American Foxhound Facts & Dog Breed Information

From the days of George Washington’s hunting expeditions till now, the American Foxhound has graced the earth.

Far from fading away, Foxhounds have settled in people’s homes as pets and made friends out of every family member.

Foxhounds still hunt, but they also have time to love.

This article takes an in-depth look at the American Foxhound facts, dog breed information, characteristics, behavior, temperament, health, care needs, training, and more.

Is the Foxhound a good dog breed for everyone?

This is an important question, as one must be intentional when getting a pet.

With his share of difficulties, the American Foxhound doesn’t promise a totally pleasant experience to his owner.

He takes you on a ride akin to a rollercoaster. Sometimes, you’re glad you’ve got him. Other times you just want to scream at his obstinacy.

One thing is for sure, the American Foxhound is an interesting breed with a rich personality and behavior.

He isn’t perfect, but he isn’t a castaway either. Like other dogs, he has needs that you should deliver if you want him to be the pet of your dreams.

Once you are consistent with this, you would have little problems with the American Foxhound.

Key American Foxhound Facts & Information

American Foxhound Facts and Dog Breed Information
Dog Breed GroupHound Dogs
Height21 to 25 inches
Weight40 to 60 pounds
CoatShort, hard
Color(s)Red, blue, tricolor, black, and tan
Life Expectancy12 – 13 years
Temperament / BehaviorGentle, easygoing, independent, loyal, loving, kind, sweet-tempered
OriginUnited States
Bred ForHunting
Nickname(s) /Other Name(s)Foxhound
Recognized by the AKC, UKC, ANKC, CKCYes

American Foxhound Characteristics

AdaptabilityThe Foxhound is an outdoor pet that doesn’t cope well in an apartment.
FriendlinessFoxhounds are friendly with family but shy around strangers.
Kid-FriendlyThe Foxhound is patient and good with children.
Pet-FriendlyFoxhounds like being around other dogs but need enough socialization to see cats and smaller pets as family.
General HealthThe Foxhound is a healthy breed, but with some medical complications.
Grooming NeedsFoxhounds have a low grooming need. 
TrainabilityFoxhounds are trainable, but training can be tough.
IntelligenceThey are a highly intelligent breed.
PlayfulnessFoxhounds love to play outdoors.
Exercise NeedsThey have high exercise needs.
Energy LevelFoxhounds have a high energy level.
Tendency to BarkWhile they can be vocal, Foxhounds don’t bark.
Tendency to DroolThey hardly drool.
Tendency to SnoreFoxhounds hardly snore.
Tendency to DigThey dig when they are bored or restless.

Interesting facts about American Foxhound Dog Breed

Fact #1: The American Foxhound is the state dog of Virginia

The American Foxhound has roots in the United States, specifically in Maryland and Virginia.

After the American Kennel Club recognized the Foxhound in 1866, the breed got picked as Virginia’s state dog in 1966.

Governor Mills E. Godwin signed it into effect. 

Fact #2: The Foxhound nose hunting

The American Foxhound was grouped under scent hound, a group of hunting dogs known for their strong nasal strength.

As a scent hound, American Foxhounds hunt with their noses, picking up the scent of foxes and trailing it. 

Fact #3: They knew George Washington

Then again, many Foxhounds did. America’s first president had a thing for hunting foxes and made use of many hunting dog breeds for this.

George Washington has credits for the breeding of American Foxhounds as we know them today. 

Fact #4: They’ve got an English counterpart

The American Foxhound has an ancestor and close relative in the English Foxhound.

Though their similarities may make you think overwise, American Foxhounds and English Foxhounds are two distinct breeds with different standards. 

Fact #5: They are runners

The Foxhound hunted a fast, cunning animal as prey.

To keep up with the speed and nimbleness of the fox, the American Foxhound was bred with speed, energy, and stamina.

For the modern pet parent, that means they need exercise. 

Breed History & Origin

American Foxhound History and Origin

The history of the American Foxhound started in 1650 when a man named Robert Brooke boarded a ship from England to Maryland.

When he got to American soil, he wasn’t alone.

The Englishman had some canine company, a hunting dog pack known as the ‘Brooke hound’ due to centuries of being in the Brooke family. 

In the late 16th century, the need to get a hound who can overcome the hurdles of the American environment came about.

Breeders wanted a hound faster than the English Foxhounds, with some other traits that would make them fit for United State hunters.

From that need, the American Foxhound was bred.

A key breeder of the American Foxhound was the United States’ first president and founding father, George Washington.

George Washington received some French Foxhounds as a gift from a friend, Marquis de Lafayette.

He crossed these French Foxhounds with the English Foxhounds brought in by Brooke.

The result was also crossed with Irish Foxhounds to achieve the American Foxhound. 

The American Foxhound chased and held down foxes, then alerted their owners with baying.

They also participated in Foxhunting competitions, and still do so today.

In 1866, the American Kennel Club recognized the American Foxhound as a breed of its own, with a standard.

More than 50 years after that, the American Foxhound became Virginia’s state dog

American Foxhound Temperament, Behavior & Intelligence

Most people who expect hunting dogs to be fierce may be surprised by the American Foxhound’s nice nature.

A sweet and tame dog, the American Foxhound is gentle with everyone in the family.

With strangers, he is sometimes withdrawn, so don’t get hurt if he isn’t eager to wag his tail at your guest. Foxhounds can be socialized to be warmer to strangers. 

The American Foxhound is not a one-dog pet. Left alone, they tend to get anxious.

You need to spend a lot of time with them or get them a dog buddy they can have as companions. 

While they are not barkers, Foxhounds are not quiet dogs either. As hunting dogs, they needed to be vocal enough to signal their hunting masters.

This behavioral trait didn’t faze off with time. If you’ve got neighbors who like some peace and quiet, be ready for a long string of complaints. 

The baying sound the American Foxhound makes has a musical quality.

Again, this served them well in the woods but can make them a nuisance in the urban world. 

A final point on the personality of the American Foxhound is his intelligence and independence.

Foxhounds were bred to work with little supervision, and they have a long history of thinking on their own.

You have to convince them they should listen to you, or they won’t.

Is an American Foxhound a good family dog?

Though not popular as a household pet, the American Foxhound has proven he doesn’t belong to the fields alone.

He’s gentle towards his loved ones and wants to be around them. He’s a docile dog breed, as well. He is not a troublemaker, nor is he a fighter.

Having said that, the American Foxhound is a good family dog, but not a family dog for every John and Jane Doe.

Training a hunter dog to be a pet is not a trivial activity, nor is meeting his exercise needs an easy one. There’s the environment to consider too.

The American Foxhound is not adaptable to apartments because of his energy level and frequent baying. 

Be sure the American Foxhound is suitable for you before introducing him to your household.

Are American Foxhounds good with kids?

A patient, gentle dog breed, the American Foxhound scores high in kid-friendliness. They love kids, can stay around them, and tolerate their excesses.

Unlike some other dog breeds, you don’t have to worry about your American Foxhound snapping or biting your kids. They’ve even helped some children learn how to walk.

Nonetheless, no dog should be left alone with a kid. The American Foxhound may be kid-friendly, but accidents happen.

Given this breed’s high energy, the chances are not so low. 

Also, don’t take the American Foxhound’s patience as a license to let your kids mistreat him.

No dog likes to be roughly handled, no matter how tolerant they may be. 

Are American Foxhounds good with other dogs and pets?

The American Foxhound is a pack dog, bred to hunt in packs. He’s sociable with other dogs and tends not to get aggressive, especially if the dog has been introduced as family.

Far from being territorial, they appreciate having a doggy pal to play with. The American Foxhound can live at peace with cats if you do your job well.

Smaller pets can stay around him too, as long as you’re certain he sees them as family. You can’t afford to be presumptuous.

Male vs. Female American Foxhound 

Gender differences are not noticeable in the American Foxhound, but it may be worth knowing them, especially if they help answer some questions you may have.

Given that people have different reasons for owning a pet, gender may influence your choice.

The American Foxhound’s first gender difference is in physical size.

Like many other dog breeds, the male American Foxhound is bigger than the female.

Males weigh 45 to 65 pounds and are 22 to 25 inches tall. Females weigh 40 to 60 pounds and are 21 to 24 inches tall.

The American Foxhound female tends to mature faster than the males and show more independent thinking.

This makes the male more laid-back, although many other factors can change this.

A female American Foxhound in a house will not be as independent as a male hunting Foxhound. 

A Female American Foxhound at a Dog Show

A last, obvious difference concerns the organs of the male and female.

The reproductive quality goes to the female, and if your intent is to get a puppy litter, then a male and female duo will help achieve your aim.

The genital difference will not be a concern if you choose to neuter or spay your American Foxhound.

Caring for an American Foxhound 

Caring for a scenthound like the American Foxhound is an adventure, and you should pack your bags with the essential tools and information to do such.

There are the easy part and the difficult part. That’s what makes the American Foxhound a whole dog breed. 

The American Foxhound is not suitable for apartment living, so if you want to have one in a city, you do so at your own risk.

Not only does their baying disturb neighbors, but their energy may also put your furniture and objects in danger.

The ideal setting for an American Foxhound is a house with a spacious yard, preferably in the countryside. 

Speaking of energy, the American Foxhound has a lot to spare. Chasing foxes requires endurance, and the American Foxhound was bred with that in mind.

Thus, if you’re not a hunter, you need to find avenues for them to use up that energy.

Left alone, they will find ways to do that. You may not like their innovative thinking, though.

The best way to balance their energy level is regular exercise.

Don’t assume the laid-back American Foxhound will be content with a simple exercise. These guys need a lot of activities.

Feeding the American Foxhound isn’t hard, neither is grooming. They have a low maintenance need, ideal for those who aren’t keen on grooming.

However, we can’t say the same about training. New pet parents shouldn’t make the mistake of assuming the docile Foxhound will be eager to please.

They are not suitable first-time dogs because of their independent disposition.

They also need an alpha leader for the pack, and it had better be you. 

American Foxhound Food and Diet

The American Foxhound is a food lover. Generally, Foxhounds love to eat and will go overboard if allowed.

This makes feeding time easy, but it also means they are prone to overfeeding. 

This is why you should keep their meal measured. Two meals a day is enough to keep the American Foxhound healthy.

Feeding isn’t black and white, though. Individual American Foxhounds may have unique needs.

For example, a hunting American Foxhound may need more food than his household counterpart. Some illnesses may require meal changes, as well.

It is important you don’t ‘spoil’ your Foxhound by giving him too much human food.

Not only is it unhealthy, but it can also lead to gluttony, weight gain, and an inevitable health issue.

You should also avoid feeding them chocolates, alcohol, onions, etc.

For all ages, ensure there’s protein available. Also, keep your Foxhound hydrated.

American Foxhound puppies have different meal requirements. For starters, human food is prohibited. Ditto for adult dog meal.

A pup should eat only puppy food. Generally, puppies eat more than adults.

A puppy who’s less than 12 weeks can take up to 4 meals a day. As they grow, reduce the feeding. 

Senior Foxhounds are less eager to run or trace prey. Thus, they can do without too many carbohydrates. Protein and calcium are important for them. 

American Foxhound Exercise

As a high-energy hunter, the American Foxhound is in need of good exercise. This isn’t your regular, ‘walk around the neighborhood’ pet.

The American Foxhound needs to get those limbs moving. 

If your idea of exercise is a casual stroll or a few minutes of home workouts, you will get miserable with the American Foxhound.

The ideal owner is an active, outdoor person who doesn’t mind running.

Foxhounds like to run, and exercises can go up to an hour with this breed. 

Provide your American Foxhound with enough yard space to play around. Another alternative is some playtime at a dog bark.

They tend to not be aggressive with other dogs, so you don’t have to worry about a fight breaking out. 

Make sure your yard is fenced to prevent your Foxhound from escaping. Also, keep them on a leash when outdoors.

The American Foxhound gets easily distracted when they pick up on a scent. It’d be hard to get him back from that reverie.

Foxhound puppies and seniors don’t need as much exercise as an adult. The puppy is growing and the senior has gone through a lot.

While a stroll won’t suffice for the young adult, it is advisable for puppies and seniors. 

American Foxhound Training and Socialization

Besides exercising, training an American Foxhound is where the job starts.

The docile part of the Foxhound may make people think they are easy to train until you give your Foxhound a command and he looks the other way. 

The American Foxhound does obey, but he isn’t eager to please breed.

You need to convince him to let go of his independent thoughts and comply with your instructions. 

The first way to do this is to take your place as leader of the pack. Ever seen a wolf movie? If so, you’d understand how a pack works.

The same applies to pack dogs like the American Foxhound. If you don’t put yourself as alpha, your pet will. 

This is one reason you should start training your Foxhound as a puppy. At that age, he is more inclined to accept you as the leader.

It is also easier to inculcate routines and teach commands to a puppy.

Train him in a distraction-free environment where he’s less likely to smell prey. Also, positive incentives ensure co-operation.

A good example is a treat after he accomplishes a task. Never use harsh treatment.

American Foxhound Grooming Needs

Away from training and exercise, the good news about the American Foxhound is he has a low maintenance need.

Hiring a professional groomer would be a waste of time (and money) as you can do the job yourself. Shedding is minimal and can be controlled with a brush. 

Simple once-a-week brushing is enough to keep your American Foxhound proper.

It helps spread the skin oil as well. A bristle brush is the best tool for this job. 

The Foxhound doesn’t need regular bathing as that may do more harm than good to his skin.

Only bathe him when you smell the offensive odor or if he gets stained. 

Dental care is another essential grooming step. You should avoid tooth complications by taking care of his teeth.

Not only is treating a toothache costly, but it also leaves your pet in pain. Get a toothbrush and authorized toothpaste for better results. 

Also, keep their nails trimmed. Long nails are painful, uncomfortable, and risky for your Foxhound.

A playful dog breed like the Foxhound is at more risk of being injured by long nails. 

Finally, give their ears a good cleansing. Left uncleaned, your Foxhound’s ears can get infected and filled with wax.

The best tools for this are a cotton ball and an approved cleanser. 

American Foxhound Health Conditions

The American Foxhound has a need to stay healthy. Exercise, good feeding and proper grooming help keep him in good shape.

Regular checkups are essential, too. With a somewhat long life span, the American Foxhound has the potential to stay for a while.

Having said that, the American Foxhound is vulnerable to some illnesses.

You should be on the watch out for these conditions, though not every individual Foxhound gets affected. 

Some of the health conditions that affect the Foxhound are:


Thrombocytopathy is an inherited disease that has a negative impact on the blood platelets of dogs.

It renders the platelets dysfunctional and leads to the suffering pet getting hospitalized.

Symptoms of this disease include nosebleeds, excessive bleeding, and bloody discharge in urine and feces. 

Hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is also inherited, but it has nothing to do with blood platelets. Instead, hip dysplasia affects the limbs.

A dog gets diagnosed with this issue when the thigh bone is ill-fitting in the hip joint. Symptoms include pain, unusual movement, and inactivity.

If you don’t get your dog treated on time, hip dysplasia leads to arthritis and lameness.

Ear infections

While it is not a major issue, American Foxhounds are prone to ear infections because of their long ears.

Ear infections occur with bacteria that grow in the inner ear canal. Symptoms include an icky discharge, offensive odor, and itching.

Pelger-Huet anomaly

Like hip dysplasia and thrombocytopathy, the Pelger-Huet anomaly is inherited. It weakens the white blood cells of an affected Foxhound and shows no outer symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are American Foxhounds known for?

The American Foxhound did not start out as a family companion, though they play the role well. They were bred to be hunters and are still known for that, today. They are athletes, too. 

How big do American Foxhounds get?

A full-grown American Foxhound is of medium size. They weigh 40 to 60 pounds and grow as tall as 21 to 25 inches.

Do American Foxhounds like to cuddle?

American Foxhounds are not suitable for apartment living and are not the type of dog that likes to cuddle with its owners. They’d rather be outside playing with an interested family member or a canine buddy. 

Are American Foxhounds easy to train and care for?

The American Foxhound comes with some strengths and challenges. They can get frustrating if you don’t know the ropes of dog training. However, they are not hard to take care of. 

How Long do American Foxhounds live?

American Foxhounds have a relatively long lifespan and would be around for a while if nothing happens to cut their lives short. They live up to 12 to 13 years. 

How much is an American Foxhound puppy?

Foxhounds are rare and not easy to find. This makes them expensive and few in the breeding market, but affordable compared to some other rare breeds. An American Foxhound puppy costs around $500 to $1,000. 

Do American Foxhounds shed?

American Foxhounds shed all through the year. Fortunately, they don’t shed much hair. Regular brushing will control it. 

Are American Foxhounds aggressive? 

American Foxhounds are friendly with family and other pets. However, you need to socialize them to get along with strangers.

American Foxhounds tend to be suspicious of strangers and can even get aggressive.

What do American Foxhounds prey on?

The American Foxhound is a breed with a high prey drive. They were bred to hunt foxes and are sometimes predatory around small animals. 

Is an American Foxhound right for you?

The American Foxhound is a gentle, cool-headed dog who adapted into households with ease. Foxhounds are intelligent, playful, and friendly with everyone in the family. 

This doesn’t mean they are perfect for everyone. Because of their energy level, training challenges, and environmental requirements, Foxhounds are not for everyone.

However, they are right for you if you’re a pet parent who can shape them up.

To Wrap Up

The Foxhound is not for every pet parent and definitely unsuitable for new pet parents. You don’t want to get a dog only to abandon it later on.

Too many dogs at shelters end up that way. If you want an American Foxhound, be sure you’re up for it.

This hunter turned companion can be your best friend and a solid buddy for years.

If you enjoyed this article on American Foxhound facts and dog breed information, do explore other canines in this Complete Alphabetical List of Dog Breeds.

Helpful Resources

Authored By

Ben Pierce

Ben Pierce is a canine behavioral and nutritional specialist, professional dog trainer, and the CEO of Puplore. A former military working dog handler, Ben founded Puplore to provide owners with breed-specific information and to act as a go-to guide to health, nutrition, care, and to help them find the confidence they need to step up to the plate and become the best pup parents they can possibly be. A firm believer in treating all animals with kindness and compassion, and that positive discipline is paramount in achieving a harmonious canine-human relationship, Ben’s former and present careers have enabled him to become a leading light in his chosen profession and business.

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