The origin of the English foxhound began in the Middle Ages when the Nobility and Aristocrats in England bred this dog for foxhunting. They originally crossbred it from French hunting dogs. The organized horse hunts were very popular in England ever since they began in the 13th century. The English hunters, however, were not completely satisfied with the dogs they had to use. They wanted dogs that were faster and smaller than the traditional hound dogs.
Other reasons for the creation of this dog came in the 1500s when the English believed the deer were being deleted and risked becoming extinct. The Nobles and Aristocrat not only hunted fox but deer as well. They hunted deer with Deerhound and Staghound. They later concluded that perhaps a new type of prey would be more useful so they selected the fox. They needed speed, which they got from the Greyhound, hunting instinct from the Fox Terrier and endurance from the Bulldog.
The English then began a breeding program to develop the dog they wanted by using the Bloodhound Terrier, Bulldog and Greyhound. It was the combination of these three dogs that gave us what we now know as the English foxhound. In the 1800s, with the help of the British Masters of Foxhounds, they started keeping a studbook of their dogs. Napoleon III was particularly impressed with the English foxhound.
The English foxhound was used in the United States in the 17th century to develop the American foxhound. The English foxhound was known for its great bone structure, energy and hardiness and this reputation carried to France, where the dogs were used as pack hounds for the hunting of large game. This dog has kept its popularity even today.
Today the English foxhounds still work in hunting packs as they participate in foxhunts. In fact, this is a very popular sport for the avid hunters that are lucky enough to own English foxhounds. In many areas and countries, riding with the hounds is not only a tradition, but is also done in ceremony.
The Master of the Hounds is in charge of the care and breeding of the packs of dogs. They wear a certain style of clothing and costumes for these events. These events, costumes and all have been on many paintings by English artists and are a large part of their heritage.
In the United Kingdom, foxhunting, as well as other bloodsports, has been under debate by analysts and anti-bloodsport protesters. The English use as their debate their theory that this sport will keep down the supply of foxes. The English Foxhounds finally came to America in the 1700s, but weren't registered with the American Kennel Club until 1909.