Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Bloodhound
Average Cost to keep/care for a Bloodhound
Also known as a "Sleuth Hound", Bloodhounds are skilled at tracking down their quarry by smell alone and this includes through water. These dignified and noble looking dogs have been highly prized for their tracking skills for decades by search and rescue teams as well as hunters alike.
They are a very ancient breed of hound thought to be have been first developed my Belgium monks, but their true origins are still a bit of a mystery. Today, Bloodhounds are kept as companions as well as working dogs often seen helping the Police in their work when tracking missing persons.
It is thought that Bloodhounds originate from Western Europe and that they were first developed in France during the 12th century by the monks of Abbey St Hubert. These dogs were highly prized by the monks for their proud appearance, their strength and for their stamina. In the 14th century, the breed was renamed Bloodhounds rather than Chien St Hubert. They were given this name because of their pure bloodlines and over the centuries, these hounds have worked alongside man tracking both animals and humans in challenging environments the world over.
By the 17th century, scientist Robert Boyle wrote a credited paper on Bloodhounds traits and their effectiveness in the field because he thought so highly of their skills at tracking down quarry with their acute sense of smell. However, the sport of deer hunting fell into decline when fox hunting with Beagles became popular and as such the popularity of Bloodhounds declined too.
Luckily, with the help of a few enthusiasts, the breed was kept alive although during World War I and World War II, numbers of Bloodhounds fell once again quite dramatically. The breed was bought back from the brink of extinction when dogs were imported into the UK from France and other European countries. Today, these noble looking dogs are once again highly prized for their tracking abilities and the fact they make such wonderful companions for people who lead active, outdoor lives.
Height at the withers: Males 64 – 72 cm, Females 58 – 66 cm
Average weight: Males 46 – 54 kg, Females 40 – 48 kg
Bloodhounds are large and impressive looking dogs that boast a dignified and noble expression. Often described as "sad looking", they also give the impression of power and wisdom. They are well-muscled, easily recognisable dogs thanks to their large heads and long ears that almost reach the ground. They have loose skin that form creases and folds around their faces and bodies which is what gives the Bloodhound their famous sad and forlorn look.
Their heads are narrow with muzzles that taper slightly and a pronounced occipital peak. Their forefaces are long with a defined stop and as previously mentioned, these dogs have wrinkles and folds on their faces. They have large, open nostrils and black noses. Eyes are medium in size and can be either dark brown or hazel in colour.
Bloodhounds have long, well-muscled necks and their shoulders are muscular and nicely sloped. Dogs have straight front legs with lots of bone. Their chests drop between their front legs and ribs are well sprung. Bloodhounds have strong backs and slightly arched loins. The power comes from their hindquarters which are muscular with thighs and second thighs being well developed and strong looking.
Their feet are strong and extremely well knuckled and a Bloodhound's tail is long and thicker at the base before tapering to the tip. Tails are set high and boast a moderate amount of hair on the underside. Bloodhounds carry their tails high and curved, but never over their backs.
When it comes to their coat, Bloodhounds have short, smooth coats that boast being extremely weather resistant. Dogs come in a variety of acceptable colours which includes the following:
Darker coloured dogs sometimes have lighter or badger-coloured hair interspersed through their coats and sometimes they are flecked with white. Bloodhounds are allowed to have a small amount of white on the chest, feet and tip of tail which is acceptable as a breed standard.
Bloodhounds are renowned for being affectionate dogs by nature, rarely showing any sort of aggression towards other dogs or people. They are also known to be sensitive and quite reserved, gentle and placid characters which means they are a good choice of family pet.
Because they are sensitive by nature, Bloodhounds do not respond well to any sort of harsh handling or training. However, they are very good at turning a deaf ear when it suits them and are known to have a bit of a stubborn streak in them which is especially true if they pick up the scent of something interesting and decide to wander off after it.
They are lovely gentle giants, but there are a few downsides to sharing a home with a Bloodhound which includes the fact they have a tendency to slobber and they are renowned for their loud snoring too. Bloodhounds have a particular odour about them which takes a bit of getting used to and their bark is not only very deep, but extremely loud too.
They are definitely not a good choice of dog for first time owners because they can be hard to train. However, for an experienced handler who is familiar with the breed and this type of dog, they make wonderful companions.
Bloodhounds are intelligent, but they are independent thinkers and quite sensitive dogs which can make training them a challenge for people not familiar with the breed or this type of hound. It takes a Bloodhound a lot longer to respond to a command which can be confused for them being stubborn which they are not. Training a Bloodhound takes time and patience, but the end results are very worthwhile. The key is to always be consistent and if possible to enrol into classes where a Bloodhound can do what they do best which is to track a scent.
Bloodhounds despite their large size are gentle and placid giants which means they generally make good family pets and are good around children. However, because of their size any interaction between a dog and the kids needs to be well supervised by an adult at all times to make sure things don't get too boisterous and younger children are not accidentally knocked over which could end up scaring them.
If well socialised and introduced to a family cat from a young age, Bloodhounds usually get on well with them. However, it would be unwise to trust a Bloodhound around other smaller pets commonly found in the home because the result could be disastrous.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Bloodhound is between 7 to 8 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
However, like so many other breeds, they are known to suffer from a few hereditary health disorders which are worth knowing about if you are planning to share your home with one of these gentle giants. The health issues most commonly seen in the breed includes the following:
As with any other breed, Bloodhounds need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, they need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Bloodhounds boast having short, naturally glossy coats which are low maintenance in the grooming department. Water literally runs off their backs because their coats are so weather-resistant making them the ideal dog to take out for a walk when it is raining. With this said, regularly brushing a dog's coat helps keep it in good condition and the same can be said for their skin.
Because Bloodhounds have such long, pendulous ears, it's important to check them on a regular basis to make sure they are kept dry and free of any foreign objects. If moisture builds up inside a dog's ear canal, it can lead to a yeast infection taking hold which can be notoriously hard to clear up once it flares up.
Bloodhounds need to be given a lot of daily exercise because although they may look a bit cumbersome, they are in fact athletic characters that need a minimum of 2 hours exercise every day to be truly happy, well-rounded dogs. They also like to be given a lot of mental stimulation or boredom can set in which can lead to a dog developing a few unwanted behaviours and this includes being destructive around the house and eating or chewing anything within their reach.
If you get a Bloodhound puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule for your new pet and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding them the same type of puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upset and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and before discussing things with the vet before attempting to change their diet again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature Bloodhound twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories which is important or they might start to gain too much weight.
Because Bloodhounds have a tendency to suffer from bloat (gastric torsion), it’s important not to feed them before they go out for a walk or to do any sort of strenuous exercise. It’s also important not to feed them as soon as they come back from a walk for the same reason.
If you are looking to buy a Bloodhound, you would need to pay anything from £800 to over £1000 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a 3-year-old Bloodhound in northern England would be £71.75 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £130.13 a month (quote as of March 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things and this includes where you live in the UK and a dog's age and whether or not they have been spayed or neutered.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog throughout their lives making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £50 - £70 a month. On top of all of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Bloodhound and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying your dog when the time is right and then their annual health check visits, all of which could quickly add up to over a £1400 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Bloodhound would be between £140 to £220 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree Bloodhound puppy.
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