The Bloodhound is a large scent hound with an extraordinarily keen sense of smell, originally bred to track deer and other game. This breed is capable of discerning scent over great distances, even days after the scent is left. They are often referred to as “a nose with a dog attached”. Therefore, today Bloodhounds are used by police and law enforcement all over the world to track escaped prisoners, missing people, and lost pets. The breed is also known as St. Hubert hound. Dogs bred in the 7th century Belgium, by the monks of St. Hubert's Abbey are considered the ancestors of today's Bloodhounds.
FUN FACT: Bloodhounds have approximately 250 – 300 million scent receptors and can follow 300-hour-old scent trail.
FUN FACT: The Bloodhound’s sense of smell is so powerful and reliable that their “testimony” is considered admissible in a court of law. Many American courts allow the results of Bloodhounds work to be entered into evidence.
Male Bloodhound stands 25-27 inches tall and weighs 90-110 pounds. Female Bloodhound stands 23-25 inches tall and weighs 80-100 pounds. They are recognized worldwide because of their wrinkled skin (especially on the face) and long, floppy ears. Those features actually serve an important purpose. These folds, wrinkles and long wear help the Bloodhound in their trailing endeavors. They help funnel scent from the ground up to the Bloodhound's nose and hold it there. Skin is loose and thin. Bloodhound’s coat is short and rather hard to the touch. The coat sheds seasonally. Weekly brushing will be enough to get rid of dead hair and to keep Bloodhound’s coat clean and healthy.
There are three possible coat color combinations: black and tan, liver and tan and red. There may be a small amount on white on the chest, feet, and tail tip. Bloodhounds need to have their wrinkles cleaned daily to prevent bacterial infections. Also, their ears need to be checked and cleaned regularly. Their design is ideal for trapping dirt and breeding yeast and bacteria, making them prone to infection. If your Bloodhound's ears develop an infection, have your veterinarian test the dog to determine the cause of the infection and prescribe antibiotic. They slobber and drool a lot, so it is recommended to carry around a towel to clean after your dog. Bloodhound likes to chew all things that look interesting or that smell nice. Considering all this, it is clear that the Bloodhound requires proper care that takes up time so consider whether you are up to the task before deciding to buy a Bloodhound.
Bloodhounds are working dogs and need a lot of exercise. They love to spend their time outside with their families and are great for families with children. Bloodhounds are best suited to homes with large fenced yards. Fenced yard is a must because, if Bloodhound comes across an interesting scent, he will follow it, oblivious to traffic and other dangers. Bloodhounds are gentle, patient, and even-tempered and they usually get along well with other animals, even cats. They are pack oriented and enjoy company of other dogs.
When it comes to training, Bloodhounds are sensitive to harsh treatment and want to do things their way. This combination can result in frustrating experience for the owner. Bloodhounds are known for their stubbornness, and the owner must be patient, calm and consistent. Positive reinforcement goes a long way. Like every dog, Bloodhound also needs early socialization.
Bloodhounds are generally healthy dogs with life expectancy of 10 to 12 years. Like all breeds, they are also prone to some health conditions, including hip dysplasia (you can read more about hip dysplasia here), elbow dysplasia, epilepsy, bloat (you can read more about bloat here), hypothyroidism (caused by a deficiency of thyroid hormone and may produce signs that include infertility, obesity, mental dullness, and lack of energy), ectropion (the rolling out or sagging of the eyelid), entropion (inward roll of the eyelid), fold dermatitis caused by friction or trapped moisture in the folds of the skin, etc.
FUN FACT: Bloodhounds are one of the most melodious dog breeds and they often express themselves with baying, howling and whining.
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