Pet Advisor Blog

Kelb tal-Fenek – Dog Breed Guide

Breed summary

Size: Large
Weight: 45 to 55 pounds
Height: 21 to 25 inches
Longevity: 12
Bark Tendency: Low
Aggression: Low
Compatibility to other pets: Medium

Adopt a Kelb tal-Fenek, Dog Breed Guide


The Kelb tal-Fenek earned the distinction of being named the national dog of Malta. Their name literally means “Rabbit Dog” by the people of Maltese. Worldwide, they are identified as the Pharaoh Hound for having the same physical traits of the ancient Egyptians dogs. But recent studies and DNA testing of the modern Kelb tal-Fenek and the ancient hounds of Egypt shows no direct connection.

Official Name

Kelb tal-Fenek
Other Name:
Pharaoh Hound


Date – Recreation of the ancient Egyptian hounds
Country – Malta
Family / Group – Sight Hound, Hound

Recognized By

American Kennel Club
United Kennel Club


The Kelb tal-Fenek dog breeds are known to be the pride of the Maltese people and officially named it as the official national dog of their country. They also have their own silver coin, bearing their likeness on their native country. But these sight hounds are more famous around the world as the Pharaoh Hound because of their similarities to those ancient Egyptian dogs used by the Pharoah. For centuries, people believed that these Maltese dogs were descendants of these Egyptian hounds; some even think that they are a recreation of that ancient breed. But recent studies prove that there is no direct link to the modern Kelb tal-Fenek and the Pharoah Hounds of antiquities.


The Kelb tal-Fenek are dogs that have high levels of intelligence and a natural disposition to please. This makes them highly trainable and quick to learn new things. The Maltese sight hounds are affectionate and playful when around family, but will be wary when confronted by new faces. They are also catlike in its mannerism and can be discriminating towards others. These dogs are also known to be capable of blushing and smiling!

Bred For

Maltese people used them as hunting dogs for rabbits and hares.


They are not suitable for apartment type living. These dogs will do best in rural and suburban areas. They are sensitive to cold and cannot be left outside for long in cold climates.


These dogs have minimal grooming needs. But they do have sensitive skin. These dogs have no noticeable odor, except when wet or when they’ve been outside.


These dogs ability for training is preferably fair considering they can be quite stubborn and hard to please.


These dogs are basically free from genetic diseases.


The Kelb tal-Fenek are a very active breed but, like greyhounds, as indoor dogs they are happy couch campers and need little exercise.