Complete Guide To The Pharaoh Hound: Health, Personality, Exercise and More

One of the oldest domesticated dogs in history, the Pharaoh Hound is among the ancient world’s many treasures. For the lucky few who share life with this rare and delightful breed, it’s a window into the past.

How Big Do Pharaoh Hounds Get?

Male23″ – 25″ at the shoulder 45-55 lbs
Female21″ – 24″ at the shoulder45-55 lbs

What Do Pharaoh Hounds Look Like?

Swift and sleek, the Pharaoh Hound strongly resembles the smaller Basenji. Having a lean but muscular form, they’re built for speed and endurance. Graceful in motion, they seemingly flow and run like a Greyhound.

Their short silky coats are a pleasure to touch and come in four rich shades:

• Red Golden
• Chestnut
• Tan
• Rich Tan

White markings on their toes are common and desirable on the tips of their long, tapered tails.

The Pharaoh Hound’s round amber eyes are soft yet keenly intelligent. But their most distinctive feature is tall, cat-like ears that offset a strong but delicate muzzle. Comically large, they give the Pharaoh hound an alert but endearing expression.

What Is The Personality Of A Pharaoh Hound?

Bred near-exclusively on the island of Malta, the Pharaoh Hound’s personality remains almost unchanged since they sailed the world with the ancient Phoenicians. Affectionate, they form close bonds with their social group, enjoying both adventures and the good life at home. Consummate family dogs, they adore children and are suitable for apartment living as long as they get enough activity.

Friendly and playful, these clever dogs hunted small game in tough terrain, and they still retain a strong instinct to chase, so a secure play area is a must. Ever-vigilant, they’re capable watchdogs, but early socialization and training are essential to prevent nuisance barking.

How Much Exercise Does A Pharaoh Hound Need?

Pharaoh Hounds need an active lifestyle, but the type of exercise they get isn’t as important as the amount. In an apartment setting, a 20-minute walk twice daily is enough to keep them physically fit and mentally sharp.

In a fenced-in yard with room to run, they’ll meet their own activity needs by doing laps and chasing toys, but beware — they jump, so fences should be at least 6-feet tall. Not surprisingly, fetch is a favorite game.

How Much Grooming Do Pharaoh Hounds Need?

The Pharaoh Hound’s buttery-soft coat is effortless to groom. They shed moderately, so twice-weekly brushing with a soft brush or grooming mitt removes dirt and debris and keeps hair off the floor. Not known for doggy odor, they rarely need bathing, but an occasional rubdown with a warm, moist towel refreshes their skin.

Their ear pinnae is thin and prone to sun damage outdoors, so offer them a shady spot for exercise or ask your veterinarian about dog-safe sunscreen.

Daily exercise will help keep the Pharaoh Hound’s toenails naturally short, but occasional trimming with clippers or a grinding tool may be necessary. Filing with an emery board is ideal for sensitive dogs that don’t like the snapping noise of clippers or the whir of a grinder.

What Kind of Dog Food Is Good For A Pharaoh Hound?

Personally I believe that most foods are fine for most dogs. Some dogs may not do well on some foods. However, as a rule I don’t blanket-prohibit any dietary ingredient from any breed at this time.

Best Puppy Food For Pharaoh Hounds:

Best Adult Food For Pharaoh Hounds:

Please don’t listen to the folks at the pet store trying to convince you to buy a grain-free diet for your dog. There’s zero science behind that and vets are actually seeing diseases now related to feeding grain-free foods.

It’s very important they remain at their optimal weight throughout their life. Have your vet go over with you exactly where to feel to know when your dog is too big.

How Long Does A Pharaoh Hound Live?

12-14 years based on information from the AKC

What Health Problems Can Pharaoh Hounds Have?

Pharaoh Hounds have been found to be relatively healthy. This is backed up by health statistics kept by the Canine Health Information Center. The breed has an extremely low rate of hip dyplasia, hypothyroidism, and many other disorders. One nice thing about a breed being not that popular is the ability of responsible breeders to maintain and continually improve the health of their dogs.

However, know that any animal can have issues such as obesity, dental disease, allergies, etc. I do recommend pet insurance for every dog. Read more about choosing a pet insurance plan in my guide here.

Where Can I Find Out More About The Pharaoh Hound ?

Pharaoh Hound Club of America

AKC Breed Page

Where Can I Find A Pharaoh Hound?

Approved Breed List from the Pharaoh Hound Club of America

AKC Puppy Marketplace

Perhaps you’re looking to acquire a Rescue Pharaoh Hound? The Pharaoh Hound Club of America operates a rescue network and provides a list of contacts that you can email to inquire about a possible rescue.

Interesting Facts About Pharaoh Hounds

Pharaoh Hounds have as much to offer today as they did five millennia ago. Here are a few fun facts about this enduring breed.

• Not Much is Known About Their History

Pharaoh Hounds predate the Babylonian Empire, yet we know remarkably little about their history. Depicted in ancient Egyptian art, including in the tombs of top officials, few written records exist to explain how they developed.

Researchers believed they accompanied Phoenician explorers to far-off lands but were likely traded in Europe and the Mediterranean as far back as 4500 years ago. It’s assumed that they were ultimately introduced to Malta where they were valued as rabbit hunters, becoming their national dog in 1979.

• They Blush

Pharaoh Hounds wear their hearts on their sleeves. Dilated blood vessels in their nose and ears cause visible redness when they’re alarmed or excited, creating the trademark blush for which they’re well known.

• They’re Not Built for the Cold

Pharaoh Hounds have a thin coat and little body fat, leaving them vulnerable to the cold. With precautions, they’ll tolerate snowy climates but are better suited for sunshine and warm temperatures.

Pharaohs in the West

Pharaoh Hounds were first noted in England in the 1930s, but records are scarce, and their trail soon disappeared. New specimens were imported in the late 1960s, around the same time they first came to the United States. Accepted by the AKC in 1979, they were recognized for registration in 1983 and joined the Hound Class in 1984.