Most dog breeds have a history of selective breeding specifically for hunting.

What Dogs Are Used For Fox Hunting?

Have you ever seen a hound dog bolt across a muddy field and retrieve a bird? 

Have you witnessed a German Shorthaired Pointer fall into a perfect point just before the blast of the hunter’s gunshot?

Dogs are incredible creatures with a knack for hunting. Most dog breeds have a history of selective breeding specifically for hunting, and fox hunting is no exception.

Hunting is a loved sport by many dog lovers. But with hundreds of dog breeds to choose from, how do you know which breed will suit the hunting style needed?

Today, we’re breaking down fox hunting facts, and the specific dog breeds beneficial for fox hunting. 

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Fox Hunting Facts

Before we ogle over the list of adorable dogs, we need to discuss fox hunting.

Fox hunting is the tracking, chasing, and killing of foxes. Fox hunting originates from England, dating back to the 15th century, and was seen as a prestigious sport for the wealthy.

Traditional fox hunting follows a specific procedure that involves a hunting leader (Master), fellow huntsmen, and a pack of around 20-30 hounds. The Master controls the hounds through calls or a copper instrument that alerts the dogs.

Modern fox hunting doesn’t follow the traditional standards of fox hunting anymore, but some procedures are still kept.

3 Little Known Facts About Fox Hunting

  1. The Master, leader of the hunt, wore a scarlet coat, white stock, and black velvet cap. Friends of the Master were invited to wear scarlet if they were esteemed enough.
  2. The Red Fox is the primary species of fox that is hunted.
  3. Fox hunting was banned in Scotland in 2002, the first country to ban the sport.

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A pack of around 20-30 hound dogs.

Is Fox Hunting Illegal?

A few countries banned fox hunting at the turn of the 21st century. 

The argument that supported the ban was that death by a pack of hounds is inhumane and unfair to the mammal. 

Despite being illegal, many countries offer the exception that fox hunting may continue as long as the fox is shot by the hunter.

Some countries that continue to hunt foxes don’t kill the animal. Instead, the sport is about the chase. The chase usually comes to a halt once the fox has burrowed away to safety. 

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Why Are Dogs Used For Hunting?

We know that dogs are used for hunting, but why? What is it about the canine species that makes them great for hunting?

Each hunting dog has a unique physical trait that makes it unique to the style of hunting it performs. 

For example, retrievers have soft mouths, catching waterfowl without damaging the prey. Pointers are known for the pointing position they take when prey is spotted. Spaniels are small, allowing them to capture more minor game.

There are three main categories of hunting dogs:

  • Gun dogs- Dogs find an animal through its scent in the air at close range. Gun dogs are perfect for hunting bird species.
  • Terriers- Dogs that are small and used to hunt small prey, like rabbits.
  • Hound dogs- Dogs that are used for chasing or running down prey. Hounds are used in many police agencies for their fervent sense of sight and smell.

Aside from physical traits, these dogs undertake rigorous training to perform well in the hunt. Most breeders for hunting dogs will deny an application to a home that doesn’t hunt.


Hunting dogs need to hunt. Otherwise, they will find constructive entertainment via the destruction of property.

But now that you understand a little about fox hunting and hunting dogs let’s get to the good stuff. Here are 7 excellent fox hunting dog breeds!

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Beagles are inquisitive dogs bred to hunt in packs.

5 Excellent Fox Hunting Dog Breeds

  1. English Foxhound

Does it shock you? It’s right there in the name. The English Foxhound is a hound dog specially bred to track foxes. English Foxhounds are usually black, white and tan, and are deep-chested. English Foxhounds are also stubborn, so they require loving but firm guidance. 

  1. Beagle

Beagles are small, inquisitive dogs bred to hunt in packs. Because they are used to groups, they require active attention. Leaving a Beagle in a backyard is not a good idea. Beagles are fearless and funny. According to AKC, they are the most popular hound dogs to own.

  1. Bloodhound

Bloodhounds, or Sleuth Hounds, are unique to Scotland. They are affectionate creatures that can follow a scent trail in the most challenging terrain imaginable. As many hound dogs, they are stubborn creatures that will get set in their ways, so it’s essential to start training a bloodhound early.

  1. Coonhound

Coonhounds, or Redbone Coonhounds, are warm-hearted at home but ferocious on the trail. Coonhounds have dark brown eyes and a rich, mahogany coat. They are determined, a little stubborn, and married to their natural sense. It’s best to leave a coonhound on a leash in public.

  1. American Foxhound

Another naturally bred fox hunter, the American Foxhound is low maintenance and great with families, especially children. They can even be around cats which not many hunting dogs can. American Foxhounds differ from the English Foxhounds by the length of their lengths. 

RELATED: 10 Best Dog Breeds That Get Along With Cats

Which Dog Is The Best Hunting Dog?

The hunting dog you need depends on your preference. But if you want to hunt foxes, your best bet will be the American or English Foxhound.

Remember that hunting dogs require heavy exercise. They also need to satisfy their craving for the hunt. A great way to help would be to check out our Runball exercise ball on a rope toy! 

Our customers and their dogs love it. Your hunting dog might love it too! Almost as much as the hunt.

Check out Runball’s toy collection. Our toys are great for indoor and outdoor fun!