- AKC recognized in 1983
- Lifespan: 12-14 years
- Size: medium
- Energy: high
- Recommended Crate Size: 42" dog crate*
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Table of Contents
The Pharaoh Hound is a dear! He runs as graceful and almost as fast as a deer, and, he chases after deer. But, he’s not a deer... just a dear.
Actually, this hound hunts rabbits but if he has the opportunity, he’ll go for a deer too.
This hound dog is actually a descendant of an ancient breed who has been recreated in the recent past, according to DNA analysis. He’s absolutely fascinating too.
This fine dog hails from the Island of Malta where he has earned the honorable title of being the National Dog of Malta. A silver coin was even issued in 1979 in his honor.
The Pharaoh Hound’s name (Kelb Tal-Fenek) translates to ‘rabbit dog” because that’s what he does, at least when given the chance.
As unusual and unique as the Pharaoh dog himself, his history is shrouded in mystery, although many find a striking resemblance between it and the jackal god, Anubis, of Egypt. DNA findings link him to ancient dogs of old who lived in and around Malta.
Some believe that he is a direct descendant of Tesem who was a notorious ancient hunting dog because images that have been found on tomb walls look remarkably like the Pharaoh Hound.
As the story goes, the Hound ended up making his way to the Maltese Islands by the Phoenicians, where he’s made his place for over 2000 years.
Prior to these days, it is said that this dog’s ancestors belonged to seafaring traders who were from Lebanon. The dogs were traded and distributed in and around the region where they were used to hunt rabbits. They were the best rabbit hunting dogs ever with skills that were downright stunning.
This theory is quite feasible because Egypt and the people of the Maltese Islands did their fair share of trading in those days. It is also noted that the noble dogs were imported into Great Britain in great numbers during the 1920s when the English people had “Egypt-mania”.
They were completely fascinated with anything and everything that came from Egypt and these unique and distinguished dogs were no exception. They practically worshiped them as it is said the Egyptians did. The Maltese people felt very strongly about their Pharaoh Hounds as well.
A proud member of the sighthound group, the Pharaoh Hound is endearingly called the “Blushing Hound” in his homeland. He is a noble dog to his countrymen and women. And, rightly so.
This dog possesses everything many feel a dog should be. He is quick, affectionate, loyal, and rugged.
This breed has super-vision. He can spot movement from a long, long way away. Once he does, he takes off with lightning speed, carried by his long, slender, and muscular legs. His ears and his nose are near-bionic too. Not many rabbits are able to skirt away from this hound.
Although he is a rough-and-tumble dog who thinks nothing about running through the thickets after rabbits, he also loves his downtime. He curls in a tight ball in the most out of the way, cozy and comfy spot he can find. He’ll always find the softest blanket around or a plush rug.
A mix of an amazing athlete and sportsman and a great big cuddly baby, this dog is like no other breed. He is one of a kind and quite proud of it.
The American Kennel Club recognized this breed in 1983.
Weighing in at around 45-55 pounds, Pharaohs stand about 21-25 inches, 23-25 for males and females run around 21-24 inches. One outstanding feature of the Hound is the fact that they sport an aerodynamic build, no doubt an attribute that helps them run so fast and far.
They are endurance racers, flying across rough and rugged, rocky terrain at the speed of light. Perhaps that’s why their bodies are a slight bit longer than they are tall.
This dog is striking in appearance, not only because of his sleek body, but his expressive eyes are an awesome amber color which accentuates his reddish-tan coat, nose, ears, and eye rims. His tan tail is tipped in white. According to records, this dog comes in about fifty shades of red. Some have more of a reddish coloring while some lean to tan color with a red glaze.
Three thousand years ago it was written that his face glows like a god which obviously makes him smile, literally. He does actually have the ability to smile and loves to show off his talent.
This medium-sized Hound carries himself with dignity. His muzzle and his skull are slim and somewhat long. His head is wedge-shaped and his neck is also long and arched quite gracefully. His large ears stand erect, giving him even more character to his appearance.
His ears begin to stand up when he is only about 4 weeks old. During this time, one might be lazy and some owners actually tape the lazy ear to help it to stand erect.
The ears of a Pharaoh Hound are never cropped even though they are quite large. His large and unusual ears are one of the many treasured characteristics of this breed.
They are officially classified as sighthound dogs but truth be told, his ears play perhaps an even larger role with his tracking of small prey. The larger his ears, the better to hear them with.
His tapered tail comes abruptly to a point and tells the tale - straight and curved up when he is happy and excited, low when he is in a relaxed state. Markings are typically at the end of his tail.
The Pharaoh’s coat is short and glossy. It is usually tan with a red tint but sometimes, it’s reddish. There are thin white markings or a light line that runs down the center of his chest.
To top his individuality off, this dog’s tannish-flesh colored nose turns a blush rose shade when he is happy which quite often. This was one feature that intrigued the Egyptians, the Maltese, the English, and now...the rest of the world.
It’s not just a rare occasion that he blushes for he is often in a good mood and sporting the tale-tell blush coloring. And, who wouldn’t be upbeat and in a good mood with such regal features as this Hound has?
Feeding the Pharaoh Hound a nutritional, high-quality dog food is imperative. Your veterinarian can give you information on his individual requirements and make suggestions on brands as well. You may even opt to prepare his meals yourself rather than using commercial dog food.
His food quantity and frequency of feeding should be tailored to his age and will most likely change as he grows. Even though they are very active, Pharaoh Hounds can overeat and become obese.
Obesity in dogs is as dangerous to a dog’s health as it is to a human’s. Keep an eye on his calorie intake and limit treats should he show signs of becoming too fluffy. Especially if he is not able to be as active as he was bred to be, weight can certainly be an issue.
As with all pets, be sure to keep an ample supply of fresh water readily available to him at all times.
This dog’s so clean, his poop doesn’t stink. Well, that might be a stretch but when he’s wet, his hair doesn’t smell at all. Seriously!
This breed requires very little in the way of grooming maintenance. He sheds a little, but not much. A weekly brushing does his medium length hair good and keeps him shiny too.
You can bathe him as needed. Although his coat is odorless, if he encounters a skunk, that will change everything. Plus, you’ll want to keep him dirt-free.
Sadly, this dog’s coat doesn’t offer much protection. He tends to get nicked up pretty good when he’s around thickets and such. Check him good for any cuts or scratches when you’re brushing him and clean any spots if there are any.
Those ears! The Hound’s ears are adorable and quite large. Because they stick out so, they are apt to collect dirt and wax build up too.
Keep them clean and dry. Watch for any sign of infection and be sure to take him to his veterinarian if he shows signs of an earache. Severely infected ears may require surgery.
The dog breed's nails will need to be trimmed. If he’s outdoors enough, he may wear them down naturally. Still, you’ll need to manicure them a bit to keep them from splitting and cracking.
Brush his teeth at least once per week in order to promote good dental hygiene. You’ll probably want to get some yummy doggie flavored toothpaste and a dog toothbrush too.
Even though the Pharaoh Hound is very active, he doesn’t really require a lot of walking. If you live where there is a good amount of land for him outdoors, he’ll keep himself busy in between his walks.
He’s a runner by nature and should be given the opportunity to run two to three times per week at least, to satisfy his exercise needs. He’s super-fast but not too into endurance except for some sprinting or if he’s after a rabbit.
It is the instinct to chase that makes them excellent at lure coursing.
A thirty-minute walk once or twice a day is sufficient for this guy. You’ll want to make sure he gets some play or a run too. The agility track is good for him and he’s likely to love it.
He’s a smart guy, so make sure he’s stimulated mentally too.
Pet Crates Direct recommends a 42" dog crate* for most adult Pharaoh Hounds.
The Pharaoh Hound is a good-natured dog who is happy, friendly, and good with people. He’s also excellent with children and even with other animals (unless the other animals happen to be a rabbit, then he will want to chase it!).
Alert, well-balanced, and personable are words used to describe this breed. Quite intelligent and sly on the hunt, the Hound is light on his feet and graceful as well.
He is sensitive yet fits right in on the countryside or a ranch with lots of room to explore the rugged terrain. Inside, however, he prefers family time to be calm and quiet. He loves children but likes them best when they are not rambunctious.
This breed is a loyal one so he makes a good watchdog. He is sure to alert you if an intruder is coming or there’s a threatening situation at hand.
He’s quite good at sneaking up on them...and on you too. He’ll appear without you ever hearing him walk in the room.
He does love people but he is touch sensitive. He is often startled when someone goes to pet him and gets a bit uncomfortable if the petting goes on too long.
He tends to be a little on edge at times but it’s mostly just that his senses are so keen, he’s always listening, watching, and checking everything and everyone out.
You might not expect this distinguished character to be a clown but...he is. He loves to be silly and for all to be entertained. This part of his personality may date back to his days of old when he was considered practically noble.
He may have been a stand-in for the king’s jester, who knows? It’s one of the many mysteries surrounding this breed but they are definitely the entertainers who love to put on a show wherever they go.
What the Pharaoh Hound does not like is stress. He actually has an emotional sensitivity to it. Loud noises bother him too except when it’s him making them. Don’t try to change his schedule up much.
He’s a creature of habit and doesn’t like change. Other than those things, he’s a very adaptable dog.
This dog is great even for first-time dog owners. He is eager to please and catches on to your routines and where he fits into the scheme of things. You will need to be aware though of the traits he still possesses from his past.
This dog can hunt...and he can jump. He has been known to jump over 6 feet so you will need quite a fence to keep this guy in the backyard, especially if he sets his sights on a critter outside the fence. A plot of land where his jumping isn’t an issue is the best spot for this free spirit.
Pharaoh’s always hunted at night so you may notice him coming alive more in the evening and at nightfall. They hunted in pairs and oddly enough, they would chase the rabbit they were after into a hole.
The handler would cover the hole with a net and then pull out a ferret who would go into the tunnel to help chase the rabbit back out. With a little loving training, he can be taught, somewhat, to get on your schedule.
But, if he sleeps outdoors, you very well may be awakened by his barking. It’s just one of his traits left over from his inheritance.
The Hound’s instinct for chasing runs through his blood. He’s likely to chase small dogs and cats if given the chance so beware.
He might also tear off after a small child on a tricycle or a squirrel so keep a watchful eye out for the behavior. He won’t hurt anyone...but he will chase. He’s even been known to chase his own tail.
The Pharaoh Hound is at his best when he is able to run free. He’s a lot to contain otherwise. It can be done, of course. But for his ultimate pleasure and in order to reach his maximized potential, his surroundings should be as close to his natural element as possible.
This dog is a cinch to train. Give him lots of praise and a few treats and he’s all yours. This great student is smart enough to get it and agreeable enough to do it. What more could you ask for?
You’ll need to be consistent and use lots of gentle tones and never, ever scolding words. This breed is independent and if given a good reason, he’ll shut off.
Coprophagia is a tendency some dogs have to eat poop. This breed is prone to this disorder so if you notice him doing the behavior, nip it in the bud. Keep the area poop free as best you can as well.
Generally well behaved, you’ll find potty training goes fast and obedience too. Then you can work on agility and even brain game mental challenges. He’s likely to ace them all.
Socialize the Pharaoh when he’s quite young. He’s naturally good with good kids and good dogs. He shies away from noisy or badly behaved ones though.
You may encounter an independent streak when training your Pharaoh Hound. They definitely have a stubborn nature at times, no doubt stemming back to their heritage.
They may brace their legs and flat out refuse to move. With patience, love, and assertiveness, he’ll get the point eventually. Never let him get by with his bull-headed antics or you’ll never see the end of them.
It may take a long time or a stand-off to reign victorious but you had better. Once you do, your statement has been made, loud and clear. If you don’t convince him you are the alpha, however, you’ll be in for a lot of frustration.
Training your Pharaoh will be challenging at times. Other times, you’ll wonder why anyone would ever have issues doing so. It’s all about his mood and also getting your point across that you are the teacher and he is the student...period, the end.
Pharaoh Hounds are fairly healthy dogs. They are sensitive to some things but less so than other sighthounds are, like anesthesia. There are some other health problems you’ll want to watch out for.
Hip Dysplasia is something that tends to plague the Pharaoh. This is a condition a dog is either born with or gets from environmental sources.
If he is born with it, as the Hound sometimes is, the joint area is deformed so the hip pops in and out. It can be painful and can cause him to limp or to be lame so be sure and see his vet at the first sign that this may be a problem. For severe cases, surgery is available.
Your Hound may have allergies. They may be allergic to food or to the environment like grass or a blanket. If he is itching a lot, have him checked out and always use gentle soap when you bathe him.
For the most part, this dog gets a clean bill of health when it comes to diseases and conditions he gets hereditarily. That’s not to say he can’t get sick from another cause though so at the first sign of illness, have him checked.
Is a Pharaoh Hound the Right Dog for Me?
If you are considering getting a Pharaoh Hound, good for you. He’s quite a dog. If you are skeptical, just ask the Maltese people who all but worship him.
The question is...are you a good fit for the hound? Do you live where he can get out some? Although he’s quite adaptable, he would be pretty miserable stuck in a small apartment. A small house, however, might be his perfect abode...or, a large apartment with a park nearby.
If you have children or other pets, that’s not a problem with the Pharaoh. But, if your household is noisy, you might want to reconsider. He gets a bit skittish when too much is going on.
If maintenance free grooming is on your list, you’re in luck. You’ll need to brush him some and take care of his ears and teeth. But other than that, he’s about as maintenance-free as you get. And if you dislike the scent of dogs, you are lucky there too.
The Pharaoh Hound is a graceful, loving, and unique dog whose face is like a god, so it is written. If you bring this dog into your life, it is likely to be simply heavenly.
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