English Foxhounds and American Foxhounds (among a few others) are sometimes referred to as “running gear breeds” because the importance of feet and legs in these pack hounds can’t be overstated. They’re so important in the English Foxhound that its standard has a point scale which assigns 20 points to the legs and feet alone. Bred to hunt over a different sort of terrain, the American is racier and lighter-built than the English Foxhound, but its standard also includes a scale of points, this one assigning a full 15 points to the feet alone.
Good feet are critical for a hound’s working life in the field. From an article written by Ann Roth: “The desired round “cat feet” in the English Foxhound and Harrier breeds have “well-developed knuckles.” Also, “strong horn,” or pads, are required for durability in running many miles while hunting. When standing, the hound should have his weight distributed evenly on all of his toes and the heel of his foot. To do so, he must not be “knuckled over” or have exceedingly upright pasterns. The American Foxhound foot is described as “fox-like,” with full, hard pads, well-arched toes and strong nails. The slightly longer center toes differentiate the American hound’s foot from his English and Harrier cousins.”