Pharaoh Hound may look exotic and regal, but this dog has a sense of humor. You will also need one if you are going to live with this breed of dog.
The Pharaoh Hound’s athleticism makes him a natural at agility and lures coursing, and he can also do well in obedience, rallying, and tracking. This dog will enjoy regular exercise for 20 to 30 minutes a day, on a leash, as well as playing freely in his well-fenced yard. Once those needs are met, he is content to be a couch potato, lounging on your furniture, preferably in a sunny location, and rousing to bark only if someone knocks on the door.
Breed Group: Hound
Height: 21-25 inches
Weight: 45-55 pounds
Coat and texture: Short
Lifespan: 12-14 years
Breed size: Medium (26-60 lbs.)
Temperament: Playful and friendly
Shedding amount: Low
Exercise needs: Medium
Energy level: Very active
Bark level: When needed
Drool amount: Low
The Pharaoh Hound is described as a dolichocephalic (long face), like the Afghan Hound, Borzoi, Bull Terrier, etc., and the large, naturally erect ears are a hallmark of the breed.
Many people mistake the pharaoh for the Ibizan hound, but the pharaoh tends to be smaller. This breed is also one of the more moderate sighthounds, without the exaggerated raciness seen in other members of this family.
Unlike most dogs, the Pharaoh Hound hunts for both smell and sight.
Still, the breed retains greyhound-like characteristics: long, slender legs, relatively narrow body, trimmed waist, slightly arched back, and long tail, but all are less than a greyhound. Even the legs are at a moderate angle, indicating the build of a dog that combines considerable endurance with speed.
- Height: males 56-63.5 cm (22-25 inches); Females 53.5-61 cm (21-24 inches)
- Weight (both): 20-25 kg
Coat color should be tan or deep tan with allowed white markings, including a white tip on the tail (highly desired), white on the chest (called “The Star”), and white on the toes. The coat is short and soft.
One of the charming traits of this breed is its ability to smile and the Pharaoh Hound blushes when happy or excited! They do not blush on the cheeks, but they do blush in the ears and nose.
Like all sighthounds, Pharaoh Hounds are chasers. These dogs cannot be left off lead in an unfenced area without the danger of running after something and onto the road.
The purpose of these dogs in life was to hunt in packs and make decisions independently of their masters. They used to vocalize to communicate with the other dogs in the pack, so remember that modern pharaoh hounds will yodel or bark, which your neighbors may not appreciate.
The Pharaoh Hound is independent-minded, highly intelligent, and occasionally stubborn, but highly trainable when using positive methods.
It is a very sensitive breed and responds poorly to mandatory training methods and physical punishment. Pharaoh hounds were bred to hunt and think for themselves, and they have retained this trait for thousands of years. They get tired/bored easily with repetitive commands, therefore it is the trainer’s job to ensure that their training remains interesting and positive in nature.
No one ever accused a pharaoh hound of being an obedience wiz! They have very good eyesight and hearing, but they don’t have any special skills to work as guard dogs or protection dogs.
They are a very active breed but, like Greyhounds, as indoor dogs, they are couch potatoes and need little “real” exercise. Indoors, the Pharaoh Hound is calm, quiet, and content to stretch out on your best couch and sleep as long as you’ve given him a daily run.
Pharaoh Hounds thrive on human company. If they are bored, they will get into mischief and create their own amusement.
The pharaoh hound is sensitive and aloof, tending to be reserved and scared of strangers. Few breeds can claim to match this breed’s patience and kindness with children, and they get along well with other dogs when properly socialized. But they do need to be closely supervised when around cats and other small mammals.
The Pharaoh Hound appears to have just come down from the walls of an Egyptian tomb or is returning from a hunt with a pharaoh. You can’t get a better idea of the Pharaoh Hound than by looking at statues of Anubis, the ‘dog god’.
However, for centuries the original Egyptian hounds were assumed to be extinct, until these dogs, almost certainly descendants of Egyptian hounds traded by Phoenician navigators, were discovered on the island of Malta.
The isolation of Malta allowed them to reproduce faithfully for thousands of years, their physiques honed and tested by the need to earn a living catching rabbit. The Pharaoh’s hound is known as Kelb-tal Fenek (meaning “rabbit dog”) in Malta, where it is now the national dog. The dog is traditionally used by some Maltese men for hunting.
Recent DNA analysis would indicate that the breed has no link to Ancient Egypt, casting doubt on the myth that the modern Pharaoh Hound is descended from ‘Tesem’, one of the hunting dogs of ancient Egypt.
The first recorded Pharaoh Hounds to leave Malta were in the 1930s, but only in the 1950s and 1960s was a significant effort made to establish them in Britain and the United States. Since then, they have been rare; after all, not everyone is suited to have the dog of the pharaohs.
Pharaoh Hounds with children and other pets
Pharaoh Hounds are very affectionate with children. However, as with all breeds, you should always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interaction between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or pulling on the ears, tail, or any other parts of the body.
Teach your child never to approach any dog while he is eating or sleeping or to try to take food away from him. No dog, no matter how friendly, should ever be left unsupervised with a child.
Pharaoh Hounds generally get along well with other dogs, although some are aggressive towards dogs of the same sex. And because they view small animals as prey, Pharaoh Hounds are not suitable for sharing a roof with small pets such as rabbits or cats, or even smaller dogs.
Pharaoh Hounds are generally healthy, but like other breeds, they are prone to certain health conditions. Not all Pharaoh Hounds will contract some or all of these diseases, but it is important to keep them in mind if you are considering this breed as your pet.
Sensitivity to Anesthesia
Pharaoh Hounds are not as sensitive to anesthesia as other sighthounds, but your vet should be aware of the potential risks. The most important rule is to manage effectiveness, not weight.
Due to their low body fat, sighthounds can be sensitive to anesthesia, and what would be a normal dose for another dog of their weight can harm or even kill a sighthound.
Pharaoh Hounds are less sensitive than other breeds, but you will need to find a vet who is aware of the risks and knows how to properly dose your dog if ever needs anesthesia.
Allergies are a common ailment in dogs. There are three main types:
- Food allergies: Which are treated by eliminating certain foods from the dog’s diet
- Contact allergies: Caused by a reaction to a topical substance, such as bedding, flea powders, dog shampoos, and other chemicals, and are treated by removing the cause of the allergy
- Inhalant allergies: Caused by airborne allergens such as pollen, dust, and fungi. The medicine for inhalation allergies depends on the severity of the allergy.
It is important to note that ear infections often accompany inhalant allergies. If you are buying a puppy, find a good breeder who will show you the health clearances of your puppy’s parents. Health clearances prove that a dog has been tested and healed of a particular condition.
(At Pharaoh Hounds, you should expect to see health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand disease; from Auburn University for thrombopathy; and the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying that the eyes are normal.)
With their quiet nature, Pharaoh Hounds can live in an apartment or condo, although their barking has the potential to annoy nearby neighbors.
If you leave him in a yard, he will need a fence that is too high for him to climb or jump, preferably solid so he cannot see the squirrels or cats on the other side. Electronic fencing will not work with this breed – no impact will stop a Pharaoh Hound once he decides to chase something.
Due to its fine fur, it catches colds easily and will need a dog sweater or jacket when venturing out on cold or wet days.
If you want a well-behaved dog, you will need to ensure that your high-energy Pharaoh Hound gets at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. This dog can participate in decoy and agility races, or accompany you on a family jog or bike ride.
Just make sure to keep it tied up whenever you’re in an area without a fence. If he sees something small and furry, his strong prey drive will beat the best training every time.
However, when he’s not distracted by something worth pursuing, his intelligence and eagerness to please make him fairly easy to train.
Just make sure the training session is interesting and enjoyable; Harsh or repetitive training methods don’t work with his fun-loving and sensitive personality. Keep training sessions short and end with something he is done well so you can praise him for it.
Recommended daily amount: 1.5 to 2 cups of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals.
Note: How much your adult Pharaoh Hound dog eats depends on its size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and not all need the same amount of food. It almost goes without saying that a very active dog will need more than a couch potato dog.
The quality of the dog food you buy makes a difference, too – the better the dog food, the more it goes into nourishing your dog, and the less of it you have to shake in your dog’s bowl.
Don’t be fooled by overfeeding, sighthounds have a slim build that many mistakes as being underweight. Some pharaoh hounds suffer from food allergies; If your dog is one of them, your vet may recommend a special diet.
Keep your Pharaoh Hound in good shape by measuring his food and feeding him twice a day instead of leaving food out all the time. If you are not sure if he is overweight, take the vision test and the practical test.
First, look at it. You should be able to see a waist. Then place your hands on his back, thumbs along the spine, fingers extended downward. You should be able to feel but not see his ribs without having to press hard. If you can’t, you need less food and more exercise.