Traits and Characteristics
The Bloodhound is a steadfast trailer, built for endurance rather than speed. The skin is thin and loose, falling in wrinkles around the head and throat. This breed’s long ears are supposed to stir up scents as the ears rake along the ground, and its profuse wrinkles are said to trap the odors around the face, although neither of these assertions has ever been scientifically verified. The dense short coat provides protection from being caught in brambles. The Bloodhound’s docile temperament makes this dog nonthreatening to humans. The gait is elastic and free, with the tail held high. The expression is noble and dignified.
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Friendliness to Dogs
Friendliness to Other Pets
Friendliness to Strangers
Ease of Training
Disclaimer: While the characteristics mentioned here may frequently represent this breed, dogs are individuals whose personalities and appearances will vary. Please consult the adoption organization for details on a specific pet.
For all their calm manners at home, Bloodhounds are tireless trailers once on the track. They are tough, stubborn, and independent, yet are so gentle and placid that they are extremely trustworthy around children—although they may not be playful enough for some children’s needs. Nonetheless, they are not the lazy ol’ hound dog portrayed in folklore but instead active, playful companions. Although not the easiest breed to train for traditional obedience, Bloodhounds are exceptionally easy to train in tasks involving trailing. The Bloodhound is reserved with strangers.
The Bloodhound needs a good deal of daily exercise. This dog was bred to trail through any hardship, and once on a trail cannot be called off. Therefore this breed must be exercised in a safe area.
Bloodhounds drool a lot, so their 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. This is not the breed for people obsessed with cleanliness in the house!
- Major concerns: ectropion, entropion, gastric torsion, otitis externa, skin-fold dermatitis, CHD, elbow dysplasia
- Minor concerns: hypothyroidism
- Occasionally seen: degenerative myelopathy (DM)
- Suggested tests: hip, elbow, (eye), thyroid, cardiac, (DM)
- Life span: 7–10 years
The quintessential scenthound, the Bloodhound’s roots trace back to ancient times. Their earliest ancestor may have been the black St. Huberts hound documented in Europe by the eighth century. William the Conqueror is credited with bringing these hounds to England in 1066. In the twelfth 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. The Bloodhound has since proved itself to be one of the most useful of breeds, using its unrivaled sense of smell to trail lost persons and criminals alike. After the person is located, the Bloodhound’s job is over because they are never inclined to attack.
The Bloodhound holds many trailing records (for both length and age of trail), and at one time 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 farther from the truth. The breed is well known to all but not particularly popular as a pet, however is an unsurpassed working trailer.