Pharaoh Hound

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The Pharaoh Hound is from Malta. It is in fact the national dog of Malta. Its Maltese name is Kelb tal-Fenek which translates to "rabbit hound". Although the name would suggest that there is a link to Ancient Egypt this is almost certainly a fabrication and is only due to the passing resemblance that the dog has with statues from Ancient Egypt. It is classified as a sighthound. It is primarily found on the islands of Malta and is a fairly rare breed. This dog has a long history which was first written by Commendatore Fra. G. Fran. Abela in 1647, where he described the dogs. In different parts of the Mediterranean there are other breeds who are quite similar for example the Cirneco dell'Etna is from Sicily is one which looks the same but are smaller. Other dogs which are similar include the Podenco Canario, Podengo Portugues and the Ibizan Hound. The Pharaoh was bred to hunt rabbits and other small game. The dog will run the animal to ground and traditionally a ferret is used to root out the prey.


This dog is elegant and refined. It is a strong dog. The head of this dog resembles a wedge. Generally it is between 53 cm to 63 cm to the withers and weighs from 18 to 27 kilos. As usual with dogs the male dogs are larger than the female dog. Unusually for dogs when the Pharaoh hound is moving or excited the tail goes up. It has a fine coat which is short. The texture can vary dramatically going from silky smooth to rough. Its standard colour is red, though it can be found in other colours. They eyes tend to either be dark gold. The Pharaohs have a very unique characterised which included blushing when they are excited much like humans.


This breed is a highly intelligent, social and active breed. It is generally a friendly breed with other canines and humans but it tends to be more reserved with people it does not know. It is a very trainable breed, though it needs to have a variety in its training otherwise it can dig its heals in and be quite stubborn. It is not a noisy dog though it is vocal. These traits make it a good watch dog, however due to its kind nature it does not make a very good guard dog. It is very much a family dog, so needs to be fully integrated into family life, it will not be happy stuck in a kennel all by itself.

Grooming and care

Their coat is relatively easy to keep well maintained, using a simple damp cloth and a quick rub down should be enough.. This dog is a sensitive dog so it does not do well to being punished, better the carrot than the stick. Speaking to them in soft tones and giving confident instruction and care and consideration is best. These dogs do tend to have sensitive skin which means that it is important to take care when shampooing that they do not have a bad reaction against something, so try first the shampoo on a small area. This breed is highly active as would be expected of a scent hound, so the dog needs a run every day not just a long walk. They do have an inbuilt prey drive which means it is likely that they could bolt if not on a leash. These dogs are very good jumpers so it is important to make sure that they are well fenced in. These dogs are also quite sensitive to colds so in colder climbs they might need a jacket so that they do not get too cold.


The life expectancy of this breed is between 12 and 15 years. They are sensitive to barbiturate anesthetics. The Pharaoh hound tends to be fairly free from genetic diseases.