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Hound dog breed profile

There are so many types of hound dogs to learn about.

Whether your dog is a purebred hound or a hound mix, learning about their breed can explain a lot about your pet's personality, habits and overall health. Or maybe you're looking to adopt a hound dog and want to do some research first — we can help.

Hound dogs are loyal and goofy pups with an incredible sense of smell, Dr. Timothy Burdsall, DVM, a veterinarian at Ethos Veterinary Health, says. But there’s still so much more to know about this dog breed, here’s your guide.

The background on hound dogs

Hound dogs were originally bred for hunting. They’re known for their strong noses, incredible stamina and unique bark known as a bay.

“Baying is a very cute howling noise that most hound breeds produce,” Dr. Burdsall explains. “When tracking, this sound is sometimes called trail barking or scent barking. It’s a deep and loud sound that is very distinct from their traditional bark. This sound is often associated with the dog being happy or excited.”

Hound dogs are either known for their incredible smelling abilities or their strong eyesight and plenty of these pups are still trained as hunting dogs. They’re intelligent dogs that are eager to please but may need some convincing that what you’re teaching them is valuable.

What are the different hound dog breeds?

Hounds come in all shapes and sizes, from the majestic Afghan Hound to the short, stout basset hound. Some other popular hounds include the beagle, the black and tan coonhound, the bloodhound, the Bluetick Coonhound and the greyhound.

RELATED: Shepherd dog breed profile

What are hounds’ personalities like?

Hound dogs are loyal and goofy, Dr. Burdsall says. They also have a high prey drive, which means it’s harder to get their attention if they hear or see another animal nearby. 

According to Dr. Burdsall, most hounds, like the beagle and coonhound, need a lot of stimulation. If they’re not getting enough exercise or attention, hounds can become destructive because of boredom. However, not all types of this dog breed are the same — hounds, like the basset hound, tend to be low energy, lazy pups.

“Hounds are a group of dogs that really enjoy stimuli and jobs,” Dr. Burdsall says. “Scent training is a fun bonding activity that an owner can enroll their hound in. Classes are offered all around the country.”  

How big are hounds?

There’s a hound for every lifestyle and environment because of their size. The dachshund is at the small end of the scale, weighing in at 16 to 32 pounds and only 9 inches in height (which makes them great pups for apartment living). The tallest type of hound is the Irish Wolfhound, which can weigh up to 120 pounds and measure up to 32 inches tall.

Do hound dogs shed?

Plenty of hound dogs shed, and if there are allergies in your family it’s important for you to do some digging into the type of hound dog you’re thinking of welcoming into your home. Here’s a tip: Afghan Hounds don’t shed as much as the average dog — but that doesn’t mean they’re hypoallergenic. In fact, no dog is truly hypoallergenic. But, they have long, silky hair coats that require regular grooming.

What common health issues do hound dogs face? 

“Health issues in the hound breed vary so drastically,” Dr. Burdsall says. “Hounds are often big eaters, and food bloats are very common if left alone with access to unlimited food. Most food bloats are not life-threatening but can be if not addressed by an emergency veterinary team.”

Adopting a hound dog

Are you interested in adopting a hound, hound mix or any pet at all? Check out our shelter partners to find your new best friend.

The Dig, Fetch's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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