History of the Pharaoh Hound

History of the Breed

The early 1960's saw the introduction of the Pharaoh Hound to the United Kingdom, thanks to Mrs. Pauline Block, whose husband, Adam Block, was the General in charge of the British troops stationed on Malta. It was due to Mrs. Block's fascination with the beauty and elegance of the breed that we see their arrival in Europe. It was after their import into the UK that they were given the official name change of "Pharaoh Hound".

The first Pharaoh Hound was introduced to the United States by Mrs. Ruth Taft-Harper in 1967.

The Maltese Connection

On Malta, the breed is known as "Kelb tal-Fenek" (dog of the rabbit) and even today, plays an important role in the life of the Maltese sportsmen.

The Kelb tal-Fenek was declared the National dog of Malta and in 1977 a silver coin was minted to commemorate the occasion.

The island of Malta is extremely rocky and the farmer's fields are divided by stone walls. The hounds are normally hunted in teams, who have learned to work together to bring down the elusive rabbits. The rabbits usually take refuge inside the rubble walls. The hunters then utilize the aid of a ferret, who wears a small bell around it's neck. The ferret is released at the point marked by the hounds. One hound is allowed to follow the movement of the ferret by the sound of the bell. If the rabbit has gone into a crevice in the rocks, all possible escape routes are covered with a net which traps the rabbit when it bolts.

Hunting, most often, takes place at night and the dogs untiringly pursue their prey for many hours. Their keen sense of both sight and hearing, coupled with their natural strength and endurance, makes them better suited to this task than any other breed.

Occasionally, the dogs are used to herd goats and sheep on Malta's sister island of Gozo. Some are used to retrieve birds as well.

International Friendships

Today, the Pharaoh Hound can be found in Finland, Denmark, Scotland, England, France, Germany, Russia and Sweden, among other countries. The internet and increased ease of travel has expanded our ties to new friends in other countries. This allows the importation and exportation of dogs around the world, to the betterment of the breed.