The Pharaoh Hound is a breed from Malta which is used for hunting. It is the national dog of Malta, where they call it the Kelb tal-Fenek, or rabbit hound. For years, the breed was considered one of the oldest dog breeds due to its resemblance of dogs in paintings on ancient pyramids and tombs. DNA analysis revealed that the dog is slightly more recent. The Pharaoh Hound is considered a sight hound, but it hunts by both scent and sound.
The breed stands 21 to 25 inches tall and weighs between 40 and 60 pounds. It has a graceful, yet powerful athletic build. It is not extreme in its build or shape, but elegant. The skull is wedge-shaped with a muzzle of good length. It has a long, arched neck and a deep chest with a medium tuck. It has long legs and a long, thin tail. The coat of the Pharaoh Hound is short and fine and ranges from silky to hard. The hair can be any shade of red and may be marked with white. The eyes of the adult Pharaoh Hound are amber, but the puppies are born with blue eyes which darken with age.
The Pharaoh Hound is intelligent, sociable, and active. The breed can be independent and stubborn and therefore needs to be trained and socialized early on. It responds well to positive training methods, but it still may be harder to train than some breeds. The Pharaoh Hound was originally bred to hunt and think for itself, and most retain this trait. The breed can be incredibly affectionate with those it knows, but it can also be reserved with strangers. The breed is very active and needs a daily run. It has an exceptionally strong prey drive, so if let off leash, it will run off to chase something it perceives as prey. The breed is not only athletic and active, it can jump six feet in the air, so it needs to be kept in an area with a very tall fence.
The breed has sensitive skin, so it is somewhat high maintenance in the respect that it needs gentle shampoos. On the other hand, grooming is easy and quick due to the short coat of the breed. The Pharaoh Hound is generally clean and rarely sheds. It also has no noticeable odor.
The Pharaoh Hound is essentially free from genetic diseases at this point in time, due to reputable breeding. They are, however, sensitive to barbiturate anesthetics. Their ears are also prone to frostbite in extreme cold.