Pharaoh Hound: Two Breeds, One Name

In Maltese, “rabbit dog” is written as “Kalb Tal-Fenek,” but “Maltese Hound” is the name by which it was known when Pauline and Adam Block brought the first ones to the UK in the early 1960s (anecdotally, we’ve come across a source that reports that two dogs were brought to Britain earlier in the 1920’s).  Adam Block was the General in charge of the British troops stationed on Malta, but Mrs. Block’s fascination with the sublime beauty of this sighthound moved her to bring the breed home, and it was after their import into the UK that the breed was officially named the Pharaoh Hound.

This name caused some confusion for a time because the Ibizan Hound was also known by the name, “Pharaoh’s Hound” until the 1970s. This might have occurred because one Dr. Eugen Seiferle dubbed the entire group of similar dogs as “pharaonenhunde.” The designation confused the question as to whether the original rabbit dog of Malta was what we now call the Pharaoh Hound, or if it was a better fit for the standard of the Ibizan. Evidence, we’ve read, points to the Ibizan being the older breed, and while we continue look for that evidence, we can share that the boy pharaoh, Tutenkhamen, owned a dog named “Abuwitiyuw” who was believed to be a Pharaoh Hound, and perhaps that is why the breed was so named.

In the end, the Kennel Club in England deleted the moniker from the Ibizan Hound in 1977, and used it to refer only to the Kelb tal-Fenek, or Pharaoh Hound, and the Ibizan Hound became known solely as the Ibizan Hound.

Image: “Pharaoh Hound, Running, Chasing, Rabbit” by

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