Bloodhound: A Brief Introduction to the Breed


The Bloodhound, also known as St. Hubert’s Hound and Chien de Saint-Hubert, is a large and strong scent hound breed with a long history. The origin of these dogs is uncertain, but Saint Hubert of France, a 7th century monk, is often credited as the one who had developed the breed. First used for hunting, from 16th century and on bloodhounds have also been used for man trailing (escaped criminals, missing persons) in which they excel with their keen sense of smell – the keenest of any breed of dog, according to Wikipedia.

Adult male Bloodhounds weigh from 90 to 110 lb (females 90 to 100 lb), average height is 26 inches for males and 24 inches for females. Like many other large breeds, Bloodhounds have inherently short life span, only 10-12 years. The breed’s acceptable colors are Blank and Tan, Liver and Tan, and Red (Ladybird, Hank Hill’s dog from King of the Hill, is a red Bloodhound). The abundance of skin-folds around the head and neck gives the breed an imposing, wise look, also described as “dignified” and “noble.”

When it comes to personality, Bloodhounds are gentle giants: mild-tempered, friendly, very affectionate, and very loyal to the owner. Their bond with the owner is so strong that, when separated, adult Bloodhounds are known to stop eating. Wikipedia notes that because of its strong tracking instinct, the Bloodhound “can be willful, and somewhat difficult to obedience train.” However, these dogs are very sensitive to the owner’s correction and praise, so the difficulty can be overcome.

The Bloodhound is a watchdog, but not a guard dog, despite the impressive size. According to The American Bloodhound Club, “People who try to make Bloodhounds into guard dogs end up with vicious, unpredictable dogs – four-legged potential lawsuits in their very own backyards.”

Bloodhounds can make great family pets, but there is a lot to consider before getting one. The size of these dogs is the number one concern: they will quickly outgrow your average house and need a fenced yard to be able to have plenty of exercise. For that same reason – size – Bloodhounds need to be watched around small children; they can easily knock a child down, without meaning to, just by moving around. Bloodhounds are slobbery and messy; they love rolling in stuff – whatever kind of “stuff” they can find outside. They are not only chewers but also eaters of things that are not supposed to be eaten, which can require costly surgery. It you don’t mind all that, you can give this breed a try. Remember though that an adult Bloodhound will have great difficulties to adjust to a new home, so if you do get one, it’d better be for life.