While all dogs have a much stronger sense of smell than humans, scenthounds are sporting dogs that use their exceptionally high developed sense of smell to nose out prey. These dogs are also used for rescue.

It is the belief of many historians that the ancestors of the scenthounds were large fierce Molossian dogs, who were brought from Phoenicia to England in the sixth century BC. These dogs served as dogs of war. The Romans were impressed by the use of dogs in war and adopted the practice. Other European nationalities followed suit.

Selective breeding of scenthounds began in the Middle Ages. Since hounds hunted and lived in large groups, they were bred for temperament and the desire and ability to hunt without human direction. Hunting with dogs was a sport for the rich. The most popular animals to hunt were deer and foxes.

In 1659, Robert Brooke arrived from England with the first pack of English Foxhounds to be used for hunting in America. Today’s American scenthounds are descendants of these dogs. Racoon, or coon hunting, became a popular sport in America.

List of scenthound breeds:

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