Dog Profiles: Pharaoh Hound


  • The Pharaoh Hound is considered by some to be a “sighthound” (or gaze hound) which is differentiated from a  “scent hound.” A sighthound hunts its prey by sight alone unlike other breeds who rely on their sense of smell. However, it is unclear where the Pharaoh Hound sits on this spectrum. Given its body structure and how it runs in pursuit, this breed seems to encapsulate some sighthound characteristics; however, it uses scent to track rabbits and usually hunts at night making it more straightforwardly a scent hound.
  • This breed’s native name is Kelb tal-fenek — Maltese for “Rabbit Dog” since the dog was used to hunt rabbits and small game in the Maltese islands. The Pharaoh Hound is the national dog of Malta.
  • The Pharaoh Hound has a silky and coarse variety of coat, but it never has any profusion of longer hairs or ruffs.
  • This breed has the ability to “blush” when it is excited but not in their cheeks. Their noses and ears redden when their adrenaline rises.
  • A desirable attribute in the Pharaoh Hound is a white-tipped tail. White spotting occurs in this breed giving them an almost deer-like coat.
  • The name “Pharaoh Hound” is speculative in that it was believed that this ancient breed helped pharaohs hunt gazelle.
  • This breed does not like to be alone for extended periods and will act out or may bark incessantly. This, incidentally, is why they don’t make great guard dogs as they are far to friendly with strangers and tend to bark at any perplexing minutiae.
  • If you live in a climate with cold winters, you should invest in a dog sweater for your Pharaoh Hound. They do not do well in cold weather as their coats were not developed to combat iciness and chill.
  • Do not keep this dog with smaller animals like cats or rabbits. Their prey-drive is very strong.
  • The typical life span of the Pharaoh Hound is between 11 and 14 years.