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Breeds 101: 8 Classic Types of Hound Dogs


Hound dogs and people have been side by side since before recorded history. Hounds are timeless companions with a long history of bonding with their pet parents. Even though we’re no longer hunters and gatherers, many families still find that members of the hound group make excellent family pets. If you’re thinking about adopting a hound dog, here are eight breeds to add to your shortlist.

What Is a Hound Dog?

Hound dogs are breeds that were initially bred for hunting purposes. Hound dogs have excellent eyesight (hence their nicknames as sighthounds) and an unparalleled sense of smell (hence their other nicknames as scent hounds), making them extremely efficient at tracking prey in wooded areas. Many dog owners still use hound dogs like the American English Coonhound or the Basset Hound during hunting season because of this strong prey drive.

Why Choose a Hound Dog?

Most families don’t hunt or trap animals, so it might seem strange to choose a hunting dog as a family companion if all the food you eat comes from a grocery store. A hound dog’s ability to hunt and track is superior to most other breeds, but there’s far more to hounds than their working abilities.

Hound dogs also make excellent companions for adventurous families that spend a lot of time outdoors. They’re easier to care for than most other dogs because of the strong bond they make with their owners paired with their drive to please their owners. Well-trained hound dogs are typically excellent with children, and people who travel solo find that they’re the perfect back seat buddies.

Who Shouldn’t Have a Hound Dog?

Almost all hound dogs will bay, especially breeds like the Norwegian Elkhound and the American Foxhound. They’ll howl and sing when they’re bored or want attention. If you live in an apartment or in close quarters with others who won’t find a hound dog’s voice to be endearing, you may want to consider a quieter breed.

Hound dogs were also bred to tag along during long hunting expeditions, so their exercise requirements are fairly demanding. If you don’t have a large fenced-in yard, a hound dog may not be for you. If you like to walk local hiking trails every day, consider bringing your hound with you. Just don’t be surprised if they become fixated on the scents of the squirrels and raccoons. 

8 Classic Hound Breeds To Know About

With that, let’s dive into eight of the most common hound breeds!

1. The Beagle

Beagles are the quintessential American hound dog. Beagles are on the small dog side of hound dogs, with the average beagle weighing only 30 pounds. They’re easy to share a home with, and they comfortably fit in a typical four door sedan for adventuring. They’ll be happy to cuddle up in a tent with you on your next family camping trip.

Beagles are also very easy to train and groom. Weekly brushings and positive reinforcement will keep your beagle healthy, happy, and well-behaved. 

The only thing that might be an area of concern is your beagle’s need for exercise. Beagles do well in homes with large, fenced-in yards. They need to be able to run and play, and they’ll easily become overweight if they don’t have enough space for exercise.

2. The Basset Hound

Basset hounds are lovable loafs. Although basset hounds need plenty of exercise, it may be challenging to help them get it. This breed is notoriously laid back, and they don’t take direction well. It can be challenging to train them and help them meet their needs. 

They’re going to need your direction a lot more than other breeds of hounds. If you’re truly interested in the parenting aspect of pet parenting, a basset hound will happily be your stubborn child.

A basset hound’s ears are adorable, but they’re also high maintenance. Basset hounds need to have their ears regularly cleaned, especially since this breed is highly prone to ear infections. Your veterinarian will be able to help you with proper ear cleaning techniques. 

Basset hounds also tend to have back problems from their interesting shape. It can be helpful to combat any discomfort with supplements such as a high-quality CBD + CBDA product for dogs

3. The Bloodhound

Bloodhounds are docile, affectionate, and brilliant. They’re among the smartest dog breeds. Their sense of smell is a superpower, effectively making them canine detectives. They can be trained to sniff out anything, no matter how faint, from a very long distance. Bloodhounds often act as working dogs to solve missing persons cases, and they can also detect bombs and drugs. 

Although bloodhounds are laid back, they do need a fair amount of exercise. When you take them outside, their natural instincts will kick in. If your bloodhound finds an interesting scent, they may pull at the leash. They need a lot of leash training and a strong, patient handler. With time and reinforcement, they become great companions for hikes and camping trips.

Physically, bloodhounds are droopy. They have long ears, long jowls, and wrinkles all over their body. This makes them messy eaters and drinkers. They’re also likely to track mud into the house. You need to regularly bathe your bloodhound and clean their ears to prevent skin irritation

4. The Dachshund 

Dachshunds pack a lot of lively energy into a small package. Despite their short legs, Dachshunds like to run and play as much as most types of hounds. A lot of their energy and spirit will also manifest in their ability to communicate. Dachshunds bark a lot, and many people choose them specifically for that reason. A dachshund will look at your window and alert you to anyone approaching. They’ll make sure to let you know if they believe something is wrong. 

Dachshunds are easy to train, easy to groom, and easy to exercise. They’re very low maintenance dogs, but their elongated spine can make them susceptible to some discomfort in the back (which a CBDA + CBD product may be able to provide some relief for). Dachshund parents should, however, be mindful of their dog’s diet. The unique shape of a Dachshund’s spine makes them prone to intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), and the risk for IVDD increases when the dachshund becomes overweight. 

5. The Greyhound

Greyhounds are very large, clever dogs. They’re also the fastest breed of dog. They love to explore, and they need a human parent who can keep up with their need for adventure. 

Although they’re outgoing and playful, they’re also very docile dogs. Greyhounds are one of very few quiet hound dog breeds. They don’t bay or bark like their cousin breeds. They prefer cuddling to conflict, which makes them an excellent choice for families with children.  After they finish their daily run, they’ll want to snooze on the couch with the family. 

Greyhounds are relatively easy to care for. Their short coat makes grooming a breeze, and they’re exceptionally easy to train. They’re one of the best big dog breeds for new pet parents.

6. The Irish Wolfhound

Irish wolfhounds are the tallest of all hound dogs, often standing as tall as 32 inches. They’re generally affectionate, and they form close bonds with their human family. They have a substantial need for exercise, which is why many people with farms or large properties adopt Irish wolfhounds and allow them to roam. 

Irish wolfhounds are stubborn, huge in stature, and somewhat difficult to train as mature dogs, so they may not be the best choice for families with children. Even a well-trained Irish wolfhound can inadvertently topple a toddler. 

Irish wolfhounds are also very prone to illness and injury. Conditions like hip dysplasia, heart failure, and cancer are common in this breed. Irish Wolfhounds have very short lifespans when compared to other hound breeds, and regular veterinary care is crucial for their wellness.

Finally, we can’t emphasize enough that Irish wolfhounds are huge. One of the tallest dog breeds around. This can mean that they experience joint discomfort from carrying around all that bodyweight. 

It can be helpful to use supplements to soothe joint discomfort, such as CBD + CBDA soft gels. It’s also worth ensuring that you have room in your budget for all the dog food that this breed will go through on a daily basis! 

7. The Coonhound

Coonhounds (aka the American English Coonhound, the black and tan coonhound, the redbone coonhound, or the bluetick coonhound depending on the color) are medium-sized dogs with classic “puppy dog” eyes and long soft ears. People often fall in love with them for how cute they are, and stay in love with them for how sweet they are. Coonhounds generally do well with other dogs, so if you’re considering adopting a second dog, a coonhound will make a great addition to your family.

Coonhounds are easy to groom and easy to train. They don’t shed very much, they don’t drool, and they’re very good listeners. As long as you’re able to provide a coonhound with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, this breed is likely to be agreeable and well-behaved across the board. 

8. The Saluki 

Salukis are large hound dogs with short soft coats. This breed is known for being one of the most affectionate hounds. If you need a family dog that will love everyone in the house, a Saluki will gladly accept attention from everyone. 

This breed does, however, get bored very easily. They’re very playful, may cling to you, excessively vocalize, or become destructive when they’re bored. They’re wonderful companions, but you need to be sure they have plenty of stimulating toys and a lot of room to run around. 

Honorable Mentions

There are many breeds of hounds out there, and while the ones below aren’t as high-ranking on the popularity list, they can still make awesome pets and are worth looking into:

  • Norwegian Elkhound (known for the particularly strong bond they form with their human companions)
  • Afghan Hound (famous for their long luscious hair and regal appearance)
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback (a protective but loving breed great for families)
  • Basenji (a smaller hound known for its yodeling sounds and curiosity)
  • American or English Foxhound (very similar in appearance to Beagles, but larger)
  • Scottish Deerhound (very similar to the Irish Wolfhound in size and appearance)
  • Whippet (a calm, affectionate hound recognizable by its curved sleek back)

Final Tips for Choosing the Right Hound Dog 

When you’re trying to choose the right hound dog breed for your family, here are some final tips to keep in mind:

  • It’s best to take your time — never settle on a dog based on appearance alone. Don’t rush into buying or adopting no matter how cute that face is. 
  • When possible, avoid adopting a dog you haven’t had the opportunity to interact with. 
  • Many breeds of hound dogs will live as long as 13 years. It’s important to choose a dog you can love and commit to for over a decade, and do research into possible health conditions that the breed may be predisposed to. 

If you end up with a hound or any breed that could use a little extra support when it comes to joint discomfort, stress, or itching, you can trust ElleVet to deliver high-quality, clinical research-backed CBD + CBDA soft gels, oils, and chews to bring relief and comfort. 

We hope this has been helpful! For more helpful articles like this to guide you in your journey as a dog or cat parent, explore the ElleVet blog here!


Dog Ear Infections: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and Prevention | American Kennel Club

Underdogs | The Bloodhound’s Amazing Sense of Smell | Nature | PBS

Irish Wolfhound Dog Breed Information | American Kennel Club