Gentle giants known for their detective work


Toni Grzunov - Last updated on May 20th, 2021

All you need to know about the Bloodhound

Bloodhounds, also known as St. Hubert hounds, may look massive and menacing, but they are the complete opposite of that. These big, powerful dogs are in fact quite gentle, meek, and loving.

These dogs are well known for their keen ability to track by scent rather than sight or sound. They were originally bred for hunting purposes, but today they have been specially bred to track humans, whether escaped prisoners, for example, or to find missing people.

Bloodhounds are friendly, docile dogs when they are just hanging out at home with you, but can be eager and relentless trackers when they’re on the scent looking for something. 

Expect to put in a lot of work if you plan to own a Bloodhound. These dogs are big, powerfully built, they slobber, and they eat extremely large amounts of food. However, if you put in the effort, you will be rewarded with a loving, loyal companion who will constantly entertain you and provide you with love forever.

Fast Facts

Group - Hound

Weight - 90-110 Pounds (male) 80-100 Pounds (female)

Height - 25-27 Inches (male) 23-25 Inches (female)

Hair Length - Short

Shedding - Moderate

Lifespan - 8-12 Years

The Appearance of the Bloodhound

The reason Bloodhounds are such good trackers is the wrinkled skin, the droopy ears and the jowls. They give these dogs the appearance of a tired old man, which is actually quite charming in a way. All of these features actually intensify scents. 

Even their eye folds play a role in the development of their tracking skills. When the skin drops down to cover up their eyes the dogs become more focused on the scent trail. They have their noses down to the ground so they can track down scents perfectly.

These dogs are also incredibly powerful and have tons of energy. You might not think so when first seeing one, but Bloodhounds are known for their endurance. They can run for quite some time without getting tired.

Naturally, the size of a Bloodhound is hard not to mention. Male dogs are generally larger than females. Although they can grow up to 27 inches on average, some Bloodhounds can actually grow much larger than that, so you should be prepared for that possibility.

The eyes of a Bloodhound can vary in color. The color range goes from yellow to deep hazel. Their coat is short and dense.

These dogs are often confused with Basset Hounds because of their similar looks. However, Bloodhounds are much larger and heavier. Basset Hounds are easy to recognize by their short legs.

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What colors does a Bloodhound come in?

When it comes to colors, the breed standard names three main coat colors Bloodhounds can come in:

  • Black and tan
  • Liver and tan
  • Red

Often these three colors will come mixed in with some white. The white color usually appears on the chest and the feet, and a small amount is permitted even for competition dogs.  

There are also Bloodhounds known for having saddle-type coats, meaning there is a spot on their backs that is of a different color. This means that you can find them in black and tan saddle type coat colors, as well as liver and tan saddle type.

Sometimes red Bloodhounds will have a coat that has pigments of other coat colors. This means you can find a red Bloodhound with either a black and tan or a liver and tan pigment in its coat.

All about the Bloodhound personality

When people think of a Bloodhound they will often imagine these dogs lazily lounging on the front porch. However, they are extremely active to the point where they can be a bit hard to control. 

This usually happens when they get bored, especially while they are still young. These dogs will chew, dig and destroy furniture, so you need to make sure that they use up their energy. These pups absolutely love going on walks and hikes, making them great pets for people that lead a more active lifestyle.

Bloodhounds are pack animals so they will get along well with other dogs, even cats. Despite having tons of energy, they will be gentle most of the time. People often refer to them as gentle giants. They are never aggressive and love being around children. 

Bloodhounds are never used as watchdogs since they rarely bark. They do bay occasionally when they smell something interesting. Baying is a vocalization similar to howling, and Bloodhounds do it when they smell something that piques their interest.

Bloodhounds can be a bit stubborn and are not the most obedient dogs. Still, they are highly intelligent, so all they need is a good amount of training. 

These dogs can often have a one-track mind. This means that if they catch a scent that interests them they will focus on it intensively. This can be basically anything, from a garbage bin to a stain on your t-shirt. Regaining their attention once this happens can be tricky.

This is why most won’t recommend walking your Bloodhound without a leash.

Is a Bloodhound easy to train?

As previously mentioned, Bloodhounds can be a bit stubborn and disobedient. This makes obedience classes almost mandatory. 

These dogs love to take charge so you need to be firm, but always kind. Positive reinforcement will get you some great results. Treats and some praise will quickly win over your pet Bloodhound.  

You need to be knowledgeable about dogs, meaning they are not the best pets for first-time owners. You might want to hire a professional trainer to help you for starters.

The tracking instinct of a Bloodhound can be an issue occasionally, especially when combined with their sense of smell. Their stubbornness comes as a cherry on top, so obedience training definitely won’t be easy.

Still, if you manage to be firm but loving, use a lot of positive reinforcement you will achieve great results. Bloodhounds can be sensitive to correction, so always be kind!

How much Grooming does a Bloodhound need?

When it comes to grooming, Bloodhounds do require quite a bit of care. Firstly, they have a specific “hound smell”. It is a distinctive odor that will smell bad to most people. Make sure to bathe your pet regularly.

These dogs also drool quite a bit. Their long ears can cause some grooming problems as well, as the dogs will put them inside of their food bowl while they are eating. The ears will get dirty quite often this way, as funny as it may sound.

This is why you should always keep a cloth nearby, so you can wipe off and clean your pet Bloodhound. 

The wrinkles of a Bloodhound are a good environment for bacteria to develop. The same can happen inside of their droopy ears, so you should clean both using a damp cloth every day. After you clean those areas, wipe them off using a dry cloth.

The coat of a Bloodhound should be brushed weekly. Use a rubber brush to do it and your pet’s coat will be beautiful. These dogs are average shedders but can shed more profusely during specific seasons.

Because they do shed, and more importantly drool quite a bit, these dogs are not hypoallergenic! 

Make sure to wipe the eyes of your pet Bloodhound each day using a tissue or cotton pad. This will prevent crusty buildup which can cause health issues.

Of course, you should trim their nails regularly. Make sure to get your pet used to this early on, while it is still young. Nail trimming should be done at least once per month unless your dog wears down its nails by itself. In general, if you can hear the nails clicking on the floor, you should trim your pet’s nails.

One other thing that is recommended is creating a habit of good dental hygiene. Consult with your vet on what the best doggy toothpaste is for your pet, and wash its teeth regularly.

The Living Environment of the Bloodhound

Like we already mentioned, Bloodhounds are surprisingly active. Combine that with their large size, and it makes sense that these dogs do best in a house with a large yard with a fence

It is recommended that the fence is at least 6 feet high and secured underground. The reason for this is that these pups can dig, and if a scent catches their attention almost nothing will stop them from going after it. Well, nothing except for a fence like this.

These pups really love spending time outside, and they enjoy going on hikes as well as splashing around in the water. Make sure to always keep your Bloodhound on a leash to be able to control it. Otherwise, it may take off because of its scent drive.

Even though they prefer a house with a yard, these dogs will get used to living in an apartment. Just make sure you provide them with enough opportunities to exercise. If you don’t they might become destructive.

The Health and Nutrition of the Bloodhound

Bloodhounds are one of the shortest-lived dog breeds. Their lifespan is only about 7 to 8 years on average. They can live a few years longer than that if they are kept healthy.

They are prone to several health issues as well. Grooming is extremely important with this breed because it keeps these dogs healthy. Their skin and ears can get moist and a lot of bacteria can gather there, so it is important to keep your Bloodhound clean.

  • Another condition these dogs are prone to is bloat. Also called GDV, this is a serious disease that occurs when the pup’s stomach becomes stretched or rotated. This cuts off the blood flow to the other organs. You should know the symptoms of this condition and contact the vet as soon as you notice them.
  • Other conditions that can develop include hip and elbow dysplasia, as well as certain eye conditions.

When it comes to dog food, it is best to consult with your vet on what the best one is for your Bloodhound. They will be able to help you determine the exact daily amount of food you should be giving it as well.

Make sure to divide the food into two meals each day. This will help your pet stay in shape. The exact amount of food you give it will depend on its age, size, and activity level.

Where does the Bloodhound come from?

There are historians that believe that the first mention of a Bloodhound was by the Roman scholar Aelian during the third century. Even if it wasn’t a Bloodhound as we know it, it was definitely a similar type of dog that was probably brought to Europe from Constantinople.

Bloodhounds, as we know them today, were developed by church officials in monasteries all over Europe. This is also how the breed got its name - these dogs were of aristocratic blood.

The earliest known Bloodhounds were bred at the Sint-Hubert monastery in Belgium. This is why these dogs are known as the “Chien de Saint-Hubert” in France.

These dogs were originally used to track down the scent of boars and deer during hunts. They were also used to track down people. Sometimes, their abilities were used for good (finding lost children), and at other times for bad (capturing of escaped slaves).

The modern-day Bloodhound was recognized by the AKC all the way back in 1885. May police departments still use it for its tracking abilities to this day.

Questions people often ask about Bloodhounds

  • +Are Bloodhounds aggressive?

  • +Are Bloodhounds smart?

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