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The hound dog breeds classification

Hound dog breeds classification

Hound dog breeds classification

In my previous article, I discussed what are the hound dog breeds, their personality traits, exercise requirements, quirks etcetera. In this article, I will be discussing the classification of the hound dog breeds.

What is the hound dog breed?

Most of the dogs belonging to the hound dog breed share one common ancestral trait. They were all used for the purpose of hunting. The hound dogs either use their acute sense of smell or their amazing sight to track down their prey. The reason people find it hard to identify whether a dog belongs to the hound dog breed or not is because this breed encompasses of dogs belonging to shapes and sizes. There is a huge diversity in the hound dog breed. You have dogs ranging from the Norwegian elkhounds, Farrow hounds, Afghan hounds all the way to the beagles, dachshunds etcetera. This should give you an idea of the variety of sizes available in this breed.

Some of the hounds preferred to bay while others prefer to stay quiet. If you are thinking of getting a hound dog, I would suggest that you first find out if you can deal with the baying habit of the hounds.

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Classification of the hound dog breeds

The hound dog breed came into existence when humans started hunting. Hound dogs are extremely hardworking and loyal. These dogs helped chase down the prey for their human companions. The reason these dogs come in a variety of sizes, shapes and behavioral instincts is because of the way they were bred. Their stature and structure depend on the region of the world where they were bred and the work they were supposed to be engaged in. However, universally, the hound dog is an extremely trustworthy companion that guardians love and cherish.

The AKC classification of the hound dogs

As per the AKC or American Kennel Club, there are around 32 hound dog breeds. While you may already be aware of some of these breeds, others may come as a surprise to you. Some hound dogs have extremely exotic looks or very diminutive stature. The reason all of these shapes and sizes fall under the hound dog breeds is because of the purpose they were originally bred for. They were bred for hunting. It does not matter if the dog is big, small, stout, bulky or thin and lean, if the dog was bred for hunting purposes, they fall in the hound dog group.

Let’s understand some of the most common hound dog breeds present around the world.

The most common hound dog breeds:

American hunting hounds

American hunting hounds have a very important part in the history of the American civilization. May have been a part of the photographs, paintings, and literature through the American classic stories. These dogs have a high level of popularity throughout the Midwestern and the southern regions of the US. However, now they are found worldwide. They work as companions and working dogs, depending on the needs of their guardian.

The different varieties of the American hunting hounds

Red bone coonhound

This dog breed has been named after its nemesis the raccoon. These dogs have ears that hang all the way to their muzzles. They have strong legs and the large forces make it very easy for them to work on even though most difficult of terrains. The Red bone coonhound is very easy to identify since it has a very recognizable coat color (a deep rust red-brown color). This is why they are referred to as the red bone coonhound.

Treeing Walker coonhound

The treeing Walker coonhound are very easily recognizable due to the tricolored pattern on their coat. Let me clear one point of confusion here. Thinking of the tricolor pattern, you may also think of the Beagle. However, the treeing Walker coonhound has more height than beagles. As per the name, these dogs are extremely fast runners. They are specifically adept at chasing raccoons up the trees. They have ears that are floppy and come down to their muzzles. The ears are slightly rounded towards the bottom edges.

American hunting hounds

Bluetick coonhound

Most American hounds love chasing raccoons. The bluetick coonhound loves to hunt and it can be observed from their behavior. They love the games of running and chasing. If you have a home that has a huge backyard, this dog would be the perfect addition to your family. They need lots of exercises to let off the steam. They also have incredibly long legs because of which they can run very fast. If you do not provide such dogs with the right kind of exercise and attention, you will have aggressive issues on your hands.

Black and tan coonhounds.

These are the largest of the coonhound dog breeds. The black and tan coonhound gets confused with Bloodhound many times because they also have a long face with ears that hang below the muzzle. These dogs show an extremely strong prey drive. If you do not provide these dogs a proper level of exercise and training, you may turn into a human kite on walks if your dog spots a squirrel. The black and tan coonhound displays a black coat with warm brown tones. They also have distinct pumpkin seeds dots at the corner eye sections.

The English hunting hounds

Few dogs are more iconic than the hunting hounds of the English. From chasing down stags to the classic fox hunt, the joyful and excited bark of this canine is impossible to not identify. The long hunting history of England has given rise to some of the most distinct and popular hound dog breeds. These came into being due to careful breeding, selection of the best traits from the parents, good training and amazing standards. Let’s take a look at some of the English hunting hounds


There is an amazing reason why the Bloodhound is most often displayed as a mascot in mystery solving and sleuthing cases. Bloodhounds have an incredibly powerful sense of smell. They can easily track anything by their sense of smell. They can easily track anyone and anything across pretty long distances. Their long floppy ears are not there to make them look cute. These long ears easily brush the ground and allow the creation of a scent funnel. This intensifies the talent of the Bloodhound to sniff out even traces of scent. Thus, they can track their prey or find anyone over a long distance.


The Beagle is one hound dog breed that everyone is aware of. They are short, stout and amazingly energetic. The Beagle is the dog with a bay. You may be wondering what is bay. Bay is specifically a type of howl that is different from the howl of all the other hound dog breeds. The beagle’s bay is very easy to hear. This helps the guardian track down the dog quickly. Beagles most often love to chase and track down their prey.

Once they have tracked down their prey, they will release their bay. Their bay is so clear and loud that the guardian can easily follow and find the beagle and the prey even in a dense forest. The beagle loves to play hard and then rest hard. This makes them the perfect companion dog for a family that is active. If you have the time to interact with your pup, he will be very happy in your care. Ensure that you provide them with enough exercise, treasure hunt options and lots of chances to use their noses.

For those who do not want to go for a dog for the large breed, the Beagle makes for a perfect companion since they retain their puppy-sized proportions even after they reach adulthood.

English foxhounds

The English foxhound is another extremely distinguished dog belonging to the hound dog breed. English foxhounds are very easily recognizable because of their slender and long legs with ears that are more proportional. If you notice the tail of such dogs, you will realize how observant and alert they are. Most often, their tail will stick up high if something has caught their attention. They were bred for the purpose of running and covering large distances very quickly. These dogs are very sturdy. Therefore, you must always be careful when taking them out for walks. You do not want to become a human kite. Providing them with regular exercise and using a study lead should be a good combination for such breeds.

English foxhounds


The Harrier is a hound that thrives in a pack. They were the most favorable companion during medieval times. Harrier is the combination of the beagle’s lively personality and the powerful build of the English foxhound. The final size of the Harrier falls between the English foxhound and the Beagle. Therefore, with Harrier, you have a medium-sized dog. You can easily spot a Harrier in a bush because of their disproportionately long tails.


As the name suggests, otterhounds were originally bred to hunt otters. Even though otter hunting is not considered legal in many regions of the world anymore, the Otterhound still shows most of the traits that they were originally bred for. They love being in the water. They have webbed feet that help them in swimming. The shaggy coat of the Otterhound provides them with an extremely memorable look. The shaggy coat has one other role. It is responsible for protecting the hound against the water force and provides padding for protection from the cold.


When people think of a dog running, they think of the greyhound. Greyhounds are impossibly sleek with a top speed of around 45 mph. Greyhounds were first bred in England. The primary reason behind breeding greyhounds was so that they can act as a courser. The Greyhound is a dog that can easily maintain the pace of a deer. Their high speeds allow them to catch speeding preys like deers. Even though the greyhounds love sprinting, they are also extremely comfortable when indoors. When these dogs come indoors, they mostly turn into couch potatoes or lap dogs.

Mostly, people associate greyhounds with racing. However, these dogs land up sleeping for 18 hours a day and love to show their affection. Therefore, they are not hyper or hard to handle dogs as most people think.


Whippet is the opposite of the greyhound. If the greyhounds are gentle sleepy giants, the whippet is full of exciting energy. They do share a common characteristic with the greyhounds. Both of these breeds refrain from barking as much as possible. Furthermore, they require plenty of exercise. Whippets are pretty close to greyhounds in terms of body shape. However, they are noticeably smaller and have shorter neck. This breed can easily reach a top speed of 35 mph. Therefore, it is recommended that you use a good leash and have a sturdy fence around your backyard. They can also be amazing escape artists. Therefore, a high fence is advisable.

The international hound breeds

While most of the other hounds have come from English readers, the international hounds are an assortment of handsome hound breeds that have come up from Germany to the Middle East regions of the world. This specific hound species is excelling in itself all on its own. Let’s look at some of the international hound dog breeds.


During the earlier period, Badgers were considered to be a huge problem for the land owners and farmers. They would come in and destroy all the crops. The Otterhound was used to chase these creatures off, in the regions of England. The dachshund played a similar role in Germany. The dachshund is s translation of the word badger hound In German. The name of the breed itself points towards the task that they were entrusted with. Dachshunds are also known as Wiener dog or Doxies. These dogs despite being small have plenty of attitude and act as the king of the castle.

The Irish wolfhound

Just as the names suggests, the Irish wolfhound was bred from their wild wolf cousins. The purpose of breeding this breed of dog was for proactive hunting and protection. Despite there not being any requirement for Irish wolfhounds for protection, they have still retained their hunting instincts. However, this is not the reason, the Irish wolfhound is so widely known. The reason behind this breed being famous is its height. The Irish wolfhound is the tallest breed as per the American Kennel Club. Amongst the males, the breed stands at a height of 34 to 35 inches. This is comparative to the height of the Great Dane which reaches up to 30 to 32 inches.

International hound breeds

Long legs and large bones can predispose a dog to have joint and bone issues. Therefore, if you are planning to bring in an Irish wolfhound, you need to be ready to provide him a ton of supplements. Irish wolfhounds tend to develop cardiac and hip issues. Therefore, you must always have some soothing CBD oil or treats with you to help calm your dog down when needed.


If there is one dog that bears a striking resemblance to humans, it is the breed Saluki. Salukis have almond-shaped eyes and silky furred ears. They look absolutely beautiful and have an inverted S-type body shape. Their body shape mimics that of the whippet and the greyhound. The Saluki is an extremely fast runner. It is only two miles shy of the greyhound by reaching a top speed of 43 mph. The Salukis were also bred to act as the hunting cruiser.

If you’re considering getting a Saluki for yourself, you must be ready to engage in plenty of exercises. Salukis need their run on a daily basis. If you do not provide your dog training, and exercise and allow them to explore their natural instincts, you will have plenty of aggressive behavioral problems later in life.

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Standing at an impressive height of 27 to 35 inches (at the shoulder section), this breed is a very impressive one. Earlier, Rhodesian Ridgebacks were referred to as the African lion hunting dogs. As per an old story, the roadies were once used to track down lions. Once the Rhodesian Ridgeback reached the lion, he did not engage with the lion in a one-on-one match. Instead, he allowed his hunting guardians to come and kill the lion.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are known for their trademark reversed fur back strife. Their fur style makes them look primal. However, On the contrary, they actually have a very amazing and sweet temperament.

Basset Hound

There is hardly anyone who has not at least seen a Basset Hound in an English movie. Basset hounds are mostly linked to hunting sports. They were originally bred in Belgium and are a pretty powerful breed. Their build type is stocky and they are known for their amazing sense of smell. As I mentioned before, some of the hound dog breeds have scent funnel-type ears that can easily brush the ground and allow the smell to get in. The Centennial ear of Basset Hound closely resembles those of American coonhounds and bloodhounds. They have powerful legs that can easily push through dense bushes with ease. They do share one characteristic with the Beagle and that is the baying behavior. The Basset Hound also work as police dogs or drug tracking ones.

Some other honorable mentions in international hounds are:

All of these have extremely distinct and intriguing personalities. They are different from one another. However, I have focused on the most well-known hound dog breeds in this article. If you want to know the details of each of these specific hound dog breeds, please mention that in the comment section. I will make sure that I cover that in my next article.



Ranging from cold weather ready to shaggy to heat ready to short coated, hounds are available in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Originally bred for the purpose of hunting, hounds are here to stay. They are a crucial part of the history of civilizations and they have always been by the side of their guardians. They are one of the most determined, loyal and hard-working dog breeds amongst all. A hound dog may seem lazy and like a couch potato when he is indoors. However, this personality quickly changes once they spot prey or are outdoors with a lot of space to move around.

If you’re planning to get a hound dog, make sure that you have ample space in your backyard for the hound to run and release excess energy. If you do not have a big backyard, you must allow at least an hour of exercise for your dog every day. Hound dog breeds can develop aggression issues if they do not get their regular share of exercise. These are working dogs. They need to work. Without work, they can start displaying a whole bunch of behavioral issues like excessive howling, barking, nipping, biting, separation anxiety, etcetera.

There is only one thing that can compare to the hound’s excitedness and zest for catching its prey. This is the close bond that they share with their human companions. Despite many people saying that hounds are not openly affectionate, they are very loving and caring. They just have a different way of showing it.

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