Bloodhound

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Bloodhounds are hunting hounds who love the outdoors. With a non-territorial personality, they can be great for families.

Breed Snapshot

Life Expectancy:
10 to 12 years
Size:

Large

Maintenance Level:

Medium

Shed Level:

Medium

Temperament:
DeterminedIndependentEnergetic
Coat Color:
Black And TanLiver And TanRed

Best For

Bloodhounds are best for high-energy pup parents with other pets (the more, the merrier!) who live in homes with fenced-in yards.

Bloodhound Traits

What makes the Bloodhound a Bloodhound? Let's find out how they stack up.

Bloodhound Temperament

“A nose with a dog attached” is a common way to describe a Bloodhound. Their sense of smell is extraordinary, and their nose is what they use to navigate the world around them. This trait can’t be trained out of them; your Bloodhound has access to an entire world that you can’t see (or smell), and they will go where their nose takes them.

When not in hot pursuit of a scent, the Bloodhound breed can be laid-back members of the family. But just like people, their personalities can differ: Some are so high-energy that they’re seemingly always on the move, and others are happy to spend their downtime curled up on the rug. You can help them expend their energy by letting them romp by themselves in the backyard (as long as the yard is fenced). They’re also eager to go on hikes or walks with you. Just remember, when they catch a scent, nothing stands in their way—and they are off! (They look like they’re at Mach speed when they go.) For this reason, make sure any dog walker (professional or pint size) has a firm grasp on the leash!

With their sturdy size and high energy levels, they may accidentally mow down toddlers, but their temperament is very low-key. While they get along great with other animals and people, they may sometimes be shy, so it’s a good idea to start socializing your Bloodhound puppy while they’re young.

A Bloodhound can be slower to mature than other breeds. This isn’t code for “unintelligent,” but it does mean that housebreaking and commands (like sit, stay and come) may take more time for them than other pups. Be consistent and kind and make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to rules of the house—inconsistency will confuse a Bloodhound, and they may decide to make up their own rules instead. Bloodhounds do best when they know exactly what to expect from the people in their family.

How to Care for a Bloodhound

Bloodhounds are in that “Goldilocks” position of care—not too high and not too low, but just right. While not as high maintenance as a Shih Tzu when it comes to grooming, they do require regular brushing, and you’ll need to keep their loose skin and facial wrinkles clean. And their high energy and stubborn nature equals a good deal of time spent training and exercising them, but not as much as, say, a Border Collie. Of course, any time you spend with your Bloodhound is time well spent.

Bloodhound Health

Bloodhounds have a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years, but, like any breed, are prone to certain health issues that are cause for concern. Knowledge is power and knowing what your pup is at risk for can help you give your dog the longest and healthiest life possible.

  • Gastric Dilation Volvulus Complex (GDV): Also known as bloat, GDV is a life-threatening medical emergency. It occurs when the stomach fills with gas and twists on itself. Symptoms include pain, trouble breathing, retching without vomiting and a distended belly. To help prevent your pup from getting this condition, feed your dog smaller meals throughout the day and use a slow feeder to keep them from eating too quickly. Keep the food bowls on the floor (don’t elevate them), and don’t exercise one hour before or after meals. Contact your vet immediately if you think your dog is suffering from GDV.
  • Foreign Object Ingestion: Bloodhounds will find—and eat—anything. Yup, that includes your underwear and those decorative rocks on your coffee table. They’re also good at finding and opening cupboards and eating foods off the “never eat” list, so make sure to Bloodhound-proof your home and see your vet ASAP if anything appears to have gone missing. While some foreign objects pass naturally, your vet will want to monitor your pup if they eat something that may need surgery to get the object out.
  • Hip and Elbow Dysplasia: Dysplasia is a common joint issue for dogs, most often in the elbows and the hips. It occurs when the ball of a joint doesn’t fit properly into a socket, causing pain and mobility issues. Some dogs may have a genetic propensity for dysplasia. This is a progressive disease, meaning it gets worse, so early detection is key. Maintaining a healthy weight and exercise routine may minimize the chance of it occurring. It can be treated with medication, physical therapy, weight reduction and, in some cases, surgery.
  • Skin Issues: Those deep, adorable folds in your Bloodhound’s face can lead to some skin conditions, including dermatitis. This condition can be hereditary and occurs when moisture is trapped in the skin folds, causing redness and irritation. Fortunately, it can be treated with medication. Some Bloodhounds also have food allergies and may need to be put on a diet free of certain ingredients, such as wheat. Your vet will help you determine the best course of action.

Let your grooming and cuddle sessions with your dog pull double-duty; you may be able to spot new health problems. Check for any odd growths, which may be a sign of cancer. Pay attention to any behaviors that deviate from your Bloodhound’s happy, healthy normal self, including lack of interest in food, housebreaking problems after successful training, lethargy, irritation or snappishness. They may indicate a health problem that needs to be checked by your veterinarian.

Bloodhound History

We know very little about the Bloodhound’s early origins, but it likely begins around the Mediterranean, where ancient Greeks were in awe of their superior sniffing powers. But their name and distinctive look took root in Medieval Europe, where the Bloodhound history really begins.

These working dogs were essential members of a hunting pack, and they were bred and treated with reverence on the grounds of medieval French monasteries. Bred by monks, these dogs were originally called “blooded hounds” because they came from aristocratic families. (For the rest of us who watch too many movies, no, they did not get their names because they’re quick to pick up a trail of blood in the woods.) Later, their name evolved into “Bloodhounds.” It is believed that William the Conqueror brought these pups with him from Normandy when he conquered England in 1066.

The pup’s potential for police work did not go unnoticed. By the turn of the 19th century, English police units began using these nose-first pups to find criminals. Law enforcement agencies around the world took notice, and today, a Bloodhound’s trailing results are acceptable in almost any court of law. Bloodhounds were used by police departments throughout the 20th century, but over time, they became less popular as police forces turned to “multi-use” breeds such as German Shepherds, which, in addition to tracking, can be used for personal protection and backup.

But because Bloodhounds are good with kids, they can be excellent in search-and-rescue cases, as they pose little threat to the people they find. The American Kennel Club recognized the Bloodhound in 1885 and is part of the Hound group. Today, you can expect to pay $600 to $1,200 or more for a purebred Bloodhound puppy. But for that price, you’re likely getting a pup who’s been screened for health and temperament issues and may come with pedigree papers. You can find reputable breeders on the AKC’s site. If you’d like to adopt your pup, contact Bloodhound rescues or look for the breed at your local animal shelter.

FAQs

Do Bloodhounds shed?

Yes, Bloodhounds shed, but the amount of shedding depends on the season (you may see more in the spring and fall) and the individual dog. Regular grooming and a really good vacuum can minimize shedding nuisances in your home.

Are bloodhounds aggressive?

No, Bloodhounds aren’t aggressive. They’re not territorial and not especially possessive, either. Early socialization is key for them to be comfortable with other people and animals in their space. Keep in mind that Bloodhounds aren’t aware of their size, so they may accidentally knock down young kids as they bound toward them in excitement. They also may have some chasing instinct that can kick in when confronted with small kids or pets, but training can manage some of those instinctual urges. A good rule of thumb is to treat your Bloodhound like a 100-pound dog even when they’re tiny puppies, and not let them get into any habits (jumping, chasing) you wouldn’t like from a fully grown dog.

Are Bloodhounds good pets?

Yes, Bloodhounds make good pets. They are great
with kids and families as
long as there’s plenty of room for them to exercise and
lounge. Be sure to put all your food (and everything else) out of your pup’s reach. They’re known to sniff out and eat everything.

Are Bloodhounds good guard dogs?

No, Bloodhounds don’t make good guard dogs. Their distinctive bark (a deep bay, or “aw-roo”) and large stature can be a deterrent, but because many Bloodhounds aren’t territorial or possessive, they’re just as likely to ignore a stranger who comes into the home as bark at them.

What are the most common bloodhound mixes?

The most common bloodhound mixes include:

  • Bloodhound-Labrador mix (Labloodhound)
  • Bloodhound-Mastiff mix (Brazilian Mastiff)
  • Bloodhound-Great Dane mix(Great Hound)
  • Bloodhound-Poodle mix (Bloodhound Poodle)
  • Bloodhound-Boxer mix (Bloodhound Boxer)
  • Bloodhound-Rottweiler mix (Bloodhound Rottweiler)
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Top Takeaways

High energy, independent and with a love as deep as their drool puddles, the Bloodhound breed is a roll-with-the-punches pup who really takes pleasure being a dog. A Bloodhound will remind you to enjoy the simple things in life, pay attention to the world around you and pursue your passions (just watch a Bloodhound on a scent trail for inspiration). The Bloodhound is the guru to guide you to a better you—with a few “stop-and-smell-the-flowers” (or stinky socks) detours on the way, of course.

Expert input provided by veterinarian Kate Knutson, DVM, owner of Pet Crossing Animal Hospital in Bloomington, Minn., and Sparky Serka, AKC certified trainer at The Puppy Academy in Hermosa Beach, Calif.

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