One of the oldest American breeds, the American Foxhound is the cousin and American version of the English Foxhound. Just like their cousins, they were originally bred to participate in foxhunts, hence the breed's name. During the 17th century, these hound-type dogs were brought to the United States by European immigrants and soldiers. They were greatly sought after because of their hunting abilities and it is believed that these Foxhounds were gifted to George Washington because he was an avid fox hunter. Over the years, French Hounds, Irish Hounds, and Curs were incorporated into the lineage to add more speed, voice, and hunting instinct to the breed. The ancestors of the American Foxhound are also the same predecessors of the Virginia Hound, now known as the American English Coonhound, and other coonhound breeds. In 1966, the state of Virginia made the American Foxhound its official state dog.
American Foxhounds are medium-sized, fast, and with a strong nose, they make great hunters. Unlike their English Foxhound counterparts, they are lighter and more legged. These traits give this hound the ability of greater speed and agility when hunting in rough terrain. The American Foxhound has a rough medium-length coat that comes in a few different tri-colored patterns known for hound-type breeds. Similar to others of the same hunting background, they have large brown or hazel colored eyes that give them a gentle expression, moderately wide ears that are long enough to almost reach the tip of the nose when pulled forward, and a square-shaped muzzle with a black nose. The breed's medium-length tail is carried slightly curved.
Despite being the terror of foxes for the last few centuries, the American Foxhound can be quite lovable. Even today, these hounds are still bred for the sole purpose of hunting throughout most of the Southern United States and are seen mainly as a hunting partner than a general family pet. Dogs who have bonded with a pack can be more difficult to train because of their independence and reliability on one another, but a well-trained Foxhound is one of the best companions you could ask for. Once they pick up a scent, they tend to follow it, no matter how hard you might command them to stop. With proper obedience training from a firm owner, these traits and habits can be controlled. At an early age, this breed needs to be properly socialized and exposed to different people, animals, sights, and sounds. In addition to being wonderful around people, they are also known to do very well with children and other dogs but they may be intolerant of indoor cats and small animals if they have not been raised with them. Like many hunting breeds, American Foxhounds were born for the hunt and require plenty of regular exercise to satisfy their high energy levels and would be a great partner for an avid hunter or active owner who loves to go on long daily walks or runs. When paired with a well-suited home and active family, the American Foxhound can be a well-mannered, gentle, and devoted life-long companion.