Breed At A Glance


Kind and extremely patient, but can be insubordinate

Life Expectancy
10-12 years

Average Height
Males 25-27 inches; Females 23-25 inches

Average Weight
Dogs 90-110 lbs; Females 80-100 lbs

Coat Color
Black and tan, liver and tan, or red

Coat Length/Texture
Smooth and short

Shedding Propensity
Consistent year-round

Also known as Chien de Saint-Hubert, St. Hubert Hound

General Temperament

The Bloodhound is a lovable and good-natured dog with unmatched scenting and tracking abilities. This scent hound is revered for it’s proficiency in tracking humans, a talent rarely seen in other canines. They are gentle and docile in the home, but energetic outdoors and tireless during the course of their work. Some can be wary of strangers, but most will greet wanted and unwanted visitors with equal affection. They bond strongly to their owner. With proper training and mental stimulation, the Bloodhound can excel in law enforcement, search and rescue, competitive tracking and obedience.

Bloodhounds love attention from family members and are exceedingly good with children, often lying patiently while the kids clamber and climb all over them. For the sake of fairness, children should be taught to not take advantage of the dog’s passiveness or tug on the dog’s sensitive ears. They are never vicious towards people, but some can be aggressive towards other dogs of the same sex, so proper socialization during puppyhood is recommended. A Bloodhound should never be trusted with smaller house pets, such as cats or rabbits.

Slow to mature, the Bloodhound reaches adulthood around age 2, and can be boisterous and overly energetic during puppyhood. For this large dog to be manageable as an adult, proper obedience training from the start is essential, although training can be somewhat tricky. They are eager to please their owner, but are sensitive to vocal tones and have a tendency to follow their nose rather than listen to your instructions. They are also quite intelligent and know exactly how much they can get away with. Patience and consistent training from an experienced handler is the best route with a Bloodhound.

A Bloodhound will do best in a home with an average-sized yard, although they can do well in an apartment if sufficiently exercised. They have unending stamina and enjoy long walks and hikes as adults, but be careful not to push them too far as puppies; they need most of their energy for growth and development of their big bones. They will not hesitate to follow a scent when off-leash, so be sure to keep them on a lead when not in a well-secured area.

Breed History

Many experts agree that the history of the Bloodhound dates back to around 300 AD, when Claudius Aelianus noted the unrivaled scenting and trailing powers of the Bloodhound in his HISTORIA Animalium. Specimens of both black and white Bloodhounds were brought to Europe from Constantinople long before the Crusades. The whites were later called the Southern Hounds, and the blacks came to be known as the St. Hubert Bloodhounds around the 8th century, and were the first to be imported to England in the 12th century. The breed made it’s way to the United States around the beginning of the 20th century, where it’s scenting and tracking abilities were finely honed. The Bloodhound’s has been included in the development of many other breeds by breeders seeking to improve the scenting and trailing talents of various other hounds.

Body Structure and Composition

The Bloodhound is a massive and powerful dog with distinctively long ears and pendulous lips used to trap and focus scents. The ears are set low on the highly-arched skull. Deeply-sunk eyes and loose skin on the face give the breed a solemn and mournful expression, in contrast to their happy disposition. The neck, back and shoulders are well-muscled and strong. The tail is carried in an elegant curve above the back. Bloodhounds have a free, elastic gait.

Medical Information

One of the leading medical issue that faces the Bloodhound is bloat, sometimes referred to as Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV). Excess gas trapped in the dog’s stomach causes “bloat,” and twisting of the stomach (volvulus or “torsion”) causes or is caused by said excess gas. GDV is an emergency condition requiring immediate veterinary treatment. Feeding the dog two to three small meals per day (as opposed to one large meal) and avoiding exercise immediately after eating may help prevent this condition.

The physical structure of the Bloodhound’s head can present additional problems. Their sunken eyes and loose eyelids are prone to infection; additionally, they can experience entopion (when the eyelids turn inward) and extropion (when the eyelids turn outward). The pendulous ears are also prone to infection, so be sure to clean them frequently.

Hip Dysplasia can also be prevalent in some Bloodhound lines. Hip Dysplasia occurs when the head of the thigh bone no longer fits firmly in the “cup” provided by the hip socket, causing lameness and arthritis-like symptoms. Responsible breeders will have the hips of their stock certified by the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) prior to breeding.

A Bloodhound’s coat is easy to maintain, although regular brushing will remove shed hair and help to maintain household cleanliness. They have a distinctive “doggie odor” and tendency to drool, both of which can be off-putting to some owners. A soft, well-padded bed may help prevent calluses that can develop due to the breed’s massive size.

Anecdotal Information

One of the dogs featured in the movie Best in Show is a Bloodhound named Hubert, owned by Harlan Pepper (played by Christopher Guest).

Bloodhounds have been featured in many other films including The AristocatsCool Hand LukeA Christmas Story,

Famous television Bloodhounds include Huckleberry Hound, McGruff the Crime Dog, Duke from The Beverly Hillbillies, and Ladybird from King of the Hill.

A famous Bloodhound named Nick Carter tracked down over 650 criminals at the beginning of the 20th century.

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