The bloodhound is admired and revered for his keen sense of smell and tracking abilities. With reports of tracking individuals for over 50 miles, the bloodhound is considered one of the best of the scent hounds.
History and Origin
The bloodhound is an ancient breed that thrived in Mediterranean region. It is believed that prior to the Crusades, the bloodhound was brought from Constantinople to England. In the 12th century, the breed was popular among the European religious elite, which played an important role in the bloodhound’s development. At the time, the dog was known as the Chien de St. Hubert.
It was in Great Britain that the dog received his name. Since he was a beloved and cherished dog of royalty and high society, the dog was known as a bloodhound since he was associated with blue bloods. He was not named for his ability to follow blood trails.
The bloodhound is renowned for his ability to follow the faintest scent. He is the contemporary representative of the oldest line of scent hounds. Originally, he was used to track deer but his ability to track humans became his niche, and no other breed has been able to surpass his abilities.
Law enforcement began using the bloodhound in England in the early 1800s. Today, the bloodhound’s power of identification by scent is accepted as testimony in nearly every court of law.
The bloodhound is recognized by the American Kennel Club as a member of the hound group.
Appearance and Size
The bloodhound is a large shorthaired dog. He has a noble and solemn expression and lots of loose skin that drapes around his neck. The ears are long and pendulous and the eyes are deep set. The breed’s head is long and the body deep and massive. The tail is long and thick. The haircoat of the bloodhound is short and smooth and can be red, black and tan, tawny or liver.
The adult bloodhound stands 24 to 26 inches at the shoulder and weighs 80 to 120 pounds.
Despite his size, the bloodhound does not make a good guard dog. He is an affectionate and friendly dog but can be a little shy. The breed is not known for his obedience abilities and can be somewhat headstrong.
Home and Family Relations
The bloodhound is a gentle and loving family companion. The breed craves human contact and needs to be with his family to thrive. The bloodhound is a large dog and needs space to exercise. He would do best in a home with a fenced yard. The bloodhound should never be allowed to roam since he will trail any scent and will even follow it into the path of oncoming cars. Despite his gentle nature, the bloodhound is not for everyone. They do tend to snore loudly, have a deep baying voice and drool a significant amount.
During the summer, the bloodhound may need bathing one to two times a month. The large pendulous ears need to be cleaned several times a week.
The bloodhound is one of the most docile breeds. This breed does not need any training to trail scents but does need a trainer handler to prevent the dog from injuring himself. Once he finds a scent trail, the bloodhound will continue to follow the scent even into the path of oncoming cars. He will only stop tracking when he finds the source of the scent and has been known to follow a scent for miles. His stamina and determination are much admired. Unlike other law enforcement dogs, the bloodhound does not attack when he finds his quarry.
The bloodhound is a quick learner but does tend to be stubborn. They love to follow a scent trail but can learn to follow other commands.
This breed needs space and daily exercise but should never be allowed to roam. He must have a fenced yard. The bloodhound is known to constantly have his nose to the ground searching for a scent to follow. Once he finds a scent, he is single-minded and pays no attention to safety. In addition, the bloodhound tends to be hard on yards since they love to dig, much like other hounds.
Common Diseases and Disorders
In general, the bloodhound is a healthy dog with few medical concerns. However, the following diseases or disorders have been reported:
- Gastric torsion, also known as bloat, is a life-threatening sudden illness associated with the stomach filling with air and twisting.
- Hip dysplasia is a malformation of the hip joint that results in pain, lameness and arthritis.
- Entropion is a problem with the eyelid that causes inward rolling. Lashes on the edge of the eyelid irritate the surface of the eyeball and may lead to more serious problems.
- Ectropion is a problem with the eyelid that causes eversion of the eyelid margin. It most commonly affects the lower central eyelid.
- Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) is a disorder of the eye that results when tear production is decreased.
- Cherry eye is a prolapse of the third eyelid. Though not a serious injury and does not cause blindness, the prolapse can be irritating to the surface of the eye and cause persistent tearing or eye pain.
- Ear infections are relatively common due to the large pendulous ears.
- Aortic stenosis – is a disease caused by stenosis of the aortic valve that may cause symptoms such as weakness, collapse and sudden death.
The average life span of the bloodhound is approximately 9 to 11 years.
We realize that each dog is unique and may display other characteristics. This profile provides generally accepted breed information only.