Arriving at a huntArriving at a hunt

When Fox-hunting first came into existence it was described by Greek Philosophers as 'the noblest exercise, making men laborious, active and wise'. It was also considered to be 'the most manly of all sports'. For two centuries this sport was a national institution, inseparably linked with that of great UK country families.

History of the Foxhound

Foxhound 1889Foxhound 1889

Although there is evidence of these being kept at Brocklesby as far back as 1623, by the early 1700s owners of ancestral acres had established packs of hounds providing sport and recreation for their tenants and neighbours. Various types of dogs were mentioned by early writers as the origin from which the Foxhound sprang, from which the pioneers took the best and fixed a type. Consequently, the evolution of the Foxhound was described as 'the result of nature, not limited to but developed by high civilisation'.

Foxhounds WorkingFoxhounds Working

The Foxhounds' two hundred years of structured breeding began in earnest in the early 1700s. Then the Dukes of Beaufort and Rutland, and the Earls of Fitzwilliam and Yarborough established kennels. Their dogs were described as 'the purest source for hereditary qualities in Foxhound breeding'. These dogs were were jealously guarded and regarded as 'the finest weapon of the chase'.

The first quarter of the 1800s is regarded as 'The Golden Age of Fox-hunting'. Hounds were matched for speed and taught to disregard the pressure of the horsemen. Their uni-lateral quickness of decision was recognised as the life and soul of the sport[1].

The Foxhound becomes and Pure Breed


Mr Cornelius Tongue was responsible for the first Foxhound Stud Book which dates back to 1787 Consequently, the Foxhound became a pure breed in 1864 when the first Foxhound Stud Book was published. Because the Kennel Club of England did not publish the first English Stud Book until 1874, Foxhounds pre-date most of our English pure breed dogs by at least a decade.

A second volume of the Foxhound Stud Book was brought out by the Masters of the Foxhound Association, published in 1880[1].


History of the Foxhound in Australia

Today, packs of working Foxhounds still exist across Australia, particularly in the eastern States. With the ANKC accepting pedigrees from the registry of the pack dogs, as a pure breed Foxhounds also have been successful show dogs. Certainly in Victoria they have reached great heights with early exhibitors being Nina Beiberitz and Mrs Carmody the 1960s and 1970s. NSW was in a similar position with John and Celeste Bryson actively keeping the breed alive in NSW. Some of these Foxhounds have pack hounds in their background[3]. 

The Foxhound Today


The Foxhound is 58-64 cms (23-25 ins) high and comes in any recognised hound colour and marking. Its outline should suggest strength and substance, blended by exquisite quality and harmonious balance with a natural ability to hunt. The skull should be flat, the stop slight and the flews moderately developed. The ears should be high set and dropped and the hazel or brown eyes should be a medium size, giving a keen expression. The muzzle should be moderately long  with well developed flews and close in a normal scissors bite.


The neck should be long but not coarse. The shoulders should be well laid back and muscular, but never loaded. The well boned forelegs should be long and straight with strong pasterns. The chest is deep and the ribs well sprung. The hindquarters should be powerful and strong with a moderate turn of stifle. The tail is set on high and carried gaily but never over the back. The movement is free striding and tireless with good drive from behind but no indication to roll. The weatherproof coat is short and dense.

References and Further Reading

[1] Cuthbert Bradley, 'The Foxhound of the Twentieth Century' published by George Routledge and Sons, Limited, Broadway House, 68-74 Carter Lane, E.C. Chapter II , Perios in Hunting History between 1787 and 1912 which influenced the Development of the Foxhound, Pages 14 - 22.

[2] Stonehenge ''The Dogs of the British Islands' (Fifth Edition) Published by 'The Field' Office, 346 Strand, W.C.London 1886. Book ll, 'Hounds and their Allies', Page 129

[3] Celeste Bryson 'The History of Purebred Dogs in Australia' published by OzDog Newspaper 1997, The Foxhound Page 138