About the Bloodhound
Bloodhounds are the oldest of the scent hounds and the breed having the keenest sense of smell. That means the bloodhound is popular as a working dog in tracking a police suspect or in a search and rescue operation. A bloodhound is one of the few breeds who’s testimony can be upheld in a court of law.
Bloodhounds are big and powerfully built. They have a history that extends back to the 7th Century AD in France. The name bloodhound was derived from the expression “blooded hound,” meaning a hound of pure breeding. When a bloodhound owns you, you have an incredible responsibility to them. They are big, they slobber, and they eat a lot. They have absolutely no road sense at all so you need to protect them with a fenced yard and walk them only with a lead. In return the bloodhound will be incredibly devoted, loving and they tend to constantly warm your heart
A Brief History
The bloodhound is one of the oldest breeds of dogs that hunt by scent. They are distinguished from other dogs by their pendulous ears, loose skin and extraordinary olfactory powers. It is believed that the bloodhounds of today originated from two ancient strains of European hounds, the St. Huberts and the Talbots dating to the 7th and 8th centuries.
The bloodhound came to prominence when William the Conqueror brought them to England, where they were originally used as game hunting dogs. During colonization in the new world, the dogs were brought to America. Their true gift as amazing and remarkable man-trailing dogs was at last recognized. The bloodhound soon became famous as the dog with the NOSE!
Today, the bloodhound is the only breed that has the ability to scent discriminate human scent, and only trained bloodhounds evidence can be accepted in a court of law. This skill is unmatched by any other breed of dog. Remarkably this same dog may be on a trail one day, in the show ring or obedience ring the next and laying on your couch or romping with your kids the day after that! The bloodhound is capable of being a serious working dog and the most clownish loveable pet you will ever own, if you take the time to train him properly throughout his life.
How Do I Care For a Bloodhound?
Select and visit a veterinarian with your new puppy. Your vet will provide a general well-dog check-up and establish an immunization schedule. Your dog’s health will benefit from your attention to some specific areas:
Eyes should be cleaned daily. If there is any debris in the eyes, wipe them clean. If they should appear cloudy, go to the vet immediately. Eye problems must be taken very seriously. Don’t hesitate to have your dog’s eyes examined if they don’t appear healthy to you.
Ears should be cleaned weekly. Use a good ear cleaner recommended by your breeder or vet. This must be done diligently as problems can arise quickly.
Coats need brushing every week. This eliminates dead hair. Check the dewlap area (under the neck) routinely for any hair loss or possible irritation. A good habit of routine maintenance will help your dog look, feel and smell better.
Nails should be cut every two weeks. They HATE it! Begin as soon as you get your dog and persevere. They do not make this an enjoyable task, but with patience and consistency, you will get the job done. If it is something you don’t want to do, then have your vet or a groomer regularly trim the nails.
If you have questions regarding health, ask your breeder or veterinarian.
Torsion, or bloat - This is a major medical problem in bloodhounds. The causes of this condition are unclear. Bloat and subsequent torsion can strike at any time and can kill your hound if not diagnosed and treated immediately. The American Bloodhound Club has published a pamphlet available to everyone explaining what is known about torsion.
Anesthesia - Be careful about anesthesia if your dog has to undergo any surgical procedures. Bloodhounds usually do not require the recommended dosage per pound, so please suggest to your vet to start with a lesser amount of anesthetic.
What about behavior issues?
Behavior - Bloodhounds can be rather possessive, opportunistic and they don’t like to share. You must run your home like a benevolent dictatorship. Be kind, but be the undisputed boss. Make sure you control your hound’s whole life, all his belongings and especially his food. Never let your hound get the upper hand!
Socialization - Socialize your new dog as much as possible. This is an absolute must for the bloodhound. Try obedience classes, go to some ball games, or take a daily walk in your neighborhood.
Obedience - This is a large breed and will benefit greatly from being a well behaved companion. You won’t be the star in an obedience class, as bloodhounds can invent their own version of “obedience” but with lots of treats and plenty of praise, you can enjoy all sorts of activities with these goofy canines in baggy suits.
Crate training - You will need a large crate that will accommodate your bloodhound in a standing position. He will be much easier to housetrain since he won’t want to make mistakes in his bed. He will wait till you take him out, which should be often. The crate will keep him safe and will keep your home in one piece when you are not there to supervise. This is a breed that will chew anything and everything for a number of years! You cannot leave a bloodhound puppy unattended. If you do, you are asking for a damaged home and/or a deathly ill dog. Either way it spells disaster!
Fencing - A fenced yard is a must. NEVER allow your dog to roam free, as you will have a lost, stolen or dead dog.
Special identification - Please tattoo or microchip your dog. This simple step may help insure the safe return of your pet if it is lost. Ask your vet for more information.
Feeding - Your hound should be fed at least twice daily with a good, high quality diet. Bloodhounds drink lots of water, so make sure you have plenty of fresh water available at all times.
What activities are recommended?
There are many options for bloodhounds! Try trailing, tracking, obedience or agility, or volunteer to help with
South Central Bloodhound Club Rescue/Adoption.
What if I want to breed my bloodhound?
All bloodhounds available for adoption are spayed or neutered. Spay or neuter eliminates many health problems, particularly many types of cancers. Ideally this should be done at about six months of age, but certainly before he’s a year.
Breeding is a huge responsibility. You must be willing to take your puppies back at any age if the homes you sell them to don’t work out.
Good breeders spend years studying pedigrees, evaluating health and talking to other breeders all over the world in an attempt to produce quality bloodhounds. The background of a prospective breeding pair is extremely important in identifying and avoiding potential problems.
A reputable breeder will only sell pet puppies on a limited registration and with spay or neuter contracts. This assures that the dogs are not bred indiscriminately and that only the very best of each litter will be used in any future breeding program.
Spayed and neutered animals are not eligible to compete in AKC Conformation shows, but may compete in AKC Obedience, Agility and Tracking events.
If for any reason you are unable to keep your pet, contact your breeder. Reputable breeders will happily and eagerly take the dog back regardless of age.
Contact the South Central Bloodhound Club if you have questions or concerns, we’ll be glad to help you!
Reprinted from material provided by The American Bloodhound Club