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Since the hound group has breeds of many different sizes, some hounds have been companion and city dogs for many years, while others are less commonly found in the city. Some of the more common and popular hounds that have adjusted very easily to life in the big cities are the smaller sized hounds, both in the sight and the scent categories.
Popular hounds that are typically considered to be good city dogs are the Whippet, Basenji, Basset Hound and the Dachshund. In addition the Norwegian Elkhound, the Harrier and the Beagle are all commonly seen in both city residences as well as in suburban and country areas as well. A popular hound that is typically a house dog and companion is the Italian Greyhound. This tiny replica of a full sized Greyhound only measures about a foot at the withers and typically doesn't weigh more than about 10 pounds at maturity. Although a true Greyhound and sight hound both in appearance and temperament, the Italian Greyhound is found in the Toy Group in the American Kennel Club, not within the Hound Group. Likewise the Dachshund is a breed that is found in two sizes, however both are within the Hound Group. The Standard Dachshund is 16 to 32 pounds in weight at maturity and the Miniature Dachshund is less than 11 pounds when fully grown. There is a third size, a Toy Dachshund that is up to 8 pounds at maturity, but this size is not recognized by the American Kennel Club at this time.
Beagles have always been a popular breed and continue to hold a very important place in many a dog owner's heart. The Beagle is an ideal city dog in that they aren't all that large, only maturing at 13 or 15 inches, depending in the size variation, and weighing under 25 pounds. They are sociable and happy dogs, typically very easy to train and that truly enjoy being around people, especially children. Although some are a bit prone to barking and some will have a very distinctive baying sound when sounding the alarm, they are a great companion dog even in small living spaces.
The Beagle, like the Whippet and the Dachshund tend to be very active both indoors and outdoors, especially as young dogs and well into their adult lives. They can do very well with a small fenced yard or simply frequent outside times and walks during the day. They are smaller sized as a group, so they aren't as challenging in apartments and small homes as the larger sizes of hounds. In addition they are very affectionate dogs, all known for their love of snuggling up with their owners while also being playful and clownish.
Unlike the Dachshund and the Whippet, the Beagle tends to be a bit more dominant and less likely to be shy or timid around new people. Even highly socialized Whippets and Dachshunds tend to be reserved and a bit aloof around people they don't know. They also may be less social with other dogs than the naturally friendly and extroverted Beagle. Some of the smaller and the larger sight hounds can become very nervous and high strung without proper exercise, obedience work and socialization. For owners that are committed to this type of daily training and exercise they can certainly adjust to city living. As with any dog, raising them from a puppy in the city is much easier than transitioning from the country to the city.
The Basenji is another member of the hound group that naturally does well in small spaces. They do need routine exercise and love to get out and run, but they don't need a huge yard or inordinate amounts of exercise on a daily basis. The Basenji is also a very quiet dog, more known for a yodeling, talking type of sound rather than a true bark. This isn't to say that a Basenji can't bark, they simply don’t use a bark unless they are protecting or sounding an alarm. The Basenji is very clean, almost cat like in its neatness in the house and is extremely easy to train.
However, despite their larger size, some of the bigger sight and scent hounds actually do very well in small spaces. The Irish Wolfhound, Borzoi, Norwegian Elkhound and the Bloodhound can adapt to apartment living with relative ease, providing they have long, regular walks at least two to three times a day. Generally these larger sized dogs are very sedate while indoors, but this is only possible with routine outside exercise. Ideally an off-leash dog area combined with an active owner that loves to jog or walk long distances at least once and preferably twice a day is the best possible match.
In general there are a few hound breeds that are not recommended for city life or life in apartments, but there are exceptions to this general statement. As a breed the Otterhounds, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Plott, Black and Tan Coonhound and the Saluki are not considered to be good matches for city or apartment life. It is not that these dogs can't adjust, it is that their natural temperament and behavior is just not a good match. Plott and Black and Tan Coonhounds are natural roamers and need to have a lot of space to travel in a day. A small living space without a large, securely fenced yard simply won't provide enough physical activity and will lead to challenging behavior if the dog is left alone.
The Otterhounds also need a lot of space and a lot of room to exercise and be in motion during the day. Indoors, they tend to be very sedate, leading to emotional and behavioral problems building up over time. These dogs thrive on being outdoors and swimming, running and exploring new areas. They are also prone to wandering and roaming and may become problem barkers if bored or confined.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback can adjust to smaller spaces but it is one of the more territorial and protective of the hound group. They have earned the mistaken reputation of being vicious dogs; however they do have a very high prey drive that may not make them suitable for city neighborhoods with lots of cats and other small animals. Early socialization, firm and consistent training is required with this breed, but once socialized and obedience trained they are a terrific pet and great for families with older children. Like all hounds they require routine, frequent exercise and lots of space to roam and explore to be truly happy and content.
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