The Bloodhound breed is a gentle and affectionate breed. They have an excellent sense of smell and belong to a group of dogs that hunt together by scent, known as Sagaces. Because of this, they love to be outside, exercising and walking, and following their senses. This wrinkly hound has a lot of energy and can be very stubborn, requiring a lot of care that many find too much hassle.
That being said, the Bloodhound is a kind and sensitive dog that is tolerant of children and other animals and they bring a lot of character and joy to those around them. With the right family, they can make him the perfect pet for an active household and show you the love and companionship you need. Read on below to find out more about this interesting breed.
History Of The Bloodhound
The Bloodhound is a dog that hunts by scent, making them a useful tool in todays society and they have found careers as mantrailers for police departments and search and rescue organizations. These kind of scent dogs have been around for hundreds of years, with the first dating as far back as the first century AD. However, it was in medieval Europe that these dogs began to develop into the scent followers we know today as the Bloodhound.
The first reference to the breed of Bloodhounds was in a poem by Sir Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford, titled William of Palerne. However, Bloodhounds were first bred by the monks of Saint Hubert’s Abbey and were known as St. Hubert hounds. Francis Hubert, who was alive from 656 to 727, made it his life’s work to breed hounds that could follow a trail. After he died, he was made the patron saint of hunters which is why, in France, you will still hear Bloodhounds referred to as St. Hubert hounds.
William the Conqueror took the Bloodhound to England when he invaded in 1066. They became a highly prized dog, with Elizabeth I owning a pack. Unfortunately, however, when the French Revolution happened, these dogs began to decline in popularity because hunts were no longer taking place.
In England they were still used for hunting, as well as for sniffing out thieves and poachers from around 1805. Also, the Victorian-era only benefited the breed, with the rise of dog shows, the new status of dogs as companions and a society that loved anything exotic or unusual. This was the time that the modern-day Bloodhound was developed.
Bloodhounds made their way over to the United States in colonial times. Their reputation took a beating during the Civil War when they were depicted as vicious beasts and their popularity began to decline again. However, in 1888, three Bloodhounds competed in the Westminster Kennel Club show and wealthy Americans took interest and began breeding again.
While modern Bloodhounds are still a pretty unusual dog to see today, they still have their great sense of smell and are used for law enforcement work. They are also registered by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
The Bloodhound is known for it’s excellent scent and it’s ability to follow a trail for long periods of time. Unlike they have been depicted in movies, they are very active dogs and love to be outside. Lets take a look at some of their most prominent characteristics.
Bloodhounds are large dogs. A male Bloodhound can stand anywhere between 25 to 27 inches tall and weigh 90 to 110 pounds, while a female can be 23 to 25 inches tall and weigh 80 to 100 pounds.
This breed is known for being very wrinkly and their coat hangs in folds of loose skin, especially over the forehead and sides of the face. These folds, along with their long drooping ears, help to channel scent from the ground up to the Bloodhound’s nose and hold it there.
The Bloodhounds coat loose and thin to the touch. You will need to brush them weekly and check their wrinkles for infections daily, but we will go into more detail about that later on. They do shed, so this is something to watch out for, especially if you have allergies.
Bloodhounds can come in a few different colors. They are normally black and tan, liver and tan, and red. If they are a darker color they will normally have lighter or badger-colored hair (a mixture of white, gray, brown and black) interspersed or their coat could be flecked with white. There may also be some white on the chest feet, and tail tip, known as the stern.
Bloodhound dogs love people and are very gentle and affectionate. Although they can sniff out a trail for miles, they are the worst guard dogs or watchdogs because they like humans! They can be quite shy with people who they don’t know, but with socialization this can be fixed. They are known to bark and be vocal when they are excited, too.
Bloodhounds are a very active breed and need to be exercised often. They like to be both indoors and outdoors, and need a large back yard with a high fence as they are good escape artists! They love to be around the family, too, and are extremely tolerant with children. Bloodhound puppies are nosy, curious and into everything, which can continue on into their adult life too. They have been known to swallow some interesting objects — including batteries and TV remotes!
They can be stubborn and determined but are not hostile. As a owner, you will need to be firm, loving and consistent. If you are not, your Bloodhound may feel they are being mistreated and will pout and hide. They are not too difficult to train and do well with positive reinforcement training.
A Bloodhound’s life expectancy can be anywhere between 11 to 15 years. They are a generally healthy breed.
Known Health Issues
As we have just said above, Bloodhounds are a generally healthy breed. However, they are, of course, still prone to some health issues. You should always buy your puppy from a reputable breeder and they should give you health clearances for both your puppy’s parents.
The health problems that you are most likely to see in your Bloodhound are set out below:
- Hip dysplasia — this is when the thighbone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but you may not notice any signs of discomfort in a dog with hip dysplasia.
- Elbow dysplasia — this is a common condition in large breed dogs. It can be caused by different growth rates and can cause lameness. It can be fixed with surgery.
- Hypothyroidism — this can be caused by a deficiency of the thyroid hormone and may produce signs that include infertility, obesity, mental dullness and lack of energy. It can be treated with medication.
- Ectropion — this is the rolling out or sagging of the eyelid, leaving the eye exposed and prone to irritation and infection. It can be fixed with surgery.
- Entropion — this is the rolling in of the eyelid which can irritate or injure the eyeball. It can be corrected with surgery.
- Epilepsy — this seizure disorder can be treated with medication.
- Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (Bloat) — this is the result of bloating from too much exercise before or after a meal or drinking too much water after a meal. It is a life-threatening condition and you will need to know the signs and symptoms of it.
- Fold Dermatitis — this is caused by friction or trapped moisture in the folds of the skin. Treatment varies, from medications to surgery. The best prevention is to keep your dog’s skin clean and dry.
Now we’ve taken a look at this breeds characteristics, it is time to take a look at what living with a Bloodhound is like and how it impacts your daily life.
Food And Diet
No matter what kind of dog you have, you should always feed them based on their size, weight and activity level. For a Bloodhound, it is recommended that you feed them 4 to 8 cups of high-quality dry dog food a day, divided into two meals. By dividing the food into two meals and not leaving food out all the time, you can monitor how much they eat and ensure they aren’t overweight. To check whether your Bloodhound is overweight or not, you can look and feel. You should be able to see their waist and feel, but not see, their ribs without pressing too hard.
Bloodhounds can be very messy eaters so you may want to tuck the ears into a snood before they eat. Choosing water dishes with a narrow diameter to help keep their ears from dragging in the water is also advised.
Bloodhounds can be prone to gastric torsion, which is bloating. To help with this, try not to let them drink a large amount of water directly after eating a large meal, and don’t let them exercise too much directly before or after eating. Also, keeping their bowl low to the ground can help with this issue.
Bloodhounds are a scent dog and therefore love to exercise. Your home should have a garden in which they can run around in, although it should be a fenced yard so they can’t escape. They do well in environments with people who also love to exercise, such as going running or hiking with you, and before brining your Bloodhound home you should be ready to commit to the active life with them.
You should take your Bloodhound on long daily walks. They should always be on a leash when outside the family home and yard, because they are prone to taking off when following a certain scent. The leash is also for their safety — if they come across an interesting scent, they will follow it, head down, nose to the ground, eyes covered by their long ears, oblivious to traffic and other dangers.
Bloodhounds can be known to pull on the leash, so you’ll need to have strong arms! This is particularly true when they find a scent they just want to follow. Fortunately, it is not difficult to train your Bloodhound to walk nicely on a leash.
Bloodhound puppies should not do too much exercise until they have reached physical maturity. The general rule is 5 minutes of exercise for every month of age so, therefore, a 3-month-old puppy should be exercised for only 15 minutes a day, for example. You should know the signs of your dog’s fatigue, too.
Bloodhounds love people, so there is no doubt that they would make a great family dog. However, they also need a lot of exercise and you must be able to commit that to them, so they will do best in an active family where they can join you on walks and hikes. Your Bloodhound will also thrive if you have a big back yard in which they can run, play and sniff. It will need to be tightly secured with a fence at least six feet high though, because they are known for escaping. They are best suited to larger homes, rather than small apartments.
This scent hound breed loves children and is very gentle and affectionate. Unfortunately, because of their size, they can be dangerous around young children without meaning to be. They have been known to knock toddlers over with just one swipe of their tail, so you will need to teach both your Bloodhound and your young children to be gentle around each other.
Bloodhounds are great chewers, so you will need to teach them what in the house they can chew and what is not allowed. They are also at the perfect height for swiping things off the counter, and their wagging tail is just at the right height for clearing a coffee table!
One thing we should mention is that Bloodhounds slobber. You will need to keep wipes available everywhere in your house if you choose this doggie as your new companion. You will also need to brush them often and clean their folds every day, which is why many people think Bloodhounds are too much work.
As a puppy, you will need to crate train your Bloodhound. Puppies can be very destructive, so this will help save your house as well as keep your pup out of trouble! They are very easily housetrained, but crate training will only help. Bloodhounds are also known to chew things, so you will have to teach them what they can and can’t chew. This includes your indoor and outdoor furniture!
When it comes to general training of your Bloodhound, they are very intelligent but will want to know what is in it for them. You will need to be consistent because they will try to test you. You should also use positive reinforcement, such as verbal praise or treats, to keep them happy because they can be very sensitive to harsh training techniques.
Keep training sessions short, such as 15 minutes, and always end the session right after your Bloodhound has done something positive and gets a treat. This will keep the experience positive for them (and for you!).
Like every dog, Bloodhounds need exposure to lots of different things when they are young to socialize them properly. This includes different people, sights, sounds and experiences. This will help them to grow up to be well-rounded dogs. Enrolling them in a puppy class is a great idea, as well as inviting visitors over and taking them out in public such as to the store or to busy parks.
Luckily, Bloodhounds are known to be gentle with both humans and other dogs, so there should be no issue. They should also be fine living with other pets, as well as cats, although they may get drooled on!
Bloodhounds are quite a high-maintenance dog, which is why many people think they are too much of a hassle to keep. Because of their wrinkles and folds, you will need to be checking them everyday for any signs of infection. You will need to brush their coat every week with a rubber hound mitt. They shed seasonally and during this time you may want to use a shedding blade to remove excess hair. However, you should remember that their skin is thin so you will need to be gentle.
Bloodhounds are known for having problems with their ears and being prone to ear infections. This is because of the way they are shaped, and the fact that they are prone to collecting and trapping dirt and bacteria. You will need to clean them every week with a solution given to you by your vet and by rubbing them with a cotton ball. Ear cleaning is one of the biggest deterrents for some prospective dog owners. If you do not think you have time to clean their ears, then this dog breed may not be for you.
You will also need to brush their teeth at least two or three times a week, but every day is better if you want your pup to have sweet smelling breath and be less inclined to dental issues. Trimming their nails is also important.
The Bloodhound breed has an excellent sense of smell and loves to be out following trails and exercising just as much as they love spending time with you. Gentle and affectionate, this dog can make the perfect family pet and loves children, although their needs are high. They need a lot of exercise everyday and need proper grooming to maintain their health, but they are worth it! What do you think — is a Bloodhound the right dog for you?