Pharaoh Hound

AKC Hound Group


Photo Copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Photo Copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Ancestors of the Pharaoh Hound probably came to Spain from Ancient Egypt in the ships of Phoenician traders. Artifacts depicting very similar looking dogs have been found dating to 4000 BC. The Pharaoh Hound is a very fast and agile sight hound with an unusually fine sense of smell. The breed was used extensively on the island of Malta for hunting rabbits and birds. This swift sight hound was so valued by the residents of Malta that they made him the National Dog of Malta. For centuries, the Pharaoh Hound remained on the island, relatively isolated from the rest of the dog world, so he most likely still resembles the original Egyptian dog. During the 1960s, Pharaoh Hounds were imported to England and to the United States. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 1983. Pharaoh Hounds are good at lure coursing and can be fine companion dogs if exercised enough.


The Pharaoh Hound is a graceful, athletic sight hound. The muscles are lithe, never heavy. The head is wedge shaped and chiseled. The skull and muzzle are long and slim. The nose is flesh colored. The oval eyes are amber. The ears are very large and stand erect. The teeth should meet in a scissors bite. The neck is fairly long and slightly arched. The brisket is deep and the abdomen moderately tucked up. The whip-like tail is thick at the root and tapers to a point. The front legs are straight. Removal of the dewclaws is optional. The coat is short and glossy in red or tan A white tip on the tail is preferred. A white star on the chest, white on the toes, and/or a thin white line down the center of the face are permitted. Any white on the back of the dog is a disqualification.

Key Facts

  • Height: 23 to 25 in. (male); 21 to 24 in. (female)
  • Size: Medium
  • Weight: 45 to 60 lbs.
  • Availability: Very difficult to find
  • Talents: Hunting, sighting, racing, agility, and lure coursing


This dog is very fast and likes to chase things. Don’t let him off leash except in a safely contained area. The Pharaoh Hound can be highly sensitive to insecticides and medicines—use caution. When the dog is excited, he blushes, with his nose and ears turning a glowing deep rose. The Pharaoh Hound is a clean dog with no doggy odor.


Loves to play. Calm and loving. Quiet, naturally well-behaved, and intelligent. Can do well at competitive obedience. Socialize well at an early age to avoid timidity. Good with other dogs, but should not be trusted with rabbits, cats, and other small non-canine pets. A fast hunter.


  • Children: Good with children
  • Friendliness: Reserved with strangers
  • Trainability: Slightly difficult to train
  • Independence: Moderately dependent on people
  • Dominance: Moderate
  • Other Pets: Generally good with other dogs; do not trust with non-canine pets
  • Combativeness: Not generally dog-aggressive
  • Noise: Average barker
  • Indoors: Relatively inactive indoors
  • Owner: Good for novice owners


  • Grooming: Very little grooming needed
  • Trimming and Stripping: No trimming or stripping needed
  • Coat: Short coat
  • Shedding: Average shedder
  • Exercise: Needs lots of exercise
  • Jogging: An excellent jogging companion.
  • Apartments: Will be OK in an apartment if sufficiently exercised
  • Outdoor Space: Best with a large yard
  • Climate: Prefers warm climates
  • Longevity: Average (10 to 12 years)

Useful Links

AKC® Pharaoh Hound Breed Standard

Pharaoh Hound Breed Club

Search for a Breeder

Rescue Organizations

Books about the Pharaoh Hound

Pharaoh Hound Gifts