The Bloodhound is a very kind, patient and loveable dog. He is great with children and will put up with pretty much anything they do, from climbing all over him to pulling his ears! They love attention and are devoted to their owners, but they do need a firm hand as they are quite strong willed. They are not very obedient, and are easily side-tracked by interesting scent trails! They need to know at an early age that you are the leader of the pack; weak owners orders will be ignored. They socialise well with people and other dogs. They belong to a group of dogs who hunt together by scent, known as Sagaces. Although a hunting dog, they are not killers, they are content to find the prey but will not attack. They enjoy the company of other dogs and are tolerant of cats. They are a big strong dog, so need exercising daily, and are known for their incredible stamina to walk for hours at a time. They do require a fenced yard as they stray often. Apartment living is possible with a Bloodhound but they will need daily walks to compensate for no yard and if they howl it could test your neighbor’s patience. Bloodhounds are easy to groom, with a smooth shorthaired coat, and with a rub dry with a rough towel after bathing, their coat will gleam. They are droolers though, and tend to snore and howl. More amazing is the fact that testimony of a Bloodhound’s man trailing results is acceptable in almost any court.
Reports of dogs that discover and track another animal date back as far as the first century AD, but it was in medieval Europe that the Bloodhound seemed to originate. It is thought that in 1066 William the Conqueror brought hounds, known as the St. Hubert Hounds, with him when he conquered England. The hound evolved into the Bloodhound and it is said that Queen Victoria was influential in keeping the breed from extinction as she was a dog lover and had an interest in this exceptional tracker, entering one of her canines in a dog show in 1869. Notes on the Bloodhound also document this breed in Scotland where it was called the sleuth hound and used for tracking raiders of property and thieves of livestock. The name comes from the dog’s status as an aristocratic breed kept by noblemen and abbots as well as referring to the dog being a hound of pure blood, (pure in breeding) - an aristocrat of dog breeds you might say. Their popularity rose and fell throughout various eras and although they are recognised by the American Kennel Club they are not a common household pet. However, they are well purposed as law enforcement trackers and search and rescue workers.
The Bloodhound is a solid, powerful dog, and has a strong back for the height of the animal. With a head that is long and narrow in proportion to its length and height, it has an amazingly sensitive black nose. The breed has deeply sunken golden or hazel eyes giving it quite a mournful appearance. This sad look is because the lower eyelids are dragged down by the heavy upper lids. Children love playing with their long drooping ears, and deeply wrinkled skin or folds around the head and neck area. These folds serve a purpose which is to hold the scent particles while tracking. With a very pronounced dewlap, strong muscular legs and a tail that is carried high, the Bloodhound has a distinctive look. They have short, dense, firm hair on the body with softer hair on the ears and skull, concluding with the occasional splash of white on the chest, feet and tip of the stern.
While Bloodhounds make admirable pets, they do take a bit of maintenance and upkeep as they are solid dogs. Some people have a vision of Bloodhounds as those pooches that laze on the front porch in the sun, but nothing could be further from the truth. These dogs love activity and can walk for miles upon miles without a break! As a puppy, they are energetic, and you will need eyes in the back of your head to keep up with them. They do mellow as they age and become less active and more controllable. These dogs can be indoor pets but keep in mind that they are droolers, and with one shake of their heads, the house will need recleaning. As a dog breed, they are easy to keep clean; a regular bath is all that is needed as well as a good towel down afterwards. Brushing during the hotter months will take care of the shedding, but their main upkeep is their eyes, ears and the folds in their skin. These sensitive areas need constant maintenance to keep free from debris and parasites. Call your veterinarian if there is any discharge coming from the eyes, or if a smell is emanating from within your dog’s ears (often caused by infection). Because Bloodhounds are a big dog and can be very energetic, they get hungry quickly. Rather than feeding one big meal a day, consider spreading the mealtime over three separate events which will keep your pet full and avoid the breed’s susceptibility to bloat. This condition can quickly become serious if your dog’s stomach twists on itself cutting off the blood flow. This condition is known as gastric torsion and needs immediate veterinary assistance.