Dog Breed Info Center(R) DBIC

Southern Hound

Information and Pictures

Side view drawing of a large, thick bodied tan and brown hound dog with long ears that hang down to the sides, a long tail and a large muzzle with a big black nose standing

The extinct Southern Hound dog breed

Other Names
  • Old English Hound
  • Traditional English Hound
  • English Hound
Description

The Southern Hound was a large breed and was known to appear as a mixture of both a bloodhound and an English Foxhound. They were thick boned and an average of 25 inches tall. They had a broad chest and a barrel like ribcage. They would walk in a way that made them look like they were wobbling and their legs would often appear bent because of this. They had a longer tail that would often be held up while they were following a trail and were also known to be quite muscular. Their snout was long and they had wide, thick skinned ears that would fall at the side of their head. A large dewlap of extra skin formed on their chest along with extra skin around their back although there were no obvious wrinkles. They came in a variety of colors including the famous tricolored patterns of Beagles along with a number of mixed colors of black, browns, tans, white, etc.

Temperament

This dog was a loyal scent hound that found enjoyment in following a scent trail for long periods of time without becoming bored. Often they were known to become so excited by the scent trail that they would wag their tail and lick the ground. They were pack dogs and had a low level of aggression toward other dogs. They were mostly relaxed dogs that moved at a slower pace than other scent hounds. After following a trail for hours, they would also hunt down the animal meaning that they were able to show aggression toward other animals.

Height, Weight

Height: 23–28 inches (58-71 cm)

Weight: 55-90 pounds (25-41 kg)

Health Problems

There are no records showing whether this dog had health issues.

Living Conditions

This dog was used as a hunting dog by both the nobility and farmers therefore they probably needed a large open space to run and explore. They probably needed to be taken on long walks when not activly working and needed a larger space to live.

Exercise

These dogs probably needed a space to explore and sniff although they were also known for being lazy and slow. They probably needed a long walk daily if they were not working, like most other dogs.

Life Expectancy

There are no records for how long the Southern Hound lived.

Litter Size

There are no records for how large their litter size was.

Grooming

These dogs had a short coat and probably only needed to be brushed and bathed when necessary. Their long drop ears would have needed to be kept clean.

Origin

The Southern Hound was a popular breed long before records were kept of it, making it uncertain where its ancestry originated from. We do know that the Southern Hound was bred in Wales and Southern England. We also know that this breed was popular during the Renaissance period. What we don’t know is when this breed was developed and how this breed was developed. Both mysteries are still being debated to this day.

During the Renaissance, only the wealthy in the nobility were able to afford hunting dogs, not to mention it was illegal for the lower class to own them as well. The nobility set aside land specifically for hunting as it was a means of political, social, and personal status. During their hunts, they would bring along packs of hounds that would ride alongside their horses.

While there are many theories of where this dog came from, the most popular is that they were brought to England in 1066 by the Norman armies. The Norman armies were related to the Vikings and had made their way to Northern France and eventually stayed there. France was known for their prime hunting dogs, especially the dogs that were created and kept by the monks. We can credit the monks at Saint Hubert Monastery for creating what is now known as the Bloodhound and was then known as the Saint Hubert Hounds.

The Normans brought several british dogs to England including the Bloodhound, Talbot, and the Grand Bleu de Gascogne. While some say that the Talbot was simply a white Bloodhound, others claim that it was its own special breed. Anyhow, these three breeds that were brought over were all mixed along with possibly a few unknown british dog breeds in order to create new breeds. This included the Southern Hound. People who believe that the Southern Hound was bred from French breeds believe that the Southern Hound was originated sometime between the 1200’s to 1400’s.

There are people who also believe that the Southern Hound was actually the original scent hound in Britain. This would mean that the Southern hound had been around before the Norman Invasion and before the Roman Empire in 43 A.D. It is unclear whether this is true although the Southern Hound was said to resemble the same hunting dogs that were Britain's main trade at the time. Others say that they resembled little to nothing of the hunting dogs back then and instead that they were actually Terriers or Spaniels.

There is also a theory that combines the last two theories above. Some say that the Southern Hound was a cross between hounds that were native to England at the time with dogs imported by the Normans from France. This theory suggests that they were bred and became there own breed around the year 1100 A.D., maybe earlier.

Similar breeds at the time include the Northern Hound and the Talbot. The Talbot was probably how the Southern Hound received its popular base coat of white. The Northern Hound, also known as the North Country Beagle, had no dewlap of skin, was taller, thinner, and had a more chipper voice than the Southern Hound.

The Southern Hound was known to have the best nose to sniff out trails other than the famous Bloodhound. They were able to follow a trail that was days old and be able to follow it for hours or even days without tiring. They were known to walk very slowly while following the trail although this wasn’t a problem for the nobility as they could easily follow on horseback. Once the trail was followed to the end, the animals, usually deer, were either shot with an arrow or hunted and killed by the Southern Hound. This dog was most likely used by the nobility from the 13th–17th century, up until the economy, environment, and government changed drastically.

Because of the political and agricultural changed in England, hunting was changed forever. New crops were being imported meaning more land was being farmed and less land was being used as hunting land. The population of deer, boar, and other game that was frequently hunted was now smaller than it ever was before. This meant that hunting was less frequently done than before. These changes did however make it easier for the red foxes to grow in population. Red foxes were now seen as vermin as they would destroy crops, hunt farmers lamb, steal eggs, harm the horses and cattle, and kill chickens. Because the red fox were now compared to rats and other vermin, the red fox was not hunted by the nobility until the 1500’s.

Since the red foxes were a huge problem for the farmers, they began to illegally keep scent hounds such as the Southern Hound in order to get rid of the pesky vermin. Many poor farmers only owned one or two Southern Hounds although in the 1500’s farmers began to come together and keep packs as large as 10–20 scent hounds. Most of these scent hounds were probably North Country Beagles while others were mixed breeds. The new popular sport became fox hunting, created by the farmers. The nobility would soon make this sport their own although Southern Hounds were not well equipped for the job.

Since the Southern Hound was too slow for hunting fox, the nobility began using other dogs that were more suited for fox hunts. They mixed the Southern Hound with the North Country Beagle along with other breeds such as Greyhounds, Bulldogs, Terriers, and Collies. Through this breeding, the nobility came up with the English Foxhound which began to replace both the North Country Beagle and the Southern Hound.

The Southern Hound was soon no longer needed as a purebred. Instead, they began breeding the Southern Hound with other dogs to create a variety breeds. Besides creating more English Foxhounds, they also created the Otterhound by breeding the Southern Hound with Terriers and Griffons. By the 1700’s, the Southern Hound became extremely rare to find.

Some believe the Southern Hound became extinct before the 1800’s. Others believe that the Southern Hound lived up until the mid 19th century beside the Welsh as it was used to hunt polecats and used to follow old fox trails. We do not know any of this for sure, however it is said that the last reports of a Southern Hound alive was in 1881. Some say the last Southern Hound was used to breed with a Bloodhound and the blood still exists in the Bloodhound today. There is no proof of this so we will never know for sure.

Group

--

Recognition
  • --
Side view drawing of a tricolor brown, black and white hound dog that looks like a large beagle sitting down

The extinct Southern Hound dog breed