Since ancient times, hounds have been faithful partners and have provided great help for hunters. The many different kinds of hunting dogs have been bred as a result of the changing requirements of man. Their tasks vary from fox hunting to deer hunting and from coon hunting to bird hunting, while some hounds have been bred specifically to work in water and some to work on land.
In general, one can sort hunting dogs into two categories: sight hounds and scent hounds. Sight hounds are dogs that primarily hunt by sight and speed. As their name indicates, sight hounds have extremely good vision and are able to detect even the slightest movements. Typical sight hound breeds include for instance the Afghan Hound or the Greyhound. With their long and powerful legs they can outrun almost every fast and agile quarry and are therefore perfect partners for deer hunters. Scent hounds, on the other hand, hunt by following a smell or scent. Thanks to their extremely sensitive nose, they can follow a scent over long distances and even across water. Because of that, they don’t have to keep their quarry in sight. Their strength lies in endurance, not in speed. Most breeds have long, drooping ears which allow them to concentrate fully on the scent. While scent hounds, such as Bloodhounds, Beagles or Foxhounds, are often kept as family pets, they can make up excellent hunting dogs.
Hounds have boundless energy and need to work. Therefore, proper training is of incredibly important for the hound and for the hunter. The training can vary majorly depending on the target quarry, the type of terrain and the particular breed. One can choose between group training and private training, while training in a group can have a lot of advantages, such as, for example, the exchange between the dog owners. Although many adult dogs are already trained, it is generally advisable to start the training with a puppy. In this way, the hound and its owner form a special bond from the very beginning. This mutual trust and strong relationship between dog and man are crucial for a successful hunt.
No matter whether you decide on a Beagle, a Greyhound, a Foxhound or one of the many other breeds, a hound will not only be a great help for a successful hunt, your four-legged hunting partner will also serve as a loyal and life-long friend.