Best 5 English Hound Dogs From UK
Many of the most popular dogs in the UK are hunting dogs—Labrador Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, Springer Spaniels, and Golden Retrievers. Hound dogs are not as popular but there are a lot of great dog breeds to choose from.
Here are five of the best hound dogs developed in the UK:
This is the most popular of the scent hounds, and they have been around the UK since the time of Queen Elizabeth I. She kept Pocket Beagles and would let them loose to “sing” for her guests.
Beagles are among the top ten dog breeds in the US; they are so popular because they are small (about 15 kilos) and because they are great family dogs. They like cats, are smart (but hard to train so they did not do well in Dr. Coren´s intelligence ratings), and are so friendly that they do great with strangers—but also make terrible watch dogs.
This breed is also as healthy as an old hound dog. Ear infections can be common because of their anatomy, and a few dogs have eye problems. A rare dog is prone to epilepsy, and some other dogs may develop immune-mediated arthritis.
Beagles are so healthy, however, that they are a common target for labratories that perform animal experiments. About 95% of all dogs used in testing are Beagles.
The average life expectancy for a Beagle is about 12 or 13 years. Beagles are real chow hounds, and they can become obese as they get older.
Beagles are great at finding a scent anywhere, which is why they are so popular as drug detection dogs at international airports. No dog is perfect, and those noses get them into trouble at times. When they get a scent they ignore commands, and if they are following a rabbit or something else as interesting they will run and run until they are lost.
That is when the singing will begin. Beagles do not usually like to be alone and are great howlers when unhappy, curious, or just whenever!
They were developed for beagling, of course. Dogs were small enough to allow kids to follow them on ponies, yet tough enough to run through brush and ignore all else in their quest to get the rabbit.
Even if you do not want to keep a pack of dogs and hunt live animals, this small dog makes an excellent companion.
“Nothing but a hound dog”? No, the Beagle is much more than just a hound dog.
This dog is a scent hound, like the Beagle, and, like his name states, he was developed to hunt foxes. Breeders crossed Fox Terriers, Bulldogs, and Greyhounds to come up with this dog.
If the Beagle is a Foxhound in miniature, this is a BIG Beagle. Dogs are tall, and weigh up to 35 kilos (80 pounds) and more. A dog that big needs plenty of exercise and eats a lot so they have never become as popular as their small cousins the Beagle.
They are about as healthy as a Beagle though. Some dogs have hip dysplasia, and others might be prone to renal problems or epilepsy. The average life expectancy is about 12 years.
Although this dog was developed to hunt and live in a pack, he makes a good house pet and gets along with humans, kids, other pets, and especially other dogs.
This hound dog from the UK is considered a vulnerable native dog. Only about 1000 dogs are left around the world. Dogs weigh anywhere from 35 to 55 kilos (about 80 to 120 pounds), and have long rough coats, webbed feet, and a deep voice when they find their prey.
They were bred to hunt otter, of course. Otters were placed on the protected species list in 1978 and hunting in the UK stopped. Some are still used to hunt mink but most of the hunting dogs have died out.
Otterhounds are usually healthy, but like most big dogs they are prone to hip dysplasia, bloat, and arthritis when they get older. Since they have hound dog ears they are also prone to ear infections.
The average lifespan is about 10 years. Since otter hunting is illegal, and mink hunting is not likely to catch on, this dog breed may eventually become extinct. Only 15 dogs were registered with the kennel club in Britain in 2011.
If these dogs were renamed "Chewbacca Hounds" they would become very popular.
This large scent hound was originally bred to be a boar hunter. The original dogs were probably from France (St. Hubert Hounds) but when brought to the UK their tracking ability was developed even further.
Bloodhounds can pick up an old scent, a scent that goes across water, and even tell the difference between an old and new track. They probably have about 5 billion cells that pick up scent, whereas humans have about 5 million.
They are big dogs, usually up to about 50 kilos (110 pounds), with a dark body and a well-known wrinkled face. Their floppy ears might help them pick up the scent, and one dog found a trail over 300 hours old!
These dogs are prone to bloat. Bloodhounds also get ear infections because of their anatomy, skin infections because of all those folds, and are prone to problems with their eyes.
Bloodhounds live about 10 years. Despite their size and reputatation as a tracker of humans, dogs are usually affectionate and calm.
This breed is actually a sighthound, similar to the Greyhound, but it was developed by the Picts and Scots to chase deer. They are not as fast as a Greyhound on flat ground, but in the rough Scottish country they can outrun that breed.
Deerhounds do not need a lot of room to run but they do need to get out and burn off their excess energy. Like the Greyhound, they will spend most of the day sleeping, but if they cannot run they will probably develop behavioral problems.
These dogs are tall and weigh up to about 50 kilos (110 pounds). Like a lot of giant dog breeds, the Scottish Deerhound has some problems. They are prone to bone cancer (osteosarcoma), bloat, and heart disease (cardiomyopathy). The average life expectancy is only about 8 years.
Scottish Deerhounds are friendly dogs but they are like Beagles when it come time to chase—everything else is forgotten when it is time to hunt.
Here is a view of what Scottish Deerhounds look like as puppies.
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Beagles might be available at your local animal shelter, and even if you are looking for one of the other hound dogs you should check and see what is available. Sometimes dogs are dropped off at the shelter when someone moves, gets married, etc. Petfinder.com can put you in contact with other animal shelters that have hound dogs available, and you can also try finding a rescue organization by typing the dog breed and city name into your search engine.
If you want to contact a breeder, visit a dog show or tracking event. A hound dog puppy may not be available at the moment, but you can be put on a waiting list.
Just do not buy a puppy from a pet shop or internet puppy wholesaler. You will be supporting a puppy mill and the dog you bring home will probably have housetraining and other behavioral problems.
That is not the right way to start out with a hound dog, or any dog!