Over 2,500 dogs travel from around the world to compete at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, presented by Purina® PRO PLAN®. Each of the 205 breeds falls into one of 7 American Kennel Club (AKC) Groups. The AKC Hound Group takes the ring first on night one of the world’s greatest dog shows.
History of the Hound Group
Most hounds were used for hunting and were originally classified as Sporting dogs. In 1930, however, the AKC introduced the Hound Group. The Group currently contains over 30 different breeds. The newest breed to join the Group is the Azawakh.
Hound Dog Breeds
Though hounds share hunting traits, they’re a diverse Group. Some hound dogs bring down the game themselves or hold it at bay until the hunter arrives. Others locate the game by tracking its scent.
Sight hounds hunt by sight, and scent hounds use their superior olfactory senses. Some dogs in the AKC Hound Group are capable of producing a special sound called “baying.” Dogs in the Hound Group include all the following breeds and more.
- Basset Hound: This exceptional scent hound was bred to hunt game like rabbits, birds, fox and deer. The breed stands low to the ground, true to its French origins (“basse” means “low” in French).
- Beagle: The Hound Group includes both the 35cm and 40cm Beagles. English gentlemen in the 1500s used these scent hounds to hunt rabbit and larger hare.
- Bloodhound: The Bloodhound’s name refers to his pure-blood breeding. It has nothing to do with his tracking abilities.
- Dachshund: The Dachshund was developed approximately 600 years ago in Germany. Their job was to dig into badger dens. Thus, the word “Dachshund” translates to “badger dog.”
- Greyhound: Greyhounds are the fastest dog breed. Their ancestry dates back approximately 5,000 years to Egypt. Pharaohs used them to detect and chase off wildlife.
- Rhodesian Ridgeback: Hailing from Africa, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is famous for his abilities to track large game, like lions.
Fun Facts About the Hound Group
- In 2015, Miss P, a Beagle, became the 9th Best In Show champion in a row fueled by Purina® PRO PLAN®.**
- Miss P’s uncle, Uno, won Best In Show in 2008 and was also a Purina Pro Plan-fed dog.**
- The Greyhound is the winningest breed in the Hound Group with 13 Group wins.*
- Six Best In Show winners have come from the Hound Group*, including the Afghan Hound, Beagle, Scottish Deerhound and Whippet.
- In 2019, a Dachshund (Longhaired) fueled by Purina PRO PLAN won the Group.**
*Since the Hound Group’s inception in 1930.
**The handler or owner of these champions may have received Purina PRO PLAN dog food as Purina ambassadors.