More about the pharaoh hound
HEIGHT: 21-25 inches
Short and glossy; ranging from
fine and close to slightly harsh
with no feathering
Self-colored tan, rich tan, or
chestnut; white markings allowed
only as follows—strongly desired white tip on tail and acceptable
white on chest (called the star), toes,
and slim snip on face
NAMES: Kelb-tal Fenek
created in the Nile Valley during the Stone Age, perhaps as long ago as 4000
BC, display the image of a general type hound, such as the Pharaoh, Ibizan and
Sicilian breeds. These dogs had the typical large, upright ears and descended
from pariah-type southern dogs selected for their speed. Depicted widely
during the Egyptian dynasties, these dogs bear a striking resemblance to the
dog-god Anubis, who guided souls to their place in the afterworld.
long before Egyptian times, the Phoenicians busily traded sighthounds of this
kind around the known world. In most cases, these dogs were molded and shaped
into new breeds by crossing with native dogs. But, in certain cases, the
canine cargo was left on isolated islands where they bred true for millenia.
Such is the case with the Pharaoh Hound.
colonized the island of Malta about 1000 BC, probably bringing fleet hounds
with them at that time. Over the years, the people of this poor-soiled rocky
island learned to value the dogs for hunting rabbits. This is where they
acquired the name Kelb-tal Fenek, or rabbit dog. After the decline of the
Middle Eastern civilizations, Malta was left on its own for many centuries (although
legend says that the Apostle Paul was shipwrecked near Malta in 60 AD when the
inhabitants of these islands were converted to Christianity). For almost 2,000
years, the original dogs bred true on the island, without the introduction of
any other type. Today the Pharaoh is the national dog of Malta and a piece of
living history, showing us what dogs looked like thousands of years ago.
some Pharaoh Hounds were brought to Britain in the 1930s, they attracted
little attention and soon disappeared. It wasn't until the breed was
reintroduced in the 1960s that these dogs began to stir interest. A specialty
club was organized in England as recently as 1968, with official Kennel Club
recognition soon following. Specimens were introduced to North America in the
late 1960s and gained much respect for their abilities in lure coursing and in
field trials for sighthounds. Canada recognized the breed in 1979, with
America following suit in 1983.
Pharaoh is an unusual sighthound who can also competently hunt by scent. His
temperament is friendly and affectionate, even playful. This, combined with
his intelligence, often makes him a competitive obedience dog, a trait not
common among the independent gaze-hounds. Despite his great speed and
agility, his nature makes him quiet and unobtrusive in the home. The long,
whiplike tail is carried high in a gentle curve when he is in action, very
much like his ancient pariah ancestors and his cousin the Canaan Dog.
His alarm tendencies and easy care make him a viable choice for those who are willing to provide a workout. It has been noted by modern owners that Pharaohs lick rain water off each other, obviously a desert instinct to take advantage of any water. When excited, they blush a rosy pink, highlighting their faces and the inside of their ears. It is said "his face glows like a god."