The Pharaoh Hound, also known as the Egyptian Pharaoh Hound by some, is a hardy dog breed that’s friendly and smart. But how much do you know about this noble, “blushing” pup? There’s more to this graceful, powerful breed than meets the eye. Keep reading to learn more about the Pharaoh Hound’s history, appearance, temperament, health, and more.
The reason the Pharaoh Hound is known as an Egyptian dog comes down to its history. There’s speculation that ancient Egypt is the origin of this breed, one of the oldest domesticated breeds known to man. People estimate that the Egyptian Pharaoh Hound dates back to 4,000 B.C. Depictions of the species carry this theory in ancient Egyptian murals.
While this breed’s ties to Egypt aren’t certain, these hounds made their way to the Mediterranean island of Malta and were possibly brought there by the Phoenicians — and they’ve remained there for the last 2,000 years. The Maltese call the Pharaoh Hound Kelb tal-Fenek, which means “rabbit dog.” This name describes their role as rabbit hunters.
In the 1930s, Pharaoh Hounds came to Europe for the first time, and they came to the U.S. in 1967. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized this breed in 1973 in the miscellaneous class, and in 1984 added it to the hound class.
There is only one type of Pharaoh Hound. However, some people think the Anubis Hound, which looks like a black Pharoah Hound, is a type of Pharoah Hound, but it isn’t. This hound is related closely to the Pharaoh Hound and may also be related to the Doberman Pinscher. It originates from crossing the Pharaoh Hound with a black coat. Their coats can be all black or sometimes black and tan.
In accordance with the AKC, the Pharaoh Hound standard appears as an animal of grace and speed with a slender body and hard, clean-cut lines much like those of the Doberman Pinscher. The Pharaoh Hound should always have an alert expression, and its ears should perk upwards. The eyes are amber in color, and the skull is long and chiseled looking. The nose is flesh-colored and blends easily with the coat. The Pharaoh Hound has a scissor bite and powerful jaws. The tail is tapering and whip-like and should curve when the dog is active.
Coat And Color
The Pharaoh Hound has a short glossy coat, and Pharaoh Hound colors can range from a rich tan to a chestnut tan with specific white markings. The acceptable white markings are a white tail tip, white on the chest, white on the toes, and a slender white marking on the center of the face. Any other white markings are unacceptable in the breed as the AKC defines it.
The most distinguishing feature of the Pharaoh Hound is its large ears which naturally stand up tall on its relatively small head. Unlike other breeds of dogs such as Doberman Pinschers that require ear clipping or taping to make ears stand on end, the ears of the Pharaoh Hound naturally stand tall and attribute to this dog’s fantastic hunting ability.
Pharaoh Hounds have a medium-sized, athletic build. The average height of a male is 23-25 inches and 21-24 inches for a female. Their weight range for males is 50-55 pounds, while the slightly smaller females are 45-50 pounds.
Pharaoh Hound Blushing
A unique feature of the Pharaoh Hound is that it’s a blushing dog. This hound’s inner ear and nose become bright pink when the dog is excited or happy, a condition that has been termed “blushing” by Pharaoh Hound lovers everywhere.
Because of their short coat, Pharaoh Hounds only require light brushing daily or a weekly heavy brushing. Give baths as needed only, as over-bathing can dry out their already sensitive skin. In addition, their ears need to be kept clean, and you’ll need to trim their nails regularly. It’s also essential to care for their teeth by brushing at home and have professional dental cleanings and checkups annually.
The Pharaoh Hound’s temperament is two-fold. They’re active and excitable at times and can also be sensitive, calm, gentle, and loving. Family life is a great choice for this breed because they are loyal and kid-friendly. The Pharaoh Hound can be sensitive and shy around strangers but does tend to do well around other dogs.
Pharaoh Hounds classify as both a sighthound and a scent hound, which makes them great hunters. An active dog with these natural hunting instincts needs sufficient training for the best chance at maintaining control. As a result of their agility in running and jumping, the Pharaoh Hound excels in formal agility training. As a result of their status as sighthounds, they also do particularly well in lure coursing. The ideal way to maintain attention during training is to create many tasks that initiate similar responses, much like playing with a young child who bores easily. Changing the “routine” of things is the most efficient way to ensure your Pharaoh Hound’s attention.
Because the Pharaoh Hound has been bred as such an independent hunter, it is also crucial that the owner be an experienced dog owner with a firm and confident manner. A confident master breeds a confident dog, and likewise, a nervous master produces a nervous dog. Therefore, it’s vital to a healthy dog that the master of a Pharaoh Hound exudes confidence and ensures that it knows its place in the family hierarchy.
As a result of the excellent breeding by the Maltese, the health of the Pharaoh Hound is generally exceptional. By not diluting a gene pool with overbreeding, the Maltese have managed to preserve the authenticity of this breed and ensure hardy stock. However, there are a few health concerns to be aware of as you care for your Pharaoh Hound:
- Elbow dysplasia
- Hip dysplasia
- Patella Luxation
- Prone to frostbite in their ears
- Sensitive to medications, specifically barbiturate anesthetics and pesticides
- Sensitive skin
- Von Willebrand’s disease
The lack of severe health problems in this breed gives this dog a longer lifespan, averaging between 12 to 15 years.
Pharaoh Hounds are an active breed that requires regular exercise. In addition to physical stimulation, you’ll also want to exercise their mind. Be sure to give them a long walk at a minimum each day, and a chance to run is ideal. One thing to note is that Pharaoh Hounds can jump really high, so a six-foot fence is the best choice to keep them in your yard. Brain games and toys are helpful tools for mental stimulation, and games like fetch can help them exercise mentally and physically.
When it comes to choosing the right dog food, it’s always best to ask your vet. They can tell you what your pup’s nutritional needs are, and then you can read what our experts have to say about the best dog foods for most diet types, ages, and health concerns. We can even guide you on the best dog food delivery options.
Mixed breeds have become very popular. Some of the most popular Pharaoh Hound mixes include:
- Pharaoh Hound Australian Cattle Dog mix
- Pharaoh Hound Boxer mix
- Pharaoh Hound Chihuahua mix
- Pharaoh Hound Doberman Pinscher mix
- Pharaoh Hound German Shepherd mix
- Pharaoh Hound Lab mix
- Pharaoh Hound Pitbull mix
If you’re considering a Pharaoh Hound, you’re likely thinking about an Ibizan Hound or a Greyhound as well. We explore the similarities and differences between these breeds to help you decide.
Ibizan Hound vs Pharaoh Hound
The Ibizan Hound and Pharaoh Hound are quite similar in appearance. However, Ibizans are slightly larger, and their coloring is redder than the Pharaoh. Both are active breeds that require a good amount of exercise and can be loving and loyal. Pharaoh Hounds tend to be a bit more social than Ibizans, but both are family and kid-friendly.
Pharaoh Hound vs Greyhound
Pharaoh Hounds and Greyhounds are similar breeds, but their distinct features easily set them apart. The Pharaoh Hound has erect ears and a tan and white coat, while the Greyhound’s ears are not erect and they have a wider range of coat colors. Both breeds are active, easy to train, and are wonderful family pets.
The average Pharaoh Hound price is between $1,500 and $2,500. This price varies depending on the location and reputation of the breeder. Finding a reputable breeder is essential to ensure you receive a healthy pup from a safe environment. You could also consider Pharaoh Hound adoption from a rescue organization. This option can be less expensive, but you may have to wait until they have a pup for you to adopt.
This sweet one-minute video from Eneha Nonoba shows some adorable clips of the cutest Pharaoh Hound puppies in action.
If you’re looking for an elegant breed with lots of energy, the Pharaoh Hound might be the right breed for you. For more information about Pharaoh Hounds, check out the Pharaoh Hound Comprehensive Owner’s Guide.
What features draw you to the Pharaoh Hound?