The Pharaoh Hound is believed to be one of the oldest dogs known to man. Although DNA may prove that the Pharaoh of today does not go back directly to the hounds of Ancient Egypt, what is certain is that the mummified remains of hunting dogs of the Egyptian Pharaohs bear a remarkable resemblance to modern Pharaoh Hounds.
The Pharaoh Hound is a medium-sized dog with elegant clean lines. His short glossy coat is tan, often with white on his chest, toes and the tip of his long whip-like tail. He has a wedge-shaped head with a foreface slightly longer than the skull, almond-shaped eyes that are amber in colour and blends with the coat, and he has large erect but mobile ears. He is very affectionate and can be quite boisterous. He barks a lot, not because he likes to hear the sound of his own voice, but because he responds to distant sounds and he has extremely good hearing, except when he is being called. Then he develops a serious case of ‘deafness’.
This is a hound and his hunting instincts are strong. Although many Pharaohs live comfortably with cats and other small furry animals, the instinct to hunt is never far from the surface. The Maltese name for the Pharaoh Hound is Kelb tal Fenek. This translates to Rabbit Dog because rabbits were their chief pray on the islands of Malta and Gozo where the breed was developed.
On Malta the Pharaoh Hound’s diet was predominantly bread and whatever it could catch. Today we can provide our hounds with a well-balanced diet from a range of proprietary brand foods. Some people find that their dogs do very well on a mix of tripe or other fresh meat, wholemeal biscuit or bread and vegetables to ensure they get all the vitamins and minerals they require for a healthy diet. A Pharaoh Hound should never be fat. He should be lithe in appearance, graceful yet powerful. They are built to be capable of hunting for hours on end. An overweight hound could not hunt successfully. On the other hand, neither should he be underweight. The body should be well covered with just a hint of rib showing when he is on the move. An underweight animal could benefit from tripe and brown bread added to his diet.
Being a hound the Pharaoh is not generally considered to be suitable for the novice owner. In fact, having experience of other hound breeds, particularly sighthounds, would be a positive bonus for anyone thinking of getting a Pharaoh. However, the Pharaoh is adaptable. He is very affectionate and, on the whole, loves children. They should be outgoing, not shy or nervous. They are very intelligent, sometimes too intelligent and will often take liberties. They are playful and full of mischief. It is essential that they should have stimulating activities to keep them fit in mind and body. Long walks and free running off the lead are good exercise, although letting them off the lead can be fraught with problems. They don’t always come back when you want them to. The garden will need to be Pharaoh proof too. They are capable of jumping quite high fences but are also very good at digging – usually where you have just planted that expensive shrub.
There are a number of activities that are undertaken by Pharaoh Hounds. Some have tried agility, with a certain amount of success, while others do obedience. There have been several successes under the KC Good Citizen Awards Scheme since its introduction, proving that a Pharaoh Hound can be trained, to a degree. Because their natural inclination is to hunt many Pharaohs have taken readily to lure coursing or racing. And of course, they are pretty good in the show ring too, because mostly they are just great big show-offs who will do practically anything to please their owners.
For further information contact Mrs Christine Dawson
The Pharaoh Hound Club,