The Greek Hound, also known as the Hellenikos Ichnilatis, is one of the oldest scent hounds in existence, dating back to at least the ancient Greek civilization. They are thought to have been bred originally as hunting dogs, trained to trail game such as hares and foxes by scent. Many historians believe that Greek Hounds have been in existence since the time of Alexander the Great, with ancient artworks and artifacts bearing images of dogs that bear a striking resemblance to this breed. These dogs have been an integral part of rural Greek life for centuries, serving as both working dogs and loyal companions.
Currently, there are no known genetic conditions tightly associated with the Greek Harehound breed. However, like many dog breeds, Greek Harehounds may be prone to certain general health issues that can be found in dogs in general. These can include conditions such as hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), various types of cancer, allergies, and ear infections. Additionally, certain conditions that are not breed-specific but occur commonly in dogs, such as obesity or dental problems, should also be monitored and addressed.
Greek Hounds are known for their keen intelligence, agility, and stamina. They are also highly independent and have a strong prey drive, making them excellent hunting dogs. However, they are also affectionate and loyal with their families, showing a quieter and gentler side when not working.
These dogs are known to be courageous and determined, especially when on the scent trail. They are also known to be relatively good with children, but due to their hunting instincts, they might not be suitable for homes with other small pets unless properly socialized from a young age.
Ancient Greek literature often references dogs with the same tracking skills as the Greek Hound, leading many to believe that this breed has been assisting hunters for thousands of years.
Greek Hounds have a distinctive vocalization, characterized by a unique series of howls and barks when they are on a scent trail. This is known as "singing to the trail".
Greek Hounds are adept climbers and can navigate rough terrain with ease, a trait that is especially useful in the rugged landscapes of Greece.