There are actually a lot more types of hound dogs than most people realize. Hounds dogs actually vary greatly in terms of size and appearance. Some people might believe that hound dogs are simply any breed with the word ‘hound’ in their name, but that’s not the case. For some breeds, it’s fairly obvious that they fit into the ‘hound dog’ category, but for others, it might be a bit harder to tell.
What is a Hound Dog?
Hound dogs were primarily bred as hunting dogs. This means that they have an excellent sense of sight and smell, and oftentimes, a lot of energy too. They are great at following a scent if needed, which is why they are often used by hunters and police officers. Not all types of hound dogs are the same because some excel more when it comes to smell while others have better sight instead. Even if some of the breeds aren’t used for tracking tasks today, they are still considered a hound dog breed.
Best Types of Hound Dogs
There is a long list of types of hound dogs, but some are certainly more popular than others. The following 10 breeds are some of the most popular hound dogs, many of which are also excellent companion dogs. If you’re looking for a highly observant and intelligent dog, one of these breeds might be a good choice for you.
#1 – Beagle
The Beagle is a smaller hound dog, only weighing about 20 to 24 pounds. They are known to make excellent companions, which is why you see them in so many movies. They are playful, loving dogs that always want to help out their family members. However, the hound dog in them causes them to be curious pups, which often results in them to get into trouble.
Like most hound dogs, Beagles are great at using their nose. They were first bred to hunt a variety of animals such as birds, rabbits, foxes, and even small deer. So, they might look small and cute, but they’re also very strong and active.
#2 – Bloodhound
Since this breed has hound in their name, they’re often the type of hound dog that people think of first. They are one of the best scent hounds, which is why they are more commonly used for jobs like search and rescue. This breed has been known to track down a scent even if it’s a week old.
Bloodhounds are easily recognized by their loose skin and floppy ears. While they are hardworking trackers, they also make great family dogs. This is because they’re gentle and affectionate around those they trust. However, they have high exercise requirements, so they’re not suitable for every family.
#3 – Basset Hound
Like Beagles, Basset Hounds might not look like a hardworking breed, but they have an intense sense of smell similar to a Bloodhound. Basset Hounds are a commonly known breed, with a droopy face and short legs. They might look small, but they actually weigh between 45 and 60 pounds!
When they live with a family, Basset Hounds tend to be lazier than most hound dogs. They love to relax and beg for treats whenever they get the chance. They can get a bit too curious if they smell something interesting on their walks though, so keep an eye on them every time you go outside.
#4 – Dachshund
Dachshunds are another breed with short legs and a long body, but they’re much smaller than a Basset Hound. Many people forget that Dachshunds are hound dogs because they’re such common companion dogs today. They were first bred to hunt badgers, foxes, and rabbits, but you’d never be able to guess that just by looking at them.
While Dachshunds can often become lazy in a household setting, their sense of smell stays strong. They might not look intimidating, but they can be great watchdogs. They are sure to alert you every time something seems dangerous to them.
#5 – Greyhound
Greyhounds are known for being extremely fast. Unlike the above hound dogs, they rely on their sight much more than their sense of smell. When the were first bred, they were used to hunt foxes, hares, and deer because they can run up to 45 miles per hour.
Even though this breed can run like crazy, they still make great companions. Greyhounds really only need intense exercise for a small amount of time throughout the day, and then they’re perfectly fine with napping for the rest of their free time. Despite their large size, they are actually very gentle, which makes them great for families with kids.
#6 – Whippet
Whippets look a lot like smaller Greyhounds, weighing only 15 to 30 pounds. However, they can sprint almost as fast. They are another hound dog with a stronger sense of sight than smell, which allows them to spot prey from even far away. This is why they were initially bred as hunting dogs, primarily for rabbits and rats.
These skinny dogs are playful and gentle, making them great family dogs. Like Greyhounds, they need time to run around and exercise, but they also need plenty of designated nap time.
#7 – Rhodesian Ridgeback
These dogs are known for a wide variety of important tasks. They are great at comforting large animals and hunting animals of all sizes, including antelope. They are brave and always ready for new adventures.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is easily distinguished by a stripe of hair on their back that grows opposite from the rest of their coat. They can make great companions, but they’re not the best choice for a new dog parent. They need lots of exercise, mental stimulation, and training on a regular basis. So, you need to make sure you’re ready for that type of commitment.
#8 – American Foxhound
The American Foxhound closely resembles a large Beagle, weighing anywhere from 44 to 75 pounds. As the name implies, they were initially bred to hunt foxes. They have a great sense of smell, and they can also run fast when they follow a scent. Therefore, they need to be with a family that is willing to exercise them often.
Their easy-going personalities make them great dogs for families. They get along with just about everyone, both kids and adults. They love exploring and playing with their loved ones as much as they can.
#9 – Borzoi
Despite having an extremely long snout, this breed actually has a much better sense of sight than smell. Their appearance is somewhat similar to a Greyhound, just with a longer coat. They also have a similar structure with long legs and a skinny body, so they can be very fast.
Borzois can easily adjust to a home environment. In fact, they’ll make themselves right at home. They will seek out your attention often, and they’ll always curl up next to you. However, they are still very athletic, so they need a family that can keep up with their daily exercise needs.
#10 – Basenji
Basenjis don’t look like your typical hound dog, but they are great at tracking. This breed excels in both sight and sound, making them an ideal hunting breed. They can be fast when it comes to hunting, so they are often used for hunting birds. When they run, they tend to take long strides like a horse.
One reason this breed is so unique is because they rarely bark. However, if they ever choose to express themselves, they will often let out an unusual yodel-like sound instead. This strange sound only adds to their silly, lovable personalities. They’re often hesitant around people when they first meet them, but they’re loyal toward those they trust. They’re also fairly active, so they need daily exercise.
If you want one of these types of hound dogs, you should be prepared for a curious and alert dog. Many of these breeds have high exercise requirements while others are fine just lounging around. Before you bring one of these dogs home, make sure you do plenty of research and get to know the individual dog before making that big decision. Hound dogs can be a lot of work, but they can also be excellent companions.