Pharaoh Hound

Canis familiaris

Last updated: May 27, 2024
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© Jan Eduard, adjust by Pleple2000, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons – License / Original

The Pharaoh Hound can smile and it blushes when it's excited!


Pharaoh Hound Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Canis familiaris

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Pharaoh Hound Conservation Status

Pharaoh Hound Locations

Pharaoh Hound Locations

Pharaoh Hound Facts

Main Prey
Name Of Young
Group Behavior
  • Pack
Fun Fact
The Pharaoh Hound can smile and it blushes when it's excited!
Other Name(s)
Kelb tal-Fenek, or "Rabbit Dog"
Litter Size
  • Pack
The blushing dog of Malta.

Pharaoh Hound Physical Characteristics

  • Fawn
  • Red
  • Tan
  • Chestnut
Skin Type
12-14 years
45 to 55 lbs.
Male, 23-25 inches. Female, 21-24 inches.

Pharaoh Hound as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Tendency to Chew
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Separation Anxiety
Preferred Temperature
Warm climate
Exercise Needs
Friendly With Other Dogs
Pure bred cost to own
Dog group
Male weight
45-55 lbs
Female weight
45-55 lbs

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The Pharaoh Hound, considered a “primitive” type, is a dog from the hound group. Originally from Egypt, it was brought by the Phoenicians to the island of Malta 2,500 to 3,000 years ago. Although the Pharaoh Hound traces its lineage back to Egypt, according to DNA evidence, the dog as we know it right now has only been around for a couple of hundred years.

A sighthound bred to hunt rabbits; it will use its vision and speed to aid in hunting. It might hunt smaller pets because of its predatory nature.

It’s a very affectionate and playful dog. It really loves its family and enjoys playing with children. It can get along well with other dogs as long as they’ve been socialized together early on.

Pharaoh Hound Fun Fact 

The Pharaoh Hound can smile, and it blushes when it’s excited!

3 Pros and Cons of Owning Pharaoh Hound 

The Pharaoh Hound is playful and affectionate and loves to be part of the family. It’s great with children (that aren’t small enough to knock over.)Its hunting instincts lead it to hunt birds and rodents. So it doesn’t work well in a household with small pets.
As a pack hunter, the Pharaoh Hound will bark at just about anything it finds unusual, making it an excellent watchdog.As a pack hunter, the Pharaoh Hound will bark at just about anything it finds unusual, making it a very noisy dog.
Its coat is easy to take care of. It requires very little bathing and should just be brushed weekly. Its coat can just be wiped down with a damp cloth.In addition to hunting small animals, its hunting instinct makes the dog prone to run off, so it needs a lot of enclosed space or to always be on lead.

The Best Dog Food For Pharaoh Hound

The Pharaoh Hound uses a lot of energy. An active dog needs high protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Dry kibble should have meat as the first ingredient. We at A-Z Animals say that Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult, Chicken & Barley Recipe is the best dog food for the Pharaoh Hound.

Pharaoh Hound Size and Weight

The Pharaoh Hound is a medium-sized dog. The male stands 23 to 25 inches at the shoulder. The female stands 21 to 24 inches. Though they are tall, they are narrow and wiry. Both males and females tend to weigh between 45 and 55 pounds.

Height (Male):23-25 inches
Height (Female):21-24 inches
Weight (Male):45-55 lbs.
Weight (Female):45-55 lbs.

Pharaoh Hound Common Health Issues

Pharaoh Hounds are known to be relatively healthy dogs, though this dog has a tendency toward allergies because of their short coat, which also makes them susceptible to mange. Also, large-chested breeds like this can be susceptible to bloating, otherwise known as Gastric Dilation-Volvulus (GDV.) They should be monitored for cataracts, epilepsy, and hypothyroidism. This breed is also more prone to anesthesia reactions.

Pharaoh Hound Temperament

Pharaoh Hounds have playful personalities. They have affectionate behavior with their families and are good with children. They can be good with other dogs as long as they’re socialized with them from an early age. The Pharaoh Hound’s hunting traits make them take off after birds and rodents, which means they’re not good around smaller pets. Also, they can be reserved around strangers but are typically not aggressive.

How To Take Care of Pharaoh Hound  

Pharoah Hound

Pharoah hound’s coat is easy to take care of. It requires very little bathing and should just be brushed weekly. Its coat can just be wiped down with a damp cloth.

©1,788 × 1,788 pixels, file size: 669 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg – Original / License

Pharaoh Hound Maintenance And Grooming 

The Pharaoh Hound has a short coat that really doesn’t require much brushing or washing: it can just be wiped down occasionally with a damp cloth. The dog doesn’t typically have a doggy odor, so it should only be bathed when necessary. A light weekly brushing with a rubber brush should reduce dead hair collecting in the coat and handle most shedding. Please note that the coat is not hypoallergenic.

Their thin coat also means they shouldn’t be in cold weather for too long as these warm-weather dogs are susceptible to the cold. Dog owners should cover them in colder weather with coats, blankets, etc. They even can need some protection from a cold house where pajamas are not unheard of. This dog really loves to curl up with its owner under a nice, warm blanket.

The teeth should be brushed regularly, and the nails should be trimmed with either a clipper or a nail grinder. Ensure they’re short enough, so they don’t tap on the floors when they walk.

Pharaoh Hound Training 

They are extremely intelligent and trainable dogs. But if they are let off lead, their hunting instincts will take over, and they will run. Make sure you train with them on lead or in an enclosed area with at least six-foot tall fences.

They really love to play and goof off, so training should be positive and done in short sessions. Positive reinforcement is required, so rewards, treats, toys, and play should be doled out liberally. Pharaoh Hounds can be independent and stubborn, so when they get an idea or are distracted, they are difficult to get back on task. They should be socialized with the family and with kids but be mindful of the dog’s playful nature around small children, as they will knock them down.

Pharaoh Hound Exercise 

This is a high-energy dog. It likes to run, and it likes to hunt. Make sure the dog stays on lead or is playing in an enclosed space with a tall fence (at least 6 feet tall.) They need at least 20 to 30 minutes a day of high-energy exercise. They like to play, and they can perform many different activities like agility drills, coursing, scent work, etc.

Pharaoh Hound Puppies 

Obedience training should begin when puppies are eight weeks old. Apart from this, make sure to socialize them with family, friends, other dogs, and other family pets early on.

Pharaoh Hound And Children

Since they are affectionate dogs and they really love their families, they can be very good with children. However, young or small children could get knocked over because the Pharaoh Hound is a rambunctious, playful dog. It’s also tall and fast. So while excellent with older children, they should be supervised when around young children. It should be said that adult supervision is necessary when children are around an untrained dog.

Dogs Similar to Pharaoh Hound

Ibizan Hound: Ibizan Hounds are similar in energy level and purpose to the Pharaoh Hound. The Phoenicians brought them to the Iberian peninsula (Spain) to hunt rabbits.

Italian Greyhound: The Italian Greyhound has many of the physical characteristics of a sighthound. Classified as part of the “toy” group, it is a solitary, motion-oriented hunter that will chase smaller animals. It also has trouble with colder weather and may need some help regulating its body temperature.

Famous Pharaoh Hounds

  • The Pharaoh Hound Bahri of Twinley, owned by Pauline Brock, was the first to be shown in England.

Popular Names for Pharaoh Hound


  • Narmer
  • Anubis
  • Tut
  • Khufu
  • Abbot


  • Ari
  • Nala
  • Hattie
  • Aalis
  • Amunet

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About the Author

Rob Amend is a writer at A-Z Animals, primarily covering meteorology, geology, geography, and animal oddities. He attained a Master's Degree in Library Science in 2000 and served as reference librarian in an urban public library for 22 years. Rob lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, photography, woodworking, listening to classic rock, and watching classic films—his favorite animal is a six-foot-tall rabbit named Harvey.

Pharaoh Hound FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Are Pharaoh Hounds good pets?

The Pharaoh Hound has high exercise needs and can be a stubborn dog, prone to run off after whatever catches its fancy. However, it is an affectionate, playful dog, and can be extremely loving with its family. On a cold day, it likes nothing more than to curl up with its favorite person under a blanket.

Are Pharaoh Hounds rare?

Although it is one of the oldest breeds in existence, the Pharaoh Hound is now only bred in Malta. This makes it extremely rare, with purebred prices around $5,000.

Is Anubis a Pharaoh Hound?

Although it bears a striking resemblance to the Egyptian god Anubis, Anubis is actually a jackal. However, images of the Pharaoh Hound’s ancestors can be found in Egyptian tombs.

Are Pharaoh Hounds hypoallergenic?

The Pharaoh Hound is not a hypoallergenic dog. Its short coat tends to carry many allergens.

Does a Pharaoh Hound blush?

Pharaoh Hounds do blush when they are excited or happy! Their ears and nose turn a glowing pink. They can also smile.

Can Pharaoh Hounds be left alone?

Pharaoh Hounds really attach to their families. That affection can become separation anxiety when they are left alone for too long, so it’s best not to leave them in a situation where they can be destructive or harm themselves.

Are Pharaoh Hounds aggressive?

Though they are hunting dogs (Pharaoh Hounds instinctively chase smaller animals) with people and other dogs, they tend to be very loving, with little to no aggression in their temperament.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.


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  2. American Kennel Club / Accessed October 18, 2022
  3. Wikipedia / Accessed October 18, 2022
  4. Pharoah Hound Club of America / Accessed October 18, 2022
  5. Wag! / Accessed October 18, 2022
  6. Wag! / Accessed October 18, 2022
  7. Dog Breed Info / Accessed October 18, 2022
  8. Pet Finder / Accessed October 18, 2022