Origins and History
The Black and Tan Virginia Foxhound is thought to have descended from hunting dogs introduced to America in 1650 by Robert Brooke. These hunting dogs were the ancestors of varieties of American hounds. George Washington received French Foxhounds as gifts from aristocracy in France and bred them with the Brooke hunting dogs to create this breed we see today. Later on, Irish Foxhounds were also bred with the Black and Tan Virginia Foxhound to increase their stamina and speed.
|American Foxhound: Photo: Wikimedia/Flickr|
Who has a picture of a Virginian Foxhound for this Blog?
The Black and Tan Virginia Foxhound was cross bred with Bloodhounds in the 1700s, which created the breed of Black and Tan Coonhound that we know of today. In 1966 the state of Virginia chose the Black and Tan Virginia Foxhound as the official breed to represent the state. This breed, along with other varieties of American Foxhounds, was created by the upper class during colonial times mainly for the purpose of fox hunting.
Their most distinctive feature is their coat which is black and tan with a white base, short haired and fairly coarse. They are large dogs, growing to a height of 21-25 inches and can weigh between 65 and 75 pounds. Their head is long, their ears are droopy and large and sit framing their face. The Black and Tan Virginia Foxhound's eyes are either hazel or brown and are fairly wide set, lending a friendly and intelligent look to their face.
These dogs are agreeable and loyal by nature. They need a fair amount of exercise to prevent boredom. Black and Tan Virginia Foxhounds are renowned for discovering ways to keep themselves amused and may grow to be destructive when cooped up for long periods of time. They require a lot of attention when training and need to be well socialized.
These dogs possess an excellent sense of smell and are quicker than other hounds when chasing game. They are usually not at their best living in an apartment because they need plenty of exercises and in its absence are likely to put on weight easily. Aside from the need for exercise, they tend to be reasonably healthy and not stricken by genetic disorders involving the hip and bones. Their average life expectancy is about 10-12 years.
Descendants of the Original Breed
Today, there are many variations of American foxhounds such as Goodman, July, Trigg, Walker, and Penn-Marydel. They are all descended from the same originating breed but there are variations in appearance. Penn-Marydels are often used as pack hounds to hunt foxes, Walkers are mostly found in shows, and of course, there is the Black and Tan Coonhound, a descendant of the original Black and Tan Virginia Foxhound.
While the Black and Tan Virginia Foxhound is similar to their English equivalent, the English Foxhounds, the American version has been bred to be lighter, taller and agiler.