The Cretan Hound is a descendant of scent and sighthounds, making them one of the most ancient dog breeds in the world. These rare delights are from Crete, which is a Greek island—and are quite uncommon elsewhere. So, if you are dead set on buying one, you might have to take a little adventure.
Black, white, fawn, cream, gray, sand
Active households, agility training
Obedient, energetic, athletically inclined
However, if you just love learning about all of the different doggy variations you can find, let’s take a peek at what it’s like to own a Cretan Hound and where you might be able to find one.
Cretan Hound Characteristics
Cretan Hound Puppies
Today, Cretan residents do not like to send their puppies elsewhere. They mostly remain on the island for safekeeping. If you are lucky enough to find a Cretan Hound in another area, they can be pretty expensive. Once you find a reputable breeder in your area, they might have you sign and put down a puppy deposit to secure your dog. Some might also have you sign a contract stating that you must return them to the breeder if you can no longer care for the dog. These are safety precautions put in place to ensure forever homes.
You probably won’t get lucky and find one of these wonderful dogs at the shelter. However, anything is possible. You can browse locally to see if there are any Cretan Hound or Cretan Hound mixes in your vicinity. All dogs should come with vaccinations, routine vet care, spare neuter, and sometimes microchipping.
Temperament & Intelligence of the Cretan Hound
Cretan Hounds are brilliant dogs. They have incredible alertness and a knack for tracking. Because they share genetic traits with sight and scenthounds, they combine characteristics of both, making an astonishing athlete and tracker.
Cretan Hounds are loyal and affectionate companions, but they require lots of stimulation outside the home. Even though they can make terrific pets, this breed needs to have an outlet at all times.
Stealthy and strong, these lightweight dogs are capable of great speed, so having them in a place with an unsecured fence or improper reinforcement is not advisable. With one smell or fast movement, these dogs can take off with no warning to answer the call of their instincts.
These dogs have absolutely no issue learning new tasks. Their incredible work ethic shines freely. These traits, however, make them incompatible with smaller animals.
Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪
Cretan Hounds can make excellent additions to the right families. They are loving and affectionate playmates with favorable energy levels. If you are the type of person with an active lifestyle or are into agility sports and hunting, these animals can enrich your life.
However, because of their desire for adventure, they do not fare well when living in apartments nor when paired with older adults. These dogs need lots of space to roam around—and might become nervous or destructive if they are bored often.
Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?
Cretan Hounds can make good companions for other canines. If they are socialized early, they will grow up with other dogs, forming long-lasting bonds that are unbreakable. However, their intense prey drives are typically always incompatible with smaller animals, including cats.
Protecting other pets while owning a Cretan Hound is essential. Even with proactive behavioral training, prey drives remain. It’s too deeply ingrained in their DNA to change.
Things to Know When Owning a Cretan Hound:
Food & Diet Requirements 🦴
Cretan Hounds burn a lot of calories each day. Because of their lean bodies, they need high-protein dog food to replenish the calories they burn daily. You can feed your Cretan Hound a combination of high-quality dry kibble and wet dog food.
You could also consider homemade and raw diets. However, before committing to a homemade diet, you should check with your veterinarian to ensure all ingredients meet the required nutritional profiles.
Always portion your dog’s food based on life stage, weight, and activity levels.
Cretan Hounds need at least 60 minutes of strenuous exercise per day. Because of their impressive agile bodies, it’s best to have a fully secured yard for them to run around. If you do not live in a place where that is not feasible, this might not be the right breed for you.
Well-trained Cretan Hounds are typically mannerly on the leash. Although, they can pull free and chase smaller creatures without proper behavioral guidance.
Cretan Hounds will enjoy lots of games that involve mental and physical stimulation—like hide-and-seek, fetch, and interactive toys.
Training should be a cinch. These dogs love nothing more than learning, learning, learning. They are very focused, agile, and alert. They are highly receptive to working with their humans on both basic commands and intensive tasks.
Cretan Hounds do not handle negative punishments well. These are sensitive dogs and do much better with positive reinforcement training. Try to shower them with praise for a job well done with concise and consistent rewards.
Since these dogs can be challenging to train for less experienced owners, you can always consult with a professional trainer. Obedience training will take your hound’s natural desires and channel them correctly.
Grooming your Cretan Hound should be relatively simple. They have short coats that are easy to maintain. Brushing your dog’s coat once or twice a week should suffice. To not strip any of the natural oils from their skin, you should bathe this breed roughly every 6 weeks, but no more than that.
After bath time, you should follow up with routine care. Gently wipe around the eyes and ears to prevent infection. Nail trims, teeth scrubs, and ear gunk removal are a must.
Health and Conditions 🏥
Before you bring home your Cretan Hound puppy, you must choose a trusted veterinarian. Most puppies come with their first round of shots and worming complete. However, your vet can look them over and give them the next round of boosters.
Every year after that, your vet needs to check out your dog to ensure their growth is on par and all things look as they should.
Cretan Hounds are typically healthy dogs with no predisposed genetic conditions to mention. However, they can suffer specific ailments that apply to any dog breed.
Male vs. Female
Physically speaking, male Cretan Hounds are larger than their female counterparts and outweigh them by approximately 10 pounds. Females tend to be leaner with narrower faces, though both genders have sleek muscle tone.
As far as personality is concerned, each dog can carry on its own characteristics. However, males tend to mature slower. Females are slightly more aloof and stay much more energetic throughout their lifetime. Males calm down somewhat after neutering.
3 Little-Known Facts About the Cretan Hound
1. Cretan residents don’t like sharing their dogs.
To protect the authenticity of the breed, breeders do not like sharing their dogs with the rest of the outside world.
2. Cretan Hounds have exquisite sight and smell.
Since these dogs are related to both sight and scent hounds, they show immense talent in both areas. These qualities make them very valuable to hunters and trainers.
3. The Cretan Hound is the oldest European dog breed.
The origin of the Cretan Hound predates 3200 BC. They are considered the oldest breed in European history. It is no wonder their original keepers safeguard them.
Cretan Hounds might be a rare sight to behold, but they are worth knowing about. These dogs truly are fascinating, loving creatures with rich histories to preserve. It is no wonder that their native lands are so protective of them.
If you spend time with a Cretan Hound, consider yourself lucky. And even though they aren’t compatible with some living situations, it doesn’t mean you can’t respect them for the beautiful canines they are.
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Featured Image Credit: Sydney Rae, Unsplash