The Pharaoh hound is one of those exotic and ancient Egyptian dog breeds that have been around for nearly 5000 years. In Malta, from where it originates, this dog is known as the Kelb Tal Fenek and is still a rarity in the United States. Find out how it is living with a Pharaoh hound in this brief guide.
Cool facts about the Pharaoh Hound
- Pharaoh hounds are ranked among the oldest dogs in dogdom. The Anubis hound, which is depicted in many ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, may have been an ancestor of the breed and this is clear from the resemblance between the two breeds.
- Pharaoh hounds originated in Malta under the name of Kelb tal-fenek– literal translation of which is rabbit dog or rabbit hound. They were primarily used for hunting rabbits and guarding homesteads and looked rather intimidating and statuesque as they stood on the rooftops.
- The Pharaoh is the national dog of Malta and a coin bearing its image was minted in the 1970s.
- Among King Tut’s mummified remains and treasures, Egyptologists also found the mummified remains of a Pharaoh hound.
- The Ibizan hound is a close relative of the Pharaoh Hound.
- Pharaoh hounds arrived in the United States in 1967 and the parent club of the breed, the Pharaoh hound Club of America, was founded in 1970.
These are medium-large dogs with males measuring between 23-25 inches and females about 21-24 inches at withers. They are noble, graceful, powerful, and muscular dogs. Pharaoh hound colors include tan, deep tan, red, maroon, bright brown or chestnut with white markings.
Living with a Pharaoh Hound
These Egyptian dogs are unique, both in personality and look. They are playful, loving, self-contained, and dignified. Pharaoh hounds have a tendency to blush and their nose and ears turn reddish-pink when the dog is excited.
Having an independent spirit and a mind of their own, Pharaohs are not suitable dogs for all owners. Only an experienced and firm owner can manage this spirited breed. They were bred for hunting and their hunting instincts are rather strong even today. So they have a tendency to run and chase prey and are even known to jump over fences or dig under them to escape.
These are not Velcro dogs; which means, you won’t find them cuddling with or begging for attention from their owners. However, that does not mean that they do not love their humans. They are absolutely devoted to their families and love human companionship.
Female Pharaoh Hounds are more reserved with strangers than their male counterparts. They take their time in getting to know guests and once they do, they are quite warm and welcoming.
Pharaohs love to ‘steal’, so do not be surprised if you find your things missing. If needed, dog-proof certain areas of your home so your pet knows where he isn’t allowed. Be firm yet gentle with your puppy and teach him house rules from an early age. This can prevent many unwanted behaviors at later stages. If you have to leave your pet alone for long periods of time, it is best to keep him confined in a safe, enclosed area with access to water, food, and toilet. Many Pharaoh owners prefer to use large crates to contain these dogs.
Pharaoh hounds get along with kids and look upon them as potential playmates. Teach your kids to respect your dog and make sure you supervise their interactions, at least in the beginning. They also get along well with other pets but may instinctively chase cats, rabbits, and other small animals.
Training a Pharaoh Hound
Pharaohs have a mind of their own. Traditional training may not suit them and you might have to use special training tactics. Speak to your breeder to guide you. You can enroll your puppy in obedience school so that your pet learns some basic rules and also gets to interact and socialize with other dogs.
If you do train him at home, then you must start early. Puppies are like sponges and they eagerly absorb anything you teach them. Be consistent and gentle while training your pet. Use the same words while teaching him a particular command. You may start with housetraining and crate training; this way your pet knows where it is and isn’t okay to ‘go potty’. Keep training sessions short. Use healthy treats and rewards while training since positive reinforcement works best. Pharaoh hounds are sensitive dogs and they should never be punished physically. Simply raise your voice once in reprimand and he will understand. He might even blush and his nose and ears will turn pink when he does.
Pharaohs love ‘lure coursing’ as it encourages their natural instinct to run wild and chase after small animals. Naturally, you must not let your pet chase prey, for his safety. But do make sure that he gets to expend energy by taking him out on walks or jogs.
Remember that your Pharaoh hound is capable of sprinting at very high speeds and can cover large distances. So always keep him on a lead when taking him out for walks.
This is a naturally clean dog with hardly any ‘doggy odor’ and he is also an average shedder. As a result, their short, single coat does not need too much combing or brushing. However, it still helps if you can brush your pet at least once a week. This will stimulate the natural oils in his skin making the coat shinier. It will also remove ticks and fleas if any and capture stray hairs. Bathe your Pharaoh hound once every few months using a vet-approved shampoo.
Many owners avoid baths altogether and simply wipe down their pet with a damp cloth. Check his nails and trim them if needed. Eye and ear exams are also important parts of grooming and can help rule out infections, if any, in their early stages.
Being a rare breed, very few health issues and records have been documented. Allergies, demodicosis, epilepsy, and gastric-dilation volvulus have been seen in these dogs. The average lifespan of the Pharaoh hound is between 12-14 years.
Where to find a Pharaoh Hound
If you have decided that living with a Pharaoh hound is what you want to do, then start your search for a reputed Pharaoh hound breeder. Finding a good breeder is important to ensure that you bring home a puppy without any major health issues. An ethical breeder will also have the well-being of the breed at heart and would be willing to even take back the puppy if, for some reason, you are unable to keep one. The Pharaoh hound Club of America’s website is a good place to start your search. Alternatively, seek an animal shelter that has a Pharaoh hound rescue. The average price of a pedigree Pharaoh hound is between $1000 and $2500 depending on the breeder.