8 Most Popular Hound Breeds

The Hound group is home to some of the oldest recognized dog breeds today with their development happening largely alongside humans. Although they vary slightly in their uses, all Hounds were bred as hunting dogs and many are still used for this purpose in modern times. Although one might think of a typical Bloodhound or Foxhound when thinking of this group, the breeds are very diverse and special.

#1 – Beagle


The Beagle is a small hound that resembles larger Foxhounds. It is a scent hound, which means it was bred to hunt by using its nose. It’s main quarry are rabbits and hare and it’s argued that the Beagle is one of the best rabbiting dogs today. The breed makes a wonderful companion for both adults and children alike and is a very popular dog breed in the United States.

#2 – Dachshund


The Dachshund comes in three varieties: a smooth coat, a long coat and a wire-haired coat. This German hound was originally bred to hunt badger and other burrowed game, which gave rise to their short legs. There are both standard and miniature Dachshunds, used for various sizes of quarry. They are feisty dogs in either variation, full of energy and adventure. They make great family companions but can be a handful despite their size.

#3 – Rhodesian Ridgeback

Image source: Andrew. via Flickr

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a hound dog originating in Rhodesia, Africa, now Zimbabwe. They originated as a hunting dog that was well-known for being able to keep lions at bay from their hunter’s fresh kill. This earned the name Rhodesian Lion Dog. They’re also known for the unique ridge along their back made up of hair that grows the opposite direction from that on the rest of the body. They are loyal, courageous dogs that bond deeply with their owners. They do best in very active homes as they need a job to do.

#4 – Basset Hound

Image source: Jon Buscall via Flickr

This adorable, short-legged, wrinkly-faced hound is one of America’s favorites. They are scent hounds originally used for hunting rabbits and hare, but make very good family companions today. They are relatively lazy dogs that don’t require a lot of exercise, but care should be taken to make sure they don’t become overweight. They are very tolerant toward children and are generally very docile dogs.

#5 – Bloodhound

Image source: John Leslie via Flickr

The Bloodhound is a hardworking hound known for its exceptional scenting abilities. You will find Bloodhounds working with police and military personnel in regards to weapons and narcotics detection as well as search and rescue. They are very large dogs that were originally used for hunting deer and boar. They are gentle and affectionate dogs but tireless workers that can be a bit stubborn if they find a scent they’d like to follow.

#6 – Whippet

Image source: Winky via Flickr

The Whippet is a medium-sized sighthound that comes from England. Like their larger Greyhound cousins, these dogs were bred to run very quickly over short distances. Being sighthounds, they are bred to hunt by locating and following prey with their eyes. Whippets are one of the fastest dog breeds in the world and are still used for rabbit and rat hunting today. They also excel at dog sports such as lure coursing, agility and flyball.

#7 – Irish Wolfhound

Image source: Airwolfhound via Flickr

The Irish Wolfhound is one of the largest domesticated dog breeds in existence. They are a sighthound breed from Ireland used for hunting wolves. They are known to be intelligent and introverted dogs, but they bond closely with their owners. Despite their size, they are not known for being destructive.

#8 – Basenji

Image source: fugzu via Flickr

The Basenji is a small sighthound from central Africa. It is one of the oldest dog breeds in existence today and is unique in that it doesn’t bark, but only yodels. They are very energetic and alert dogs that do best in an active home. They are not recommended for people with a lot of other pets or small children as they bond most closely with one person rather than the whole family.

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