Home Articles The Rarest Breeds in Canada – Part 2: The Hound Group

The Rarest Breeds in Canada – Part 2: The Hound Group

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Part 2 of 7 – The Hound Group

In continuation of last week, where we explored the rarest breeds found in the Sporting Group, this week we dive into the Hound Group.

We have looked at the individual registration numbers for years 2016, 2017 & 2018 and combined those three years to come up with the numbers for the rarest breeds. As a point of interest we have also looked at data from the Kennel Club (UK) for these same breeds when available.

The write up for each group and breed copied from the CKC.

The Hound Group

Breeds: Hound breeds are split into two factions – those long-limbed canines that hunt by sight (aptly enough referred to as sighthounds or, occasionally, gazehounds) and those that hunt by scent, not surprisingly called scent hounds. Their quarry is the furred and four-footed variety.
Activity level: Whether sighthound or scent hound, these dogs are bred to pursue game. The sighthounds do it in bursts of top speed, running down everything from gazelle to rabbits, always keeping them in their sight. Scent hounds follow the scent trail, moving at a slower speed but working relentlessly and with determination. When not running at a mind-boggling gallop, sighthounds are often content to be couch potatoes. Scent hounds are more likely to cover greater distances in their pursuits and tend to need more exercise to keep in shape for the long haul.
Size: No group has a greater size variation than the Hound Group. From the diminutive Miniature Dachshunds, which, at 4.5 kilograms (10 pounds), are smaller than many Toy breeds, to the Irish Wolfhound that towers over the rest of dogdom with a minimum height of 81 centimeters (32 inches) and a minimum weight for males of 54 kilograms (120 pounds), Hound breeds run the full gamut of sizes.
Trainability: Instinct often means more to hounds than pleasing their owners. Give them something to pursue and they may conveniently forget all the obedience commands they’ve ever been taught. Patient perseverance pays off.

5th Rarest Hound Breed

Ibizan Hound

The Ibizan Hound comes in at number 5, with a three year culmination of only 10 individual registrations (7 in 2016, 0 in 2017 and 3 in 2018). The number of individual registrations in the UK are equally as concerning as here in Canada, with only 14 registrations in 2018.

“This slender and elegant sporting hound with its erect, mobile ears bears a striking resemblance to Anubis, the Egyptian “watchdog of the dead” and is believed to have originated in Egypt many centuries ago. Many likenesses of this unique breed have been found in tombs. Phoenician traders probably took the hounds to the Balearic island of Ibiza in the pre-Christian era and there in isolation they bred true for many centuries. The Ibizan is prized as a hunter of small game. And, unlike most coursing hounds that hunt by sight, the Ibizan uses sight, scent and hearing when in pursuit.” (CKC Breed Profile)

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4th Rarest Hound Breed

Drever

The Drever comes in at number 4, with a three year culmination of only 5 individual registrations (0 in 2016, 5 in 2017 and 0 in 2018). The number of individuals in the UK is unknown, as they are not currently recognized by The Kennel Club (UK).

“When a small German hound called the Westphalian Dachsbracke was imported to Sweden in 1910, word about this industrious, short-legged game-tracker spread among hunters. In 1947, the larger Swedish variety was given the name Drever and in 1953, it was recognized as a Swedish breed.” (CKC Breed Profile)

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3rd Rarest Hound Breed

Black and Tan Coonhound

The Black and Tan Coonhound comes in at number 3, with a three year culmination of only 4 individual registrations (4 in 2016, 0 in 2017 and 0 in 2018). The number of individual registrations in the UK were much higher than here in Canada, but still low, with 29 registrations in 2018.

“Black and Tans have an amazingly sensitive nose, long, velvety ears, and a sweet disposition. The coal-black coat features rich tan accents, including the distinctive “pumpkin seeds” above keenly expressive eyes. These are big, strong hounds: A good-size male can stand 27 inches at the shoulder and cover ground with effortless, eager strides.

B&Ts are sociable hounds. A lonely B&T will serenade the neighborhood with loud, mournful “music.” B&Ts can keep pace with the most active family, but they also can hog the sofa for hours on end. Hounds will be hounds: A passing squirrel can arouse B&T prey drive in no time flat, so a strong leash and sturdy fence are must-haves. B&Ts might be too much hound for the lifestyle of every owner.” (AKC Breed Profile)

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2nd Rarest Hound Breed

American Foxhound, English Foxhound & Harrier

American Foxhound

The American Foxhound comes in at number 2, alongside the English Foxhound & Harrier. The American Foxhound has a three year culmination of only 1 individual registration (0 in 2016, 0 in 2017 and 1 in 2018). The number of individuals in the UK is unknown, as they are not currently recognized by The Kennel Club (UK).

“The lineage of the American Foxhound goes back to English packhounds imported to Virginia and Maryland in 1650. They were initially kept busy helping farmers control the fox population, which pillaged livestock and destroyed property. As the need for their exterminating services waned, their hunting abilities were employed in sport to scent and track the fox only. Crosses with French and Irish hound imports eventually produced a lighter, taller and faster dog more suitable for American hunting conditions. Noted for its great stamina, intelligence and “homing instinct,” the breed is an excellent hunting companion that’s also made a splash in the show ring.” (CKC Breed Profile)

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English Foxhound

The English Foxhound comes in at number 2, alongside the American Foxhound & Harrier. The English Foxhound has a three year culmination of only 1 individual registration (0 in 2016, 0 in 2017 and 1 in 2018). In the UK the breed is referred to as Foxhound, official KC records show 0 Foxhounds registered in 2018.

“Stag hunting was once the sport of Britain’s landed gentry but when stag became scarce, they turned to pursuing the more abundant fox. The farmers’ hounds that were first used were reliable but slow and not suited to working with hunters on horseback. Early hunters wanted a hound with a keen nose, sound paws, speed, enthusiasm and stamina. By selective breeding, hounds were created to meet their demands. The first kennel specializing in these hounds dates to 1696; by 1750 there were 50 Foxhound kennels in England.” (CKC Breed Profile)

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Harrier

The Harrier comes in at number 2, alongside the American & English Foxhound. The Harrier has a three year culmination of only 1 individual registration (0 in 2016, 0 in 2017 and 1 in 2018). The number of individuals in the UK is unknown, as they are not currently recognized by The Kennel Club (UK).

“Used for hunting in North America as early as the 17th century, the Harrier was developed in England to hunt hare in packs. Because this smaller version of the English Foxhound works at a slower pace, the pack could be followed on foot rather than horseback.” (CKC Breed Profile)

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The Rarest Hound Breed

Norwegian Lundehund

The Norwegian Lundehund comes in at number 1, the rarest Hound in Canada, with a three year culmination of 0 individual registrations (0 in 2016, 0 in 2017 and 0 in 2018). The number of individuals in the UK is unknown, as they are not currently recognized by The Kennel Club (UK).

“First impressions of the Norwegian Lundehund might lead one to believe it’s a rather ordinary dog of the Spitz family. No way! The Lundehund was bred to climb cliffs on the Arctic islands off the Norwegian coast to search the rocky crevices and caves for puffins, which were popular for eating as well as for their down and feathers. To accomplish this, the breed is virtually a canine contortionist. Incredibly flexible, it can stretch its head back until its skull touches its spine and flex its forelegs out 90 degrees from its body. Most astounding of all, the Lundehund has at least six toes on each foot, some double or triple-jointed, giving the dog unbelievable grasping ability. And when you’re climbing cliffs, that comes in pretty handy. Now, both the puffin and the Lundehund are protected by Norwegian law.” (CKC Breed Profile)

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Honorable Mention

Otterhound

The Otterhound only had 20 individual registrations in Canada over a 3 year period (7 in 2016, 12 in 2017 and 1 in 2018), compared to 39 individual registrations in the UK in 2018.

“With webbed feet and the ability to swim for hours, the Otterhound is definitely a water dog. Used in Britain to swim down the otter that robbed the streams of fish, the Otterhound has been known there since the 13th century. Though the breed’s ancestry is uncertain, it is believed the Bloodhound and Southern Harrier may have contributed to its makeup. When pollution made both fish and otter scarce, the otter became a protected species in 1978 and the breed’s usefulness came to an abrupt halt. Two purebred packs remained and the owners were determined to keep the breed alive. An association was formed, a standard was drawn up and the Otterhound became a show dog. On this continent, the Otterhound has been used to hunt mink, raccoon, mountain lion and bear.” (CKC Breed Profile)

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Stay tuned as next week we will bring you Canada’s rarest Working Breeds!

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