in them somewhere. Take Henni for instance, pictured above. Upon adoption, her parents were told that she was part pit and part beagle. The shape of her nose, her forward-folding ears, and love of scent work all resemble hound-like features. Today, Henni enjoys long walks, going to the beach, and games of fetch in her yard, in between naps and belly rubs.
Due to generations of breeding, hounds still have a strong connection to their hunting instincts. While you may not be into hunting yourself, there are plenty of activities that modern-day hounds are likely to love.
Activities for Hounds
- Running: Large hounds are extremely athletic and can run seemingly forever. Whether you participate in Canicross or want to teach your dog to love treadmill exercise, your athletic hound will appreciate running. *Note: smaller hounds, especially dachshunds, or short-nosed breeds are not advised to run for long periods of time.
- Hiking: Hounds will appreciate taking in all the senses of the outdoors during a Hiking Excursion. Between the physical exertion of walking the trail and the explosive sensory experience of nature, dogs get both a mind and body workout from hiking.
- Nose work: This activity delights hounds of all sizes. Tracking smells is like the ultimate puzzle for hounds. A DIY you can do at home: Take a muffin tin and six tennis balls. Hide treats beneath half of the tennis balls, and put it down for your dog to figure out. They will be so excited to sniff out their rewards!
- Puzzles: Giving your dog puzzles can get their brain working and make them feel fulfilled. Check out this Star Spinner for inspiration.
Hat tip to Big Mama Thornton, whose song inspired the title of this blog.