Pharaoh Hound

Extremely Energetic and Much Like a Cat, the Pharaoh Hound Can Be Both Affectionate and Independent

The Pharaoh Hound is an exquisite dog, one that lives up to its name. Beautiful both in repose and in full run, you can just imagine yourself back in ancient Egypt with this living sculpture.

However, it's not just the Pharaoh Hound's physical beauty that will attract you. In fact, although its appearance may indicate a "regal" personality, the Pharaoh Hound is really a big kid with a goofy, playful sense of humor. Even aloof at times, similar to a cat, this dog loves older kids and can play for hours. (It is best to supervise its energy around toddlers, since the rambunctious Pharaoh Hound may not know its own strength.)


The Pharaoh Hound had a reputation for a long time as one of the oldest dog breeds, dating back to 3000 BC in Egypt, and some sources still state that. Egyptian writings and artifacts have shown dogs that look like Pharaoh Hound depictions, but modern genetics show that this breed probably truly originated in the 17th century, on the island of Malta. There, it is used to hunt rabbits and is called the Kelb tal-Fenek. It is also Malta's national dog.

The first Pharaoh Hounds came to the United States in 1967 through importation. The American Kennel Club has recognized the breed since 1983, one that remains relatively scarce, ranking 156th in popularity, down from 137th ten years ago. It is a member of the Hound Group.


Majestic, lithe, and athletic, similar to the build of a Greyhound or Ibizan Hound, the Pharaoh Hound is tall and slender with a slightly longer than tall body. The long, lean, slightly arched neck helps give it its patrician appearance, with a glossy, fine coat that is tan or red, sometimes with white markings. It stands 20 to 25 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 45 to 55 pounds in adulthood.

An interesting trait unique to the Pharaoh Hound is its tendency to smile and blush when excited. Often, this breed will display its exuberance by gyrating its entire body while simultaneously displaying a full, toothy smile. Although some Pharaoh Hounds may not smile, they all blush, giving the nose and inner ears a flushed rosy hue, a characteristic resulting from the breed’s absence of black skin pigmentation.


Independent, peaceful, and playful, the Pharaoh Hound has what many may describe as an "interesting" or "changeable" temperament. That is, this dog may show its goofy and playful side one minute, and then instantaneously switch to aloof or even intense. Your pet will be loving and affectionate with you and your family, but will definitely make its own decisions, very much like a cat .

Fortunately, the Pharaoh Hound is one of the relatively few dog breeds that can easily entertain itself if you can't be around. Like cats, Pharaoh Hounds do just fine when they are left to their own devices – but will be sure to check on you and maybe even ask for a pat or two before going back off for more self-exploration and play.

Although the Pharaoh Hound is very loving, just like a cat, it is not entirely willing to please. Most dogs live to please, but not the Pharaoh Hound. Instead, it will alternate behavior which is affectionate with intermittently "cool" treatment.

This dog needs to be trained from puppyhood. Surprisingly, it will pick up on training quite easily, but then again may decide not to do something "just because." It's not because your dog is not well trained, but is simply letting its independent streak show. Very inventive and curious, your dog could get into trouble if not properly supervised and managed.

Other pets do well with the Pharaoh Hound as long as they are relatively large. Avoid small "game" type pets that the Pharaoh Hound loves to chase, like rodents, birds, and even sometimes small dogs or cats.

That said, the Pharaoh Hound loves to be active and then wants to be a couch potato for the rest of the day. Again, just like a cat, the Pharaoh Hound will find a sunny spot that’s nice and warm, where it will plop down, and stay until you call it for dinner.

Finally, when you take your Pharaoh Hound home, make sure that your fence is tall enough to contain it (at least 6 feet tall), and substantially "dug in." Don't rely on electronic fences to keep your pet contained, since it's likely that your Pharaoh Hound will get right through – but then won't want to try to come back to your house through the discomfort and will simply leave it alone.

Your pet's athleticism needs to be challenged for this dog to be truly happy (and well-behaved). Keep your pet active; one idea may be to sign your pet up for dog sports like lure coursing, and agility. If your pet is to be shown, this is also an important aspect of a "winning" candidate.


In general, the Pharaoh Hound is a healthy breed, but it can be sensitive to medicines and insecticides. Check it out with your veterinarian before you decide to give your pet any sort of treatment, especially one that will require anesthesia. Life expectancy is about 10 to 14 years.


Exercise gets its own category here because it is extremely important for the Pharaoh Hound. This energetic breed needs frequent, long runs to stay mentally and physically stable and healthy. Devote at least an hour a day to these long runs, or give your dog a long walk on a leash with occasional sprinting. You can and should make your dog heel beside you so that it obeys commands without question. This is especially important for your impulsive dog, since it can see a small rodent and think it's time to give chase – not exactly a good idea when there are cars nearby.


The Pharaoh Hound needs very little grooming; simply brush every few days with a rubber brush to remove loose hair.


Pharaoh Hound.

Retrieved March 30, 2015.

Pharaoh Hound.

Retrieved March 30, 2015.

Pharaoh Hound Dogs.

Retrieved March 30, 2015.

Pharaoh Hound (Kelb Tal-Fenek).

Retrieved March 30, 2015.

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