30 Hound Dog Breeds Every Dog-Lover Should Know

April Saylor

April Saylor

. Reviewed by Barri J. Morrison, DVM
Updated Mar. 20, 2024
two bloodhounds sniffing around on a beach

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In This Article

Caring for a Hound Dog

Before you add a hound dog to your family, make sure their needs are compatible with your lifestyle. Not all hound dog breeds are the same, and each hound has their own characteristics that set their breed apart from others on this list.

First, nearly all hound dogs require daily activity. Frequent play sessions are a must, and hound dogs are at their best when they’re able to stimulate their brain as well as their body.

Each type of hound dog was bred for a unique task. Some are excellent at hunting rabbits while others may be keenly suited for treeing raccoons, or even tracking and chasing wolves or other big game. Scent hounds have a remarkable sense of smell used to sniff out prey, while sight hounds are known for their keen eyesight and quick pace. 

No matter what their specialty is, all hounds can thrive when they have regular opportunities to engage their senses. 

Caring for a Hound Dog

Hounds encompass a diverse group of dog breeds, each with their own distinct traits and care requirements. These dogs are known for their high energy levels and boundless enthusiasm, a reflection of their historical purpose as hunting companions.

Keeping your hound dog happy and healthy means making sure they get enough exercise. Tenacious on the trail but mellow when off duty at home, hound dogs are very active and require daily outlets that let them stretch their legs and leverage their powerful senses. Brisk walks, jogs, hiking, interactive play sessions, and toys that require mental stimulation (like food puzzles) are some ways to help your hound use their energy constructively. 

Remember: Hound dogs were bred with specific purposes in mind. Some were bred for tracking scents, while others excel at spotting and chasing small game. Understanding these instincts and providing appropriate outlets for them can prevent behavioral issues. Early training and socialization can help channel their energy in positive ways.

Types of Hound Dogs

1. Afghan Hound

sandy-colored afghan hound with hair blowing in the wind
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Elegant Afghan Hounds are known for their long, silky hair and regal appearance. With such a dignified look, Afghans require a fair amount of grooming to maintain their beautiful coat. Afghan Hounds are happiest when they can tap into their natural hunting drive and stretch their legs—these superfast sight hounds clock in at 40 mph and were originally bred to chase small and large game, including antelope. 

2. American English Coonhound

american english coonhound howling
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These gorgeous pups are known for their exceptional tracking skills. Also known as Redtick Coonhounds, the American English Coonhound makes an excellent hunting partner. When tracking or treeing an animal, their distinctive baying sound is meant to carry long distances. When they’re not on the trail, their social nature makes these coonhounds wonderful companions for active families.

3. American Foxhound

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With their notable endurance and determination, American Foxhounds are ideal for folks seeking a dog that can keep up with an active lifestyle. Foxhounds are known for their friendly and gentle disposition, and they can thrive in family environments—though they need plenty of opportunities to sniff and stretch their legs in a fenced yard or on long walks.

4. Azawakh

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Originating from West Africa, the Azawakh is a lean and agile breed with expressive eyes and a history of herding, hunting, and protection. Very loyal to their people, Azawakh are known to form deep bonds with their human companions but can be reserved around people they don’t yet know.

5. Basenji

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Known as the “barkless dog,” the Basenji has a unique vocalization that sounds more like a yodel. Depictions of these pups living alongside humans have been found in cave paintings in Libya that are 2,000 to 8,000 years old. As ancient hunting companions, Basenji have an independent yet affectionate temperament. 

6. Basset Hound

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Renowned for their long, droopy ears and puppy-dog eyes, Basset Hounds are beloved for their gentle and friendly temperament. Fun fact: The word “basset” is French for “rather low.” Their short stature and low-maintenance coat make them an excellent hound option for families living in smaller spaces.

7. Beagle

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Beagles are famous for their keen sense of smell and infectious playfulness. Their loyalty and adaptability make them great household pets. They may be one of the smaller hounds on this list, but Beagles were originally bred as hunting dogs and still need lots of regular exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy.

8. Black and Tan Coonhound

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Bred specifically for tracking and trailing, Black and Tan Coonhounds are another scent hound with a remarkable nose. These pups thrive in active homes where they can hike, play, and go on scent walks. They have plenty of energy outside when their nose is to the ground, but once they burn off some steam in the backyard, these coonhounds have an easygoing nature when it’s time to cuddle up on the couch.

9. Bloodhound

close-up of a bloodhound dog's head
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With their distinctive droopy jowls and wrinkled skin, Bloodhounds are a recognizable dog breed with an extraordinary sense of smell. Bloodhounds can frequently be found working on police K9 units or on search and rescue teams, where their special scent skills are put to the test. At home, these hounds have an affectionate disposition that makes them excellent companions for those who can handle their size (and slobber).

10. Bluetick Coonhound

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The striking tri-color coat of the Bluetick Coonhound—and their signature ticking (speckled) pattern—makes these pups easy to distinguish from their fellow coonhounds. Blueticks are known for being smart, sociable, and always ready for an adventure. Like other coonhounds, Blueticks have long, floppy ears and will make a distinctive “baying” sound that’s particularly useful when hunting (but not so ideal for apartment life).

11. Borzoi

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The elegant Borzoi, also known as the Russian Wolfhound, is a graceful dog known for their silky coat. Borzoi have an independent nature and keen eyesight, and these are gentle giants historically bred by Russian monarchs to hunt wolves. Like other sight hounds, Borzoi are fast runners that need regular exercise to stay healthy and happy.

12. Dachshund

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Dachshunds, with their long body and playful personality, are a popular choice for many dog lovers. And for good reason: These brave little pups were originally bred to hunt vermin and small animals and still have a curious demeanor that makes them delightful (almost comedic) companions.

13. English Foxhound

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The English Foxhound is a dedicated hunter with a strong prey drive and a friendly disposition. These are sociable dogs that were originally bred and trained to hunt in groups, so they tend to thrive in the company of other dogs. They need plenty of exercise to maintain their physical and mental well-being.

14. Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen

grand basset griffon vendeen dog standing and surveying a field
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The Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen, with their shaggy coat and expressive eyes, is a charming breed with a royal history. Native to France, King Louis XII kept Grands (as they’re known for short) and used them to hunt rabbits and other small prey animals in the 1400s.

15. Greyhound

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Renowned for their speed and agility, Greyhounds are gentle, long-legged pups who excel in racing and lure coursing. Despite their athletic abilities, they are often referred to as “couch potatoes” due to their calm, laid-back demeanor when indoors.

16. Harrier

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Like their larger counterpart, the English Foxhound, Harriers have a keen sense of smell and a playful nature. Smaller than the Foxhound but slightly larger than a Beagle, Harriers were originally bred to hunt hare in medieval England. These energetic pups need plenty of exercise to prevent boredom and channel their energy into positive activities. 

17. Ibizan Hound

white and red ibizan hound sitting in sandy dunes
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The Ibizan Hound stands out with their elegant appearance and agile physique. Known for their athletic prowess and endurance, these dogs are independent thinkers that require mental stimulation and physical activity to thrive.

18. Irish Wolfhound

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One of the tallest dog breeds in the world, the Irish Wolfhound combines size with grace and a gentle demeanor. These giant dogs are known for their loyalty and affection toward family members, making them excellent companions for those who have enough space at home to accommodate their size.

19. Norwegian Elkhound

close-up of a norwegian elkhound dog
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The Norwegian Elkhound has a long history of working alongside humans. Their thick double coat provides insulation against cold weather and requires frequent brushings to keep shedding to a minimum. Elkhounds are known for their independence and savvy smarts.

20. Otterhound

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As their name suggests, Otterhounds were originally bred to hunt otters. With their shaggy waterproof coat and webbed feet, these dogs excel in water activities and require regular exercise to keep them physically and mentally at their best.

21. Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen

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The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen is a small hound known for their lively, outgoing personality. Just like their larger counterpart (the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen), the PBGV rocks a tousled coat that pairs well with their playful demeanor. While small in stature, they still need to stretch their legs quite a bit with frequent walks and time to sniff and expend their bountiful hound energy.

22. Pharaoh Hound

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One of the rarer breeds in the hound family, the Pharaoh Hound has ancient roots as the royal dogs of kings who ruled Malta some 5,000 years ago. Bred to hunt rabbits in the rocky terrain of the Mediterranean, Pharaoh Hounds are known for their striking appearance and graceful movements. Sensitive and very loyal to their people, Pharaoh Hounds tend to form strong bonds with their human family.

23. Plott Hound

brindle plott hound standing in front of a creek
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The Plott Hound is another pup from the hound family with a striking appearance. Their brindle coat is similar to that of a slice of marbled rye bread, but it’s their exceptional tracking abilities that really steal the show.

Mellow at home on the couch, the Plott Hound is a determined hunting companion once they hit the trail. These tenacious hunters were bred to hunt bears, and their fearless demeanor is on full display when sniffing out game. Regular exercise and mental stimulation are musts for these active, energetic dogs.

24. Redbone Coonhound

close-up of a redbone coonhound's face
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The Redbone Coonhound is a versatile hunting breed known for their friendly demeanor. Equal parts affectionate and energetic, Redbones have a striking red coat and expressive eyes that make them hard to say no to. Like other coonhounds, the Redbone has boundless energy that requires plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.

25. Rhodesian Ridgeback

red rhodesian ridgeback lying in grass
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With roots in Africa, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is known as the “lion hunter.” These beautiful dogs are named for a distinctive ridge of fur along their back that seems to stand up against the rest of their coat.

26. Saluki

sesame-colored saluki lying on a lawn
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The superfast Saluki is a graceful dog with a long history of hunting in the Middle East, dating back at least 5,000 years. Their slender build and silky coat give them an elegant appearance. These dogs have a gentle yet independent nature that seems to perfectly fit their history as royal hunting companions.

27. Scottish Deerhound

two scottish deerhounds standing together
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The Scottish Deerhound is a gentle giant with a noble history and dignified demeanor. Originally bred to hunt deer in the Scottish Highlands, these big pups are known for their affectionate nature. If you have enough space (and can afford their dog food bill), Scottish Deerhounds make wonderful family pets.

28. Sloughi

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The Sloughi, often referred to as the Arabian Greyhound, is a swift super-athlete native to North Africa. Another elegant, ancient sight hound, depictions of ancient Sloughis have been found in hieroglyphics in Egypt!

29. Treeing Walker Coonhound

treeing walker coonhound standing in a field
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Another hunting dog with an impressive sense of smell, the Treeing Walker Coonhound is known for their distinctive baying sound when excited. These pups have a relentless hunting instinct and will roam for miles tracking small game if allowed to follow their nose. These friendly, outgoing coonhounds are a good fit for active families who can provide regular exercise and mental stimulation for the energetic TWC.

30. Whippet

white and gray brindle whippet pouncing in a field
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Like Greyhounds, Whippets are easy to spot with their sleek, almost aerodynamic build. Whippets are one of the fastest dog breeds in the world, running up to 35 mph. With speed like that, these sight hounds excel in sports like lure coursing.

If you’re still searching for a hound dog that fits your lifestyle, talk to your local veterinarian or connect with a veterinary behaviorist. They can help you decide whether a dog’s energy level and temperament will be a good fit for your family, and make recommendations based on what’s best for you and your next canine companion.

April Saylor


April Saylor

Freelance Writer

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