The Bloodhound’s ancestors were created in medieval France to trail deer and boar. Today, he’s a highly active and intelligent dog breed whose keen sense of smell has found him a special place in law enforcement and search and rescue. His fans love him for his sweet nature and unique appearance.
This breed is more than one thousand years old. It was perfected, not created, by monks of St. Hubert in Belgium. Later the dogs were brought by the Normans into England and then to the United States. It is also known as the Flemish Hound. Throughout the world, breeds such as the American Coonhounds, Swiss Jura Hounds, Brazilian Fila Brasileiro, Bavarian Mountain Hound, and many others trace their lineage back to this ancient scent tracker. Today, all Bloodhounds are black & tan or red, but in the Middle Ages they were solid in color. The white variety, which existed in medieval Europe, was called the Talbot Hound and became extinct in the 1600s, but contributed to the development of many other breeds including the white Boxers and tri-colored Basset Hounds.
The Bloodhound thrives on the hunt rather than the kill. It takes great pleasure in tracking and has been used to hunt animals, criminals, runaway slaves and lost children. Today this slow mannered, rich sounding breed is both tracker and companion. Although it has a pleasant temperament, it is not easy to obedience train, most likely largely due to the fact that it gets distracted from human command, more interested in all of the exciting strong smells around him.
The Bloodhound is a very powerful, massive hound dog. The back is very strong for the dog’s size. The head is long and narrow in proportion to the dog’s length, and long in proportion to the body. The muzzle is long and the nose is black. The deeply sunk eyes are diamond in shape due to the lower lids being dragged down and turned outward by the heavy upper lids. Color varies from a deep hazel to yellow. The thin, soft, drooping ears are set very low and extremely long. The Bloodhound has a lot of extra, wrinkled skin hanging excessively loose, even more so around the head and neck where it hangs in deep folds. The dewlap is very pronounced. The muscular, front legs are straight. The tail is carried high with a slight curve above the topline of the back. The folds of the skin aid the dog in holding in scent particles while tracking. The coat is wrinkled, short and fairly hard in texture, with softer hair on the ears and skull. Colors include black & tan, liver & tan, red & tawny and red. Sometimes there is a small amount of white on the chest, feet and tip of the stern.
This breed is gentle, but is tireless when following a scent. Because of its strong tracking instinct, it can be willful and somewhat difficult to obedience train and handle on a leash. Bloodhounds have an affectionate and even-tempered nature with humans, making excellent family pets. However, like any pet, they require supervision when around small children.
Originally used in medieval Europe to trail boar and deer, modern-day Bloodhounds have found careers as mantrailers for police departments and search and rescue organizations. So skillful are they that their “testimony” is considered admissible in a court of law. He can be a family dog, too, but he requires a high level of care.
It’s not everyone who can live with a large dog who slings slobber, exudes a distinctive houndy odor, wants nothing more than to follow his nose, wreaks destruction in puppyhood, has endless energy and endurance, and is the definition of the word stubborn. If you can, you’ll find the Bloodhound to be kind, sensitive, and tolerant of children and other animals. With the right family, he’s a dog of great character who brings much joy and laughter.