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Home > Dogs > Dog Breeds > Pharaoh Hound Dog Breed Guide: Info, Pictures, Care & More!

Pharaoh Hound Dog Breed Guide: Info, Pictures, Care & More!

Pharaoh Hound

The Pharaoh Hound is an elegant Maltese dog breed that was bred for hunting rabbits in the rocky Maltese islands. The Egyptian Pharaoh Hound is one of the oldest dog breeds in existence and was first bred in 4000 BC. This can be seen by multiple Egyptian artifacts of this dog breed while making them rare to come by. This medium-sized dog breed is not only smart and easy to train but highly sociable and active.

Breed Overview


21-25 inches


45-55 pounds


12-14 years


Tan, red golden, chestnut

Suitable for:

Active families


Affectionate, intelligent, trainable, active, playful, sociable

Pharaoh hounds were the dogs of kings and were kept by Egyptian rulers nearly 5,000 years ago, but was imported into Malta, where it quickly became, and is currently still, the country’s official dog. This dog breed is rarely aggressive, and their confident stature makes them attractive and desirable to many dog lovers.

Pharaoh Hound Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.


Pharaoh Hound Puppies

The Pharaoh Hound is a rare dog breed that is not easy to find. If you get a Pharaoh Hound from a breeder outside of Maltese, then you should expect to pay a lot depending on the breeder and color variety. It is difficult to find a Pharaoh Hound up for adoption, but you can always try asking. You should check if your local dog shelters have this breed available for adoption before purchasing one from a breeder.

Pharaoh Hounds are playful and sociable dogs that love to be around their owners and will be asking for plenty of playtime. They also get along with other dogs but be careful having them around cats or smaller animals since they have a high hunting instinct.

Temperament & Intelligence of the Pharaoh Hound

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

The Pharaoh hound is perfect for active families who will be able to take this dog breed on walks, hikes, and keep them in a simulated environment with a large garden. This dog breed can be kept with older children as they are not overly aggressive, especially if they have been introduced to children from a young age.

You should expect your Pharaoh hound to be highly trainable, social, affectionate, loyal, and playful which can make owning and caring for this dog breed rewarding. They are eager to please their owners and greatly appreciate regular interaction and playtime from their owners. The Pharaoh hound’s temperament is admirable, while their appearance is unique.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

Due to this dog breeds exquisite hunting abilities, they are not ideal for households with cats and other small pets like rodents. The Pharaoh hound is likely to chase and bark at potential ‘prey’ which can become a nuisance in a multi-pet household while putting your other animals at risk. That being said, this dog breed gets along well with other dogs of different sizes, ages, and breed. It is possible to get your Pharaoh hound to tolerate cats, but only if they have been introduced to each other from a young age.

Pharaoh Hound_Shutterstock_Lenkadan
Image by: Lenkadan, Shutterstock


Things to Know When Owning a Pharaoh Hound:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

The Pharaoh hound is susceptible to weight gain, so their diet should be balanced and complete with biologically appropriate protein and fats to ensure they are kept healthy and within a healthy weight range. Their main food source should be high-quality, with few artificial ingredients and preservatives.

Since this dog breed spends most of its time playing and running, it will need to be fed up to three meals a day to ensure they have enough calories and nutrients to fuel their high energy levels.

If your Pharaoh hound is older and not overly active, then their food intake can be reduced to twice a day – ideally in the morning and evening.

This dog breed can benefit greatly from a raw diet, consisting of both animal and vegetable-based protein, with the inclusion of essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Furthermore, the food should be veterinary approved and regulated by a reputable source. You can either make their food yourself with the help of a canine nutritionist, or you can purchase commercially prepared food of high quality with a low number of fillers.

Pharaoh Hound
Image Credit: Eve Photography, Shutterstock

Exercise 🐕

This dog breed should be provided with at least 30 minutes of exercise and mental stimulation per day. This can be difficult to provide to your Pharaoh hound if you have a busy lifestyle or small household. This dog breed enjoys being outside and exploring their environment, even doing occasional laps around the yard to release energy.

It is recommended to take your Pharaoh hounds on frequent walks during the morning or evening when the weather is most comfortable.

The Pharaoh hound is always curious, which means they require a high level of mental stimulation to combat boredom. Their hunting abilities can be stimulated with interactive dog toys, chews, and even toys that you can use to play with your hound. They will greatly enjoy playing fetch in the yard, and their excitement is visible during this time.

Depriving your Pharaoh hound of daily exercise can increase their likelihood to become obese, develop a behavioral problem from boredom, or seem depressed and uninterested over time.

Training 🎾

The Pharaoh hound’s high intelligence, loyalty, and eagerness to please make them easy to train. Training can include basic tasks such as sit, stay, or rollover, or even go as far as potty training or competitive training through obstacle courses.

Providing your Pharaoh hound with healthy treats during the training process can encourage them to learn a particular behavior quicker, as positive reinforcement works best, and their intelligence allows them to associate this reward with the particular task they are being trained to do.

It is easier to train your Pharaoh hound from puppy age than it is to train a more mature Pharaoh hound. Mainly due to their ability to retain and display behaviors that have been engraved in their brains from an early age.

Grooming ✂️

The Pharaoh hound is not a hypoallergenic dog breed, but they do shed significantly less than many other breeds of dogs. They do shed, but weekly brushing can combat excessive fur loss and remove any dander and hair that may settle around your household.

Every few months you can take them to a grooming parlor for a wash and nail trim, which is necessary to upkeep their appearance and remove any dirt and oils that may start to coat their fur.

Overall, the Pharaoh hounds grooming requirements are undemanding and easy, as their fur is short and does not tangle or knot.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Minor Conditions
  • Hereditary eye diseases (cataracts or abnormal eyelash placement)
  • Arthritis
  • Joint deterioration
  • Obesity
  • Bloating
  • Constipation or diarrhea from an inadequate diet
Serious Conditions
  • Parvo
  • Rabies
  • Distemper
  • Cancer
  • Bacterial and viral infections
  • Hip dysplasia


Male vs Female

The female Pharaoh hound is slightly rounder in appearance, with shorter legs and necks in comparison to males of this dog breed. The nipples are visible and pink or dark pigmentation is more visible near their genitals and anus – which are located closely together, around a one-inch span. Females are just as intelligent as males, and they share the same temperament. The average height for a female is slightly smaller than males, with an average height between 21 to 23 inches and a weight of 45 to 50 pounds.

Male Pharaoh hounds have a more lithe and athletic build, with sleek necks and long legs. Their genitals are easily visible in their abdominal region as they have a short coat. Male Pharaoh hounds typically weigh around 50 to 55 pounds, with a height of 23 to 25 inches, making them taller than females.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Pharaoh Hound

1. The Pharaoh hound is ranked #37 in dog intelligence rankings.

2. This is a rare dog breed primarily bred in Malta.

3. Pharaoh hounds are a highly respected ancient dog breed.


Final Thoughts

If you have the time, energy, and adequate household requirements (no small pets, young children, or small household), then the Pharaoh hound may be the right dog breed for you. Keep in mind you will need to keep up with their high activity levels and provide them with plenty of mental stimulation to keep them healthy, and you may need extra time during the day to provide this.

Overall, the Pharaoh Hound is a fascinating dog breed with a long history, unique appearance, and admirable temperament.

Featured Image Credit: Julia Suhareva, Shutterstock

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