On November 4, 1922, archeologist Howard Carter found the entrance to the perfectly preserved tomb of King Tutankhamen, inspiring a wave of Egypt mania across the world with its untouched cache of fascinating treasures.
These sleek and majestic sighthounds may look like they walked out of King Tut’s tomb, but their true origin may surprise you. The Pharaoh hound is known as Kelb tal-Fenek in their native Malta and they were bred to hunt small game. Their Maltese name means “Rabbit Hunter.”
Pharaoh hounds are not from Egypt
Pharaoh hounds are not genetically linked to the dogs native to Egypt, but may have been bred to resemble the sleek desert sight hounds, like the Tesem.
Fascination for all things Egyptian may have landed them their nameThe first pair of Pharaoh hounds was imported to Great Britain in the 1920’s when Egypt mania was in full swing.
Pharaoh Hounds hail from the island of Malta
Pharaoh hounds are known for their “blush”
They have no dark pigment in their skin and when excited, show a flush in their ears and nose.
Pharaoh hounds are also known for their smile
The smile is a natural “happy” face for many of these dogs, and some owners train it as a cute trick to impress friends.
Pharaoh hounds ears are completely natural
The ears “stand up” at around 4 weeks. Some breeders may assist a lazy ear with a little tape, but there’s no cropping for these dogs. Although classified as a sighthound, their ears help in tracking small prey.
50 shades of red
Pharaoh hounds come in a range of red and sandy tones and may have white markings or just a white tipped tail.
Pharaoh hounds are exceptional jumpers and require a 6 foot (1.8m) fence to be safely contained
Pharoahs have an unusual hunting partner–ferrets!
Pharaohs are hunted in pairs at night. When they chase a rabbit to ground the hunter covers the rabbit’s escape routes with nets then sends a ferret into the tunnel! A great description of a night hunt can be found here.
The Pharaoh hound joined the Kennel Club in 1974
Relative newcomers to the show scene, pictured here is Birling Zahara, the first Pharaoh hound to be shown at Crufts, 1970.