Yes! The majority of dogs representing the Hounds of East Fairhaven are in the sighthound family. Sighthounds are athletic dogs who are built to be aerodynamic and must stay lean to be healthy and perform their jobs. There is a variety of body types in the family and some sighthounds have bulky muscles, some have flat muscles, some have higher set hip bones which makes them more visible, and some have more visible ribs than others. Because they are built to be so light and athletic a healthy and fit body condition will usually show some hip bones and ribs. Hounds that do not show any rib definition are generally considered overweight and prone to health issues and shortened life spans. Some dogs will be thinner than normal due to being growing puppies or seniors. So, rest assured that all of the hounds that you see with the Hounds of East Fairhaven are much-loved and well-cared for pets and if even if they look “skinny” to you they are actually in good health and proper weight and body condition.
2. Are these dogs up for adoption?
The majority of dogs that represent HoEF are not up for adoption because the already have loving homes. Sometimes a foster dog will come to Fairhaven hoping to meet their new family but usually we prefer to bring dogs that we have had long enough to know that they will do well in the festival environment. The amount of stimulation at festival can be pretty stressful for some dogs. This gives you the chance to meet a dog that is settled into its true personality and used to the environment.
3. I want one! How do you get one of these dogs?
Some of the breeds represented in Hounds of East Fairhaven are easier to obtain than others. Retired racing Greyhounds are probably the easiest to adopt because there are so many adoption groups for them. We have the local adoption groups that have representatives as members of HoEF on our website. To begin your search for the less common and rarer breeds we recommend checking out our links on our website and/or contacting their breed club. You can obtain them occasionally though adoption or as puppies or adult rehomes for various reasons from reputable breeders. HoEF always encourages potential owners to do a lot of research on breeds that they are interested in before jumping into them and are happy to speak with you about life with our hounds.
4. How much does one of these dogs cost?
We never talk about the price of our pets. It will vary a lot depending on if you get a dog from an adoption group or a reputable breeder as a puppy or a rehome. Typically, adoption fees cover the costs of spay/neuter, dentals, vaccinations, and other medical costs and are often $300 or less.
5. How do you feel about dog racing?
Hounds of East Fairhaven is neutral on that topic. We believe in providing factual, current information and letting people decide for themselves without discussion or personal opinion. When we are at Renaissance festivals we are reenacting history and would love to talk to you about the ancient sport of coursing that is still practiced around the world today with our breeds instead.
6. How do you feel about dog breeding?
Hounds of East Fairhaven is neutral on that topic. We believe in giving factual, current information and letting people decide for themselves. We support doing extensive research and only obtaining pets from reputable sources, whether breeder or rescue. We do not support irresponsible breeding practices.
7. Why are they so calm? Are they tired or drugged?
Thank you for noticing our well-behaved hounds! Some sighthound breeds, like Greyhounds and Borzoi, tend to be more laid back and calm in various environments. Other breeds, like Ibizan Hounds, tend to be higher-energy and may have a bit more spunk throughout the day. We often have an age range as well so you may see bouncy puppies or sleepy seniors and everything in between.
8. Are these all Greyhounds? When did you start letting other breeds come?
No, all of the hounds represented in the Hounds of East Fairhaven are not Greyhounds. This group was originally formed in 2001 as a reenactment group for all period appropriate sighthound breeds. While Greyhounds do dominate our numbers, HoEF is not now, nor has it ever been, only for Greyhounds. We have had other breeds represented in our group since its inception. Currently we have Greyhounds, Italian Greyhounds, Whippets, Irish Wolfhounds, Scottish Deerhounds, Borzoi, Ibizan Hounds, and a Bloodhound. Oftentimes the rarer breeds might only have one owner in the group, which would be why you do not see them all of the time.
9. I didn’t think we could bring pets?
You are correct! The festivals that we are part of do not allow pets. However, these are working hounds that are part of the festival so they have special permission from the king and queen to be here. They are the royal coursing hounds.
10. Are these service dogs?
No, they are not. However, some of them are certified therapy dogs.
11. Why are these dogs here?
nSighthounds have a long and important history which includes the Medieval and Renaissance periods. We reenact the time periods with our hounds as fewterers, (keeper/handler of the hounds). Our hounds were used in the Medieval and Renaissance sport of coursing. Coursing was the organized traditional sport of hunting with sighthounds. Fewterers were responsible for the care of the hounds and taking them into the field in pairs (couples) and releasing them at designated times. This was a major sport of the nobility and the position of the fewterer was respected despite being held by commoners. We educate patrons about the role our beloved sighthound breeds played in history.