menu icon

Bloodhound
Keen Sense of Smell

Home »  Dog Breeds »  Bloodhound

The Bloodhound is a large to giant purebred originally bred to hunt large game like wild boar and deer. It has also been used for hundreds of years to help track people thanks to its exceptional sense of smell. Today it is used still for tracking, man trailing, search and rescue, hunting as well as other areas like drug detection and scent detection. Its sense of smell can even stretch over long distances over several days old. It is very active, smart and tenacious.

Here is the Bloodhound at a Glance
Name Bloodhound
Other Names St. Hubert Hound, Chien St. Hubert, Flemish Hound
Nicknames Sleuth Hound
Origin UK and Belgium
Average size Large to giant
Average weight 80 to 110 pounds
Average height 23 to 27 inches
Life span 7 to 10 years
Coat type Dense, harsh, short, water-repellent,
Hypoallergenic No
Color White flecks with black and tan, liver and tan or red
Popularity Quite popular – ranked 49th by the AKC
Intelligence Excellent – this is a very clever dog
Tolerance to heat Good – okay in warm weather but nothing too hot
Tolerance to cold Good – okay in cold weather but nothing too freezing
Shedding Frequent and seasonal blow outs – expect lots of hair!
Drooling High – especially when drinking and eating
Obesity Average – just watch the food and give enough exercise
Grooming/brushing Moderate – brush daily or every other day to keep up with the loose hair
Barking Frequent – training will be needed to control it
Exercise needs Quite active – will need two good length walks as well as off leash time
Trainability Difficult – needs experienced owner as it can be stubborn
Friendliness Excellent – very social and friendly
Good first dog Low – needs to be with knowledgeable owners
Good family pet Excellent – get along with everyone
Good with children Excellent with socialization
Good with other dogs Excellent with socialization
Good with other pets Good to very good with socialization
Good with strangers Excellent – very approachable dog
Good apartment dog Low – needs space and a place with a good sized yard or land
Handles alone time well Low to moderate – does not like being alone and can suffer from separation anxiety
Health issues Somewhat healthy – there are issues though such as joint dysplasia, epilepsy, eye problems, bloat and skin problems
Medical expenses $485 a year for pet insurance and basic medical needs
Food expenses $275 a year for treats and dry dog food
Miscellaneous expenses $240 a year for basic training, license, toys and other miscellaneous costs
Average annual expense $1000 a year as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $1000
Biting Statistics None reported
Advertisement

The Bloodhound's Beginnings

There have been scent hunting dogs for as far back as the first century AD though probably there were some before that that we no longer have any knowledge about. The Bloodhound is a very old breed, over a thousand years old in fact, first known as St Hubert hounds and developed in Belgium at St.Hubert's Abbey.

Francois Hubert in the 8th century loved to hunt and he worked hard developing the perfect dog to hunt with, one able to follow any trail even ones that were cold. He continued this when he retired to the Abbey after his wife died. After he died he actually became the saint of hunters and in France the Bloodhound is still called a St.Hubert hound. Many breeds around the world can trace back to this dog as their ancestor.

In 1066 William the Conqueror took some with him on his invasion of England. For hundreds of years they were prized amongst the nobility and the monarchs of England. Elizabeth I has a pack of them, one was described in a Shakespeare play and for a while they thrived in France and in England. However in France their popularity waned with the French Revolution when anything associated with nobility was rejected and when great hunts were no longer being undertaken. The St Hubert strain is thought to have died out here.

In England where it had also been further developed into the Bloodhound we know today, it continued to be popular not just for being a great dog to hunt with but for its skill in tracking down criminals. In 1805 there is a written account where Bloodhounds were used to track poachers and thieves, though there are signs they had been used thus as far back as the 1500s. In the Victorian era dog shows became popular and Queen Victoria was known to be a great lover of dogs including Bloodhounds so as a breed it continued to do fairly well.

In the late 1900s French breeders who regretted the loss of the original St Hubert imported Bloodhounds to try and re-establish something of it. It is not clear when it was exported to the US, though there are some suggestions that they were used to track slaves before the Civil War thanks in part to the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. This had a negative impact on their popularity.

New Lease on Life

In the later 19th century though pure Bloodhounds were imported and bred by an English breeder Edwin Brough. Their popularity in America grew again and other breeders also took an interest. In 1885 it was recognized by the AKC. Back in Britain though with World War II, numbers dropped dramatically because of difficulty in feeding them. Numbers are still fairly low now there, though are rising thanks to imports from America.

They have been used in manhunts successfully by law agencies in countries around the world including America and Britain, though more so now in America. In 1962 the National Police Bloodhound Association was formed. It is ranked 49th most popular dog out of those recognized by the AKC today.

The Dog You See Today

The Bloodhound is a large to giant dog weighing 80 to 110 pounds and stands 23 to 27 inches tall. It has a powerful body, strong back and a narrow long head that is in proportion with the rest of it. It has a black nose at the end of long muzzle, diamond shaped eyes due to the weight of the upper eye lids and droopy, low set thing ears. Around the neck and head is a lot of loose skin giving it lots of wrinkles.

Advertisement

Its tail has a little curve in it and is held high. Its coat is also wrinkled and is short, harsh, dense and water-repellent. Common colors are red, tan, liver, black and a small amount of white.

The Inner Bloodhound

Temperament

It is an affectionate and gentle dog with a funny clumsiness about it and a playfulness. It is alert so will definitely alert you if someone is breaking in, but is not necessarily protective. This is a dog better suited for experienced dog owners as it can be very stubborn and independent and is also quite demanding. In the right family though it could be a great family member, and is loving and loyal.

It is a sensitive dog so will not respond well to harsh tones or physical punishments. It also does not like to be left alone for long periods so does not kennel well and can suffer from separation anxiety. It is quite a kind and patient dog but when it gets outside it becomes quite energetic, keen to go after the scents it catches, determined and when young quite boisterous. They can also be possessive of their things especially their food and toys, so other animals and children should not mess with them.

Bloodhounds get on very well with people and are devoted to their owners. Some are very welcoming of strangers and others are less so, this is something you will need to socialize and gauge. They do snore, drool and howl so this is not a dog that is easy to forget! Keep in mind it is likely to greet visitors with a good sniff at the crotch area, to them it is just how they learn about that person despite the human's embarrassment!

Living with a Bloodhound

What will training look like?

Training a Bloodhound is quite a difficult process and is not something for first time dog owners to take on. You will need a lot of patience and you will need to be firm and consistent. You can use professional training schools or people if you need to. Positive methods are best, remember being sensitive means getting impatient, raising your voice and punishing it is not the route to go. It can be a stubborn and willful dog so make it clear in a positive but firm manner that you are the boss. This may be something that you often have to remind it of.

Bloodhounds are prone to being vocal, whether it be barking or howling. You should make sure you have commands in place to control that. It will also want to sniff everyone it meets, often in private areas, you wont be able to fully control this but a vocal command to stop it could help. Young and old Bloodhounds like to chew so this is another thing to watch out for. A lot of tact is needed when dealing with a Bloodhound. Set clear rules for it and do not give in to it at any time.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if it is a scent they are focused on, if you are not in physical range to them it is very hard to get their attention back. Also male Bloodhounds will hit puberty between 1 and 2 years old. They can be quite a handful at this point! After 2 years with some firm but fair handling it should mellow. Early socialization is also very important to have it be the best dog it can be, and to be one you can trust.

Advertisement

How active is the Bloodhound?

It is a dog that needs a certain level of activity to be happy and healthy. It needs a larger space to live ideally than an apartment and also needs a yard, well fenced, to play and explore in. Be warned it does like to dig! Being fairly active it should have regular opportunities to go off leash in a safe environment, and at least two walks a day of at least 30 to 40 minutes each.

Remember this is a scent dog, so when out with it walking, it will be catching scents and wanting to go after them. Keep it leashed and make sure it is well trained otherwise it will chase after everything. It has a lot of stamina and can walk for hours. If you like hiking or the like it would enjoy joining you but might get distracted by, yup scents again!

Caring for the Bloodhound

Grooming needs

Grooming the Bloodhound is going to be a daily job. It sheds a moderate amount plus has seasonal blow outs so expect hair around the home. As well as cleaning up this you will want to brush its coat on a regular basis for its health and to reduce the loose hair coming off it. At least three times a week if not daily brushing will be needed using a hound glove. Bathe just when it needs it, shampooing to often can dry out its skin.

It will also need its teeth brushed at least two to three times a week, its ears checked for infection and wiped clean once a week and its nails clipped when they get too long. Some dogs are active enough to naturally wear down their nails but if that is not the case you could have them done by a professional groomer.

It will also needs its wrinkles wiped clean daily to prevent infection. Make sure they are dried properly too. It also needs the flews wiped down after drinking and eating. It does drool so that will need wiping up.

Feeding Time

The Bloodhound can need about 4 to 8 cups of good quality dry dog food a day but that must be split into at least two meals. How much it will need exactly depends on its metabolism, level of activity, age, size and health. It is a messy eater but there are some things you can do to help, for example tuck its ears out of the way and use narrower diameter water bowls. Since they are prone to bloat make sure they do not overeat in one sitting or drink large amounts after a large meal, and do not give them a lot of activity just before or after eating or drinking.

How do they get on with children and other animals

Usually it is very good with children, other pets and even strangers. Some are so patient in fact that they will take a lot more from children than most other dogs. Make sure you teach the children how to be nice and how to play nice and not to take advantage of its gentle temperament. It also gets on well with other dogs. Socialization of course helps and should be undertaken. There are a few that can have less tolerance of small yappy type dogs, and some that are aggressive with dogs of the same sex. Because of its size it can also knock down small children accidentally so supervision is a good idea.

Advertisement

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

The lifespan of a Bloodhound is 7 to 10 years, the lower end being shorter than the average lifespan for dogs of its size. It is not a very robust and healthy dog, there are ailments common to it. These include eye problems, ear infections, bloat (the leading cause of death in this breed), joint dysplasia, stomach problems, skin problems, overheating, hypothyroidism and epilepsy. Since it is a breed that loves to chew all its life a common reason for a visit to the vet with them is that they have swallowed something they should not have.

Biting Statistics

When looking at reports of dog attacks that did bodily harm against people in the US and Canada over the last 34 years, the Bloodhound is not specifically mentioned. This does not mean it will never snap or become aggressive, or in fact that it never has. It means in those places any such incidents if they did happen were either not reported or were not serious injuries. The fact is there is no completely safe dog out there, regardless of size, mix or breed. If a dog has been mistreated, not socialized or trained, is malnourished or skittish, or is just caught at a bad moment, it can snap or react aggressively should something set it off. Always make sure you know what a prospective new dog needs from you and that you can provide it.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

The price of a Bloodhound puppy from a good breeder of pet standards is going to be around $1000 though it can vary from $600 to $1500 depending on where you are. A show quality Bloodhound though is going to be a lot more, up into the several thousands. Should you opt to look in rescues or shelters for a Bloodhound it is more likely to be an adult you are re-homing. This will cost less though, $50 to $400. Backyard breeders or puppy mills too may be more affordable but there is no health checking, line checking, care or planning involved in these dogs so there is a risk to this, plus who wants to knowingly fund such places.

When you have the puppy you are going to have to take it to a vet for some tests and procedures. It needs deworming, spaying or neutering, blood tests, a physical exam, vaccinations and micro chipping. These costs will come to about $300.

Other costs to expect straight off are for things the puppy will need, a crate, bedding, bowls, leash and collar for example. These costs are about $200.

Annual costs are also something that need to be planned for. Medical costs not including treatments or emergency costs, but covering pet insurance, check ups, flea prevention and shots come to about $485 a year. Non-medical miscellaneous needs like training, license, toys and other miscellaneous costs come to $240 a year.

Food is another cost to factor in and seeing as the Bloodhound is a large and active dog those costs are higher than other smaller dogs. Expect a good quality dry dog food to be about $235 a year and treats to be at least $40 a year, giving an estimated cost of at least $275 a year.

This gives an annual cost total of $1000 as a starting figure.

Advertisement

Names

Looking for a Bloodhound Puppy Name? Let select one from our list!

  • Male and Female Bloodhound Puppy Names
  • The Bloodhound is a large dog so there is a certain amount of needs this generates in terms of food, activity, room to move in and care. It will need daily grooming otherwise it is prone to skin infections in those folds. It is also very likely to want to go after scents so training and socialization is going to be important, and slow going. Owners of this dog need experience and they need a lot of love and patience.

    In return though you will get a completely devoted best friend, one who has a lot of patience, is gentle and friendly, playful and affectionate. It could be a great companion for your hiking or walking, there will be a lot of entertaining moments to cherish and it will love you completely.

    More to Explore

    Dog Owner Reviews