The American Foxhound is an amiable, easy-going, good-natured and faithful dog native to the United States. For a few centuries it was bred exclusively for hunting purpose but today lots of its specimens enjoys the life of companion animals. Nonetheless it’s considered as a rare breed even in its native land, not to mention in the rest of the world.
The ancestors of the American Foxhound were brought to American continent by European colonisers who subsequently used their hounds to hunt different local game. By the end of the XVIII century American breeders began crossing these canines to Irish, English, and French Foxhounds. They aspired to create a unique variety of a Foxhound that would be larger, quicker and more agile than its English relative, with acuter scent, in order to operate more proficiently in the rough terrain and unstable climate of their new homeland.
George Washington was among one of the most loyal and passionate fanciers of the American Foxhound. He owned a whole pack of these dogs and worked diligently to perfect the breed’s hunting abilities by crossing them to imported British hounds. In his breeding program he also used French Foxhounds that he received from his friend the Marquis de Lafayette, an affluent Frenchman who helped him during the American War of Independence.
The American Foxhound was invented especially to quarry various types of foxes in both open country and in the woods. The enthusiasts of fox hunting greatly preferred to hunt nimble and fast red foxes than slower and less quick-witted grey foxes. In order to increase the population of the red fox in the eastern United States, hunters imported and set free lots of its English specimens. At first foxhunting was mainly the entertainment of wealthy Americans in the eastern parts of this country but gradually its popularity extended to other regions and this sport drew interest of broad masses of American population.
Presently there are four primary roles of the American Foxhound, which it can perform with flying colour. Lots of these dogs successfully compete in field trials and stand out for excellent dexterity and gameness. Some of them are predominately used to track foxes on foot and possess very sonorous bark. So-called trail hounds are also trained to chase imitation of the fox instead of genuine prey in canine race. There are also breed specimens that are utilised for classical pack hunting. Naturally its sweet and friendly disposition won the American Foxhound numerous fans as a family dog.
The American Foxhound is notable for kind-hearted, patient yet stubborn character and usually can be turned into a wonderful pet for any family. This dog develops lasting attachment to its masters and feels separation with them very keenly. Its incredible playfulness will like family children since it has necessary stamina and desire to participate in their most exuberant games. Make sure though that your kids don’t cross the limit with the dog and don’t treat it too roughly.
On the whole the American Foxhound gives house guests a cordial welcome. But it’s essential to introduce the puppy of this breed to various situation and people of all ages if you want it to avert issues with unreasonable fearfulness or shyness in the future. The dog is almost completely deprived of both territorial and protective instincts so it should never be trusted with responsibilities of a watcher or guardian.
The American Foxhound immensely enjoys the company of other canines although it’s ill-suited for households with pre-existing small dogs because of its too active temperament. The master must be always present when two dogs get to know each other since one of them may want to assert its dominative status and start a quarrel. This breed is an inborn hunter and can be very hostile towards even familiar cats and other non-canine pet.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· congenital deafness;
· eye problems;
· ear infections;
· hip dysplasia;
· Pelger-Huet anomaly;
The maintenance of the American Foxhound requires trivial amount of efforts. This breed is a light permanent shedder so it’s usually enough to brush its hair with a hound mitt only once a week. It should be bathed rather infrequently as its short coat effectively repels dirt and grime.
Monthly nail trimming and periodic ear cleaning is also important if you want your pet to stay healthy and tidy. Brush the dog’s teeth at least weekly in order to avert accumulation of tartar and various periodontal diseases.
The training of the American Foxhound is the task of an average difficulty. Generally speaking this dog shares the stubborn character of its ancestors-hounds so be prepared to exercise patience to its rather frequent unwillingness to obey. Moreover it can’t focus its attention for long intervals of time and short lessons bring the best results in the work with this breed.
The American Foxhound should be trained in a calm yet firm manner and without too many repetitions of dull commands. Reward the obedience of your pet with gentle words and food incentives and you will score a success pretty quickly. This dog responds to any type of maltreatment with indignation and even retaliatory aggression so always avoid raising voice at it.
The American Foxhound has almost inexhaustible reserves of endurance and therefore needs a great deal of physical stimulation. An hour of vigorous exercise is a bare minimum that will guarantee its good health and overall satisfaction with life. It won’t make a good apartment dog since it should have plentiful of space to move and play.
On the other hand, bicyclists and joggers will discover in this breed an indefatigable and cheerful companion. If your American Foxhound is deprived of opportunities to stretch its legs on the regular basis it will most surely result in destructive behaviour and other behavioural problems, including unmotivated barking.