Cretan Hound is a primitive hunting breed that was originally used people of Minoan civilization for chasing wild rabbits and hare on the harsh terrain of the island of Crete in Greece. The breed is also known as Kritikos Ichnilatis. Nowadays, these dogs are also used for functions like tracking, coursing and guarding.
Some ancient authors regarded Cretan Hounds as best hare hunting dogs because of their capability to hunt using excellent combination of scent as well as sight. While chasing a prey, these dogs have a particular tendency to taste the ground scent, even sucking it to sense the prey’s presence.
In the Heraklion Museum, there is a prehistoric metal piece depicting a Cretan Hound standing on the stern of a ship by the side of the Great Goddess from Greek Mythology.
These slender and well muscled dogs are slightly longer than tall. They are light on their feet and tend to have great speed even on rough terrain. These dogs have prick ears that tend to fold backwards (like that of a Greyhound) while chasing a prey. Head is wedge shaped and elongated. Eyes are small and almond shaped.
The distinct long tail is curved upwards and forms a loose or tight ring over the back. Underneath portion of the tail is covered with a brush of longer hair. Loin is slender and powerful and hipbones are slightly pronounced.
Color: These dogs are mostly available in white, cream, grey, black, fawn, sandy, brindle, bi colors and tricolors.
Height: These dogs generally grow to about 27 inches or more. The average height of bitches is 19 inches or more.
Weight: The average weight of Cretan Hound dog breed ranges between 44 to 66 pounds.
These hardy dogs are usually remain healthy.
Life Expectancy: The average life span of Cretan Hound dogs is about 10 to 12 years.
Litter Size: –
The short and average shedding hair coat of Cretan Hound breed dogs does not require extensive grooming. It needs to be brushed and combed at least once in a week’s time with the help of a firm bristle brush to maintain the hair coat in perfect condition.
As these dogs tend to get dirty outdoors, they can be dry shampooed occasionally. Wet baths should be carried out only when necessary. During such baths, use mild soap only. Other Cretan Hound grooming responsibilities include trimming the toenails, checking and cleaning the feet and mouth after exercise sessions etc.
Cretan Hound temperament is calm, quiet, patient and affectionate at home but passionate and deadly on the chase. These dogs are active and outgoing. They are intelligent and hence easy to train. They respond well to basic training and commands when trained with firm and consistent methods.
These dogs are gentle with children. They love to be praised by their owners and are considered as wonderful companion dogs. In addition, these dogs generally get along well with other pets in the house. However, due to their strong hunting instincts, Cretan Hound dogs tend to chase smaller animals like cats, rabbits etc.
Besides, they are likely to be reserved and suspicious of strangers. Thus, these alert and amiable dogs also make excellent guard dogs. When kept at a farm, they serve as good vermin exterminators.
These energetic dogs require a great deal of exercise on a regular basis. They should be allowed to run free in open areas that are safe for them. The ritual of daily walks is also a must. Due to their high activity requirements, these dogs are not recommended for sedentary apartment situation.
Cretan Hound is extremely rare now even in its native region but it is believed to be the oldest hunting dog breed in Europe that flourished in ancient times before the devastating volcanic eruption on the Aegean island of Thera.