Listen: this nose knows. The Bloodhound's sniffer is so smart, this breed has testified in court! She was, by the way, the first dog to take the witness stand. Seriously, there's no beating this dog's sense of smell. A Bloodhound can follow trails that are nearly two weeks old. One even successfully followed a scent for 135 miles, clear across the state of Kansas.
You can always spot a Bloodhound by their long ears and distinctive, droopy jowls. Those floppy ears aren't just cute, by the way. They sweep scent particles toward those brilliant noses, which is part of why this breed is such an efficient tracker.
Though we're more likely to picture Bloodhounds chasing down clues with Scotland Yard, these dogs originally lived in Belgian monasteries. They came to England with William the Conqueror in the 11th century. These large and medium-energy dogs can grow to between 80-110 pounds and live an average of 7-10 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Hound group.
AKC Recognized: Y
Breed's Original Pastime: Trailing, Search & Rescue
Origin: England & Belgium
Breed Group: Hound
Average Lifespan: 7-9 years
Size: Extra Large
Bark Factor: Moderate
AKC RANKING 49
AREA OF ORIGIN Belgium, England
DATE OF ORIGIN Middle Ages
ORIGINAL FUNCTION trailing
TODAY'S FUNCTION trailing humans, search and rescue
AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 25-27 Weight: 90-110
AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 23-25 Weight: 80-100
OTHER NAME St. Hubert hound, chien St. Hubert
Energy level Medium energy
Exercise needs Medium
Playfullness Not very playful
Affection level Very affectionate
Friendliness toward other dogs Friendly
Friendliness toward other pets Very friendly
Friendliness toward strangers Friendly
Ease of training Easy to train
Watchdog ability High
Protection ability Not very protective
Grooming needs Low maintenance
Cold tolerance Medium tolerance
Heat tolerance Low tolerance
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS A BLOODHOUND'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
Bloodhounds are calm and friendly dogs. They're usually good with family pets and other dogs and friendly with new folks. Bloodhounds are lovable and snuggly, but independent-minded and not especially playful.
Like most dogs, Bloodhounds will do better with supervised or older children.
WHAT IS BLOODHOUND BEHAVIOR LIKE?
This breed makes for vigilant watchdogs, but your Bloodhound won't be especially protective. Bloodhounds will bay and bark when they're excited or have caught a scent, and their unique howl may take some getting used to.
Your Bloodhound will also appreciate having his own space to sleep, relax, and escape from household bustle.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A BLOODHOUND?
Training these dogs can be challenging; Bloodhounds can be stubborn and don't usually have good recall. Start early and be patient and consistent with your furry friend.
Keep in mind that these are not off-leash dogs. Compelling scents will distract this very active breed. They'll follow their noses anywhere, so your Bloodhound will need a sturdy fence or playtime in an enclosed area when it's not on a leash.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO BLOODHOUNDS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
A Bloodhound's coat is short, tight, and thick. A Bloodhound's nose will often lead them into smelly spots, so plan for frequent baths. Those charming, droopy ears will drag on the ground and into a food dish; remember to clean them daily to avoid infection.
They're seasonal shedders whose bath schedule can be reduced with regular brushing.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO BLOODHOUNDS HAVE?
This breed has a tendency toward bloat, a condition that requires immediate attention from your veterinarian. Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV) and contact your vet at once if you suspect your dog might be suffering from this ailment. A raised feeding bowl and staggered meals might help mitigate this condition.
Bloodhounds can tend toward obesity; be careful to moderate feeding. They also like to eat non-food items (rocks, socks, knives, etc.), so keep an eye on yours and have the emergency vet's phone number readily available.
Feeding your baby Bloodhound a growth food for large-breed puppies will slow their rate of growth but not diminish their adult stature which may help prevent or reduce the impact of adult-onset hip dysplasia.
Breed history has moved while this section is under construction. Please check out the first tab for fun facts about this breed's history. You can also read on to learn about this breed's ideal family situation.
ARE BLOODHOUNDS GOOD FOR PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES?
The American Kennel Club doesn't list Bloodhounds among its breeds recommended for allergy sufferers.
You can reduce your furry friend's impact on your allergies with frequent baths and brushings to reduce loose hairs and allergy-aggravating proteins in your pet's dander. Use a damp cloth to wipe off your dog after playing outside. Smaller dogs have less surface area, so they produce comparatively less dander than larger breeds — definitely something to keep in mind with a dog as large as an Bloodhound! Remember that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, and any breed can aggravate allergies.
WHAT'S A BLOODHOUND'S BEST DAY?
Showing off their singing voices after catching ten new scents that day would be their heart's desire. Bonus points if you show them appreciation in the form of snacks!
SHOULD I ADOPT A BLOODHOUND?
Bloodhounds are not for everyone. They're not well suited to apartment living. They need room to spread out not to mention how very drooly they can be. They do okay in the cold but aren't great in the heat.
That said, they're sweet, loving, and don't require an exhaustive exercise routine or frequent, expensive grooming. Bloodhounds are talented hunters and beloved family members. If you have older children, a fenced-in yard, and appreciate an affectionate drooler—who “nose?” The Bloodhound could be the dog you've been sniffing for.
Have you decided that a Bloodhound is the perfect dog for you? Why not be your new best friend's hero and adopt a rescue! Be sure to check out our article on what to expect when you're adopting a dog or cat.