Bloodhound dogs were determined to follow a trail and would never give up. In the 3rd century, Claudius Aelianus wrote about dogs with scenting abilities far better than those of ordinary dogs. Those scenting dogs were probably the ancestors of the dogs that later became known as St. Hubert Hounds. In fact, in French-speaking countries, Bloodhounds are still known as St. Hubert Hounds. Bloodhounds are known for their scenting abilities, as they should be, because they have the best noses in the canine world. Several individual Bloodhounds have brought about more arrests and convictions than the best human police officers. Some dedicated dogs have followed trails of more than 100 miles. But unlike German Shepherd Dogs and other law enforcement dogs, the Bloodhound does not bite or take down the person she has trailed; as far as she is concerned, her job ends when she finds the person she was trailing. Search and rescue organizations also treasure the breed’s abilities.
The Bloodhound is large, with heavy bones and long hanging ears. The breed stands between 23 and 27 inches tall and weighs between 90 and 130 pounds. The head is long, and the ears are very long and hang in folds. The Bloodhound nose is large, and the flews are deep. The skin hangs loose and looks as if there is enough extra skin for another dog to fit inside. The chest is deep, the body is strong and fit, and the tail is long.
The Bloodhound coat is short and is either black and tan or liver and tan. The Bloodhound’s short coat is easy to groom; it needs only twice weekly brushing with a soft bristle brush or curry comb. The heavy ears need regular cleaning, however, to prevent ear infections. Although the
Bloodhound isn’t as active as some other breeds, she still needs daily exercise. A brisk long walk morning and evening is fine, but she also needs a chance to run and play. These playtimes should be only within the confines of a fenced-in yard; if the Bloodhound catches a scent she wishes to follow, she could be gone faster than you can catch her. Training the Bloodhound can be a challenge. Although many Bloodhounds have successfully competed in obedience and other canine sports, the Bloodhound’s owner must first figure out what motivates his dog to want to learn. Then, and only then, can the dog be trained. The training should be firm and structured, yet fun. The dog’s owner must be patient and persistent. A Bloodhound needs a very special owner.
Not everyone should own a Bloodhound. The swing of a Bloodhound’s head can spread saliva across a 20-foot room, and years of antiques can be destroyed by her stroll across your living room. The same dog who slobbers all over you and knocks your knickknacks to the floor with one sweep of her tail will adore you and your children with all her heart, showing that love in her eyes for the world to see. She is not a good dog to leave in the backyard; she needs to be with her people. The Bloodhound is usually good with other dogs and small pets. Health concerns include hip and elbow dysplasia, ear and eye problems, bloat, and torsion.