In its native Malta, it is known as the Kelb tal-Fenek which means “rabbit hound.” It is one of the oldest domesticated dog breeds in the world and is believed to have originated in ancient Egypt. It is recognized as the national dog of Malta. It is similar in appearance to the Ibizan Hound, Portuguese Podengo, Podenco Canario and the Cirneco dell Etna. Tall, slender and athletic, it stands at an average height of 23 to 25 inches and weighs from 45 to 55 pounds. It has a wedge-shaped head, a muzzle that is slightly longer than the skull and a slight stop. Its eyes are small, oval-shaped and amber in colour. It has large ears that stand erect and are broad at the base. The chest is deep, shoulders are long and laid back and the front legs are long and straight. The tail is long, fine and straight, reaching down to a point below the hocks. It has a fine and short coat and lies tightly close to the skin. The Pharaoh Hound has a unique trait wherein the ears and nose become bright pink when it is excited or happy, similar to human “blushing.” The only acceptable colour for the breed is red but can vary in shades. There are also white markings on the chest, toes, tip of the tail and the bridge of the muzzle.
Naturally well-behaved, loyal and intelligent, the Pharaoh Hound is an excellent companion dog. They have a calm and even temperament and they deal well with children although may appear reserved towards strangers. They are agile and fast especially when hunting. They do well in competitive obedience and can live for about 11 to 14 years.