Bloodhound Breed Guide

Bloodhounds are large, good-natured dogs known for their hanging jowls, long ears, and loose skin around their head and neck. This breed has a short, dense coat that comes in black and tan, liver and tan, and red. Their skin is thin and loose, their tails curve up, and their eyes are deep hazel to yellow in color. These dogs measure 23 to 27 inches at the shoulder and weigh 80 to 110 pounds. With proper care, Bloodhounds live 8 to 10 years.

Because of their tendency to swallow everything in sight, Bloodhounds are prone to developing intestinal blockages. This may result in multiple surgeries over the lifespan of the animal.

Bloodhounds are the oldest of the scent-hunting dogs and make great working dogs. They also make excellent companion animals, especially for families with children. These dogs require a lot of attention to grooming, however, and may not be an ideal choice for busy families without a lot of extra time.

The breed's name does not refer to what these dogs trail, but to their aristocratic line. Great care was taken to keep the genetic strain pure, and these dogs received the name Bloodhound for being blooded hounds.

A patient and playful breed, Bloodhounds are great with children and families. These dogs love to be cuddled and scratched, always appreciate attention, and enjoy goofing around with their human families as often as possible.

Bloodhounds are also a curious and energetic breed. They like to explore and they love adventure. Walking them around town and offering them the opportunity to see and smell new places provides much needed mental stimulation and physical exercise.

Although they are generally easygoing, they can be territorial and protective of their family and property. These dogs are known to howl when they sense a threat, but their shyness and tolerance of people and animals means they retreat quickly and therefore do not make the best watchdogs. Bloodhounds should spend some time outdoors on a daily basis, but they need to live indoors with their family.

Bloodhounds are prone to a number of health conditions that may require professional veterinary care, including elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, skin-fold dermatitis, ear infections, allergies, and sensitivities to fleas and grass. Additionally, eye problems such as ectropion and entropion are more common in this breed than in some other breeds. Bloat and gastric torsion, which is a potentially fatal condition that requires emergency surgery, are also known to affect these dogs.

Because of their tendency to swallow everything in sight, Bloodhounds are prone to developing intestinal blockages. This may result in multiple surgeries over the lifespan of the animal. Other injuries, including broken bones, lacerations, cuts, and foot injuries are also fairly common in Bloodhounds due to their trailing activities outdoors.

With attention to injury prevention, routine veterinary care, timely vaccinations, and proper diet and exercise, Bloodhounds can live 10 or more years.

Although Bloodhounds are sweet and affectionate dogs, they are not the easiest to train and they have some serious behavior faults that make them a poor choice for first-time pet owners. These dogs are not neat animals, and they are prone to creating messes both indoors and out. Additionally, they will chew everything and anything, including furniture, doors, and walls. They also have a fondness for swallowing anything that enters their mouth, including rocks, toys, towels, cell phones, and batteries. Training may help these negative behaviors.

Bloodhounds are sensitive to correction and may withdraw if training methods are too harsh. Food rewards are especially effective, and training must be consistent and gentle. Using positive reinforcement brings the most success.

Once these dogs pick up a scent, there's little that can be done to stop them from following it. For this reason, they need to be on a secure leash or in large fenced yard whenever they are outdoors. This breed has no street sense and is at great risk of being hit by a car or becoming otherwise injured. These dogs should be trained to have good leash manners, as pulling comes naturally to Bloodhounds and may negatively affect comfort and safety.

Bloodhounds should be groomed at least weekly to keep dead hair under control and to improve their appearance and smell. A rubber hound glove will remove dead hair from their short coat and distribute skin oils to keep their skin and coat healthy. These dogs shed seasonally in the spring and fall, and during these times extra brushing may be necessary. A shedding blade is useful for removing excess hair.

Saying these dogs drool a lot is an understatement. This breed has been known to wet walls and furniture when a quick shake of the head sends slobber flying. Because wetness can lead to skin irritation and infection, Bloodhounds need their facial wrinkles cleaned and dried at least once every day. A damp cloth or baby wipe makes it easy to remove buildup from between wrinkles.

The ears should also be checked daily for wetness or caked-on food. Their length means they often end up dragging through food bowls, and the ear canals are prone to infection without regular cleanings. The nails need trimming every few weeks, and the teeth should be brushed as often as possible to prevent dental decay and periodontal disease.

Bloodhounds are an odorous breed. Regular baths can reduce this musty smell, but there's no means of eliminating it completely. Anyone sensitive to dog odor should reconsider adopting or purchasing one of these dogs.

Bloodhounds are a very old breed, and their ancestors made their first appearance in Europe thousands of years ago. Today's Bloodhounds likely developed from two other hounds, the black St. Hubert and the white Southern Hound.

Bloodhounds were excellent hunters and police dogs. Stories dating back to Medieval Scotland mention "sleuth hounds" that fit the description of the Bloodhound breed. These dogs were used primarily to track people, including Robert the Bruce and William Wallace.

In the United States, the breed has been established for more than a century. Bloodhounds' noses are so accurate that evidence found by these dogs has been accepted in a court of law. In America, these dogs continue to be used to find people more than game. They are also increasingly popular companion animals.

The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Bloodhound in 1885.