Thinking about getting a Pharaoh Hound puppy? Good for you! I can tell you right now, your life will never, ever be the same. See, you might think you’ve done your research and learned all their is to know about the breed, but nothing prepares you for actually owning one. Or, should I say, being owned by one, because that’s far more accurate! Before you run out and try to find a breeder (which is tricky, since they’re fairly rare dogs), read on to make sure you know what you’re getting into!
Let me say right up front, I wouldn’t trade Freya for all of the well-behaved dogs in the world. She’s mouthy and stubborn, talks back (loudly) and listens only when it benefits her, but she’s also hilarious and smart, loving and charming. Her personality fills the house from top to bottom. She’s only been with us for 9 months and already I can’t imagine life without her. That said, there are some things that you REALLY need to know before you decide if a Pharaoh Hound is the right dog for you.
What You Need to Know About Life with Pharaoh Hounds
I should probably clarify that this is all based on my experience with my Pharaoh Hound, as well as what I’ve read in message boards. Of course, not all dogs are the same, so you could end up with a Pharaoh Hound that is the total opposite of my Crazy Freyzie. I’ve also heard that males are a bit more laid back, so keep that in mind if some of these traits scare you.
1- They are loud mouths
Oh, my friends, you haven’t heard a barking dog until you’ve heard a Pharaoh Hound. The AKC says that they “bark when necessary.” Guess what? That’s pretty much all of the time. Right now, Freya finds it necessary to bark loudly because my mom put on shoes. Shoes either mean “we’re going outside, yay!” or “OMG, you’re leaving me, you’re leaving me, leeeeeeeaaaaaavvvvving me!” Both require barking. You know what else requires barking? “I’m hungry.” “I’m thirsty.” “I’m mad that you won’t let me eat the cat’s head.” “I’m mad that Mocha has my favorite bone, never mind that I was chewing on another one for the last hour.” “I’m tired.” “I’m not tired.” And everything in between. Sight hounds in general are pretty quiet dogs. Except Pharaoh Hounds. They are the exception.
2- Pharaoh Hounds are smart….sometimes too smart
Having an insanely smart dog is really cool when she masters tricks in seconds (but ONLY if there’s a tasty snack in it for her). Having a smart Pharaoh Hound when you want to hide the laser pointer or are trying to sneak out of the house? Not so cool. Freya understands subtle cues better than any dog I’ve ever had, and I’ve had some crazy smart dogs in the past. You can see intelligence swimming around behind her eyes, and you just know that her mental wheels are always spinning. While it makes training challenging, it definitely keeps you on your toes! If you’re okay with having a dog that can totally outsmart you at every turn, you’ll love owning a Pharaoh Hound!
3- Very much “what’s in it for me” dogs
When you train a Pharaoh Hound, you need to focus making sure there’s a clear-cut benefit for your dog. Pharaoh Hounds aren’t out to please you. Mocha, my mystery mutt, is a people pleaser. Praise alone was enough to teach her how to go potty outside. Her whole face lights up when you tell her she’s a good dog. Not Freya, though. She will perfectly execute the “wait game” trick for a solid ten minutes if you’re holding a treat, but won’t even come when she’s called if there’s nothing in it for her. Positive, reward-based training is the ONLY training that works on Pharaoh Hounds. You CANNOT yell at them, and they can sense when you’re frustrated. If you can’t handle that, if you are quick to anger or lose patience easily, then they are not the dog for you.
4- They are FAST
I’ve seen Greyhounds run, and I’ve seen Freya run. Honestly, I think Pharaoh Hounds are just as fast as greyhounds, if not faster. This means two things. First, you’ll need space for your dog to really let off some steam and get in a good run (it’s such a beautiful sight, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen a Pharaoh Hound run!) Freya tears around our backyard like she’s made of the wind itself. Second, you have to be SO, SO, SO careful not to accidentally let them get loose. Freya snuck out the front door once when she was a small puppy, and sheer panic set in. Thankfully, she was more interested in the feral cats out front than in running off, but we are beyond careful to make sure it never happens again.
Even if you do have a huge area for them to run, be ready for your Pharaoh Hound to occasionally be a little wild in your house. I thought Freya was unique, with her running around and bouncing on the sofa, pushing herself off to launch into a run up the steps. Then I saw videos of other Pharaoh Hounds doing the same thing in a private Facebook group for the breed. We call it her “crazy dog thing.” DO NOT get in the way. I had to take my son to the hospital after he collided with Freya when they were playing and her noggin busted open his. Then I had to explain ad nauseam that she didn’t bite him, she just hit him with her hard head.
5- They’re affectionate, but not big cuddlers
Pharaoh Hounds are super affectionate, but not in the way you might expect. If you’re looking for a dog that you can wrap your arms around and snuggle with, you might be a bit disappointed. Freya doesn’t give kisses, she gives gentle nips, and you have to earn those. When she’s up and active, she doesn’t have time for petting. She loves butt scratches and massages, but unless she’s sleeping, she’d prefer you keep your paws away from her head. When she looks at you with those big amber eyes like you’re the coolest person ever, though, you don’t mind so much that she won’t let you pet her head.
6- They are mischievous and sneaky!
We currently have a stool sitting on top of our garbage can lid. A stool. Why? Because Freya raids the garbage like it’s no one’s business. A few weeks ago, we were one chicken breast short for our meal because she snagged it right out of the package when we blinked. Blinked! We have set up guard protocols while making dinner so that she doesn’t snag it when we turn out back to get ketchup or something out of the fridge. My bathroom door is always shut so that I have toilet paper when I need it. It’s not uncommon to hear someone yelling “what does she have? See what she has! What did she steal? What’s in her mouth?”
Remember how I said they were smart? Well, Pharaoh Hounds use those smarts to get into loads of mischief. I have no doubt that Freya could steal the Crown Jewels and no one would know until she puked them up the next day. Which brings me to…
7- Pharaoh Hounds eat weird things
Now, I KNOW this isn’t just Freya, because I’ve seen other Pharaoh Hound owners post things like “Sock-free for 90 days.” We cannot let Freya have small stuffed animals unsupervised. The moment she defluffs them, they have to go in the garbage. She uses her sharp back teeth to scissor through the fabric, breaks off pieces, and then swallows them. She’s eaten hair ties, socks, dirt and mud. What she can’t eat, she chews. She even ate the baby pool that I got for her and Mocha! I swear, someone cross-bred them with goats somewhere along the way. On the plus side, her willingness to eat anything and everything makes it super easy to give her heartworm medicine and what not.
They’re totally worth it
I feel like I made Pharaoh Hounds sound scary, and make no mistake about it, they DO require A LOT of attention and patience. They will test that patience at every turn. They’re kind of like toddlers that way. If you’re up to the task, though, they’re totally worth it. There’s no other dog quite like them. A Pharaoh Hound’s personality will fill your home and your life with so much joy. You’ll laugh like crazy. You’ll also cry and want to tear your hair out, but you’ll also laugh. When they finally lay down to sleep, you’ll find yourself staring in awe at their sheer beauty. Pharaoh Hounds, as a breed, haven’t really changed at all from the images depicted in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, so it’s almost like looking back through time.
If you decide that a Pharaoh Hound is the right breed for you, please make sure you find a responsible breeder. I would usually say “adopt, don’t shop” here, but I’m not sure there are many Pharaoh Hounds in shelters. Still, I do suggest searching “Pharaoh Hound rescues near me” or something on Bing as your first step, just in case. Freya was a very generous gift to us after we lost our older girls earlier last year, but you can expect to pay between $1,800-$2,500 for a purebred Pharaoh Hound puppy.
I think that about covers it! Seriously, if you have the patience and the time, a Pharaoh Hound will bring you years and years of joy!
Do you have a Pharaoh Hound? Tell me if I missed anything, or if your dog is totally different in any of the ways I mentioned!