American Foxhounds, the American cousin of the English Foxhounds, are a lucky breed because their history and ancestry are well documented. They came over to the New World in 1650 with a man named Robert Brooke, who sailed from England to Crown Colony in North America (now modern day Maryland and Virginia). This pack of hunting dogs, beloved by the Brooke Family for hundreds of years, evolved to become the American Foxhound. The Brooke hounds were likely mixed with French hounds that were also brought to the Americas, and it was this mix of European breeds that eventually gave us our beloved American Foxhound.
Despite a history that had spanned a couple hundred years, the American Kennel Club didn't officially recognize American Foxhounds until the 1880s. They were rarely kept as pets but were instead prized for their exceptional abilities as hunting dogs. Today, they are kept as pets and hunting dogs in nearly equal measure. While they have a very sweet demeanor and are excellent family dogs, American Foxhounds are not the right breed for every family.
American Foxhounds are extremely high-energy dogs and require a great deal of exercise to stay healthy and happy. If they are deprived of space to run and time to burn off steam, they can become bored, destructive, and even depressed. They also have a tendency to put on weight quickly if they are allowed to be sedentary. They will absolutely do best in a rural or suburban home, and they will greatly benefit from a large, fenced in area. They absolutely cannot be trusted without a leash because of their tendency to run off if they smell or see something interesting—and it’s unlikely that they will come back if called, no matter how well-trained. They aren’t an especially easy breed to train because they have independent personalities—they're stubborn. So train them early and temper expectations.
American Foxhounds can make lovely family pets. They are very sweet with children and very much enjoy the company of other dogs, thanks to their history of working in packs. In fact, they may even prefer a household with multiple dogs because they love company. If they don’t have other canine friends, they will make their family their “pack” and will follow them around the house with a look of adoration.
George Washington was instrumental in the creation of the American Foxhound. He was an avid dog lover, and it’s likely that many American Foxhounds can trace their family tree to the White House.
Explore some Embark dogs that share American Foxhound ancestry.