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Dogs 101- The Hounds

Updated on March 28, 2017

Afghan Hound

Afghan Hound

The Afghan Hound was developed to hunt gazelles, leopards and rabbits. It is a medium-to-large-sized coursing dog easily recognizable by its very long, silky, flowing hair and aristocratic appearance. Descriptions include "aloof and dignified, yet gay"; "generally stubborn"; "easygoing"; "timid and high-strung"; "able to withstand extreme temperatures."

Behavior problems may include sharp-shyness that leads to fear biting and irritable snapping, house soiling, picky eating and stubbornness. The owner of an Afghan should also expect to spend considerable time grooming this dog.

Personality Profile

The elegant and independent Afghan may fool his owner with his looks--on the outside, it's all flash and style; on the inside is a dog with a silly streak. An Afghan Hound is a fast friend who will follow his owner to the ends of the earth and quietly and faithfully be there for you. An athletic and determined dog, the Afghan can hold his own and is resilient and hardy. His strong prey drive means he should be watched around the cats and other small animals. His unconditional loves knows no bounds if his soft side is nurtured.

Care Requirements

Exercise

Afghans need to get outside. Originally bred to hunt swift-moving prey, they have a need for speed that must be appropriately directed. These dogs thrive on several walks a day and some quality playtime in a securely fenced-in yard.

Feeding

Some Afghan Hounds are known to be picky eaters. They require a balanced, high-quality, diet to stay healthy.

Grooming

Afghan require intensive grooming. Their thick, flowing coats must be washed before being groomed; brushing the dry hair will damage it. The long hair on their ears should be kept out of their food and water bowls with a snood, a tube-like covering for their ears and necks. Even dogs who get shaved need regular attention. A professional groomer is a must for a first-time Afghan owner.

Health

The average life span of an Afghan Hound is 12-14 years. Breed health concerns may include allergies, bloat; cancer; cataracts; chylothrorax; and hip dysplasia.

Training

The independent-minded Afghan may be difficult to train, but he is intelligent. He responds best to positive, motivational methods and is successful in a number of performance events, including lure coursing, agility, rally, obedience, and of course, dog shows. The Afghan must be socialized from puppyhood to cut down on his strong prey drive.


Afghan Hound

Dimension of Temperament
Level of Dimension
 
Indoor activity
Low
 
Outdoor activity
Very high
 
Vigor
Low
 
Behavioral constancy
High
 
Dominance to strange dogs
High-Med.
 
Dominance of familiar people
Med.-Low
 
Territoriality
Med.
 
Emotional stability
High-Low
 
Sociability within family
Med.-Very low
 
Sociability with children
Med.-Low
 
Sociability with strangers
Low
 
Learning rate
Low
 
Learning obedience
Low
 
Learning problem solving
High-Low
 
Watchdog ability
High
 
Guard dog ability
Low
 

Basenji

Basenji

The Basenji (pronounced Buh-SEN-jee) is an African hunting dog about the size of a Fox Terrier. It has the unique properties of not barking (it makes a low, liquid ululation instead) and of cleaning itself like a cat. Descriptions include "speedy, frisky, tireless at play and teasing the owner into play"; "dainty, fastidious habits"; "loves children"; "tractable and anxious to please and, by nature, an obedient dog"; "a sprightly, alert manner"; "stubborn."

Behavior problems may stem from the breed's unquenchable desire to play, which may tax the owner's patience and may also lead to destructiveness if the dog is left alone. Some individuals may be unpredictable with children.

Personality Profile

This breed's eyes and expression speak volumes about his personality. One look at him and it's obvious that he's smart, playful, inquisitive, and independent-minded. Not one to take well to being left alone for any amount of time, the Basenji wants to be right there as his owner goes through the day, given every opportunity to explore and participate in any goings-on with the family. He is called the "barkless dog" because he does not vocalize like other dogs--but because he doesn't bark doesn't mean that he's quiet. His unique larynx creates yodels, chortles, whines, howls, and even sounds similar to screams or crows. He is typically aloof with strangers but very friendly with his family.

Care Requirements

Exercise

The Basenji is very active and needs regular activity that should not only exercise his body but also allow his inquisitive nature to be satisfied. Vigorous daily walks are necessary to help him expel his energy. Like other sighthounds, the Basenji is capable of great speeds--he should never be left off lad in an unsecured area.

Feeding

The Basenji needs a high-quality dog food with a good source of protein. Some enjoy eating grass and appreciate access to fresh grass.

Grooming

The Basenji is a neat dog, known to groom himself like a cat by licking his paws and wiping his face. His short coat will shine when regularly tended to with a hound glove. The wrinkles on his face should be wiped with a clean cloth to keep the skin healthy.

Health

The average life span of the Basenji is 10-14 years. Breed health concerns may include cataracts; coloboma; corneal dystrophy; Fanconi syndrome; hemolytic anemia; hip dysplasia; immunoproliferative small intestinal disease (IPSID); persistent pupillary membrane (PPM); progressive retinal atrophy (PRA); thyroid problems; and umbilical and inguinal hernias.

Training

Described as cat-like in many ways, this extends to the Basenji's trainability. He can be responsive when properly motivated, but his independent nature and intelligence mean that his attention will quickly lag with overly repetitive or heavy-handed training. He should be socialized with a variety of other animals and people from a young age to lessen his predatory and possessive instincts.

Basenji

Dimension of Temperament
Level of Dimension
 
Indoor activity
Very high-High
 
Outdoor activity
Med.
 
Vigor
Low
 
Behavioral constancy
Low
 
Dominance to strange dogs
Very high-High
 
Dominance to familiar people
Med.
 
Territoriality
High
 
Emotional stability
High-Med.
 
Sociability within family
Med.-Low
 
Sociability with children
Low
 
Sociability with strangers
Med.-Low
 
Learning rate
High
 
Learning obedience
High-Low
 
Learning problem solving
Very high
 
Watchdog ability
Very high
 
Guard dog ability
Low
 

Basset Hound

Basset Hound

The Basset Hound is a medium-sized hound in weight, but its short, stocky legs give it a low-slung, heavy-boned appearance that is heightened by its "sad" and droopy expression. Descriptions include "great endurance in the field"; "hardy"; "able to follow a trail over and through difficult terrain"; "steady"; "can hunt in packs"; "docile, placid, easygoing, having a mild temperament, never sharp or timid"; "stubborn, but can be controlled if treated with kindness and affection"; "this dog works better for obtaining rewards than avoiding punishment."

Behavior problems may include house soiling if not broken early before bad habits set in, food stealing, howling if left alone and picky eating. Most Basset Hounds seem to snore loudly. Bassets should not be harshly punished.

Personality Profile

Exercise

The Basset is content to take short strolls that occupy his nose more than the rest of his body. He isn't interested in getting anywhere particularly quickly, but if requested or required, he has significant stamina.

Feeding

A Basset Hound needs a high-quality diet. This breed loves to eat, and it is important to keep a Basset in proper weight, as any excess puts undue stress on his already vulnerable structure. With a long back and short legs that support a relatively heavy body, the Basset is prone to injuries and illness that affect the back and joints, and extra weight will exacerbate this predisposition.

Grooming

While his coat is easy to care for, his skin is less so. Because it is elastic and somewhat baggy, debris can become trapped in the folds. If left untended, it can aggravate the skin and lead to abrasion and infection. Also, the Basset's ears are highly prone to infection because their length and weight keep air from getting to the canal. The loose skin around his eyes can also attract debris that is potentially harmful. Bassets need a thorough going-over several times a week.

Health

The average life span of the Basset Hound is 10-12 years. Breed health concerns may include allergies; back and joint problems; bloat; ear infections; enostosis; eyelid and eyelash problems; thrombopathia; and von Willebrand disease.

Training

Bassets can be stubborn and may need some extra time learning basic training. Owners shouldn't expect Golden Retriever-like responses from a Basset, but as a devoted companion, he is interested in pleasing his owner. Bassets are highly food motivated, and training that seems like fun and involves rewards is right up their alley.


Basset Hound

Dimension of Temperament
Level of Dimension
 
Indoor activity
Low - very low
 
Outdoor activity
Medium
 
Vigor
Medium
 
Behavioral constancy
Medium
 
Dominance to strange dogs
Medium
 
Dominance to familiar people
Medium - low
 
Territoriality
Low
 
Emotional stability
High - medium
 
Sociability within family
High - medium
 
Sociability with children
Very high
 
Sociability with strangers
Medium
 
Learning rate
Medium - low
 
Learning obedience
Medium - low
 
Learning problem solving
Low
 
Watchdog ability
High
 
Guard dog ability
Low
 

Beagle

Beagle

The Beagle is a small, pack-oriented hunting hound that is very popular in the United States. This popularity has led to puppy-mill production of large numbers without control of temperament, so the potential owner should be particularly careful in choosing a Beagle. Some puppy-mill Beagles to be irritable and snappy. Descriptions include "work together gaily and cheerfully"; "lively"; "hardy"; "very clever at following a scent"; "requires firm, patient training"; "stubborn and bold."

Behavior problems may include roaming, baying and howling when left alone, house soiling if not broken early and food stealing. Some individuals may be timid; they need firm and patient training. Beagles usually involves specimens that exhibit a unique combination of timidity, shyness and sociability. They seem to fear being left alone.

Personality Profile

Attracted to the Beagle because he's so cute, people soon respond to his other endearing characteristics; his playfulness, his curious nature, his self-assuredness. The Beagle has a tail that never seems to stop wagging, and he wants to greet everyone. It is his outgoing, friendly nature that can sometimes get him into trouble, too. He doesn't particularly like to be alone, and when upset or simply "in the mood," he likes to use his voice. It's a voice that makes hunters' hearts sing, but it's a fairly shrill, loud voice that doesn't always please family, friends, or neighbors. Still, this breed has been at the top of the popularity chart for centuries.

Care Requirements

Exercise

A hunter by nature, the Beagle is always up for an expedition. Exercise doesn't need to last for hours, but it should be interesting for him--meaning he's allowed to sniff whatever might catch his nose along the way. Jaunts can be through a farmer's fields, through the neighborhood, or around a few city blocks-- all are pleasing and can provide necessary exercise for a Beagle.

Feeding

The Beagle never met a food group he didn't like. He has a talent for begging, which often leads to obesity, which in turn can lead to other health problems. A Beagle must be kept at the proper weight throughout his life and fed a high-quality diet.

Grooming

His short, hard coat is simple to keep clean, and he is compact to boot, so grooming is really a breeze with the Beagle. His ears and the looser skin around his eyes need to be kept clean, and the occasional bath will keep him looking and smelling his best.

Health

The average life span of the Beagle is 12-14 years. Breed health concerns may include back and musculoskeletal problems; Beagle Pain Syndrome (BPS); Chinese Beagle syndrome; corneal dystrophy; epilepsy; glaucoma; heart problems; and hypothyroidism.

Training

Taking advantage of the Beagle's perpetual interest in food can inspire and motivate him when it comes to training. He can be stubborn and easily distracted, but he will pay attention and learn if his owner is offering something he really wants. The Beagle learns quickly, and once he has masterered basic manners training, he'll be ready to move on to more difficult tasks.

Beagle

Dimension of Temperament
Level of Dimension
 
Indoor activity
Very high
 
Outdoor activity
Medium
 
Vigor
Medium - low
 
Behavioral constancy
Medium
 
Dominance of strange dogs
Medium - low
 
Dominance to familiar people
Low
 
Territoriality
Low-very low
 
Emotional stability
High - medium
 
Sociability within family
Very high
 
Sociability with children
Very high
 
Sociability with strangers
Very high
 
Learning rate
High
 
Learning obedience
High
 
Learning problem solving
High
 
Watchdog ability
High
 
Guard dog ability
Low
 

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