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Hound Or Dog: What’s The Different

That most dogs are cuddly and friendly, everyone already knows, right? However, some dogs have the aptitude to be working dogs. Their keen instincts and great energy help hunters search for prey.

A hunting dog is any dog that can work as a hunter and assists humans, and it usually has a keen sense of smell, a high ability to run at high speeds, and a lot of energy. Currently, there are different types of hunting dogs that vary according to the established purpose.

Is There A Difference Between A Dog And A Hunting Dog?

Morphologically, there is no differentiation between a dog and a hunting dog. Hunting dogs can also be faithful friends and companions, such as Beagle dogs, which are excellent hunters and are also considered amazing companion dogs due to their docile temperament.

What differentiates a typical dog from a hunting dog is their physical fitness and keen instincts, especially their sense of smell. And if you think that only large dogs can be hunting dogs, you are very wrong. Small dogs like dachshunds can be excellent den hunters.

Does Dog Mean Dog? Why Is It Called A Dog?

In 14th century England, the hound was the general word for domestic canines, and dog referred to a subtype similar to the modern mastiff and bulldog. In the 16th century, the dog became the available word, and the hound began to refer just to breeds used for hunting activities, such as Daschund and Afghan Hound. Around the 16th century, several mainland European languages adopted the term “dog,” usually for mastiff dogs. Currently, the word dog is designated for any type of doggy, be it work or companion.     

Is Hound A Derogatory Term?

When the term hound is designated for dogs, there is no derogatory connotation, quite the contrary. It means that the dog is apt to be a hunter with characteristics different from a typical dog. Hound are dogs that help hunters to track and chase prey, and differ from other variations of hunting dogs such as gun dogs, terriers, and prey dogs, as they only chase prey. Among hounds, there are two subcategories, the hares that hunt by sight and the hounds that hunt by smell.


They received this terminology due to the ease with which these dogs hunt hares, through the high speed they can reach and excellent vision. As general characteristics, they have long legs, a deep chest to support the cardiovascular system and a thin and slender body. Check out some attributes of hare dogs:

  1. Whippet: a breed popularly known as greyhound, they are potent athletes and hunters due to their aerodynamic physique that allows great runs with little effort. They are the fastest dogs in the world, able to run up to 60 km/h. They have a life expectancy of 13 years, and in addition to being good sprinters, they also have a high level of cuteness. It is an amiable dog that adapts easily to new environments. However, due to its hunting instincts, it may not adapt to companion animals of other species, such as cats and birds.
  2. Greyhounds: like Whippet dogs, Greyhounds are also known for their high performance in races, being the fastest dogs among all hounds, being able to run up to 72 km/h, but they are bigger and heavier than other breeds of this subgroup. This breed has a life expectancy of 12 years and is easy to train, as it is brilliant.

Hounds And Sniffer Dogs

The sixth group of the American Kennel Club’s canine breeds classification brings together hounds and sniffer dogs. These dogs have exceptional physical endurance, an unparalleled sense of smell, and the ability to chase.

Hounds – Dogs of this subgroup are excellent sniffers and can sense the presence of prey from afar. Some even manage to smell it after days that the prey has passed through the place. More than any other dog, hounds preserved the instinct for collective work, that is, in packs, typical, even today, of many wild canids. While other breeds emphasize individuality, often to the detriment of their gregarious instincts, hounds and sniffers have manifested specific psychic conditions that make it easier for them to live among their peers. Many of this group’s breeds became capable of performing other functions over time. The Bloodhound, for example, is used successfully as a police dog, while other breeds of this group, such as the Beagle and the Basset Hound, are considered wonderful companion dogs. Check out some of the races that belong to this group:

  1. American Foxhound: dogs of this breed are originally from the United States and are known as fox hunters, but they are also used in wild boar hunting. They are light and fast dogs, and their sense of smell is considered the best among hounds. They have a life expectancy of 12 years, and they are very active dogs that need to spend energy.
  2. Beagle: they are dogs originating in the United Kingdom, of medium size, and similar in appearance to American Foxhound dogs, but with smaller legs and more elongated ears. They have a life expectancy of 16 years, are incredibly docile, and adapt quickly to other environments. Due to their very keen sense of smell, in addition to hunting, they are used as sniffers at airports to detect drugs and illicit substances.
  3. The Basset Hound: is a typical sniffer dog, originally bred to hunt rabbits and hares. Of singular appearance, the Basset Hound is a strong dog of short stature short legs, with long drooping ears. The Basset Hound was bred in France during the Middle Ages, supposedly by monks, to hunt hares and rabbits in terrains with dense cover and brutal penetration. These dogs were supposed to be excellent trackers, able to keep their noses close to the ground to chase their prey by scent.

When the term is designated for humans, it does have a derogatory connotation, as it is said when a man pursues women being promiscuous or when a person is mean.

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