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Pharaoh Hound

 Photo of Pharaoh Hound
Photo: courtesy of Maria Goodman

Pharaoh Hound Books

Group: Hound - Breed Standard


The Pharaoh Hound is a very old breed, believing to have originated in Ancient Egypt. Today sees it as the National Dog of Malta, where it is known as the "Kelb Tal Fenek", which, loosley translated, means "Rabbit Dog". A Hunter "Par Excellance", the Pharaoh is used for hunting rabbit and small game. The white tip on the tail is highly desireable when trying to spot the breed at a distance whilst hunting!


Height: dogs 56-63 cms (22-25 ins); bitches 53-61 cms (21-24 ins).

The Pharaoh Hound is a medium sized dog, being graceful and powerful. Their skull is wedge shaped, long, lean and well chiselled with the foreface slightly longer than the skull and only a slight stop. The eyes are oval and moderately deep set with a keen and intelligent expression. The ears are fine and large and very mobile, being carried erect when alert. Their nose is flesh coloured and blends with the coat. Their long lean neck is muscular and slightly arched. Strong shoulders are long with straight and parallel forelegs and well tucked in elbows. The lithe body is slightly longer than the height at the withers. The topline is almost straight, and has a slight slope from croup to tail root. The hindquarters are strong and muscular with a moderate bend of stifle and well developed second thigh. The strong feet are well knuckled. The long tail is whip-like, being fairly thick at its base and tapering. When the dog is moving the tail is carried high and curved. Movement is free and flowing, with the head held fairly high, the dog should cover the ground effortlessly. The short glossy coat ranges from fine and close to slightly harsh and has no feathering. Colours are tan with white markings specifically allowed on the tip of the tail, on the chest (called "the star"), on toes and a slim white blase on the centre of the face is also allowed.


The Joker of the Sighthound world, you have to be one step ahead of a Pharoah Hound. When you have a Pharaoh you must think like one - great fun and a great tonic. They're very friendly and affectionate, and tend to be an excellent judge of character; if a Pharaoh doesn't like someone, there is usually a good reason why they don't! Great with children - if your children decide to climb a tree, chances are the Pharaoh will think its a great idea to join them. As with all animals, children must be taught to respect them. They make very good pets and tend to love the whole family equally. However, as an alert, keen hunter which hunts by scent and sight, they need to be raised with smaller animals like cats and guinea pigs in order to respect them (as with most sighthound breeds). Some Pharaohs have been known to be fairly vocal. In particular a puppy can sometimes bark just to hear the sound of their own voice, this behaviour needs to be stopped before it becomes a habit. Being fun loving and energetic they tend to be fairly active around the home.

Breed Health

In general, Pharaohs are a very healthy breed. Patella luxation has been known to be a slight problem within the breed in the past, however, through sensible breeding and testing this has not been a problem for some years. Pharaohs lack pigment, therefore care must be taken to ensure their noses and ears do not burn in the sun. If they lose any hair through an injury, it may grow back white on the scar site. The average life span of a Pharaoh Hound is about 12 to 15 years.

Breed Care

As a breed they moult all the year round, but lose a small amount of hair which is easy to clean up. As such grooming requirements are minimal. Although they do hate their nails being cut! One trick to cutting nails on an uncooperative dog is for one person to hold a small container (such as a yoghurt pot) which has some sticky food (i.e. peanut butter) smeared around the bottom half - while the dog is distracted and intent on licking the pot, another person can cut the nails.


As with most hounds, the Pharaoh will require as much exercise as you can give them daily. At least part of this exercise must include free running in order for them to stretch their legs and play, otherwise their pent up energy will be released at home where they will be impossible to live with!


Pharaohs are very intelligent and, being willing to please, are reasonably easy to train. However, they do have a tendancy to become bored and therefore training sessions should be kept short and varied. Several Pharaohs compete in agility and obedience. They are very food orientated and therefore respond well to training with tit-bits and lots of praise. Clicker training also seems to work well with this breed. See our books on training

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Last link added: 10 Jan, 2006