How much do you really know about Hound dogs? Maybe you’ve heard of the Greyhound or the Basset Hound, but have you heard of the Sloughi or the Saluki? Did you know that the Beagle technically falls under the Hound category? There is a plethora of information about these different breeds online, so where do you even start the learning process? The answer: right here.
Maybe you’re considering adopting a Hound into your family or maybe you’re simply interested in learning more about this magnificent dog category. We have compiled interesting factoids and brief descriptions focused on the appearance, temperament, and average lifespan of 10 Hound dog breeds in order to help you get started. You may recognize a few of the more popular breeds, but we hope to also raise awareness about several lesser-known breeds and showcase the similarities and differences between each one.
1. Afghan Hound
The first thing you notice about the Afghan Hound has to be their gorgeous, long fur. They have long been revered for their beauty, but historically their silky cascade of hair hasn’t existed solely for the aesthetic. In years past, that long hair served a functional purpose as the cold, mountainous terrain from which they originated made it a necessity. Now, that hair creates a unique problem for Afghan Hound owners, though: it is quite difficult to maintain. Despite their regal appearance and their high-maintenance beauty needs, however, Afghan Hounds are known to have goofy, playful personalities and are therefore fun to have around.
Afghan Hounds stand around 25 to 27 inches tall, weigh about 50 to 60 pounds, and live long lives between 12 and 18 years. 1 They can be great pets, but some people may be better suited to own them over others. Make sure to do extensive research before considering owning this particular breed.
Small and sweet, Beagles are well-known household pets. They behave well with families and have lots of energy to run and play.
There are two Beagle varieties, the main distinguishing factor being their height; one stands a couple of inches taller than the other. Typically, the smaller Beagle variety grows to about 13 inches tall and weighs less than 20 pounds. The other Beagle variety can grow between 13 and 15 inches tall and can weigh between 20 and 30 pounds. Both varieties have a lifespan ranging from 10 and 15 years.2
3. Cirneco dell’Etna
Silky, chestnut coats and pointed ears distinguish the Cirneco dell’Etna from other Hound breeds, but they share an affinity for hunting as well as a loving, playful personality like other Hounds.
Although Cirnechi dell’Etna share a similar appearance to Pharaoh Hounds, they remain unique due to their smaller size. They typically stand between 16.5 and 19 inches tall and weigh between 17 and 26 pounds. Their average lifespan ranges between 12 and 14 years.3
4. Norwegian Elkhound
Sturdy and hard-working, Norwegian Elkhounds enjoy activities like herding and hunting which allow them to test their speed and agility. Back in the days of the Vikings, Norwegian Elkhounds would join in on overseas voyages and defend against predators like bears. They have maintained this protective quality and watch-dog energy over the years by developing strong connections with their owners.
Norwegian Elkhounds stand around 20 inches in height, weigh between 55 and 60 pounds, and tend to live about 12 to 15 years. 4
The protective quality and stocky build make Norwegian Elkhounds excellent family dogs, but, like most Hounds, they need plenty of playtime to ensure a healthy lifestyle.
5. Portuguese Podengo Pequeno
These rabbit hunters are full of energy and are quick enough to chase even the fastest prey. Standing at about 12 inches tall and generally weighing around 13 pounds, this small, Portuguese breed is excellent at chasing rabbits into small spaces, but it can be adopted as a playful family dog with plenty of energy perfect for playing fetch or going for runs. The Podengo Pequeno has an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years.5
6. Redbone Coonhound
Although Redbone Coonhounds enjoy resting and can be a calm, friendly presence around the house, some of their favorite activities involve vigorous exercise like swimming and assisting on the hunting trail.
Tall and muscular, the Coonhound is expected to weigh between 45 and 70 pounds and stand tall around 22-27 inches. Similar to the Podengo Pequeno, the Coonhound’s lifespan is between 12 and 15 years.6
These beautiful dogs sport silky, shiny coats and dreamy eyes that are hard to say “no” to which may tempt you to adopt them as pets, but they come with their own sets of challenges that may be difficult for an inexperienced dog owner. You should weigh these challenges before considering adoption.
7. Rhodesian Ridgeback
Similar to the Redbone Coonhound, Ridgebacks are large and muscular and require lots of physical activity. Unlike Coonhounds, however, Ridgebacks are known to be more independent and can be described as “domineering”. Ridgebacks thrive when raised from puppyhood by an owner with a firm hand. They respond to authority and will remain loyal companions, protective of their families.
Other than their curved-under tails, Ridgebacks share many physical similarities to Coonhounds like their coloring and size. Ridgebacks grow to about 24-27 inches, females weighing about 70 pounds and males about 85 pounds. Their average lifespan is quite a bit shorter around 10 years.7
Salukis are beautiful and elegant with long, wavy, face-framing hair and lean, slender bodies. They have been exalted for their beauty for thousands of years especially by royal families including Alexander the Great and Egyptian pharaohs. Like royals of centuries past, Salukis have a dignified presence and like to remain independent, but they can also be loving house pets.
Male Salukis stand at about 23-28 inches tall while females are much smaller. They can weigh anywhere between 40 and 65 pounds and live between 10 and 17 years.8
9. Scottish Deerhound
Scottish Deerhounds share similarities with Greyhounds with their signature long necks and tapered heads. However, they are much more substantial having greater muscle mass and a thick coat of wiry fur. They were originally bred from Greyhounds to hunt large deer which remains one of their favorite activities.
Male Deerhounds can grow up to about 32 inches and weigh up to 120 pounds, but females can be much smaller averaging 28 inches in height and 85 to 95 pounds in weight. Their expected lifespan is between 8 and 11 years.9
If you’re looking to adopt a companion that will thrive in a small apartment space, the Deerhound is not going to fit the bill. This magnificent breed will do much better in an open environment as running is important for their health and wellness.
The Sloughi was designed as a sighthound meant to hunt fast animals like rabbits, jackals, and foxes in an unforgiving terrain. Although much more domesticated now, they still have that drive to chase prey opting to fulfill that desire by pursuing squirrels in the backyard. They are built for lots of vigorous activity and may have a difficult time thriving in a small home. Sloughis are gentle and shy, so they can be good family dogs, but their environment needs to allow for lots of exercise.
On average, Sloughis grow to about 24 to 29 inches tall and can weigh about 35 to 50 pounds. Their expected lifespan averages between 10 and 15 years.10
Although there are a few similarities between breeds within the Hound category, each breed has its own set of unique characteristics, especially when considering their appearance or temperament. They are beautiful, strong and built for loyal relationships and hard work which can make them great house pets, but they can also come with a unique set of challenges or needs.
If you’re considering adopting a Hound, be sure to take into account their size and their need for exercise. Make sure your home environment and lifestyle are compatible with the breed.
Although this is not an exhaustive list, we hope that this condensed list gives you a glimpse into what these breeds are like compared with one another and can open the door to further exploration.
Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 3 dogs; Chew Barka, Cooper & Nelson, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she’s not nerding out on dogs, you’ll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in PetAware, Dogtime, and ModernDog.