For all his calm manners at home, the Bloodhound is a tireless trailer once on the track. He is tough, stubborn and independent, yet he is so gentle and placid that he is extremely trustworthy around children. Nonetheless, he is not the lazy old hound dog portrayed in folklore but instead an active, playful companion. Although not the easiest breed to train for traditional obedience, he is exceptionally easy to train in tasks involving trailing. The Bloodhound can be reserved with strangers.
Bloodhound Dog Care
As a hunting hound, the Bloodhound needs a good deal of daily exercise. He was bred to trail through any hardship, and once on a trail he cannot be called off. He thus must be exercised in a safe area. The Bloodhound drools a lot, so his facial wrinkles require daily cleaning; the ear tips drag in food and must also be kept clean. The ear canals also need regular cleaning for good health. Coat care is minimal, requiring only occasional brushing or wiping. Most do best as indoor/outdoor dogs; note, however, that this is not the breed for people obsessed with cleanliness in the house!
Bloodhound Dog Health
Major concerns: ectropion, entropion, gastric torsion, otitis
externa, skin-fold dermatitis, CHD, elbow dysplasia
Minor concerns: none
Occasionally seen: none
Suggested tests: hip, elbow, eye
Life span: 7-10 years
Interested in the history of the Bloodhound dog breed?
The quintessential Scenthound, the Bloodhound traces his roots to ancient times. His earliest ancestor may have been the black St. Hubert hound documented in Europe by the eighth century. William the Conqueror is credited with bringing these hounds to England in 1066. In the 12th century, many church dignitaries were interested in hunting with these dogs, and most monasteries kept carefully bred packs. So highly bred were these dogs that they came to be known as 'blooded hounds', referring to their pure blood and noble breeding. Bloodhounds have been known in America since the mid-1800s. Even though they gained a reputation as slave trailers, many of those dogs were mixed scent hounds. The Bloodhound has since proved himself to be one of the most useful breeds, using his unrivaled sense of smell to trail lost persons and criminals alike. After the person is located, the Bloodhound's job is over because he is never inclined to attack. The Bloodhound holds many trailing records (for both length and age of trail), and at one time he was the only breed of dog whose identifications were accepted in a court of law. Ironically, the Bloodhound's name and bad press scared many people away from the breed because they believed stories that claimed the dogs trailed people out of a lust for blood. Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth. The breed is well-known to all but not particularly popular as a pet; he is a competitive show dog and unsurpassed working trailer, however.