Throughout the world, breeds such as the American coonhounds, Swiss Jura hounds, Brazilian Mastiff, Bavarian Mountain Hound and many others trace their lineage back to this ancient scent tracker.
One of the oldest Scent hounds (some have traced the Bloodhound to Mediterranean countries in the third century), most believe that the breed was developed in Europe during the Middle Ages – they may have accompanied crusaders who were returning to Europe from the Middle East.
For centuries, the monks of the St. Hubert monastery in Belgium bred superb, scent-tracking hounds.
At the same time, virtually identical hounds were bred in Great Britain.
The name refers to blooded hounds, meaning they were of pure blood and noble breeding.
The Bloodhound’s trailing skills in the field of law enforcement have earned the breed high honors.
Although affable in temperament, it is not easy to obedience train.
Today, all Bloodhounds are black and tan, liver and tan or red, but in the Middle Ages they occurred in other solid colors. The white variety, which existed in the medieval Europe, was called the Talbot Hound. By the 1600s, this strain had died out as a breed, although its genes continue in dogs as diverse as white Boxers and tricolored Basset Hounds.
The Bloodhound thrives on the hunt rather than the kill – it revels in tracking and has been used to hunt animals, criminals, runaway slaves and lost children.
Today, this plodding, sonorously voiced breed is both tracker and companion.
This highly recognizable dog excels in shows and trailing but has enjoyed moderate popularity as a pet.
Size: Large, 80 to 110 pounds; females 23 to 25 inches; males 25 to 27 inches.
Color: Black and tan, liver and tan, and red.
Temperament: Trustworthy, extremely affectionate, calm; tolerant of children and playful. Reserved with strangers. Ruled by its nose.
Energy level: Lots of energy until 3 or 4 years of age; then low.
Best owner: Active owner with a firm approach to training.
Needs: Daily exercise, securely fenced yard, leash, drool tolerance, facial cleaning (ears and wrinkles pick up food and water), soft bedding, weekly brushing.
Life expectancy: 7 to 10 years.