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Hounds are a hugely diverse group of dogs. The solidly-build Beagle is a hound dog, and so is the lean and tall Afghan hound. There are three types of hounds: sight hounds, scent hounds, and hounds that either fall into both those types or not really either of those types. All hounds share a common background of being used for hunting. Sight hounds would use their keen sense of sight to lock on to a moving target and chase them down by keeping them in their line of sight. Scent hounds would use their keen sense of smell in much the same way, finding a scent and tracking the animal leading the hunter to its location.
The two types of hounds are distinguishable by their appearance. Generally, sight hounds, like Greyhounds, look like they’ve been streamlined, built for speed like an aerodynamic racecar. Scent hounds, like Beagles and Bloodhounds, are often stocky and low to the ground, so they can more easily put their nose to a scent.
All hounds can make wonderful pets, but hound owners should be aware of their powerful innate drive to hunt down that prey. A bird flying by or a squirrel running across the street is irresistible to many dogs, but hound dogs in particular go into chase mode, and even the most well-trained hound needs to always be kept safely on a leash when walking or hiking outdoors in an unfenced area. As hunting dogs, they were bred for hundreds of years to be able to work independently, and that independent nature can often still be seen in the hounds we adopt into our families today.
Hounds are prolific in animal shelters and rescues, especially in the southern United States, where they are still popular as working hunting dogs. They are often available from rescues that save them from research laboratories, too.
Hounds can make wonderful pets for homes with children and other pets, or for adults who enjoy daily exercise, as these hard-working breeds often have energy to spare, and thrive when they can regularly get out and take in new sights and smells outside of their home.
Find a Hound available near you!
Like most people, you’ve probably heard time and again that if you have kids, you should adopt a Hound puppy (or, gasp! find a Hound puppy for sale). The rationale is that an adult shelter dog is an unknown quantity, so buying or adopting a Hound puppy is safer. Actually, the opposite is closer to the truth. Puppies are not usually a great choice with kids; they have very limited control over their biting/mouthing impulses, and when you mix that with lots of energy and unbelievably sharp little teeth, it’s a recipe for your small fry to be in tears. Puppies are tiny chewing machines and can destroy a favorite stuffed animal or security blanket in short order. Adult dogs, on the other hand, are generally calmer, and their personalities are already fully developed and on display. When you meet an adult dog, you can see how they are with kids and with other animals. This takes the guesswork out of wondering how a puppy will turn out as a full-grown dog.
Puppies teethe. They have a biological need to chew, they want to play constantly, and they can’t discriminate between appropriate chew toys and, say, your favorite pair of Manolos. Puppies eventually can be trained out of this behavior, of course, and there are exceptions to every rule, but generally speaking, an adult Hound (or any adult dog) is much less likely to shred your drapes like coleslaw or function as a “helpful” canine document shredder.
Pop quiz: how often does a two-month-old puppy need to be taken out to do his business during the day? A) every six hours; B) every eight hours; or C) every two hours?
If you answered B, or even A, you’re an eternal optimist! The correct answer, though, is C: every two hours. When you’re housetraining a puppy, the general rule of thumb is that they can hold their bladder one hour for each month they’ve been alive (up to a max of about eight to ten hours). So a three-month-old Hound puppy needs to go outside every three hours, a four-month-old needs to go every four hours, and so on. If you’re retired, or you work from home, or you’re taking the puppy to work with you or to a doggy daycare (make sure your puppy is up-to-date on all vaccines before considering that last option), great! But if you’re planning on leaving your dog alone during your workday, you’ll definitely want to adopt a full-grown dog, ideally from a Hound rescue that can help you find the right dog for your lifestyle.
Time to get real: when we ask people what reservations they have about Hound adoption, we hear the same things over and over again. If you’re operating under any of these mistaken beliefs, you just might be missing out on meeting the best friend you’ll ever have. So it’s time for us to set the record straight:
Here’s the truth: you absolutely can find a Hound, even a Hound puppy, for adoption in an animal shelter or rescue group. And they don’t end up there because they’re bad dogs. In fact, often the only difference between the dog in the shelter and the one on your couch is a bit of bad luck. Think about it: let’s say you buy a Hound puppy for sale by a breeder. Your new dog is great; you immediately enroll the two of you in obedience classes, and soon your best pal is housebroken and well trained. But what would happen to your wonderful Hound if, tragically, something happened to you? What if he escaped from your home and ran away? Your best pal would very likely end up in an animal shelter. The lucky person who adopts your Hound would be getting a great dog! Animal shelters are filled with wonderful, healthy, well-behaved dogs who have been in homes before, but whose owners have fallen on hard times. Many of them are housebroken and trained. Hound rescue organizations often care for their adoptable dogs in foster homes, which means their foster families will be able to tell you if the Hound you want to adopt is good with other animals or kids, and if he or she is housebroken and knows any basic commands. As you can see, adopting from a rescue organization is likely the very safest way for people with children to add a new Hound to their family!
Rescues and shelters near you
Dogingham Palace Rescue/Ashburn
FOHA - Dogs
Pet Rescue Foundation, Inc.
Virginia German Shepherd Rescue
With Our Regards, Inc.
Dogwood Sheltie Rescue
Blue Ridge Border Collie Rescue
SCMR - VA
Humane Society of Loudoun County
Open Hearts Rescue
Furry Suits Rescue
New Love Animal Rescue
New Rattitude - Maryland
Friends Of Homeless Animals - Cats
Love Shack Dog Rescue
Akita Rescue Mid-Atlantic Coast, Inc.
Silver Spring, MD
Boxer Rescue and Adoption Inc.
Dogingham Palace Rescue/Great Falls
Great Falls, VA
A Forever Home Rescue Foundation
Collie Rescue, Inc.
Blue Ridge Great Pyrenees Rescue & Education
Kim's Urban Hounds Rescue - Fairfax
Kim's Urban Hounds Rescue -Fredericksburg
NOVA Pets Alive!
Tails of the Unwanted - Fairfax
Healing Hearts Animal Rescue Group
Home At Last Sanctuary, Inc
Little Buddies Adoption and Humane Society
Loudoun County Animal Services
No More Sad Eyes Rescue
Bourbon County Rescue
Independent Animal Rescue
Rescue Without Borders- Germantown MD
United Maltese Rescue
Middleburg Humane Foundation
Wolf Trap Animal Rescue
Nova Rottweiler Rescue
Dewey Animals, Inc.
Lab Rescue LRCP - Purcellville VA
Adoption by private owner (Vienna)
Mutt Love Rescue
American Lhasa Apso Club Rescue - Northwest Region
City of Fairfax Animal Shelter
The Commonwealth Humane Society
The Humane Society of Fairfax County
Montgomery County Humane Society
Chesapeake Area Alaskan Malamute Protection, formerly Potomac Valley AMR
Virginia, Maryland, DC, MD
GROWL - MD
Sheltie Haven Sheltie Rescue, Inc.
Dachshund Rescue of North America Inc.
Westie Rescue MidAtlantic
Dunn Loring, VA
Montgomery County SPCA
Pets Bring Joy
United Yorkie Rescue - VA- Fairfax
United Yorkie Rescue - VA - Jennifer Methot
Friends Of Montgomery County Animals
BB&G Pomeranian Rescue
Blue Ridge Border Collie Rescue
Jasmine's House, Inc. - MD Chapter
Hope for Donghae Paws(VIRGINIA)
Appalachian Great Pyrenees Rescue
Lab Rescue LRCP - Frederick MD
One Planet Rescue - MD chapter
Mid-Atlantic Chinese Shar-Pei Rescue Operation
Tailed Treasures of MD Inc.
Blue Ridge Doberman Rescue
Promises Animal Rescue, Inc
Empty Shelter Project
Bull Terrier Rescue of Virginia (BTRVA)
Friends for Animals
Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue, Virginia Chapter
Best DAWG Rescue Inc.
Lab Rescue LRCP - Rockville MD
Maryland Bichon Frise Rescue
DC Area Weimaraner Rescue
Manassas Park, VA
Doberman Assistance Rescue & Education
HART (Homeless Animals Rescue Team)
Fairfax Station, VA
Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation
Allbreed Rescue & Referral Inc
Mutts Matter Rescue
Bring Home the Brindle Dog Rescue
Rhodesian Ridgeback Rescue Inc. District of Columbia, Virginia
Operation Paws for Homes - MD Chapter
Ambassador Pit Bull Rescue
American Maltese Assoc. Rescue--Maryland
Reggie's Friends - Arlington
Lab Rescue LRCP - Fairfax VA
Grand Dogs Rescue 2
Silver Springs, MD
Chow Chow Rescue of Maryland
Silver Spring, MD
Roxie's Fund, Inc*
Silver Spring, MD
Mid-Atlantic GSP Rescue
The Halfway House Animal Rescue - Arlington
Dog World Rescue, Inc.
Homeward Trails Animal Rescue
SPCA of Northern Virginia
Lucky Dog Animal Rescue
Capitol Canines Animal Rescue
City Dogs Rescue & City Kitties
Tails of the Unwanted - Maryland
Silver Spring, MD
Tara's House Animal Rescue, Inc. - Silver Spring Chapter
Silver Spring, MD
Capital Animal Care
Dogs Deserve Better-DC Metro Area
Dogs Deserve Better of Northern Virginia
Dogs Deserve Better - Virginia Chapter
Rescue Angels, Inc. - Virginia Chapter
Rescuzilla - Northern VA, D.C.
Caring Hearts Rescue
Ozark Mutts and Stuff, Inc VA
Pups 2 Luv Rescue
Purrs, Paws, and Claws - Springfield Chapter
To The Rescue Inc.
Blackdogs Rescue - Bluemont Foster Group
New Beginnings German Shorthaired Pointer Rescue
Animal Welfare League of Alexandria
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