History of the Bloodhound Breed
While it is difficult to prove the exact time of origin of this breed, it is often thought the bloodhound was found in Mediterranean regions years before the Christian era. In Historia Animalium by Claudius Aelianus of the 3rd century A.D., a dog known for his scenting abilities was described and noted for its determination to stay with the trail until the end. Other sources suggest that the bloodhound was found in Europe many years before the Crusades and that the first examples of the breed were brought there from Constantinople. It is believed that there were two varieties of the bloodhound: in the 8th century a black variety, called the St. Huberts, and later a white variety that was known as the Southern Hound. Other investigations suggest that the black version was also called the Flemish Hound, and the white version was called the Talbot Hound. The black dogs were the ones that were imported into England, and history suggests that William the Conqueror brought the bloodhound to England in 1066. In 12th century England, the elite further developed the breed for pack hunting, and some suggest that the name bloodhound is derived from the term "blooded hounds" - which refers to the noble breeding and pure blood of the breed. It is said that churches and monasteries of this time kept their own packs of bloodhounds. But it is said that the bloodhound breed was developed for use even more fully in America. This breed has been in the United States for over 100 years, and its accuracy in trailing is so impressive that evidence trailed by this breed is admissible in the court of law. The bloodhound was first registered by the AKC in 1885.
Size and Appearance of the Bloodhound Breed
The front legs of the bloodhound are quite straight and consist of considerable bone, while the back legs feature muscular thighs. Both front and back feet are very strong.
The deeply sunk-in eyes of this breed are usually deep hazel or yellow in color, and they offer a dignified, wise expression. Thin and soft, the ears are very long and fall in graceful folds. The teeth of this breed meet in either a scissors or level bite, and the nose has large, open nostrils. A wrinkle of loose skin is normally found on the forehead. A long neck tapers nicely into muscular shoulders. The gait of this breed is best described as free and swinging. The smooth, short coat comes in several colors including: black and tan, liver and tan, and red. Sometimes the darker portions of the coat are peppered with lighter hair.
Calm, gentle, and placid at home, the bloodhound is nonetheless a tracker at heart. While it can be stubborn and independent, it is a gentle dog that loves children. It is said that some may be timid. This breed is quite devoted with its family, and it will usually get along well with other people, even though it may be reserved with strangers. At times, the bloodhound can be aggressive towards other dogs of the same sex, but it usually does well with other pets within the family. This breed has a tendency to howl, and some may bark to let you know if strangers are around. The bloodhound will also snore and drool. Firm, gentle, and consistent training is recommended, and the bloodhound owner should have plenty of patience in this regard. This breed is considerably independent and can be quite willful. Determination is a strong attribute in the bloodhound - it has been known to follow a trail for over 100 miles - therefore, this dog should never be kept in yard without a fence.
Bloodhound Recommended Maintenance
The coat of the bloodhound is relatively simple in terms of care. The occasional brushing or wiping of the short coat is really all that is required. A few rub downs each week with a wet towel are suggested. This breed should only be bathed when necessary, but owners should be aware that the bloodhound does have a distinct odor which some people may not appreciate. This dog is considered to be an average shedder. Because this breed has a tendency to drool, it is important to clean the facial wrinkles on a daily basis. The ears should be cleaned regularly as well. Daily exercise is very important to this hunting hound, but exercise should always take place on a leash or in a safe, enclosed area to prevent the dog from picking up a scent and trailing it to the end. While the bloodhound does best in the country, it can live in an apartment dwelling as long as enough exercise is provided. This breed can walk for hours, and it would probably enjoy hiking with its owner. It is important, however, not to overtire this breed before they are full grown.
Life span: 7 - 10 years
Major concerns: ectropion, entropion, gastric torsion, otitis externa, skin-fold dermatitis, CHD, elbow dysplasia
Minor concerns: none
Occasionally seen: none
Suggested tests: hip, elbow, eye