Types of Hound Dogs

Types of Hound Dogs
There are different types of hound dogs that have been used for centuries to pursue and hunt down prey. Let us have a look at the varieties of this breed in the following article.
One of the oldest dog groups is the hound dogs. These dogs have been put in action by people since many centuries for capturing animals that are being hunted. They are similar to gun dogs, who help in identifying locations of the animals and retrievers who just help in getting the quarries which are shot back to the hunter. We shall have a look at the different variants that have helped hunters catch prey around the world.

Variants of Hound Dogs

There are over 100 varieties of these dogs in the world that are divided into three categories. These dogs have been trained to track and hunt prey in different terrains and settings. They have adapted themselves according to the environment they hunt in and the prey they chase. These dogs tend to use one of their senses to capture quarry, thus, giving rise to sighthounds, scent hounds and other hounds. Categories of hound dogs are as specified below:

Types of Sighthound Dogs
Also called gazehounds, these dogs rely on their sight, speed and agility to hunt down prey. They are very useful in flat and barren landscapes. These dogs were of great use in North Africa over 5000 years ago to track down animals in the desert landscapes. They have keen eyesight and can easily detect the slightest of movements. These hounds capture preys such as deer, hare and other fast preys.

Sighthounds have very flexible back and have long legs that allow them to take long strides. These dogs have a deep chest with a large heart and efficient lungs. This body structure helps them get the required speed to hunt down animals. These dogs have mellow personalities. They are good watchdogs and have a strong instinct to chase small animals. Today, most of them are used as race dogs, open field coursing and hunting. They prove to be good house pets as well. However, they require a lot of physical activity to keep themselves active and prevent them from getting bored and destructive. The following is a list of sighthound dogs:
  • Afghan Hound
  • Azawakh
  • Basenji
  • Borzoi (Russian Wolfhound)
  • Polish Greyhound (Chart Polski)
  • Spanish Greyhound (Galgo EspaƱol)
  • Hortaya Borzaya
  • Irish Wolfhound
  • Italian Greyhound
  • Ibizan Hound
  • Magyar Agar (Hungarian Greyhound)
  • Persian Greyhound (Saluki)
  • Pharaoh Hound
  • Scottish Deerhound
  • Silken Windhound
  • Sloughi
  • Whippet
Types of Scent Hounds
They are one variant of hound dogs that primarily use the power of smell to hunt down prey. These species are said to have one of the most sensitive noses as compared to others. The scent hounds usually have long, droopy ears with large nasal cavities. Their lips are always moist as it helps them capture scent better. These dogs tend to run after the prey making loud booming noise. This is useful for the hunters to keep a track of the dogs when they go out of sight. These hounds are very useful in heavily wooded areas where spotting a prey is difficult. These dogs are useful in hunting raccoons and foxes.

These dogs are not as fast as the sighthounds. This is because they do not have to keep a track of the animals that are hunted with the power of sight. They just have to follow the smell and therefore, can travel miles in pursuit of the prey. It is said that some scent hounds are able to follow smell that is several days old across running water. Most of these dogs hunt in packs and will run freely till they 'treed' a game. The dogs will then announce the hunt by baying and the hunter can follow the sound and reach the game spot.

These dogs are today kept as pets. They are good with other pets as well as children. They are however, difficult to train as they easily get distracted and are very stubborn at times. They may chase small animals like cats or rats due to their instinct to hunt. The breeds of dogs under the scent hound type are as follows:
  • Basset Hound
  • Beagle
  • Black and Tan Coonhound
  • Bloodhound
  • Dachshund
  • American Foxhound
  • English Foxhound
  • Harrier
  • Otterhound
  • Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen
  • Plott
  • Redbone Coonhound
  • Blue Tick Coonhound
  • Leopard Curs
  • Black Mouth Cur
  • Treeing Cur
Types of Other Hound Dogs
There are some dogs who use both their sense of smell and sight to hunt their prey. It is very difficult to place them in either scent hound group or sighthound group. These dogs include:
  • Norwegian Elkhound
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback
These species make very good hunting dogs as well as prove to be good guard dogs.