English foxhound, breed of medium-sized, swift hound perfected in England in the 17th and 18th cent. It stands from 21 to 25 in. (53.3–63.5 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs from 60 to 70 lb (27.2–31.8 kg). Its short, dense coat is glossy and usually black, tan, and white in color. The English foxhound, whose origins probably go back to French hounds of the 14th cent., was first used in packs to hunt foxes in the mid-17th cent. This sport, a favorite of the aristocracy, whose practice it was to follow the hounds on horseback, encouraged the careful breeding of the foxhound. By 1800 stud books had been published recording the lineages of all English foxhounds. The slightly smaller American foxhound was developed from it, as were many present-day varieties of coonhound. Still used in foxhunting, the English foxhound can be trained to hunt almost any ground game. See dog.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.