Breed Group: Hound
Temperament and Behavior
The Bloodhound is a patient, mild-mannered dog. Gentle and loving, they generally get along with the entire family and are especially tolerant of children. But if children are looking for a playmate they will need to look elsewhere, as Bloodhounds have little interest in the roll. They are accepting of strangers once introduced and do well with most other household pets, although some are aggressive with dogs of the same sex. When inside they are easy going but are not the lazy dog often portrayed on TV. Needing an above average amount of exercise, outside they are much more active. Because their nose can so quickly lead them astray, a Bloodhound needs to be kept on a leash or in a fenced yard at all times. They enjoy using their deep mournful voice more than many other breeds. They are above average watchdogs but they are too friendly to make a good guard dog. Bloodhounds can be possessive of food and toys and have a tendency to chew then swallow anything they can fit into their sizable mouths. They also have a tendency to snore and drool profusely. Some people detect a distinctive doggy odor with the Bloodhound, which they find offensive.
Physical CharacteristicsBloodhounds have a long muzzle, drooping ears, and loose, wrinkled skin. Keep their ears and skin folds clean to reduce the chance of infection. Their short, fairly hard coat needs very little grooming. Shedding is no more than average. Coloring can be either black and tan, liver and tan, or red and tawny. Large dogs, males grow to a height of 25-27 inches while female dogs range from 23-25 inches in height. Male dogs weigh 90-110 pounds while females weigh 80-100. They prefer moderate temperatures becoming increasingly uncomfortable as the temperature rises.
Trainer's NotesBloodhounds are large powerful dogs that need to be convinced you are their leader before growing from a puppy into a difficult to control adult. Although Bloodhounds are easygoing and gentle, they have minds of their own and can be willful and stubborn. But treating these sensitive dogs harshly will be counterproductive. They need firm but gentle training by trainers who are consistent and patient. Bloodhounds are slow to mature so owners must be patient over several years while training takes place. Even though they are wonderful with the entire family and willingly accept abuse from children, there are far better choices for the novice dog owner.
HealthBloodhounds have a number of significant genetic health concerns. One out of every four dogs have Hip Dysplasia and 15% have Elbow Dysplasia. The breed is also prone to Bloat, a life-threatening condition associated with combining eating and exercise. Less serious are Ectropion and Entropion, which are problems with their eyelids. Bloodhounds are also known for recurring ear infections and skin fold dermatitis. Their life expectancy is 7-10 years.
PopularityThe Bloodhound is ranked 50th out of the breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club with about 3,000 dogs registered in a typical year.
Breed HistoryAs a breed the Bloodhound is more than 1,000 years old. Some think it’s origins go back to the black St. Hubert Hound of the eighth century. William the Conqueror is credited with bringing these hounds to England in 1066. In the twelfth century many monasteries kept carefully bred packs for church officials to use in hunting. The dogs became so highly bred that they came to be known as “blooded hounds,” referring to their pure blood and noble breeding. Bloodhounds came to America in the 1800s and have since become both trackers and companion pets. Bloodhounds hold many tracking records for both the length and age of the trail, with some documented at over one hundred miles with a trail 100 hours old.
Additional InformationThe Bloodhound’s legendary ability to identify people and things by scent earned the breed the distinction of being the first whose testimony was accepted in court. Famous people who have owned Bloodhounds include Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Elvis Presley, and George Washington. The National (US) Breed Club is the American Bloodhound Club.