What is a Bloodhound?

One animal species that is famous for its impressive sense of smell is the bloodhound. Bloodhounds meaning is any breed of large and strong hounds (mostly of European origin) that are used for tracking, owing to their tremendous smell power. You might have seen black and tan bloodhounds being portrayed as lazy beings (somewhat bumbling) on television or movies but that is not true. 

Though bloodhounds are in general gentle, affectionate, and easy-going in nature, they are a highly intelligent and active breed who have found a special place in law enforcement, search, and rescue due to their keen sense of smell.

Sagaces defines a group of dogs that hunt together following a scent and bloodhound belongs to this group. Sagaces comes from a Latin word and has the same roots as the word “sagacious” which means someone who has keen sound discerning and judging powers.

These animals need a lot of space and freedom to romp around every day.  The kind and even-tempered bloodhounds make a great jogging partner and are extremely good with children. 

In this article, we will learn a little more about this popular species called bloodhound with details like physical characteristics of a bloodhound, the various coat colours of bloodhounds, bloodhound origin, personality, and temperament of a bloodhound, and more.


Bloodhound Characteristics

Let us take a quick look at some of the basic characteristics of a bloodhound:

  1. Breed group - Hound dogs

  2. AKC (American Kennel Club)  classification - Hound

  3. UKC (United Kennel Club) classification - Scent Hounds

  4. Weight range 

    1. Male - 90 to110 lbs.

    2. Female - 80 to 100 lbs.

  5. Height

    1. Male - 26 inches

    2. Female - 24 inches

  6. Bred for  -Trailing

  7. Lifespan - 10 to 12 years

  8. Geriatric age - 10 years

  9. Colours - liver and tan bloodhound, black and tan bloodhounds, red bloodhound

  10. Exercise needs - 20 to 40 minutes every day

  11. Energy level - average

  12. Drooling tendency - very high

  13. Snoring tendency - low

  14. Barking tendency - moderate

  15. Social or attention needs - very high

  16. General body features 

    1. Droopy eyes

    2. Long face or Dolichocephalic

    3. Floppy ears

    4. Wrinkles or folds on the body


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Bloodhound Physical Features 

These mild-manners and noble creatures are a breed of large dogs with one of their striking features being their long droopy eyes. Their skin is wrinkled (especially around the face area). They look noble and mournful owing to their sunken eyes and jowls. 

Bloodhound coats are short and a little hard to touch. The possible colour combinations of bloodhounds are:

  • Liver and tan bloodhound

  • Black and tan bloodhounds

  • red bloodhound

A few of the black and tan bloodhounds are primarily black bloodhounds with patches of tan on their legs and faces. An adult male bloodhound reaches a height of 25 to 27 inches, though a few of them could also grow as high as 32 inches. The weight range of an adult male hound is between 40 to 60 kilograms (90 to 130 pounds).

The average height of a female bloodhound is around 23 to 25 inches with a few of them reaching a height of 28 inches. They weigh between 36 to 45 kilograms (80 to 100 pounds) on average. 

Other Unique Characteristics of a Bloodhound are:

  • They need a lot of free and safe spaces to frolic around.

  • They possess great strength.

  • It is a must to have a fence or leash around bloodhounds since they are determined to follow a scent at any cost. 

  • When their nose locks on to a fascinating scent, their ears get turned off and it is not possible to gain the hound’s attention after that. 

  • Bloodhounds could go after a scent for miles and miles till the point that they are hit by a car.

  • This species is slow to mature so you must have patience and firmness for several years.

  • They have a tendency to chew and swallow anything that can fit their mouth. This needs for the pet owner to be cautious else many visits to the veterinary would be required.

  • The bloodhounds love the outdoors and thrive on vigorous activities.

  • Young bloodhounds exhibit a lot of exuberance and jumping.

  • They have a loud baying and are slow to house breaks.

  • Their body has a distinctive odour (kind of houndy).

  • Bloodhounds have a short lifespan.

  • They drool and slobber a great deal.

  • Benjamin Franklin has also shown interest in acquiring a couple of Bloodhounds for a few tracking missions.

  • The capabilities of a bloodhound are deemed quite highly and the trails performed by proven bloodhounds are regarded as evidence in the court.

  • They are a pure breed and their name comes from “blooded hounds”. They are the oldest pure-breeding dogs which the church dignitaries kept in carefully bred packs.

  • They are one of the most melodious dogs. They are able to perform full canine arias which comprise of howling, expressive baying, and whining.

  • Bloodhounds are risky in the health department with ailments like heart disorder, stomach disease, recurrent ear infections, and joint diseases very common in this breed.

  • Since they need a huge space, bloodhounds are not suited for apartment living. They must live with owners who have a home with a large fence yard.


Bloodhound Origin and Uses Over The Years

Bloodhounds have been around for centuries. Their origin is not certain but they can be traced all through the Mediterranean countries dating back as early as 3 A.D. As per researchers, this breed came to Europe from Constantinople, and finally, it came to England, Belgium, France, and other surrounding countries.

It was William the Conqueror who in 1066 brought several of these large hounds to England when he arrived there. The modern bloodhounds are descendants of these dogs which were brought by the conqueror.

They were earlier known as St. Hubert hounds as the monks of St.Hubert’s abbey perfected and bred them in the 7th century. The patron saint for hunting, Francois Hubert had a special fascination for bloodhounds. He enjoyed and loved breeding them as they proved to be great aids in his hunting quests. Even after he passed away, this breed of hounds was hugely popular with noblemen and monarchs alike.

In Belgium, St. Hubert's monastery used to present a pair of black and tan bloodhounds to the King of France every year. Even in the present day, these dogs are called St. Hubert’s hounds in the French-speaking parts of Europe.

In the early days, the main use of bloodhounds was to track down deers and other hunting pursuits and by the 16th century, the hounds were being used to track people or felons in criminal pursuits. Now bloodhounds are aids in law enforcement and search and rescue divisions. 

Bloodhounds were recognized by the AKC in the year 1885.


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Temperament and Personality of a Bloodhound 

The chief personality characteristics of a bloodhound are good-natured, affectionate, gregarious, independent, and stubborn. They have a mind of their own and it needs a confident owner who can be assertive but not harsh in enforcing rules. They are a sensitive breed who react adversely if treated harshly. Bloodhounds make great family companions and they are especially good with kids. Their lovable and docile nature makes them great pets for their owners. This dignified dog has many contradicting personality quirks. Some of the unique and interesting temperamental traits of a bloodhound are:

  • Though good with kids, at times the independent nature and low energy levels of a bloodhound can be frustrating for children. They are extremely tolerant of small kids who clamber over him.

  • They are usually friendly with other dogs and pets. But they can be possessive of their toys or food which can be a potential problem for other pets and kids around. 

  • Bloodhounds can fight with other dogs of the same sex. This is a common feature in many breeds hence you need to be cautious of this fact when you introduce your dog to other pets.

  • They have a strong streak of independence and stubbornness and they tend to follow their own mind rather than obey their masters.

  • If a bloodhound detects a smell it likes, it would single-mindedly follow the trial as far as possible, with full determination paying no heed to any other sound.

  • Surprisingly bloodhounds can even get along with a cat (contrary to other dogs’ nature) if the cat has been raised with the hound.

  • Bloodhounds need to be around people and if this is not done they might become excessively shy, suspicious, and difficult to be around.

  • The temperament of a bloodhound is governed by many factors such as the family they stay with, training, heredity, and the amount of socialization they are exposed to. 

  • They are a very stubborn breed, hence it is difficult to train a bloodhound. It is suggested that you enrol your dog in a puppy training course in case you want to train them. Also, bloodhounds must be trained indoors as they are easily distracted by scent, noise, running things, etc.

  • You must socialize your bloodhound as young as possible. New places, new people, new sounds, and new animals, all they are critical in training a bloodhound and having a well-behaved dog in your family.


Exercise Needs of Bloodhounds

Bloodhounds are an extremely active breed in their younger years. It is recommended that they are allowed to explore closed spaces and taken out for long walks and runs. If they are not exposed to frequent activity then a bloodhound tends to get bored. The boredom of a bloodhound is dangerous both for the family they live with as well as for themselves. A bored bloodhound would wreak havoc in the house by chewing sofas, remotes, and anything that they can lay their hands on. The lack of activity and boredom also affects the mental health of a bloodhound.

Apart from frequent walks, you must also keep a bloodhound in a fenced area or leash else they will take off after a scent without any heed. Bloodhounds are not a fan of hot weather and they do pretty well in dog parks. 

It is a good idea for the owners of a bloodhound to join a tracking club in their area. Involving them in this life-saving activity would give wings to their inborn trailing streak. Bloodhounds were not born to be a pet and their natural tendency of baying, following scent, and chasing things that run can be a hazard for the families they live with. If one tries to suppress these hardwired behaviours, it is not fair to the dog and is quite impossible. Hence they must be provided alternate means of dissipating their energy.


Bloodhound Grooming Activities

Bloodhounds have a thin fur coat that comes in black, tan, red or a combination of these colours. They have a tremendous amount of skin that folds, overlaps, and wrinkles. Hence special care must be taken to keep them clean. Some essentials activities for a well-groomed bloodhound are:

  • The folds must be checked and cleaned frequently as yeasts and bacteria are rampant in bloodhounds if proper hygiene is not maintained.

  • Give your bloodhound a bath once a month to keep that doggy odour at a minimum.

  • After a bath, bloodhounds must be dried completely so that no moisture is trapped in their skin folds.

  • The actual coat of this hound dog is fairly easy to maintain. The coat needs to be brushed just once a week with a rubber brush or a slicker to keep loose hair out.

  • They have very sensitive skin, so you must use a quality shampoo that your dog’s veterinarian has advised. 

  • Bloodhounds have long and floppy ears which are prone to bacterial growth and other infections, especially in humid weather. It is important to get their ears checked at regular intervals.

  • You must trim your bloodhound’s nails once or twice a month else there is a possibility of health complications due to overgrown nails.

FAQs on Bloodhound

1. What are the Nutritional Needs of a Bloodhound?

Ans - Bloodhounds are strongly built with high energy levels hence they need at least 4 to 8 cups of dry food every day. The food should be split into 2 meals. Bloodhounds are messy eaters so you must feed them food with a narrow diameter so that their long ears do not come in the way of eating. Bloodhounds can get overweight easily so it is important to give them meals only twice a day and the meal should be balanced. If your dog is getting overweight then you must restrict calories per meal.  

2. What is Hip Dysplasia in Bloodhounds?

Ans - Hip dysplasia is a joint condition where the thigh bone and the hip joint do not fit snugly. It is a heritable disorder. It may be possible that some dogs do not show any symptoms of this disease but a few of them can appear to be lame or show pain in either one or both of their rear legs. You should not breed a dog with hip dysplasia and while buying a puppy ask for proof from the seller that the parents of the puppy did not have hip dysplasia. Though hip dysplasia is a hereditary problem it can get aggravated due to other factors like rapid growth because of a high-calorie diet, injuries while jumping or falling on slick floors, etc.

3. How Can one Avoid Some of the Negative Traits Found in a Bloodhound?

Ans- Some of the negative traits in a bloodhound can be avoided by following certain measures outlined below:

  • Choose an adult dog from a rescue group or animal shelter. If you buy an adult dog you can clearly see what traits you are getting.

  • If you are buying a puppy then you must choose the right breeder. 

  • You can take your bloodhound to dog training courses so that your dog listens to you and is well-mannered.

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