American Foxhound Dog Breed: Pictures, Colors, Bark, Characteristics, and Diet

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The American Foxhound dog (Foxhound) is a large-sized purebred, initially used for hunting foxes and other small animals.

Male Foxhounds are typically about 22 to 25 inches (56 to 64 cm) and weigh 45 to 70 pounds (20 to 32 kg), while female Foxhounds are slightly smaller at 21 to 24 inches (53 to 61 cm) and weigh 40 to 65 pounds (18 to 30kg).

An American Foxhound smiling with its tongue out
The beautiful American Foxhound

American Foxhound puppies grow steadily in height and weight for the first 8 to 9 months. They often reach their full-grown size at 11-12 months of age.

However, they can continue to grow out until they are about 16 to 18 months old. 

Foxhounds have that recognizable long muzzle, slightly domed skull, and low-set ears.

For coat color, the most popular color combination of American Foxhound is black and tan with white, or mostly white with black and tan.

As part of the scent hound group, American Foxhounds are bred to give “voice” and hunt foxes by scent. They have a musical bark and howl, called a “bay”, that can carry on for miles, making them one of the loudest dog breeds.

This is one of the reasons why Foxhounds are not best for small homes with close neighbors or apartment-living.

The American Foxhounds are loyal, soft, and affectionate dogs towards their handlers. They are also patient and loving with kids and have a low chance of biting somebody.

With the proper amount of exercise, a Foxhound is intelligent and good-humored, making them great family pets. But without it, the American Foxhound can be destructive. 

With longer legs bred into them, the American Foxhounds are swift runners. They can run fast up to a maximum of 38 mph (61.15km/h), which is slightly faster than English Foxhound with a top speed of 32 mph (51.5 km/h). 

As an active and energetic dog, the American Foxhound requires high-quality dog food that contains predominantly quality meat-based protein.

Foxhounds are generally healthy dogs that have an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years.

Read on to discover more about American Foxhounds and learn how to keep them happy and healthy.

Table of Contents

What is an American Foxhound?

The American Foxhound is a large-sized scenthound dog breed that originated in the United States. They were bred to hunt and chase foxes but not kill them, making them part of the hound group.

Today, they’re bred to be easy-going, sweet-tempered, and independent, making them an ideal family dog. 

A leashed American Foxhound lying on the grass
A smiley American Foxhound in a park

Why are they Called American Foxhound Dogs?

American Foxhound dogs, or simply Foxhounds, are named as such because of their origin. Foxhounds have been around in England since the 1650s, before they were brought to the United States.

The breed had been developed further with other hounds in the States, thus creating the American Foxhound.

Where Did the American Foxhound Originate?

American Foxhound dogs originated in the United States, and it’s believed that they came from Maryland and Virginia. Today, the American Foxhound is the state dog of Virginia. 

In 1650, Robert Brooke came to Maryland from England with his pack of hunting dogs. These dogs are believed to have roots from several hounds, bringing this bloodline to the United States.

George Washington, who enjoyed the traditional English foxhunt, received a French Foxhound from a friend, the Grand Bleu de Gascogne. Thus, he bred the dogs, over time developing the American Foxhound to what it is today.

When Did the American Foxhound Originate?

The American Foxhound originated in 1650 when Robert Brooke brought over his hunting dogs from England to the United States.

With the help of the English Foxhound and other hounds, the American Foxhound was established.

An American Foxhound in a snowy forest
Buckley, an American Foxhound, in a snowy forest – Image source

How Many American Foxhounds are there in the World? 

The worldwide population of American Foxhounds is thought to be around 100,000, according to Zooplus magazine.

Due to the decline in the popularity of hunting, like many hunting dogs, the breed’s popularity has also declined. In fact, they were declared one of the AKC’s least popular breeds in 2018. 

That said, there are still plenty of Foxhounds that are kept as beloved pets in the US and even compete in field trials. 

What are the Variants of the American Foxhound?

The American Foxhound comes in several different varieties. Although some of them may look slightly different, they are all officially recognized as Foxhounds. 

An Treeing Walker Coonhound hiking in a forest
A Treeing Walker Coonhound loving the green forest – Image source
  1. Treeing Walker Coonhound: The Treeing Walker Coonhound is a variant descended from the English and American Foxhounds. Kentucky breeders John W. Walker and George Washington Maupin are credited with creating the variant in the late 1800s. They were originally bred to hunt raccoons, but they were also used for hunting other deer, bears, bobcats, and cougars.
  2. Black and Tan Virginia Foxhound: This breed variant originated in Virginia in the 1700s and was a result of crossing the American Foxhounds with the Bloodhound.
  3. Calhoun: A later variant, the Calhoun Foxhound, was bred by Otey Calhoun in the 20th century and was said to be bred with all-black dogs.
  4. Goodman: The creation of the Goodman variant of the Foxhound is credited to Kentucky animal dealer Ben Robinson and Virginian breeder and army veteran Willis Goodman in the 1800s.
  5. Trigg Hound: The Trigg Hound is a type of Foxhound bred in Kentucky in the 1860s by Colonel Haiden Trigg. He wanted to breed a faster hound than any he had owned before. So, he used dogs from the Maupin, Birdsong, and Walker lines to develop the Trigg Hound. They’re a little lighter in build than the others but very courageous in character.
  6. July: The July Hound was bred by Georgian hunter Colonel Miles G. Harris in the 1800s. He wanted to make a Foxhound that was more suited to hunting earth-bound red foxes than tree-climbing grey foxes, and so he mixed the breed with the Irish Foxhound, a prolific red fox hunter.
  7. Penn-Marydel: The Penn-Marydel Hound is a variety of Foxhound that was developed in the early 1900s in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware – hence the unique name! They are slightly longer than they are tall, and they’re driven and enduring hunters. 

What are the Characteristics of American Foxhound Dogs?

American Foxhound dogs are known for their speed, work ethic, and endurance. They weren’t originally bred to be house pets but do have characteristics that make them great family pets.

Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics of a Foxhound below.

A leashed American Foxhound taking a walk
Lola, an American Foxhound, likes going on a walk – Image source
  • Active: Foxhound dogs are active from their scenthound background. They require ample physical activity and exercise each day in the form of long walks or a fenced-in area. Otherwise, they’re prone to becoming depressed or destructive.
  • Independent: American Foxhounds are independent, making them tough to train and housebreak for novice dog owners. 
  • Intelligent: The Foxhound is also smart when it comes to training and working. They are quick learners and enjoy learning new tricks when it comes to working.
  • Loyal: American Foxhound dogs are loyal to their family members. They enjoy having the company of their humans and other dogs. As a result, they form strong bonds with their family.
  • Sweet-Tempered: Even though this pooch was bred to hunt and chase foxes, they are overall sweet by nature. They’re gentle and kind with their family members and children.

American Foxhound Dog Breed Characteristic Traits

The behavioral qualities of a Foxhound dog with their respective rating can be found below.

American Foxhound Characteristics Rate
Relation with family 3
Good with children 5
Friendly with strangers 3
Friendly with other dogs 5
Easy to train 3
Energy level 4
Barking level 5
Mental stimulation needs 3

What Does an American Foxhound Look Like?

American Foxhounds are sleek with long legs that are finely boned. They have a slightly arched back end with large eyes that show a gentle expression.

The skull is fairly long and domed with low-set ears. Their muzzle is straight and square-cut.

In addition, Foxhounds have long, strong necks without folds on their throat. Their shoulders are muscular, with a deep chest that has enough space for their lungs. The tail is held high with a slight curve.

A standing American Foxhound
An American Foxhound flaunting its legs built for speed

What is the American Foxhound’s leg structure?

American Foxhounds have long legs that are built for speed. Their forelegs are straight and muscular, with fox-like feet and pads that are full and hard.

The hind legs are firm, strong, and thick with muscular hocks and firm, close feet.

How big is the American Foxhound?

According to the AKC breed standard, male American Foxhounds can grow up to 22 to 25 inches (56 to 64 cm) tall and weigh 45 to 70 pounds (20 to 32 kg).

Female American Foxhound dogs are a little smaller, standing 21 to 24 inches (53 to 61 cm) and weighing up to 40 to 65 pounds (18 to 30kg).

Male Foxhounds should not be under 23 inches (59 cm) or over 28 inches (71 cm), while females should not be under 21 inches (53 cm) or over 26 inches (66 cm).

The physical features of a Foxhound dog can be found at the table below.

American Foxhound
Physical Features
Male Female
Height 22 to 25 inches (56 to 64 cm) 21 to 24 inches (53 to 61 cm)
Weight 45 to 70 pounds (20 to 32 kg) 40 to 65 pounds (18 to 30kg)

When crate training your American Foxhound, you should think about crates larger than 48 inches (122 cm) in height so they have sufficient headspace.

They do best in large homes with secure outdoor spaces and are not recommended for apartment living.

How long does an American Foxhound dog grow?

Being a large dog breed, you can expect the American Foxhound dog will reach its full physical maturity around 11 to 12 months of age. However, they may continue to grow or fill out a bit up until 16 to 18 months old.

What is the average weight of American Foxhound dogs?

Male American Foxhound dogs can weigh between 65 to 70 pounds (29.4 to 31.7 kg), while female Foxhounds weigh about 60 to 65 pounds (27.2 to 29.4 kg).

What is the Average Life Expectancy of American Foxhounds?

American Foxhounds have an average lifespan of 10-12 years. Exactly how long they live will depend on their genetics, their lifestyle, and their health.

Feeding your dog a healthy diet, giving them sufficient exercise, and attending annual vet visits is the best way to make sure your dog lives a long, healthy life. 

You should monitor your dog’s health closely as they age and take any advice that your vet gives you, and remember to keep up with monthly preventatives, such as anti-parasitic medications. 

Thankfully, Foxhounds aren’t more prone to any particularly aggressive health conditions than any other dogs.

However, they are a little more prone to experiencing obesity and joint issues due to their large size, and ear infections due to their large, floppy ears.

So care should be taken with diet, exercise, and grooming to prevent unhealthy weight gain, aggravating aging joints, and to keep the ears clean. 

They’re also a little more likely than other breeds to experience thyroid problems, leukodystrophy, bladder and kidney stones, swallowing disorders, deafness, and certain cancers. 

What Coat Type Do American Foxhounds Have?

An American Foxhound in the woods
Brooklynn, an American Foxhound, loves walking in the woods – Image source

American Foxhounds have a thick, medium-length coat with straight, coarse fur. Unlike most other breeds, they do not have a double coat consisting of an undercoat and topcoat, they only have a single coat.

However, this makes it pretty low maintenance to look after.

What is the American Foxhound’s coat like?

The coat of the American Foxhound dog has a hard texture. When this pooch is chasing foxes, deer, or other animals, the hard coat protects them when they go under bushes or other tight spaces. 

How long is the American Foxhound’s coat?

American Foxhounds have a short coat length (usually around 1 inch in length) that lies close to their body. You won’t find loose fur hanging from their body as the close quarters help keep their body lean and ready to run.

How is the American Foxhound’s coat density?

The American Foxhound has a dense coat. Despite its short length, the density helps protect the dog from harsh weather conditions. It also helps protect them when they are chasing another animal.

Do the American Foxhound dogs shed?

American Foxhound dogs are low-shedders, but they will shed seasonally. They are not considered hypoallergenic dogs and will need a short brushing session about once a week with a bristle brush or grooming mitt.

Can American Foxhounds Live in Hot Weather?

Yes, American Foxhounds can tolerate hot weather due to having a single coat. However, you’ll need to keep an eye on your dog in extreme higher temperatures, so they don’t overheat.

For example, you should never exert your Foxhound dog in temperatures over 70°F (20°C) and be sure to keep them hydrated throughout the summer months. 

An American Foxhound in a jacket
Jude, an American Foxhound, wears a jacket to stay warm – Image source

In actuality, American Foxhounds are more likely to struggle in cold weather. Although they’re pretty hardy dogs in any weather, they can require a doggie coat for their outings if it gets too cold or less than 30 to 40 degrees F (-1 degrees to 4 degrees C).

Do American Foxhounds Love Water?

American Foxhounds love water. This dog breed was introduced to water at a young age during socialization. They’ll enjoy swimming as a fun activity for exercise, or they’ll chase an animal into the water.

In some cases, they’ll continue swimming until they’re completely worn out.

What Colors Are American Foxhounds?

American Foxhound dogs come in many different coat colors, most notably in black & white & tan or white & black & tan. These colors are favorable in the show ring. Therefore, these are the most common coat colors.

An American Foxhound puppy
Lola, when she was still a little puppy – Image source

Other Foxhound colors may include black & brown & white, brown & white & tan, blue, red, tan, white, white & cream, or white & red. 

What Markings Do American Foxhounds Have?

When you spot an American Foxhound, you’ll most likely notice they have a tri-color pattern on their coat that comes in two types: a white base with tan and black markings or a black base with tan and white markings.

Most Foxhounds have a “masked” pattern that can be found on their faces or on their bodies.

What is the American Foxhound’s Temperament?

American Foxhounds are overall a friendly dog breed. They are gentle and sweet with their family members, excellent with kids, and are open to meeting strangers. 

While they do make a great family pet, they are independent and can give novice dog owners a hard time with training.

They can also become depressed or destructive if they get bored or have separation anxiety from being home alone for too long.

An American Foxhound with torn toys
Buddy, an American Foxhound, tends to do this when bored – Image source

For a quick look at the behavioral traits of the American Foxhound dog, take a look at the table below, with five being the highest rating.

American Foxhound’s Temperament Rate
Adaptability 3
Friendliness 5
Mouthiness 3
Playfulness 5
Family-oriented 4
Stranger tolerance 3

Can American Foxhounds get along well with other dogs?

Yes, American Foxhounds get along well with other dogs. These hound dogs are used to working together with other Foxhounds to get the job done.

As long as they are trained and socialized correctly, this pooch will be fine with other dogs in the family or strangers.

Are American Foxhounds friendly with other people?

American Foxhound dogs can get along well with people, especially if it’s their family members.

They will bond with their family and become loyal to their humans and territory, allowing them to get along great with family and friends.

Can American Foxhounds get along well with strangers?

When it comes to strangers, American Foxhound dogs are open to meeting new people. However, they might be wary at first, especially if they feel the need to protect their territory or owner.

However, socialization and training will allow your pooch to be friendly to everyone.

How do American Foxhounds get along with young children?

American Foxhounds are great with young children. They’re friendly, laid-back, and gentle by nature.

However, a dog and children playing together should always be supervised by an adult. Anything can happen, and you want to make sure both the kids and the dog know how to play with one another properly. 

Can American Foxhounds Adapt Easily?

Unfortunately, American Foxhounds don’t adapt well to their environment. For instance, Foxhounds are large and energetic, so they’re not suited for an apartment.

Instead, they’ll prefer a larger home with a bigger fenced-in yard to themselves. Also, they don’t like to be left home alone for too long. 

An American Foxhound waiting for its owner outdoors
Midori, an American Foxhound, waiting for her hooman – Image source

Are American Foxhounds Aggressive?

Yes, American Foxhounds can be aggressive. They’re normally friendly, gentle, and sweet.

However, Foxhound may feel threatened by a stranger and have aggressive tendencies toward them within good reason. This is a reason training and socialization are important.

Are American Foxhounds Dangerous?

Even though the American Foxhound dog can be aggressive to strangers, they are never a dangerous breed to be around.

They’ll be wary and may bark, but they won’t attack others, especially if they are raised well with early socialization and proper training.

Do American Foxhound Dogs Bite?

American Foxhound dogs have a low tendency to bite. This pooch is gentle and friendly by nature.

However, you should still keep an eye on your pet, especially if they’re wary around strangers or playing with young children, just in case. As puppies, this breed may nip and nibble, but that can be fixed with training.

Are American Foxhound Dogs Protective?

Yes, American Foxhound dogs can be protective. This doggo is friendly and open to meeting strangers, but they are loyal to their family members.

So, they’ll most likely be protective of their family and territory if they are meeting a stranger for the first time.

Are American Foxhounds Affectionate?

American Foxhounds are affectionate with their family members and young children.

They may not be the most cuddly of dogs, but they’ll enjoy your company and certainly welcome any love and pats you may have for them.

Are American Foxhounds Loyal?

In addition to all their other lovely traits, American Foxhounds are loyal. They will protect their family members and form a bond with them. As a family dog or a working dog, you’ll be able to rely on this pooch. 

Do American Foxhounds Like to Cuddle?

American Foxhounds aren’t exactly cuddled bugs. They’re loyal and loving to their family, but most often than that, they won’t hop on the couch and watch a movie with you. Sometimes, they’ll snuggle with you, but it will be on their terms.

An American Foxhound in a sweater
Cedric, an American Foxhound, looks like he could use some cuddles – Image source

Does the American Foxhound Love Freedom?

Absolutely. American Foxhounds are highly independent and love to romp and roam. Once they catch a scent, it might be hard to call them back to you. This pooch will follow its nose and sometimes be too headstrong to listen. 

Are American Foxhound Dogs Easy to Train?

American Foxhounds are highly intelligent dogs, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re easy to train, as they can also be incredibly stubborn.

Combined with their high-energy and low tolerance for boredom, this means that you should keep your training sessions short, clear, consistent, and fun. 

Start training your Foxhound as early on in their life as possible and make sure that positive reinforcement is the dominant force in your training. 

A leashed American Foxhound smiling
An American Foxhound excited to train

One particular area that Foxhound owners should focus on is impulse control. Scent hounds are very easily distracted by different smells, and this can be dangerous, especially when you’re on walks in big, busy places. 

So it’s a good idea to get a handle on their impulse control by working on recall, basic obedience, and doing exercises that improve control, such as sitting and waiting for meals.

How Smart is the American Foxhound?

According to Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs (1994) – a study that concluded in the definitive ranking of AKC recognized dog breeds by intelligence, the American Foxhound fell into the “average working/obedience intelligence” category. 

There were six categories; the brightest dogs, excellent working dogs, above-average working dogs, average working/obedience intelligence, fair working/obedience intelligence, and lowest degree of working/obedience intelligence. 

The dogs were tested using the following three tests; instinctive intelligence, adaptive intelligence, and working/obedience intelligence.

The average category was comprised of breeds who understood new commands in 25-40 repetitions and obeyed the command on the first try 50% of the time or more. 

Can American Foxhound dogs be used as working dogs?

American Foxhound dogs were bred to hunt foxes by scent. They enjoy being busy and having a job to do, especially if it’s scent work.

However, when it comes to other work such as being a service dog, therapy dog, or a search and rescue, they won’t do as well. 

Do American Foxhound Dogs Bark a Lot?

Due to their hunting backgrounds, American Foxhounds are a fairly vocal breed. This is not necessarily a bad thing; however, it just means that they are not shy about telling you how they’re feeling. 

However, barking can become excessive without training, so be sure to let your Foxhound know what is and isn’t acceptable.

You can do this by putting a stop to fun activities when barking becomes excessive. This teaches your dog that the fun stops when the barking starts and should deter them from getting too noisy in the future. 

Just take a look at this video of many American Foxhound dogs barking together:

How does an American Foxhound bark?

The American Foxhound may bark for several reasons. For example, they may howl at sirens or bark when someone is knocking on the door.

In addition, if they’re home alone for too long, they’ll begin to howl. Also, as a playful dog breed, a Foxhound may be barking because they’re excited, want to play, or simply want attention.

Do American Foxhounds Have High Energy levels?

American Foxhounds are known for their high energy levels, both physically and mentally. Not only do they need plenty of exercise every day, but they also need a lot of mental stimulation to prevent boredom. 

Dogs with high energy levels and high intelligence have a particularly low tolerance for boredom, and under-stimulation can lead to anxiety, a common problem in American Foxhounds. 

Anxiety in dogs can lead to destructive behaviors such as excessive barking and howling, destroying personal items and household furniture, harming themselves, and going to the toilet indoors.

The best treatment – and prevention – for boredom-related anxiety is to make sure that your Foxhound’s needs are met on a daily basis. 

Are American Foxhounds Active?

Yes, American Foxhounds are an active breed. They need at least 1 to 2 hours of exercise a day, preferably split into two or three walks. Foxhounds also love to explore, so it’s a good idea to keep the location of your walks varied.

Try to include different activities like running, swimming, hiking, and games of fetch to keep it interesting.

How Fast Can a Foxhound Run?

American Foxhounds are known to be fast runners. They were originally bred to run fast for miles and miles without tiring – which is why they have a high energy level.

In fact, the American Foxhound can run up to 38 mph (61.15 km/h) at top speed. To put that in perspective, the world’s fastest human on record, Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt, can run 28 mph (45 km/h).

An American Foxhound smiling brightly
Lola gives playtime invites through a smile – Image source

Are American Foxhounds Playful?

As mentioned above, American Foxhounds need plenty of mental stimulation. You can do this by providing mentally stimulating toys like puzzles, snuffle mats, toys that stimulate the senses, and treat dispensing balls. 

Dogs also love playing games that engage their natural instincts, so fetch and chase are firm favorites with Foxhounds. You should also try playing some fun, challenging games with your dog. 

Does the American Foxhound Drool a Lot?

Luckily, the American Foxhound does not drool a lot. There may be some drool here and there when they’re sleeping or after they take a drink.

However, it’s not excessive as some other dog breeds, and it won’t get all over your floor and house.

What is the Family Life of American Foxhounds Like?

American Foxhound dogs enjoy the company of others. They like to live indoors with their family and do fun activities with them, such as going on long walks or hikes. This pooch is affectionate with their family members.

Also, they like the company of children and other dogs. Some American Foxhounds were bred to hunt and chase in packs, so they’re used to being around other dogs and even horses.

What Kind of Food Should American Foxhounds Eat?

An American Foxhound looking at food
Marlin, an American Foxhound, appreciates the meal – Image source

The American Foxhound dog loves to eat. They’re not picky with their food so you’ll need to strictly monitor their diet so that they don’t become obese.

This doggo will be more than happy to have high-quality kibble, good for their dental hygiene, or wet canned food, which is good for hydration.

What are the Best American Foxhound Dog Foods?

Since American Foxhound dogs are high in energy and love to be active, a diet that’s high in protein will be a good idea for them.

High protein diets for puppies are also ideal so that they can grow and develop properly.

A healthy adult American Foxhound dog should eat 2-3 cups of food per day split into two meals.

Foxhound Puppies should eat 20g of food per 1kg of their body weight per day until they’re fully grown. Elderly Foxhound dogs will need fewer calories as they age to prevent gaining weight.

For American Foxhound puppies, we recommend:

When your American Foxhound is ready for adult food, we recommend:

What Other Dog Breeds Look Like American Foxhounds?

An English Foxhound lying in bed
Fin, an English Foxhound, takes the bed after an exciting day – Image source

There are different types of American Foxhounds. For example, there’s also the English Foxhound, and they can easily get mistaken for each other since they come from similar bloodlines.

Below is a list of some other dog breeds that are similar to American Foxhounds in appearance, background, or temperament.

Should You Get an American Foxhound Dog?

A smiling American Foxhound
An American Foxhound filled with cuteness

As you can see, there’s a lot to love about the American Foxhound dog.

While they’re independent and stubborn, they make excellent family pets for singles, seniors, children and will be more than happy to share a home with other dogs.

Foxhound is a large dog breed that loves to eat, loves to bark, and loves to run. So, if you can keep up with their energy needs, watch their diet, and handle their talking, then this breed will be an excellent pooch to have at home.

What do you love most about the American Foxhound dog? Let us know in the comments!

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