Breed Type:  Sight Hound
Country of Origin: Malta
Size:  Large
Males Height: 59-63 cm Weight:  20-25kg
Females: Height: 53-61 cm Weight:  20-25kg
Exercise Requirements:  High
Care Requirements: Low
Lifespan: 12-15 Years
Best Suited as:  Family Pets / Running Companions

The Pharaoh Hound is a tall, athletic dog with a slim build and long legs. It appears both graceful and intelligent and not in any way bulky or aggressive.  Its body and head and are both long and lean with the length of its body slightly longer than its tail. The Pharaoh Hound has a blunt wedge shaped head and a long, muscular neck. Their ears are large erect triangles placed square on the top of their heads and their eyes are amber colored ovals with an alert expression. Their nose is usually the same color (or almost the same) as their coat colour.

The Pharaoh Hound stands with long, straight front legs and relatively angled hind legs. Their tails are long and medium set, reaching slightly below the point of their hocks. Their coat is short and sleek and comes in red and tan shades, most often accompanied by white markings.  A white tipped tail will get a Pharaoh Hound extra points in most dog shows.

If you are looking for an active breed with a mind of their own, the Pharaoh Hound might be the right pet for you.  They are intelligent, affectionate and easy to train. They socialize well with other dogs and people but are shy around strangers. They bond deeply with their owners and appreciate holding a special place in the family.

While they make good watchdogs, they are rarely aggressive and should not be used as guard dogs. They are relatively quiet and do not bark for the sake of making noise. They are excellent hunters with keen sense of smell and eyesight.  Your Pharaoh will love going for runs and romps in the woods. You will know that you have really excited your Pharaoh Hound when they “blush”, turning a glowing deep rose on their nose and ears.

While they are easily trained, they are also easily bored and occasionally stubborn. An interesting training routine should be used to keep this dogs attention.  Physical discipline and severe training methods should not be used on this sensitive breed.

If you are looking for one of the oldest known domesticated dogs, you have found him. The Pharaoh Hound (or an ancestor that looked much like him) was depicted as early as 4400 B.C. in ancient Egyptian artifacts and writings. It is believed this breed was resettled on the islands of Malta and Gozo by the Phoenicians where they existed for over two thousand years.  Treasured by the people there, the Kelb Tal-Fenek (Maltese meaning “Dog of the rabbit”) held the important task of chasing away pests, including rabbits.  Mostly trained to work alone, the early Pharaoh Hounds were used to herd goats and sheep on their way to the pasture.

During the 1960, Pharaoh Hounds were imported to England and to the United States. In 1974, the first recorded Pharaoh Hound was also found in Australia. The breed standard was recognized by The Kennel Club of England in 1974 and was accepted in the AKC in 1983.

The Maltese people of today consider the Pharaoh Hound to be a national treasure. It was declared the national breed in 1974 and was depicted on the back of the Maltese Lira starting in 1977.

Care and Grooming
The Pharaoh Hound needs little grooming and is an average shedder. It needs an occasional bath and an occasional brush to help remove dead and loose hair.Because the Pharaoh Hound has sensitive skin, it is best to use baby shampoo or a very gentle dog shampoo. Some owners recommend skipping a bath and giving your pet a quick rubdown with a damp cloth instead. This breed does not have a natural “doggy” odor and is easy to keep clean.

The Pharaoh Hound is an active breed that requires a daily run or brisk walk. Because of their strong prey drive and independent nature, this breed should be kept on their leash to avoid chasing after small animals. In colder climates, especially when in the snow, Pharaoh Hounds should not be left outside and benefit from wearing jackets.

Pharaoh Hounds are a hearty breed with little known health problems or genetic diseases. Their gene pool has been largely untainted due to responsible breeding. They are known to be highly sensitive to insecticides and some medicines.

Suitability as a Pet
If you are looking for a fellow athlete, the Pharaoh Hound will make a good training partner. They love to run, play and are quite successful at agility trials.  They are adept jumpers, with some jumping as high as 1.7 meters. Because of their energy level and abilities, it best have a high fence in your backyard to contain them.

Pharaoh Hounds make loyal companions and good family dogs as long as they are socialized appropriately as puppies and learn their order in the pack.  This is particularly true if there are other male dogs in the home. Teaching them not to dominate is important in this case.  Natural hunters, your Pharaoh Hound may also have trouble with smaller animals such as hamsters and cats. Training them can be easy if you use the proper methods but asking them to do repetitive tasks that bore them, and therefore tune you out. Due to their intelligence and loving nature, they need an owner who can spend a good deal of time with them. Like most dogs, Pharaoh Hounds can become bored when left to their own devices. They can easily become noisy or destructive if they do not receive much attention from their owners.

They generally do well with children and are quite loving to all people known to them. They have a more difficult time with strangers, and an owner needs to be patient while their pet has a chance to warm up.

Veterinary Surgeon, London at Blue Cross UK | + posts

A London based Veterinary surgeon, Sanja is also an avid writer and pet advocate.