This post is sponsored by Royal Canin. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about the AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin™, but all opinions are my own. Royal Canin is not responsible for the content of this article.

Check out 7 fascinating facts about Pharaoh Hound, the AKC's 176th most popular dog breed!


The AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin™ airs tonight (Jan 23rd) at 6PM ET/PT on the Hallmark Channel. While I’ve always enjoyed watching the most beloved dog show for the sheer joy of checking out all the cute poochies, this year I’ll be watching a little closer. If you’re a regular reader, you know that we recently adopted a Pharaoh Hound puppy, Freya. She’s our first pure breed AKC-recognized dog and I’m excited to see how others of her breed place in the show. Since I had never even heard of Pharaoh Hounds before Freya, I thought it would be fun to do a little “Dog Show Did You Know” before the show tonight and tell you a little bit more about my breed!

7  Things I Learned About my Pharoah Hound from the AKC

We kind of lucked into Freya. As you may know, we lost our two older girl dogs last year. Both were nearly 15, so they had long happy lives. It took me a while to decide I was ready for a new dog. My aunt’s neighbor bred her Pharaoh Hound and offered us one of the puppies for free. As a tiny puppy, Freya’s coloring disqualified her as a show dog (I think she either had too much white or not enough, although her color has changed a lot). Before I accepted, I did some research into the breed on the AKC website to decide if she was right for us. The moment I saw those trademark Pharaoh Hound ears, I was done for. Here are a few cool facts about Pharaoh Hounds that I think make Freya particularly interesting.

  • Pharaoh Hounds are one of the oldest domesticated dogs in recorded history, dating back about 3000 years. You know that dog in the Egyptian hieroglyphics? That’s my Freya! Yet they didn’t become recognized by the AKC until 1983!

Dog Show Did You Know: 7 Fascinating Facts About Pharaoh Hounds

  • Despite the name, they may not actually be Egyptian. Some say that traders from Malta brought them to Egypt, while others say that it goes the other way around. In 1979, Malta named them their national dog, and regardless of their origins, they are credited with continuing the breed.
  • Pharaoh Hounds blush when they are excited! I’m not even kidding you. Their little noses and ears turn rosy reddish-pink. It has something to do with the pigment in their bodies. They don’t have a single bit of black pigment. Not even in their toenails.
  • They are both extremely athletic and incredibly lazy! Freya races around like a madwoman for a good chunk of time, then out of the blue she’ll plunk down and go to sleep. Boy, can she run! If you’ve ever seen a greyhound run, she’s kind of like that. When she’s done, she’ll sleep for the rest of the day.
  • There are many different types of hounds. Freya is a sighthound, which means she hunts by sight, rather than by smell. That doesn’t mean she can’t sniff out prey, it just means that she’s more likely to take off after something when it catches her eye rather than her nose.

Dog Show Did You Know: 7 Fascinating Facts About Pharaoh Hounds

  • Because of that chase instinct, Pharaoh Hounds may not be ideal for homes with cats. Freya was born in a home with kitties, though, and she does get along with them. Still, she does chase my cats from time to time. Alex loves her and insists on playing rough with her. We have to monitor their play because she doesn’t realize she’s so much bigger than him. She is starting to mellow out a bit, though!

Dog Show Did You Know: 7 Fascinating Facts About Pharaoh Hounds

  • Pharaoh Hounds have very short, glossy coats that are easy to groom. However, that short coat offers them virtually no protection from the elements. I bought Freya a little fleece jacket, but she’s already outgrowing it. I don’t let her spend too much time outside when it’s very cold. While her coat is short, her nails grow astronomically fast, so we have to file or cut them weekly.

I’m planning to watch the AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin with Freya, so she can see how well the others pups in her breed behave! She’s a bit, um, stubborn, when it comes to training. She LOVES watching other Pharaoh Hounds, though. I pull up YouTube videos of them and she’s fascinated. The three-hour special will be anchored by KC Vice President Gina DiNardo and sportscaster Jason Knapp. It will also feature special appearances by celebrity Jerry O’Connell! I love him!

Jerry O’Connell at the AKC National Championship 2016 Dog Show in the Orange County Convention Center, on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016, in Orlando Fla. (Jesus Aranguren/Startraksphoto)

Credit: Michael Simon

More than 5,000 of the top national and international dogs are competing in the show, making it the largest dog show in North America with the largest monetary award in the world of dog sports. The pre-recorded special features winners from each of the competition categories as well as highlights from everyone’s favorite competitions: Agility and Dock Diving, and some of America’s brightest up and coming Junior Showmanship handlers before ending in the crowning of Best in Show. The AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin was held in Orlando, Florida from Dec. 17-18, 2016

Dog shows like this aren’t just fun to watch, they’re also meant to help determine which dogs are most suitable for the purposes that they’re bred for, and which dogs should go on to contribute to the gene pool of their breeds. That’s why they have a breed standard that determines how well a dog places. Pharaoh Hounds are incredibly healthy dogs because responsible breeders have so closely stuck to a breed standard over thousands of years.

Dog Show Did You Know: 7 Fascinating Facts About Pharaoh Hounds

Credit: Mark Jordan

Every single dog breed was designed for a specific need. German Shepherds, for example, were bred as working dogs. Pharoah Hounds were created as hunting dogs, to help people feed their families. If we understand why they were created, we can better understand why our dogs do the things they do. Royal Canin, proud sponsors of the show, understands that every dog is different, which is why they created breed-specific diets to help provide your dog with the best overall nutrition.

Dog Show Did You Know: 7 Fascinating Facts About Pharaoh Hounds


Don’t forget to tune in tonight at 6PM ET/PT for the 3-hour AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin on the Hallmark Channel! What breeds are you rooting for?