American Foxhound Lifespan: How Long Do These Dogs Live?

American Foxhound in a public park
© Olga Aniven/

Written by Jane Jeffries

Updated: November 14, 2023

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American Foxhounds have a lifespan of 10-12 years. However, some can live 13 years or more with proper care. Genetics, diet, and exercise will affect its lifespan. A friendly, easy-going breed, American Foxhounds are typically healthy dogs. With regular veterinary checkups, a good diet, and regular exercise, these dogs will live a long, healthy life.

History of the American Foxhound

English Foxhounds Out Hunting

American Foxhounds were bred with English Foxhounds.

©Mick Atkins/

Closely related to the English Foxhound, the American Foxhound was bred to hunt foxes by scent. George Washington, an avid fox hunter, kept a pack of English-bred hounds and meticulous records of his breeding program. The Marquis de Lafayette gave Washington a group of French hounds as a gift. Later Washington also acquired some hounds from Philadelphia. Now with hound dogs from America, France, and England, Washington bred them to create a faster speed of dog for hunting foxes.

Though he is credited as the Father of the American Foxhound, Washington did not invent this breed by himself. Other Virginia gentry were also invested in Foxhound breeding. Still, Washington was a key player in its development.

The resulting breed was taller and sleeker than the English Foxhound. Known for speed and endurance, the American Foxhound remains one of the rarest breeds in the American Kennel Club and is also the state dog of Virginia.

Physical Traits

American Foxhounds can be any color, but typically, they are tri-colored black, tan, and white. These dogs have a straight muzzle, long ears, and large eyes that give them a friendly appearance. They will have a slightly domed skull and foxlike feet. Compared to the English Foxhound, the American Foxhound will have longer legs and a slightly arched back end.

With a muscular build, American Foxhounds are medium to large-sized dogs. Their coats are short, smooth, and easy to maintain. Males average in height from 22 to 25 inches tall, while females range in height from 21 to 24 inches tall. These dogs will weigh between 45 to 71 pounds and have a typical lifespan of 10-12 years.

An Easy-Going but Strong Temperament

how far can dogs hear

American Foxhounds are easy-going and family-friendly pets.

©Mary Swift/

American Foxhounds are independent, low-maintenance, friendly dogs. Their easy-going temperament makes them ideal pets for families. However, due to their strong hunting instinct, these dogs love to run and chase, and they may not mix well with other small pets, such as rabbits or cats.

If they do not get a lot of exercise, American Foxhounds can become destructive or even depressed. Physical activity and mental stimulation are very important to this breed. They need places to run and explore, such as parks and countryside areas. Having a large yard for the dog to run is also helpful. Their melodious, loud bawling can also be a nuisance to neighbors. Training these independent dogs should be considered a priority.

Health and Lifespan of the American Foxhound

American Foxhounds are high-energy dogs. Maintaining good health requires a lot of physical activity. Regular exercise is important to maintain their physical and mental health. These dogs require at least 60 minutes of activity every day, but if given the opportunity, they are happy to run for longer periods.

Healthy dogs of this breed will have a lifespan of 10-12 years. Some have lived as long as 13 or more years.

Several factors contribute to the health and lifespan of the American Foxhound.

  • Genetics is the most significant factor. Poor breeding practices can lead to health issues.
  • Hip dysplasia, a condition when the hip joint does not develop properly, is a common health issue among this breed. A good diet and regular activity can help prevent this condition.
  • This breed is also prone to ear infections. Cleaning their ears regularly will help prevent this. If you notice signs of infections, have your dog seen by a veterinarian.
  • Dental issues are also a common problem. Maintaining their overall health with good dental care is essential.
  • High-quality dog food will ensure your hound will get the necessary nutrients. Do not feed them table scraps. This habit can lead to obesity or other health problems.
  • A sedentary lifestyle is the biggest factor that will cause a shorter lifespan.

The lifespan of American Foxhounds is typically 10-12 years.

©Jonathan Schlegel, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons – Original / License

Special Considerations for the American Foxhound

Because they are good-natured and friendly, the American Foxhound makes an ideal family pet. However, because of their strong hunting instincts, they may not be suitable for households with small pets, such as birds, rodents, or even cats.

These dogs love to run and hunt and may wander off when tracking an interesting scent. Additionally, they can be more easily distracted and can be more difficult to train. However, consistent training, positive reinforcement, and lots of physical activity will help your Foxhound do well as an obedient companion.

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About the Author

Jane Jeffries is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on wild animals, travel, and historic places. Jane holds a Master's Degree in English from Penn State University, which she earned in 1986. She has also been co-owner of a dinner theater script business since 2005. A resident of Wisconsin, she enjoys biking and hiking in nature.

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