Name the breed bloodhound, and most people will think about the dog with the best sniffer in the world. And he is a marvelous sniffer, capable of working for law enforcement and search and rescue. He is known for being capable of discerning human scent even though old, over great distances and across water. Other than having a keen sense of smell, this breed has a sweet disposition and is blessed with features that make his presence unmistakable.
The ancestors of this breed date back to medieval France, when dogs gifted with a keen sense of smell were utilized to track deer and boar. The name derives from the dog’s past as an aristocrat often owned by nobles, giving this breed the “blooded” term. The monks of St Hubert’s Abbey in Belgium bred what were known back then as St. Huber Hounds and Francois Hubert, a passionate hunter worked them on old, cold trails. After Hubert’s death, his hounds were taken to England by William the Conqueror where they became prized gifts for the nobles. The breed though declined in numbers when the French Revolution took place and the nobles fled and hunting was out of vogue. Luckily though the breed was still prized enough to keep it from becoming extinct. When they weren’t used much for hunting, the were used for tracking thieves and poachers. Queen Victoria owned several and entered one in dog show.
The breed was introduced on American soil in colonial times. Even Benjamin Franklin admired the breed and inquired about it when he was looking for a means to track down ill-intent Indians. The breed fell victim to negative stereotyping during the Civil War due to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The breed became quite popular again when wealthy Americans started breeding them producing fine dogs. Nowadays, the breed is utilized for some quite serious tasks, whether in search and rescue or for law enforcement agencies. His sense of smell is so accurate, his testimonies are admissible in court. This breed is categorized under the hound Group and AKC recognized in 1885.
Despite the past negative stereotyping, this breed is overall gentle and extremely affectionate. When sent to hunt down people, he’s more likely to lick the person than attack. This is a breed with great endurance, capable of following a trail for many miles. He makes the perfect hiking and jogging companion for those active people out there. Fail to provide enough exercise, and he’ll likely engage in destructive behaviors and annoying baying. Remember that his great nose is the commander center, so he’ll likely surf the counters and raid the trash can, given the opportunity. Forget about stopping him once he catches scent; he’s on “one track mind” and his ears turn off oblivious to any command. This breed’s loud baying can appear annoying to neighbors.
The Ideal Household
Despite this breed’s look, he’s a far cry from being lazy. This breed needs an owner ready to commit to nice, long walks. Always keep him on leash. This is a breed that thrives on company, so after exercising he looks forward to spending time indoors with his family. Even in his past as a hunter, he used to hunt in packs in Britain that tracked scent, a group known as “Sagaces”. This breed needs an owner who doesn’t mind the slobber and distinctive hound odor and this breed’s innate desire to smell.
This breed isn’t crafted for apartment living. Give him a home with a nice-sized yard and he’ll be happy. And make sure you have a sturdy fence and high fence, at least 6-feet high with wire buried under to discourage digging his way out, if this breed figures a way out, he’ll follow scent and wander away regardless of traffic or other dangers. In the yard, this breed tends to make a poor watchdog as he just loves people, but when he’s excited he can get very vocal, but some bloodhounds can be more on the quiet side.
This breed is predisposed to get along with other dogs and pets. While not quarrelsome, some may not be too fond of small dogs or dogs of the same sex. With cats these dogs may get along well, but cats may not appreciate the occasional slobber. Remember his past as a hunting dog; he may instinctively want to chase fleeing animals.
With children, he’s tolerant and gentle, yet no dog and child should ever be left alone unsupervised. This breed can be possessive over food and toys. With very small kids, this breed may engage in vigorous jumping which can easily knock them down. For this reason, this breed does best with older children.
Things aren’t much easy in the training department with this breed, unless you’re planning to train him to follow scent. which he does already on his own. The breed is stubborn, but not in the sense that he doesn’t like to listen, but in the sense that he believes he has better stuff to do. This breed requires patience, consistency and gentle methods such as positive reinforcement training. Rough, harsh methods won’t help, other than intimidating this sensitive breed. This breed, as other breeds, requires socialization. This breed tends to be shy with people he doesn’t know. Teach him not to surf the counters or raid the trash. Even better, keep food out of reach and hide the trash can. This breed can be possessive over food and toys. When it comes to doing the job he was bred to do, this breed works with enthusiasm and determination. When trailing, the dog is often allowed to sniff the scent from something the quarry may have touched and the bloodhound will follow the drift of scent
This breeds stands between 23 to 27 inches at the withers and weighs 80 to 110 pounds. The skin is loose and folds around the face and ridges can be seen in the forehead. The pendulous skin around the neck is known as dewlap. This breed was purposely crafted to e a sniffing machine. For instance, the Bloodhound’s nasal chambers are larger compared to other breeds.The breed has long, pendulous ears that aid in bringing scent towards the nose. There’s belief that the shawl, the folds of wrinkled flesh under the lips and neck, help catch scent particles.The coat color is black and tan, liver and tan, and red which can be flecked with white This breed has an overall noble expression. Bloodhounds have a large, heavy skeletal structure with very thick bones. The skin around the eyes is said to blind the dog to focus on scent (see dogs 101q video)?
This breed sheds seasonally, so make sure to keep those stray hairs at bay through gentle brushing. Keep in mind he has delicate skin. Also, plan as well to clean up the occasional slobber around the house; after this breed drinks, he’ll shake and spread all the water everywhere. Clean the wrinkles as well to prevent annoying skin fold infections. Clean ears every day as they get messy after going inside the food bowl.
This breed’s pendulous ears make him prone to ear infections. Also, keep an eye on him, like the Lab, this breed is prone to swallowing items such as rocks, pieces of toys and batteries. This can potentially cause an intestinal blockage. This breed is prone to the following conditions: Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Hypothyroidism, eyelid problems,epilepsy, bloat, skin fold dermatitis. Bloodhounds tend to overheat. This breed is slow to mature, they act like an average lifespan of 6 to 8 years. Bloat is one of the main causes of death.
Did you know? It was once said that Bloodhound owners have an arm that’s longer than the other because of this breed’s pulling on the leash.
Where to get one
American Bloodhound Club Rescue
The Canadian Bloodhound Club Rescue
Pacific Rim Bloodhound Rescue
Southeast Bloodhound Rescue
Southwest Bloodhound Rescue
American Bloodhound Club