Origin: Somewhat disputed! Belgium, France, England or Scotland
Weight: Male 46–54 kg (101–119 lb)
Female 40–48 kg (88–106 lb)
Height: Male 64–72 cm (25–28 in)
Female 58–66 cm (23–26 in)
Appearance: This is a large and heavy boned dog reflecting the demands put on the breed in their early history. Bloodhound was originally bred to hunt the most challenging of prey, wild boar. They have a large, dense skeleton with much of the weight of the dog being found in the thick bones. Bloodhounds can be found in black and tan, liver and tan or red in colouration. Their fur is short and rather hard. Instantly recognisable characteristics of the breed include the long, downward-hanging ears and wrinkled skin, especially around the shoulders and the face.
Temperament: Bloodhounds are famed for a gentle temperament combined with intense stubbornness and apparently endless energy. The determination of the breed, their keen sense of smell, and strong interest in tracking scents can result in them being something of a challenge to train. It might be almost impossible to redirect these dogs once they’ve caught a scent, making them difficult to take for a walk on a lead. Experienced owners warn that a very secure garden or outdoor run is essential, as a bloodhound will follow any scent trail if the opportunity presents itself.
Skills: Although originally bred for hunting deer and boar, these scent hounds are more often used to track people. Their legendary ability to find and follow a trail even days after it was laid has been put to various uses. They’re often used by law enforcement agencies to pursue escaped prisoners, but equally bloodhounds have been used to trace lost children and even other pets.
Behaviour towards other animals and children: Bloodhounds are affectionate and even-tempered dogs who particularly seem to enjoy children. They have a reputation as great family pets. As with any dog, supervision around young children is essential. Bloodhounds generally enjoy the company of other dogs they’re familiar with and will be tolerant around cats they’ve been raised with. It’s worth noting that an instinct to track is not the same thing as the desire to chase and catch prey.
Common health problems: Bloodhounds are more susceptible to gastrointestinal problems than many breeds. The most common condition is bloat, also known as twisted stomach or gastric torsion. This can be fatal even with prompt professional intervention. Other common problems include eye, skin, and ear ailments. The thick coat of the breed also makes them vulnerable to overheating.
Lifespan: 9 -11 years