Other names: Chien de Saint-Hubert, St. Hubert Hound
Their name may suggest otherwise, but the Bloodhound is perhaps one of the friendliest, most gentle and most affectionate dog breeds in the whole world.
Amazing with kids, loving towards pretty much every human or animal they come across and eager to please their owners - we’d call them the perfect family dog!
Plus, we can’t forget the Bloodhound’s incredible talents - this breed is famous for their nose! They’re regularly used in the security and police world as scent detection assistants. As they say, ‘no nose knows like the Bloodhound’s nose’!
Key facts about the Bloodhound
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Origins and history
The Bloodhound is believed to originate from the St.Hubert hound, dating back as far as the Middle Ages. The breed was famed for accompanying royals on hunting trips, thanks to its renowned sense of smell. Numerous hound breeds from Europe, however, have blended together to create the sweet-natured giant we know and love today.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 6 - Scent hounds and related breeds
Section 1 : Scent hounds
Physical characteristics of the Bloodhound
Female : Between 23 and 26 in
Male : Between 25 and 28 in
Female : Between 88 and 106 lb
Male : Between 101 and 119 lb
- Black and tan
- Liver and tan
Type of coat
The Bloodhound’s coat is short and smooth.
They boast a short, flat, dense, double and highly waterproof coat.
The Bloodhound’s eyes normally complement the colour of the coat and can be seen in hazel, various shades of brown and deep yellow colours.
You can’t mistake a Bloodhound! This breed is best known for their wrinkly head and face, extremely loose skin and extra long ears - you either love it or hate it! They’re a huge breed with significant strength and power - the perfect example of a ‘gentle giant’!
They’ve got a long, sad-looking face with lots of pronounced folds. Their nostrils are large (hence their impressive sense of smell) and medium-sized, drooping, sunken eyes. The tail is long and set high.
Good to know
Experts believe that the Bloodhound has around 250-300 million receptors in its nose, which is the most of any dog breed!
With their scary name and intense looks, you might not think the Bloodhound is particularly affectionate - but they’re the biggest softies going! When part of a family, a Bloodhound will love and care with its entire heart. They’re known as loyal, sweet-natured and eager-to-please dogs who thrive in a family setting.
The Bloodhound is a clever dog, and one of the best ways to stimulate them mentally is through sports, with toys and through interactive games and puzzles. This is a breed who is more than happy to get involved, play games and mess around with the kids.
The Bloodhound boasts an extremely calm, easy-going, docile demeanour once trained and rarely cause trouble.
The intelligence of the Bloodhound is commonly debated. But one’s thing for sure - they’re good at what they do, which is tracking scents - and that certainly takes some determination and brains!
While some may say they’re not the most intelligent breed in the box, they’re certainly smart and require plenty of mental stimulation to keep them occupied.
Once trained and socialised, the Bloodhound is generally calm and unaggressive. However, they were originally bred to hunt and kill other animals, so a prey drive is definitely lurking. They’re able to track and follow any scent and beat any other breed in terms of smell.
Fearful / wary of strangers
While the Bloodhound is unlikely to be aggressive or threatening towards strangers, they may come across as shy and reserved towards them. If a Bloodhound is socialized from a young age, they’ll probably warm to strangers after some time and may even enjoy their company.
When you consider the Bloodhound’s working history, it comes as no surprise that Bloodhounds are rather independent, inquisitive and sometimes stubborn when they’re in the right mindset. This can make them hard to train - they’ll need to be in experienced hands.
Behaviour of the Bloodhound
We’ve already mentioned how much the Bloodhound loves their family. Because of this, they don’t like being left alone for too long and are prone to separation anxiety. In these cases, they’ll howl and cry for their owner, as well as chew and scratch furniture. This breed needs constant company and shouldn’t be left alone for too long.
Easy to train / obedience
Well-trained Bloodhounds make for the perfect family pet - it’s just getting to that point which is the problem! Their prominent independent and stubborn streak means they can be a little tricky to train - it’s a classic case of ‘my way or the highway!’.
It’s not impossible, though - with patience, persistence and plenty of positive reinforcement, a Bloodhound will eventually learn who’s boss. If you really struggle, it’s probably best to head to a doggy obedience class. Gaining a strong recall is especially important with this breed.
Thankfully, once they’ve started picking things up, they quickly turn into a well-behaved, calm, obedient pooch.
This breed’s bark is one of the loudest you’ll hear. However, a happy Bloodhound who has plenty of company and exercise is unlikely to bark excessively. However, due to their high exercise needs and tendency to develop separation anxiety, barking is a common problem - it’s all to do with pent up energy and loneliness.
Tendency to run away
The Bloodhound isn’t the kind of dog you can take off the lead. Their nose tends to take over everything, even their common sense - so they’d happily run into a busy road if it was on the scent trail.
Bloodhounds are active dogs, mentally and physically. If they become bored, they might lash out and exhibit destructive behaviours. If you keep your dog thoroughly exercised, mentally stimulated and don’t leave them alone for hours, this should never happen.
Greedy / Gluttony
A Bloodhound will eat whatever is available - this breed has a huge appetite! It’s important to measure out meal sizes and avoid feeding a Bloodhound too many unhealthy treats, as extra weight could put pressure on the joints and lead to health problems.
A Bloodhound is first and foremost a scent dog, though they’re capable of making good watchdogs, too. They’re likely to bark - and their bark is loud - if someone completely unfamiliar comes into their territory when their owner isn’t around. They’re not at all vicious when trained, so they don’t offer any level of protection.
Although they make a fantastic family pet, Bloodhounds can be difficult to train and probably aren’t the best choice for inexperienced owners.
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Bloodhound in a flat
A Bloodhound will cope in a flat or apartment, so long as they get adequate exercise. Saying this, they’re best placed in roomy accommodation with space to roam.
Need for exercise / Sporty
This big dog has endless energy and needs somewhere to burn it! If you want to adopt a Bloodhound, be prepared to exercise them for at least 1-2 hours per day, ideally more. Despite their sweet-natured temperament, this breed could become destructive and hard to handle without adequate exercise.
Travelling / easy to transport
The Bloodhound is huge - meaning it’s probably not the best travel companion! This breed would be fairly difficult to transport due to its hefty size.
Bloodhound and cats
A Bloodhound who isn’t used to cats or hasn’t been well-socialized may be tempted to chase once they come across a cat. However, if a Bloodhound has grown up around cats, they’re normally completely happy to live amongst one another and may even become buddies!
Bloodhound and dogs
The Bloodhound is naturally a pack dog and will enjoy living amongst other dogs. They can get a little possessive over their food and toys, so make sure you feed them in different locations and provide enough toys for each dog.
Bloodhound and children
They’re affectionate, gentle, sweet and friendly once trained and socialised, making them a great choice for families with children.
Bloodhound and the elderly
The normally pleasant and docile Bloodhound can become destructive and badly behaved if they don’t get enough exercise, so they’re not a good choice for elderly owners.
This breed doesn’t come cheap! You’re looking at at least £760 for a Bloodhound and if the dog is registered at the Kennel Club they can cost approximately £1075.
Average cost care: £50-£70 (this includes food, grooming, and other expenses)
The Bloodhound’s coat is low-maintenance and only needs brushing around once or twice a week, as well as a wipe down if they’ve got a little grubby.
The difficult part of Bloodhound grooming, though, is their wrinkles. They need thorough cleaning and drying, otherwise, they can easily become infected.
If you decide to adopt a Bloodhound, be prepared to wipe their face clean after every meal and drink of water. You’ll need to clean between wrinkles a few times a week using a gentle, damp cloth or wipe. Make sure to dry them thoroughly - left wet, bacteria will spread fast.
Thankfully, this breed doesn’t need to be bathed all that often - especially if they’re regularly wiped down and brushed. The Bloodhound is particularly prone to ear infections, so make cleaning and checking them a habit. As for the rest, it’s regular grooming - nails need to be trimmed every couple of weeks and teeth should be brushed as often as possible.
This one is a definite shedder! Expect to have the vacuum out regularly. Brushing can help minimize this.
Nutrition of the Bloodhound
The Bloodhound is a huge dog, with high energy and nutritional needs. As such, it’s best to feed them a high-quality, complete, and balanced dog food which is formulated specifically for large dog breeds. We’d recommend splitting up a Bloodhound’s meals into 2-4 servings per day as giant dog breeds are prone to bloat.
Health of the Bloodhound
Strong / robust
The Bloodhound is mighty - these giant, strong, sturdy dogs are powerful and adaptable.
This breed doesn’t cope well with hot weather. If temperatures sore, keep them indoors in a cool, dark room if possible. If you head out for the day, remember to provide regular shade breaks for your Bloodhound, as well as carrying around a constant supply of water.
Larger dogs such as the Bloodhound do tend to tolerate cold weather better than smaller breeds. However, the Bloodhound won’t fare well in extremes of cold, especially if they’re domesticated - keep them indoors, especially at night, if temperatures drop significantly.
Tendency to put on weight
Obesity isn’t a huge problem in the Bloodhound breed. However, they can be greedy - don’t give them too many treats or human foods!