The Pharaoh Hound is generally a very healthy dog breed and appears to be free of many of the genetic problems that have plagued other dog breeds, such as hip dysplasia and eye disorders. However, there are a few health issues that are known to be problems for Pharaoh Hounds.
Unilateral cryptorchidism is undoubtedly a genetic problem within this dog breed, and although Pharaoh Hounds that are thus affected can produce sperm, they should never be bred. This condition indicates the retention of one testicle, due in this case usually to a shortening of the cord, thus not allowing the testicle to drop. Unilateral cryptorchidism is often referred to erroneously as monorchidism, but in fact this is different; the latter is a condition in which only one testicle is present. Veterinary advice should be sought regarding whether or not removal of the undescended testicle is advisable.
Some Pharaoh Hounds have been known to suffer from patella luxation, a substandard formation of the knee joint that affects a number of dog breeds, though more often the smaller dogs. Depending on where you live, this condition may still be a problem, though in the US and UK it has been largely eradicated over the last 10 years.
In mild cases, there may be no evident signs of the problem, but, if more severe, patellar luxation can be both painful and disabling, one of the signs being that a leg is lifted intermittently. The dog’s hind legs can become bowed and the gait altered, and, in the long term, arthritis can develop. Occasionally surgery is necessary and any Pharaoh Hound seriously affected should certainly not be bred.
Careful Pharaoh Hound breeders have their dogs tested for patellar luxation, and some also have the test for hip dysplasia performed at the same time. Hip dysplasia, though, appears not to be a problem in the Pharaoh Hound.
Reactions to Injections and Insecticides
Like other sighthounds, Pharaoh Hounds can suffer from reactions to modern-day injections. The reason for this seems to be that these dogs lack the protective layer of fat under the skin, something that the majority of dog breeds have. This is something that should be discussed with your vet when injections are needed, and is especially important in the case of anesthetics. Some Pharaoh Hounds can also display sensitivity to insecticides, so this should be taken into account when selecting products for the control of parasites.
Although not concerning the health of the Pharaoh Hound, a problem within this dog breed is “soft ears.” This means that the dog’s ears do not stand erect as they should. Sometimes the ears stick up just slightly, resembling the ears of some terrier dogs, but sometimes never at all. Pharaoh Hounds with correct ears should have them up by the age of six months.
A few Pharaoh Hounds have missing pre-molar teeth. Again this is not really a health issue, but the matter should be addressed in order that this is not allowed to become prevalent.
Excerpt from Pharaoh Hound, part of the Comprehensive Owner’s Guide series, with permission from its publisher, Kennel Club Books, a division of BowTie Inc. Purchase Pharaoh Hound here.