These days, when impromptu social gatherings are so easily fostered by electronic networking, a dog that plays well with others is especially desirable. Coonhounds and foxhounds fit the bill admirably. No breed is better at getting along with strangers, whether human, canine or other species.
Hounds do unusually well at dog parks and other places where various dog breeds gather together. Mine are incredibly popular with other dogs on the sidewalks of Brooklyn, NY. Their loud invitations to play may put off some other breeds, but don't provoke fights. Unlike some other breeds, they are rarely confrontational. In general, coonhounds and foxhounds are curious and playful, although they may prefer sniffing out the perimeters to playing fetch with retrievers. It’s in their breeding: hunting hounds are turned out to hunt with unfamiliar hounds, and must get along even in competition. Their personalities are bred to vary from mellow to gregarious. Disagreeable hounds don't get bred.
While coonhounds and foxhounds have a significant prey drive--they are bred to hunt, after all--that prey drive can be guided to focus on a single prey species or get diverted to another task, like tracking. Unlike herding dogs, hounds are not inclined to harass farm animals. On first encounter, most hounds express cautious curiosity about other species.
Coonhounds and foxhounds are readily trained to ignore livestock, deer and possum; hunt alongside and amicably together with horses, mules, and visiting dogs; and to accept other household pets. Think of how many foxhounds may be gathered into a single pack surrounded by horses.
However, new hound adopters should take special care while introducing them to the family cat. Many hounds will chase cats until taught not to. (So will most other breeds of dog.) Running, outdoor cats pose more of a challenge than indoor cats. Any cat owner thinking of adopting a hound should ask about their prospective adoptee's history with cats. But as the picture on the poster shows, many hounds learn to get along brilliantly with their family's cat. Even better, hound rescues check out the personalities of the hounds they foster, so those few hounds that are inveterate chicken-killers or cat hunters, won't end up at egg farms or in homes with beloved kitties.
And while hounds can be large dogs, they instinctively know how to moderate how energetically they play with smaller, more delicate dogs, pups, and humans, but also willingly play rowdily with their more vigorous acquaintances. Boxer or papillion, a hound will enjoy a canine playmate and a child (or forever young adult) to wrestle with.
Long-eared dogs are extremely affectionate with their humans, their guests, relatives, and children. Please check out "Long Ears = Social Networking" as well as our earlier posters, "Long Ears & You = Soulmates," "Long Ears = Lotsa Cute," "Long Ears = Lotsa Fun," and "Long Ears = Lotsa Talent."
By Emily Plishner