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Pharaoh Hound

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Pharaoh Hound
Pharaoh Hound
Pharaoh Hound
Alternative names
Kelb Tal-Fenek
Country of origin
Common nicknames
Classification and breed standards
FCI: Group 5 Section 6 #248  
AKC: Hound  
ANKC: Group 4 (Hounds)  
CKC: Group 2 - Hounds  
KC (UK): Hound  
NZKC: Hounds  
UKC: Sighthounds and Pariah Dogs  
Not recognized by any major kennel club
This breed of dog is extinct

The Pharaoh Hound is a breed of dog, classed as a member of the sighthound/pariah family. It has a decent balance between the primitive features and manners of the pariah family and the grace and racy lines of the sighthounds.


Two other breeds that are similar to the Pharaoh Hound and that apparently descended from the same anscestral lines have developed in other Mediterranean islands. One is the striking Ibizan Hound, which has a form much like that of the Pharaoh hound, but is colored differently. The Ibizan Hound may be white, with shades of brown or tawn, whereas the Pharaoh hound is always a solid reddish-ruddy color with only small amounts of white allowed on its chest, toes, throat, muzzle, and tail tip. The other similar breed is the Sicilian Greyhound (not the Italian Greyhound), which is essentially a miniature of the Pharaoh with a wholly different personality.

It stands between 50 and 65cm (22 to 28in.) at the withers and weighs between 18 to 32kg (40 to 70lb).


The Pharaoh Hound is a friendly, calm, intelligant, trainable, active breed. It is reserved with strangers, but affectionate with its family. It has a strong hunting instinct, and caution should be observed when it is around small pets such as cats, birds, and rodents. It is not a demonstrative breed and is quietly affectionate. It is a very trainable breed when positive methods are used as it is sensitive and responds poorly to being physicaly punished.


For many years, this breed was considered one of the oldest dog breeds. Recent DNA analysis reveals, however, that this breed is actually a recent construction, bred to resemble an older form.[1] This DNA data now puts to rest the "Egytian Myth" and proves the breed did not originate from Egypt. The Pharaoh was developed into its modern form on the islands of Malta and Gozo. It is often classified as a sight hound, but hunts both by sight and scent.

The breed was brought to Britain in the 1920s and called the Pharaoh Hound because some thought it resembled dogs featured on the walls of ancient Egyptian tombs.


The Pharaoh Hound is the national dog of Malta, and its Maltese name, Kelb-tal Fenek. A literal translation is "Dog of the Rabbit", a better translation is perhaps "Rabbit Hound".

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