Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Dog Breed Profile: the Elegant Pharaoh Hound

By Suzanne Alicie

We’ve looked at many different dog breeds here on the CANIDAE Responsible Pet Ownership blog. This is a learning experience for those of us who write the posts as well as our readers. Today I have the pleasure of sharing what I’ve learned about the Pharaoh Hound. While this breed is known as a Maltese hunting dog, those interested in the breed have concluded that it originated in Egypt. When the Phoenicians settled on Malta it is believed they brought the breed with them. The Pharaoh Hound is one of the oldest domesticated dogs, recorded since around 3000 B.C. They were first brought to the United States in 1967, and the American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1983.

Upon first glance, the Pharaoh Hound appears similar to a Greyhound but the differences are notable. They have a fine, short coat that doesn’t stand away from the skin; coat colors come in shades of red that range from tan to a deep chestnut. White markings on the chest, toes, tip of the tail, center of the forehead and the bridge of the muzzle are common to this breed. Pharaoh Hound’s are born with blue eyes that change to a light gold or amber color. One unique trait of the Pharaoh Hound is that it blushes when excited – the nose and ears turn a deep rose color.

This breed is elegant while maintaining a powerful and athletic shape. Typically perceived as a medium sized dog, the Pharaoh Hound stands between 21 and 25 inches at the withers and typically weighs between 40 and 60 pounds, with the males being somewhat larger than the females.

When it comes to personality, the Pharaoh Hound is very intelligent, eager to learn and please, playful and active with its family and other dogs that it knows. However, it can be quite aloof or reserved with strangers, and defensive with strange dogs. This independent and strong minded breed is also known to be stubborn, so proper training is important.

You should definitely be cautious and observant around small animals such as cats, birds and rodents, because the breed has a strong hunting instinct and may see these smaller animals as prey. The Pharaoh Hound is a great watch dog, but since it is rarely aggressive with humans it is not a good guard dog. Because of the intelligence and activity of the Pharaoh they do not do well in kennels. This breed thrives when it is included as a member of the family, and bonds deeply with its people.

Pharaoh Hounds are excellent for agility training. This sort of release for their energy not only helps them get exercise but also provides stimulation for the independent thinker and high jumper. If you think you would enjoy a Pharaoh Hound, it’s important that you understand the needs of the breed and are prepared to make the dog a part of your family.

While you’re looking at dog breeds, be sure to check out some of the other unique and interesting breeds we’ve profiled here, like the Bergamasco Sheepdog, the Norwegian Lundehund and the Bedlington Terrier. This can help you see the differences between the various breeds so you can discover the ideal breed for your family. Making a choice that is beneficial not only to the dog but to your family is a vital part of being a responsible pet owner.

Top photo by Llima Orosa
Bottom photo by Kallerna

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie


  1. Mom Kim here - Pharaoh Hounds are beautiful - I love watching them in the dog shows - so graceful - I love them and the Ibizan Hounds, truly ancient art in motion.

  2. Great post. I had heard of the Pharaoh Hound but never knew much about them. They look like a pretty dog and in general a nice dog.


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