Top 10 Hound Dog Breeds

The Hound Group includes dog breeds with a wonderful sense of smell and/or great athleticism.

These breeds were developed to follow game either by sight or by smell. Sighthounds include the fast and streamlined Afghans, Greyhounds and Salukis. Sighthounds need lots of exercise but some breeds like the Borzoi, the Greyhound, the Irish Wolfhound and the Saluki can adapt to being left alone during the day if they get lots of exercise before and after work.

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Scent hounds include the slower Bloodhounds, Bassets and Beagles. The dogs in this group have a great size variation and range from the tiny Miniature Dachshund to the extremely tall Irish Wolfhound. The top ten most popular hound dogs in the US are the following. The number in brackets is the rank of the breed out of 154 breeds registered by the American Kennel Club in 2005.

1. Beagle

The very popular (#5) Beagle is one of the oldest hound dog breeds. The small-sized Beagle is calm, loyal and excellent with children and other dogs. The breed is cheerful and happy and they make good family pets except for the nose. Once a Beagle picks up a scent it will follow it to the exclusion of everything else. Beagles are fairly difficult to obedience train because of their independent or stubborn streak.

2. Dachshund

Dachshunds are small dog breeds with a long body, short crooked legs and large floppy ears. The very popular (#6) Dachshund comes in two sizes – Miniature and Standard and three varieties of coat – Shorthaired, Longhaired and Wirehaired. Dachshunds or Doxies are playful, fun-loving and inquisitive. Doxies are fine with older children but do not like the rough handling they may receive from a toddler. Dachshunds can be independent and stubborn and are difficult to housebreak and train.

3. Basset Hound

The medium- to large-sized Basset Hound is a short legged, loose skinned and powerfully built dog with a great sense of smell. Bassets are one of the easiest-going and best-natured of all dog breeds. The popular (#27) Basset is very gentle, friendly and trustworthy. These hounds adore their masters and children and get along well with other animals and strangers. Bassets can be stubborn, especially when they are investigating an intriguing smell.

4. Bloodhound

The very large and powerful Bloodhound is known for its keen sense of smell which is the most acute of all dog breeds. The Bloodhound is a kind, gentle and loveable dog. The breed is fairly popular (#50) and is gentle and affectionate with his family and children. The Bloody should be supervised around small children and pets as he can be possessive of his food and toys. Bloodhounds are prodigious droolers.

5. Rhodesian Ridgeback

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a lean, well muscled and magnificent, large dog breed. The Ridgeback gets its name from a characteristic ridge running down it’s back, where the stiff hair grows in the opposite direction from the rest of the coat. The Ridgeback is fairly popular (#54) and is dignified, trustworthy, loyal, intelligent and makes a great family pet. It is extremely protective of its immediate family and wary of strangers and other animals. Ridgebacks are good with children if raised with them but young Ridgebacks can be too rambunctious for small children and toddlers

6. Whippet

The Whippet (#61) is a medium-sized sight hound that looks very much like a small Greyhound. The Whippet gets along well with children and makes a good family dog. This breed is good natured, gentle and very playful. As well this dog can be easily trained, sheds very little and is a great size for an apartment. Although it is important to know that Whippets do like and even expect to sit on furniture – so that should not be a concern if you are considering this breed.

7. Basenji

The Basenji (#81) is an unusual small, elegant and athletic dog that trots like a horse and keeps itself clean by fastidious licking like a cat. Basenjis don’t bark but make other unusual sounds like a yodel, howl or chortle – depending on its mood. The Basenji is high spirited, affectionate, demanding and almost cat-like in its cleanliness, lack of bark, grace of movement and inexhaustible curiosity. This breed needs an experienced owner and lots of walks and playtime to prevent it from getting into trouble.

8. Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound (#87) is the largest sighthound and one of the biggest and strongest of all giant dog breeds. This breed makes a wonderful family dog as it is reliable, patient, sweet-tempered, intelligent and good with older children. The Wolfhound adores its family and is not aggressive towards strangers or family pets. Toddlers must be supervised carefully around young Wolfhounds as they are in danger of being accidentally knocked over. Fully-grown Wolfhounds can be left alone during the day as long as they get some moderate exercise before and after work.

9. Borzoi

The Borzoi (#94) or Russian Wolfhound is a tall, lean and aristocratic looking large- to very large-sized dog that belongs to the group of sight hound dog breeds. Borzois are kind, gentle and well-behaved indoors. This breed likes lots of attention and loves to recline on a soft bed, a lap or even a couch. Borzois enjoy the company of other sighthounds but the breed is not good with small pets and young children unless raised with them. Borzois don’t need an excessive amount of exercise and should not be let off leash because they still retain a high prey drive.

10. Afghan Hound

The large Afghan Hound (#95) has a dignified and somewhat aloof disposition but is also very loyal and affectionate dog. Afghan puppies and adolescents require a lot of knowledge and patience to train and need firm and gentle handling. This breed can be difficult to housebreak and train – so professional training may be advisable. The Afghan needs a lot of exercise but still retains a high prey drive and will run off if you let it off leash. The Afghan is suspicious of strangers but can adapt to older children if raised with the family. However the Afghan should be watched around small children as this dog can have a bad temper in adolescence.

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