Cretan Hound

He is not recognized by the F.C.I.

Origin
Crete
Translation
Francis Vandersteen
This breed is also known as
Kritikos Lagonikos
Cretan Rabbit Dog
Kritikos Ichnilatus
Cretan Hunting Dog
Cretqan tracer
Cretan Tracing Dog

A brief presentation of the Cretan Hound

The Cretan Hound is a very old breed of dog, arguably one of the oldest hunting breeds in Europe. These attractive dogs are medium to large in size and originate from the Greek island of Crete. Bred as working dogs, they have boundless energy and love to run. They combine both sight and scent to track their prey, and have impressive speed and stamina when engaged in the hunt. Their athletically shaped bodies are covered by a short, smooth coat that comes in white, sable, fawn, gray, black, brindle, bicolor and tricolor. Cretan Hounds are focused and intense when pursuing their prey, but at home they are gentle, affectionate, humble and rather tolerant. They are curious dogs who love to explore new places. They are also alert and warn of any stranger approaching the property. These dogs need to keep busy and enjoy taking part in family outings or games. Intelligent, they are relatively easy to train, but they need a firm but gentle hand, as they have a hint of stubbornness. The Cretan Hound gets on well with children and will be a good playmate for them. Patient and gentle in play, they are energetic and sometimes strong-willed in the field. It's a good idea to keep them on a leash, as they love to run. The Cretan Hound can learn to live with other animals if socialized early in life. However, its throwing and chasing nature means that strange animals will be pursued, and rabbits are not recommended.

History of the Cretan Hound

The Cretan Hound is an ancient breed, existing for over 3,500 years. The dog's ancestors came from Africa to the rocky terrain of the Greek island of Crete. After crossing with local dogs on the island, the result was a dog perfectly adapted to harsh conditions. They were bred to control the prolific spread of rabbits and cunning hares that plagued the islands. In ancient times, the region was ruled by Minoan civilization and, for hundreds of years, the dog was isolated here due to its remote location. Finally, as people began to travel and explore, the dog spread to other islands, then to Greece and other European countries. While in other countries the Cretan Hound has been crossed with other breeds of dog, in Crete it has remained as unchanged as when it was originally perfected. The people of Crete are very protective of this dog and guard their breeding secrets well. Their best dogs are often hidden from curious exploring eyes, and they firmly protect the dog, making the Cretan Hound quite rare outside island life. Breeding practices are quite strict, as they keep only the best males to protect the health and strength of the breed. Other puppies are unfortunately eliminated to ensure a strong lineage. Although Greece and some European kennels recognize this elegant, efficient dog, it is still not recognized by the American Kennel Club. To this day, the Cretan Hound remains the elusive dog of Crete, favored by locals and appreciated as companions and family members.

Appearance of the Cretan Hound

Cretan Hounds measure between 48 and 69 centimeters and weigh between 20 and 27 kilos. With their slender build, these dogs can move quickly and keep up the hunt seemingly effortlessly. Their bodies are longer than they are tall, and their legs, though slender, are very strong. With a contracting belly and a long, bushy, rounded tail that curves over the back, they have a handsome appearance. Their heads are wedge-shaped, and they have long, fine faces and neat muzzles. With round, black eyes and a nose that can pick up a scent in an instant, these dogs are perfectly equipped to do what they love best - hunt and scent. Their ears are erect and alert, although they do fold back in pursuit of prey. Their coat fits like a glove, being short, hard and smooth in texture. Their coat color can vary from white or sandy to black, gray and brindle. They can also be brindle or tricolored. Elegant and almost regal in form, these unique and special dogs look built for action and have the stamina that has earned them the respect of their owners.

Temperament of the Cretan Hound

Cretan Hounds have almost two personalities: they are focused and intense when hunting, and therefore very efficient. When they return home from the field, they are gentle, affectionate and calm. Despite their main occupation as hunters, they are very tolerant of family members, especially smaller ones. They can be wary and reserved with strangers and let you know when someone is approaching the property. Even if your Cretan Hound is kept just for company, vermin will never afflict you. They are excellent rodent sensors and will make sure that no rodents enter their territory. Cretan Hounds love company and want to please. They are very active and will suit a family that enjoys exploring the great outdoors, jogging or cycling. Cretan Hounds don't like to be left alone for too long, although they're not great barkers. They like the mental stimulation of being with their family and will happily take part in active family games. They respond well to training, although you need to be firm but patient and consistent in training, as they don't respond well to harsh words or physical handling. Socialize these dogs well by introducing them to lots of people and other pets, so that they learn to behave appropriately and gain confidence. Keep them on a leash when outside, as the instinct to chase objects like bikes, cars or other fast-moving dogs can be a problem. This dog needs space in a secure yard to move around as dogs do. They don't respond well to small apartments unless they have a very active owner who takes them outside most of the day and tires them out. The Cretan Hound is naturally cherished in its homeland and makes a valuable companion dog.

Needs and activities of the Cretan Hound

Cretan Hounds are very active dogs. They love to run and hunt, and can do so for long periods. The Cretan Hound has been specially bred to locate and hunt its prey, and has done so with great efficiency for many years. As a result, activity is second nature to this dog and they thrive with an active family. Your Cretan Hound will love long exploratory walks, hikes and jogging almost more than family games in the backyard. If this dog is cooped up or left alone for too long, all sorts of behavioral problems can arise. They're not suited to a sedentary life; the more activity, the better they like it. The Cretan Hound has a long lineage and its hunting instinct is well established, so use a leash when you're out walking, otherwise its instinct could seep in, and that'll be the last you see of your dog for a few hours. Games of chase and ball retrieval will keep this dog busy, but make sure you keep them mentally occupied too. Challenge them to find ways to get their food from special food toys, or teach them a new trick or two. They love being with their family and love being part of everything that's going on.

Maintenance of the Cretan Hound

This dog has a short, elegant coat, which makes it easy to care for even if it sheds quite a bit, so there will sometimes be hair around the house. A good brushing with a firm bristle brush will help remove loose hair. When it comes to bathing, they rarely need it. You can use a special dry dog shampoo, gentle on the dog's skin and coat, and use the full bath when he needs it. One area that may need attention is their ears. We recommend checking the ear weekly for signs of infection or sensitivity. Infected ears can have a very bad smell. If you smell something, it may be coming from the inner ear. Be careful when wiping the ear, as this is a very sensitive area, and never probe deep into the inner ear. Brush your dog's teeth at least two or three times a week, as dogs can get cavities, just like humans. If you train them to do this from the time they're a puppy, it won't be a big problem. Keep their nails trimmed and take care not to cut too close to the nail bed where the blood vessels are. Cutting too close can cause your dog pain, which you want to avoid. Other than that, this beautiful dog is easy to care for, and you'll enjoy the time cementing your close bond.

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