Hound Dogs

A hound dog's main purpose is to help hunters track and chase their prey. They are sporting dogs but differ from other sporting dogs, such as retrievers or gundogs, in that they don't point out the whereabouts of a hunted animal or fetch the kill as retrievers do.

Hound dogs are sporting dogs, used by hunters to track and chase game

Hound dogs are sporting dogs, used by hunters to track and chase game.

Hound dogs use scent or sight to track their prey and most breeds are trained to use these distinguishing features to assist in hunting. They are divided into three types and each type is further subdivided into various subgroups. Here are the other different classifications of hound dogs, these will give a brief description and insight into each type of hound dog and their characteristics plus an example of each breed.

Characteristics of sight hounds

As the name suggests, these hounds use sight and speed to hunt and are sometimes called gaze hounds. Unlike scent hounds they don't usually use their sense of smell to track prey. Sight hounds are agile and usually have an appropriate physiology such as a lean body, long legs and a flexible back along with the deep chest and efficient lungs. Sight hounds use the speed and agility alongside the ability to spot even the smallest movement to bring down their prey and are often involved in events that make the most of their skill including hare coursing and racing. A good example of this dog is a greyhound.

Characteristics of scent hounds

Unlike sight hounds, scent hounds are not fast runners or especially agile but use scent to track their prey. Endurance is a particular quality of theirs and they are known to be able to follow a scent for many miles giving them the most efficient senses of all known canine breeds. Often scent hounds have long droopy ears and rather obviously long noses and moist fleshy lips. These features allow the hound to trap the maximum number of scent particles from the air which in turn enables it to follow scent trails more accurately and efficiently. A good example of a scent hound is a bloodhound.