THE Pharaoh Hound is a medium sized hound of noble bearing, elegant, powerful and swift with hard, clean-cut lines and a short glossy coat. An intelligent, friendly, affectionate, playful and alert breed and an alert keen hunter, the Pharaoh Hound hunts by scent and sight using its large ears when working close. Dogs range in height between 56-63 cm and bitches 53-61cm. Coat colour is from light tan through to chestnut. White markings may be found on the chest - called the star, toes and desired on the tip of the tail. A slim white snip on the centre line of face is also permissible. White on the sides or back is a disqualification to showing the dog.
Pharaoh Hounds have a real sense of fun. They are very fast with a marked keenness in hunting. They can be a little distant at first with strangers, their soft, affectionate side only being revealed to family and friends. This breed needs the company of people to be at its best, and should be part of the family and part of all that goes on.
A number of prick-eared hounds found in the Mediterranean region including the Pharaoh Hound and Ibizan Hound are strikingly similar to the hunting dogs depicted in the art of Ancient Egypt. It seems highly probable that the Pharaoh Hound and its allies are genuinely very old breeds. Claims have been made that the Pharaoh Hound is the oldest breed of dog in recorded history.
They were later introduced to Malta and preserved by the Maltese until being introduced to England (and indeed the Western World) in the 1960s. The Pharaoh Hound is now the national dog of Malta. It is known there as "Kelb Tal Fenek" which translates to "dog of the rabbit".
As well as a family companion, the Pharaoh Hound was bred as a hunting dog; hunting small game (rabbits) by both sight and scent. He has been known to pursue his game over long distances, usually disregarding his panic-sticken owner calling vainly after him. All calls and commands will be in vain because of the Pharaoh's deep-rooted hunting instinct.
Therefore it is imperative that they are walked and led and have a securely fenced exercise yard for off-lead running as they can cover a lot of ground very fast! Because of their fun-loving nature Pharaoh Hounds make a happy-go-lucky pal for the children of their 'family'. The exuberance of children matches that for the Pharaoh!
Your house will do just fine! Pharaohs do not usually kennel well, they must be part of all that you do. Their outgoing, friendly personality cannot develop in an impersonal kennel situation. However, once a routine is established, they will accept a nice warm dry kennel and run while you go to work. They should not be secured by a collar and chain as they will easily slip a collar. Pharaohs do not have a doggy smell and a well exercised Pharaoh can be quite unobtrusive in the home.
A short sleek coat certainly makes no chore of the grooming. A weekly rub over with a hound glove will remove dead hairs and bring up a glossy shine. Regular bathing is not necessary, with a sponge-down with warm water on a damp cloth usually sufficient. If a complete bath is required do not over-scrub the coat as their skin is very fine. Toe nails should be checked and trimmed weekly and ears checked weekly.
Basic obedience training is recommended for your Pharaoh Hound. This should preferably be undertaken with a local club as it will then provide socialisation opportunities. Being a hound of an independent nature, Pharaohs are not the easiest dog to train, but with patience, perseverance and consistency, you will gain a well mannered dog.
Anything that involves running, playing or generally having fun will appeal to the Pharaoh Hound. Playing Frisbee in a secure area gives both exercise and fun. Agility also appeals to them, but will you be able to keep up? One of the better ways to see your Pharaoh in all its splendour is to take it lure coursing. This is an opportunity for it to run like the wind in a 'controlled' situation. Contact your local hound club.
Pharaoh Hounds live an average age of 12/13 years. They have no known congenital diseases. Pharaoh Hounds eagerly accept other animal members of the household (including cats), regarding all as potential playmates. Your neighbours' trespassing cats may be a different story!
Two characteristics distinct to the breed are the Pharaohs ability to smile and blush.
Many Pharaohs, when greeting a visitor they like, or returning owners, will crinkle up their noses and pull back their lips from their teeth in a real smile. This should not be interpreted as a snarl!
According to "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" the Pharaoh Hound is the only other mammal besides humans to blush. They blush when excited or happy. In a blushing dog the ears turn a bright flush pink and usually the blush travels down their pink noses making them 'hot pink'.
The Pharaoh Hound's exquisite beauty combined with superior intelligence, sense of fun and easy coat makes this breed of dog stand out from the rest.
The Pharaoh Hound is medium sized, with clean-cut lines and with free easy movement and alert expression.
Head and Skull: Skull long, lean and well-chiselled. Foreface slightly longer than the skull. Only slight stop. Top of skull parallel with the foreface, the whole head representing a blunt wedge when viewed in profile and from above.
Eyes: Amber coloured, blending with the coat; oval, moderatelydeep set, with keen, intelligent expression.
Ears: Medium high set; carried erect when alert, but verymobile; broad at the base, fine and large.
Mouth: Powerful jaws with strong teeth. Scissor bite.
Nose: Flesh coloured only, blending with the coat.
Neck: Long, lean, muscular and slightly arched. Clean throat line. Shoulders - strong, long and well-laid back. Forelegs -straight and parallel. Elbows well-tucked in. Pasterns strong. Body: Lithe with almost straight topline. Slight slope down from croup to root of tail. Deep brisket extending down to point of elbow. Ribs well sprung. Length of body from breast to haunch bone slightly longer than height at withers.
Hindquarters: Strong and muscular. Moderate bend of stifle. Limbs parallel when viewed from behind.
Feet: Strong, well knuckled and firm, turning neither in nor out. Paws well padded. Dew claws may be removed.
Gait: Free and flowing; the head should be held fairly high and the dog should cover the ground well without any apparent effort. The legs and feet should move in line with the body. Tail: Medium set - fairly thick at the base and tapering (whip-like), reaching just below the point of hock in repose. Carried high and curved when the dog is in action. The tail should not be tucked between the legs. A screw tail is a fault.
Coat: Short and glossy, ranging from fine and close to slightly harsh; no feathering.
They are in the sight-hound class, so they are lean! They have enormous, mobile, pricked ears, and spectacular hearing.
One owner says "As best as I can tell, Pharaoh Hounds aren't really dogs. They are little gnomes who take off their dog suits at night while you're all asleep. You can only trick a Pharaoh into doing something once. After that, they're on to you. "They have clever feet, and can open just about any door that's shut before them. They must be part of the family, including going for rides in the car whenever possible. If you don't have time to spend with them, they will be miserably unhappy and bored. And bored dogs are bad dogs."
Pharaohs learn quickly, but standard training doesn't work very well for them. They work best when they want a reward like a belly-rub. Punishment never works with them and ruins their naturally sunny disposition.
Pharaoh Hounds are naturally clean, with no doggy odour. They go out in the rain, and no wet dog smell - and that's only one of the benefits of the breed.
They enjoy children, and see them as potential playmates. They are wary of strangers, making very good watchdogs. They bark at any stranger who comes to the door. They don't like rough-housing and intensely dislike feeling trapped. Because they are sensitive, raising your voice can make them cry. They love to please, and are incredibly curious - Pharaoh-proof the house, or you'll find things missing. If you leave them in a fenced-in yard, be sure the fence is at least five feet high. The chase instinct might kick in and they wouldn't even hear you frantically calling them.
One last word of warning - if you let a Pharaoh sleep once on your bed, you'd better plan on having it there for life.
This description is not an official standard of any club but is meant to give breeders and owners an idea of what to expect and what to aim for. Ask your kennel club if you require a copy of the official breed standard.