For centuries, the powerful nose of the Bloodhound was put to work tracking game for noblemen across Europe. They were given the name "blooded hounds" because of their carefully tended purebred ancestry. Bloodhounds have a wrinkled face, drooping eyes, and long ears that are thought to help draw odors up from the ground. Today, the breed's keen olfactory sense is used in detective work, as well as for search-and-rescue missions. Though tenacious on the trail, Bloodhounds are utterly sweet, silly, and loving companions at home.
Bloodhounds are also known as sleuth dogs, Chien de Saint-Hubert, and the Saint Hubert Hound.
Bloodhounds have short, smooth, close coats. The colors are black and tan, liver and tan, or red. Small specks of white on the feet and chest are acceptable according to the AKC breed standard.
Average Height: 23-27 inches
Male: 90-110 pounds
Female: 80-100 pounds
Breed Standard & History
The Bloodhound is a powerful dog with large bones, and a muscular chest and legs. They have an easy, steady gait, and move with their noses to the ground when they're on the scent. The skin over their entire body is loose, but especially on the head and neck, which is covered with deep wrinkles. Their eyes and jowls have a drooping quality and their long ears hang down, giving them a droopy-dog expression.
The earliest history of the Bloodhound is unknown, though ancient Mediterranean texts reference dogs with an unsurpassed smelling ability. William the Conqueror brought the Saint Hubert hound from France to England, and this breed eventually developed into the modern Bloodhound. Queen Victoria, one of the original dog fanciers, helped bolster the Bloodhound's popularity when she fell in love with the breed. The Bloodhound's skill in tracking down people but then not hurting them was eventually used to help law enforcement locate criminals and missing persons, which they still do today.
AKC Breed Category
Bloodhounds are laid-back charmers. They adore their families and love nothing more than to play with them, and then relax on the sofa with them back at home after a busy day. Though they look a bit sleepy because of their droopy faces, this breed possesses an abundance of energy. They are somewhat stubborn and independent-minded, which can prolong their training. Bloodhounds also require a strong hand on walks and a good, strong leash is required so they don't drag you along as they follow a scent trail.
Are Bloodhounds Good with Kids? Yes. Bloodhounds enjoy playing with kids and are very patient with them. Children should learn never to tug on the breed's long ears. Because Bloodhounds are big dogs, they may accidentally knock over young children.
(Note: Every dog has a unique personality and distinct life experiences that affect his disposition. As a rule, adults should always supervise playdates between kids and their four-legged friends.)
Are Bloodhounds Good with Other Pets? Yes. The Bloodhound's friendly personality extends to cats and dogs. They are happy to have company at home, and enjoy meeting new playmates at the dog park.
Bloodhounds are not very protective and not highly territorial. They assume everyone is a friend.
Are Bloodhounds Good Guard Dogs? Some Bloodhounds will bark when people approach the house, while others will let the visitors go unannounced, so they are not considered reliable watch dogs. And not being very territorial or protective, they aren't natural guard dogs, either.
Bloodhounds are quite energetic, despite the depiction of the breed as a sleepy porch dweller on the TV show The Beverly Hillbillies. In real life, they possess the stamina to follow a scent for hours on end and to play for as long as you're willing.
- Bloodhounds are chewers—they will destroy furniture and anything they can get their teeth around.
- They'll eat things that aren't food, such as kids' toys, laundry, and even electronics.
- They require room to roam.
- They're not ideal for apartments.
- A fenced yard is important so they don't wander off after a scent.
- Bloodhounds must be leashed on walks so they don't follow a scent.
- They produce lots of slobber.
- They shed heavily.
Bloodhounds want to be near their families and don't enjoy being left alone for very long. They need to be kept active and engaged or they will resort to destructive behaviors. Crate training is wise for this breed because of their tendency to chew and eat inedible items. Apartments may be too small for this large dog, unless you are able to take your Bloodhound outside frequently.
Bloodhounds enjoy being outside with their people. If you plan to leave your Bloodhound alone outside, your yard must be thoroughly fenced because the breed is known to escape in pursuit of an intriguing scent.
Bloodhounds need moderate amounts of exercise. A few long walks and a play session or two in the yard will keep them fit and healthy.
These tracking dogs have an abundance of stamina. They can follow a scent for a full day or more.
Activity distance rating
- Running Miles: A healthy Bloodhound can trot with you for a mile or two. This breed has joint problems, however, and isn't known to run for long stretches.
- Hiking Miles: Bloodhounds can hike for as long as you can, and longer. The difficulty will be keeping him on the trail if he catches an interesting scent.
Generally, Bloodhounds need about four to eight cups of good quality dry dog food each day, given in two meals. This will vary, however, based upon your Bloodhound's activity level and age. Talk to your veterinarian about the optimal diet and quantity of food for your dog.
Bloodhounds can spend a few hours alone, but unless they are in a dog crate, it isn't the wisest choice. They are known to chew furniture and household items of every variety. This breed also gets bored easily and will develop unwanted behaviors to pass the time.
Health and Grooming
The Bloodhound's coat is fairly low maintenance. Two to three brushings each week will keep it healthy and manage shedding. The folds around their faces must be gently wiped each day to avoid skin-fold dermatitis. Their hanging ears are prone to ear infections, so wipe them clean with a gentle cleanser once a week and check them for redness or odor, which could indicate infection. Trim your Bloodhound's nails once a month, or as needed.
Common Health Issues
Bloodhounds may present some breed-specific health concerns, such as:
- Skin-fold dermatitis
- Bloat/gastric torsion
- Ear infections
- Canine hip and elbow dysplasia
- Eyelid issues, including ectropion and entropion
- Otitis externa
You can minimize serious health concerns in a Bloodhound by purchasing from a reputable breeder who engages in responsible breeding practices, and through screening for common diseases and conditions.
Bloodhounds may find early training a bit boring. They are also independent-minded and stubborn. However, they will learn the basics in short order if you offer them plenty of praise and make training resemble playtime.
Bloodhounds take well to advanced training. Mantrailing is a sport specific to scent hounds and involves following the scent of someone who runs and hides during Trailing Trials. As the dog becomes more adept at the sport, they can follow the scent after it gets old and for longer periods of time. Bloodhounds are also excellent in agility training, conformation training, dog sports, and as therapy dogs.
Sporting Dog Training
Bloodhounds are not known as excellent hunting partners.
Here are a few commonly asked questions about Bloodhounds.
No. Bloodhounds shed heavily and, as a result, release pet dander into your home. Dander is the cause of most pet-related allergies.
This breed has a 'hound' smell that no amount of washing is going to get rid of. Some Bloodhound owners find the scent appealing. It's best to take a whiff of a Bloodhound before bringing one home to make sure it's a smell you actually like.
Bloodhounds aren't big swimmers, but some of them will enjoy wading into shallow water to play or cool down on a hot day. Don't let your Bloodhound swim unattended.