Kelb tal-Fenek

Kelb tal-Fenek Breed description: Character & Co

Kelb tal-Fenek


Its unique appearance reminds of ancient Egyptian depictions of the god of death Anubis, hence the name of the pharaoh's dog. Otherwise it doesn't have much to do with pharaohs - it is way too lively for that.

About the breed Kelb-tal-fenek

In its homeland the Pharaoh's dog is called Kelb tal-Fenek, which means 'rabbit dog'. This name goes back to the fact that it was and is still used for rabbit hunting.

It has been classified by the FCI in group 5, pointing and archetype dogs, section 6, archetype. The Pharaoh's dog is a hunting dog.

History: the survival artist and hunter

Probably for thousands of years there have been dogs of a similar type spread around the Mediterranean, like the Podenco among others. Survivors, who often enough had to starve, fed on the remains left behind by humans, were tough, persistent, skillful and nimble hunters. They show a striking similarity to the Tesem, the Egyptian hunting dog. This suggests a relationship.

The Pharaoh's Dog was bred in Great Britain in the 1960's, the patronage for this breed is Malta, which is also the country of origin of these dogs. Since 1974, the Kelb tal-Fenek is considered their national dog. The Pharao Hound is very rare in Germany. It is controlled by the German Sighthound Breeding and Racing Association, which also makes sighthound training possible.

Banner: Shutterstock / Jagodka
A pharaoh dog in the forest, brown with standing ears, dog with tail under belly, fearful dog, small brown dog breed Pharaoh dog as profile from the front, dog that looks like Magyar Viszla with prick ears, red dog breed, medium sized dog with short coat Body of a Pharaoh Dog, Kelb Dog, Brown Dog, Red Dog, medium sized dog breed with large prick ears and short coat Pharaoh dog with cat in bed, dog and cat are friends, brown medium dog with little hair and very big ears, prick ears
Alternate Name Pharaoh Hound
Origin Malta
Life expectancy 12 - 14 years
Care requirements low-maintenance
Activity level average to high
FCI group Primitive type
AKC group Hound Group
KC group Hound Group

Kelb tal-Fenek mixes


The character: friendly with a strong hunting instinct

The Pharao Hound shows its origin as a survival artist and hunter in all of their being.

It is always alert, has extremely sharp senses and notices carelessness immediately. If it can get hold of something to eat, you often can't react fast enough.

Its hunting instinct is so strong that it is more or less impossible to let it run freely.

At the same time it is extremely peace-loving and aggression-free towards humans.

Towards other dogs it can act in a dominant way.

Pharao Hounds are very close to their humans, playful and friendly, also towards children.

They are eager to learn and constantly want to experience something.

A rare breed

The breed is extremely rare, so it will not be easy to find a Pharaoh Hound breeder. In any case, let the breeder provide you with proof of their breeding being free from inbreeding.

Education of a Kelb tal-Fenek: not so easy

The fact that it is very eager to learn and always wants to please you makes their training easier.

The fact that your Pharaoh Hound will immediately exploit any inconsistency or weakness you might show makes it more difficult. For example in order to get something to eat or to free itself from the tiresome leash. Another problem can be its strong hunting instinct.

Especially the call-back has to be practiced again and again with the Pharaoh Hound puppy - only to find out afterwards that it still doesn't really work reliably.

On the one hand, you have to keep your Pharaoh's dog on the leash long enough so that it does not feel overpowered by you, but so that it still accepts you as its human. On the other hand, you have to be consistent so that it does not simply do what it wants.

A Pharaoh Hound belongs in the hands of experienced dog owners.

Attitude: not suited for coach potatoes

The Pharao Hound does not make great demands on its keeping - the main thing is enough exercise. The best is several walks daily, jogging, or bicycle tours. In addition, it should be able to really use op all of its energy every once in a while - for example at a greyhound race or something similar.

Since the Pharaoh Hound likes to bark, it is not particularly suited to being kept in an apartment building.

Kelb Dog, Pharaoh Dog, brown dog with very large prick ears, bat ears, small to medium sized dog breed.

Health of the Kelb tal-Fenek

There are no known breed typical diseases.

However, the Pharao Hound is quite sensitive to the cold.

Besides, it is not only greedy, but also a very good food processor - so you have to pay attention to its figure a little bit and you must not feed it too many calories.

Does a Pharaoh dog suit you?

Various Pharaoh Dogs and Pharaoh Dog mixed breeds end up in shelters because their owners were simply overwhelmed with them.

If you want to buy a Pharaoh dog, first consider whether you really want to live with them. They will demand a lot from you - even if they also give you a lot in return. Are you capable of doing that and do you want to?

The next question is whether it really must be a puppy. Why don't you ask the animal welfare department? Maybe you can also give a home to a dog in need?

Kelb tal Fenek, Pharaoh Dog Breed Description

The Pharaoh Dog is a medium sized, slender dog, which resembles a greyhound in build.

  • The withers height in the male is 56 to 63.5 cm, 56cm are considered ideal. In the bitch the height measured at the withers is 53 to 61 cm, 53cm are considered ideal.
  • The coat is a rusty-brown colour, short and fine to slightly rough, without undercoat. A white tip of the tail is desired, a white breast spot or white colouring on the paws is common, a white blaze is permitted.
  • The tail is pointed and tapers towards the end.
  • The ears are large and expressive, they stand up when the dog is alert and are generally very mobile.
  • The head is narrow and wedge-shaped.
  • Since the dog does not produce black pigments, the nose, the inner ear and the eyelids are rusty-red.
  • The eyes are amber coloured.

The average life expectancy of the Pharaoh Hound is 12 years.

Care: absolutely undemanding

The Pharaoh's dog does not need much care. It is easily content. From time to time you should brush their coat, of course check the ears and eyes as well as the paws and claws and make sure that the teeth are clean - either by brushing them or by chewing.

This is also a good thing though, since you will spend enough time on their exercise.

Fur length short
Fur flat coated
Ear shape Standing Ears
Tail lang
Anatomy rugged, sporty
Size ♀ 53 - 61 cm
Weight ♀ 18 - 27 kg
Size ♂ 56 - 63 cm
Weight ♂ 18 - 27 kg
Suitable For -


Body of a Pharaoh Dog, Kelb Dog, Brown Dog, Red Dog, medium sized dog breed with large prick ears and short coat
Pharaoh dog with cat in bed, dog and cat are friends, brown medium dog with little hair and very big ears, prick ears
Kelb Dog, Pharaoh Dog, brown dog with very large prick ears, bat ears, small to medium sized dog breed.
  • Overweight

    Often, unfortunately, the dogs very much under excess weight. But the dogs themselves are never to blame!

Sources and relevant links


Accessed on 05.04.2023


Accessed on 05.04.2023

Dorothee Dahl (2017). Windhunde. Cadmos Verlag.


Accessed on 05.04.2023

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