Although considered a sighthound in America, the Pharaoh Hound historically has hunted by both sight and scent—as well as hearing. The dog has an unexaggerated greyhound-like build, combining grace, power, and speed to run nimbly along rocky walls and ground. The breed has a good nose and large mobile ears that helped the dog follow animals underground. Slightly longer than tall, the gait is free and flowing, with the head held high. The coat is short and glossy.
The Pharaoh Hound is one of several breeds with a legitimate claim of most-ancient breed and appears to have changed little in the last 3,000 years. The breed bears an uncanny resemblance to the jackal god Anubis and to dogs depicted on the tombs of the Egyptian pharaohs, and later, dogs featured in ancient Greek art. Phoenician traders may have introduced the dogs from Greece and North Africa to the islands of Malta and Gozo, where they became essentially secluded from the rest of the world. Here they flourished as rabbit dogs, or Kelb-tal Fenek. The Pharaoh Hound is now the National Dog of Malta. In the 1960s, the breed was rediscovered and imported to England and later America. The AKC recognized it in 1983.
The svelte Pharaoh Hound is a gracious addition to the home. However, although calm indoors, this breed loves to run. The dog is sensitive, loving, gentle, and good with children and other dogs, but it may chase strange animals given the breed’s hunting history. The dog tends to be reserved with strangers; some are even timid. The breed is independent but willing to please, and has the unique characteristic of “blushing” when excited, with the nose and ears turning a rosy color.
The Pharaoh Hound relishes the opportunity to stretch and run in a safe area, although the dog can manage with long daily walks on leash and occasional sprints. The dog enjoys and needs soft bedding and warmth. The coat is low maintenance, requiring only occasional brushing to remove dead hair.