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A Lot of Dog in a Plain Brown Wrapper

Pharoah Hound

A Lot of Dog in a Plain Brown Wrapper

A ring full of short-coated, similar-colored dogs. Where do you begin to sort them out?

Let’s start with the initial impressions as you look over your line-up for the first time. As you look down that line, what you should feel is a sense of elegance, combined with the well-balanced body of a true athlete. The Pharaoh Hound should present a clean, smooth outline where all the body parts flow together without lumps, bumps, or hard angles.

Shoulders should be well laid-back, topline almost flat (with a slight rise over the loin being acceptable) and rear angulation moderate and balanced with the front.

Color? Color should not play a part is assessing the overall quality of a dog. Pharaoh Hounds can be anything from a light tan to a deep chestnut; and all shades in-between. All these variations are acceptable and one is not preferable over another, except on a personal level.

Although the white tail tip is strongly preferred, it is common to see an outstanding specimen of the breed that is a solid red. Unless attempting to decide between two dogs of equal quality, the white tip should not overly influence judgment.

Moving on to individual examination: Like many of the sighthound breeds, Pharaoh Hounds do not like to be approached from above. They should be approached with confidence, and the first hands-on contact should be under the chin. This will normally put the dog at ease and facilitate the remainder of the examination.

The Pharaoh Hound eye should be amber and oval-shaped. It should blend with the coat. Their expression should be that of intelligence, alertness, and curiosity.

Muzzles should be relatively equal to length of the skull. This is a breed that experiences a large variation in age when it comes to the graying factor. You will see many young dogs already starting to gray, as well as older dogs without a gray hair. This should not play a part in evaluating the animal.

Ears should be erect and flexible; being neither overly upright nor tipping off from the side of the head.

The Pharaoh Hound Breed Standard does not require full dentition. With that said, missing teeth are undesirable. It is not uncommon to encounter missing premolars. Anything more should be noted and considered when making final decisions. A scissors bite is called for; anything else should be considered a fault.

The underjaw should be strong and well defined. Lack of underjaw produces a snipey appearance and detracts from the overall symmetry of the head. A strong underjaw is important when it comes to hunting and taking down prey.

The chest should reach almost to the point of elbow. Past that point would interfere with the turning ability of a hound in pursuit of prey.

This is a breed that, for centuries, has hunted in rough, rocky terrain. Bone should be substantial enough to withstand this activity with ease. Slight-boned like a Whippet, or heavy bone like a Doberman, would not serve the Pharaoh Hound well.

There is no measuring in or out in this breed; however, an exceptionally tall or exceptionally small dog should be penalized. This is a medium-sized breed. Above all else, balance should be maintained.

When moving the hand from the neck to the rear, you should not encounter any bulges or hard angles. The hand should be able to move smoothly from front to rear.


Like any natural athlete, the Pharaoh Hound should cover ground efficiently, without effort. Reach and drive should be equal. You should not see pounding or hackney-type lift.

The tail can be carried high or low, but it should never be so high that it tends to curl towards the back.

The length of the Pharaoh Hound body should be “slightly” longer than it is tall. Too square or too long takes away from the overall balance of the dog.

Coming at you, elbows should be well tucked into the body without any sloppiness. The Pharaoh Hound should move parallel, and single-tracking is not desirable.

Although the only disqualifying white is on the back of the neck, back or sides, excessive white in undesirable. On the down and back, if you notice the white then it’s probably excessive and should play a part in your final decisions.

This breed is a truly versatile animal. Breeders/owners take great pride in the fact that a large majority of specials are Dual Champions; excelling both in the show ring and on the field. The dog you judge in the Conformation ring will likely be the same dog entered in Lure Coursing later in the day.

The activities available to owners of the Pharaoh Hound are unlimited. There are several Agility superstars, Therapy Dogs, Flyball competitors, Herding-tested dogs, Rally Obedience participants, and most recently, Scent Work contenders. The breed also boasts the first two federally licensed First Response Pharaoh Hounds, as well as multiple AKC National Invitational Lure Coursing winners. As I said in the beginning—a lot of dog in a plain brown wrapper.