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rec.pets.dogs: Bloodhounds Breed-FAQ
Posting-frequency: 30 days
Last-modified: 10 Nov 1997
There are nearly 100 FAQ's available for this group. For a complete
listing of these, get the "Complete List of RPD FAQs". This article
is posted bimonthly in rec.pets.dogs, and is available via anonymous ftp
to rtfm.mit.edu under pub/usenet/news.answers/dogs-faq/faq-list, via
the Web at http://www.zmall.com/pet_talk/dog-fa.../faq-list.html, or
via email by sending your message to with
in the body of the message.
This article is Copyright 1997 by the Author(s) listed below.
It may be freely distributed on the Internet in its entirety without
alteration provided that this copyright notice is not removed.
It may NOT reside at another website (use links, please) other
than the URL listed above without the permission of the Author(s).
This article may not be sold for profit nor incorporated in other
documents without he Author(s)'s permission and is provided "as is"
without express or implied warranty.
Cindy Tittle Moore,
* Created 24 Mar 92
* Minor corrections and addition of Bloodhound West 22 Sep 94
* Noses-L info updated 26 Sep 95
* Web links updated Feb 97
* Expansion of health information, reordering Mar 97.
Copyright 1995 by Cindy Tittle Moore
Table of Contents
* Characteristics and Temperament
* Special Medical Problems
* Description and Standard
+ Email List
+ Web Sites
+ Breed Rescue Organizations
+ Breed Clubs
Bloodhounds are an ancient breed, and their origins are unclear.
However, in the 7th century, St. Hubert (patron saint of the hunter)
and his monks had an extensive hand in developing the breed.
Bloodhounds today are still registered with FCI as _chiens du St.
Hubert_. The name "Bloodhound" is derived from the term "blooded
hound," meaning a hound of pure breeding.
Bloodhounds are extensively associated with royalty: William the
Conquerer arrived in England with several bloodhounds. Bloodhounds
were often given as gifts among royalty and nobility. For almost seven
hundred years, the St. Hubert Monastery sent a pair of black and tan
Bloodhounds to the King of France each year. These hounds and the
white Talbot hounds are considered the ancestors of modern-day
Bloodhounds. The former died out by the French Revolution after their
popularity plummeted when Charles IX favored the white hounds. Modern
Bloodhounds are descended from the hounds that William the Conqueror
brought to Britain.
It was not until about the 16th century that the Bloodhound was used
to track man. They were regarded as large game hunters before then:
deer, etc. Their testimony was so highly regarded that they had the
legal right to follow a trail anywhere, including into homes.
As need grew for smaller, faster hound dogs, the Bloodhound was
crossed with a variety of breeds to produce Harriers, Beagles and
others, all of which owe their nose to the Bloodhounds. The use of
Bloodhounds declined due to increasing population and decreasing game
area in Britain until there were very few left. The introduction of
dog shows in 1859 revitalized the breed. More companionable animals,
suitable for showing, resulted.
In 1898, Bloodhound breeders began to promote manhunting trials as
sport. The only animals available for this were those who had been
bred for show and companion for many years; yet their noses were as
keen as ever.
Foxhounds have been crossbred into Bloodhounds several times,
especially after WWII, when the stock was severely depleted in
Britain. This ancestry sometimes shows up as white markings on
Bloodhounds although the markings may also be throwbacks to the white
Talbot hounds. Such markings do not disqualify from showing so long as
they are confined to the chest, toes, and base of tail.
Contrary to popular wisdom, Bloodhounds were not actually used to
trail runaway slaves in the US. Those dogs were usually mongrel
crosses and of vicious temperament, which the Bloodhound does not
posess. Stowe's _Uncle Tom's Cabin_, the book and the movie, in
particular gives an exceedingly inaccurate depiction of Bloodhounds.
Mantrailing has enjoyed a steady, athough by no means explosive,
increase in modern day law enforcement and search and rescue. Trails
performed by Bloodhounds are permissible evidence in court.
Characteristics and Temperament
Bloodhounds are not for everyone. Due to generous flews, they can
fling saliva 20 feet with one shake of their head. Their enormous
size, food requirements, vet bills and inherently short lifespan make
them dubious companions for the average dog-lover. As a puppy, the
Bloodhound will grow four to seven pounds and one-half to one inch in
height _per week_. As is common with large dogs, they have a short
lifespan of about 10 years.
Bloodhounds are friendly, often very good with children. When they
find someone at the end of the trail, they are likely to lunge at them
-- to plant wet slobbery kisses (their specialty) all over them.
Criminals often turn themselves in on the spot rather than face
Bloodhounds, whether to escape the kisses or in the mistaken belief of
their ferocity is sometimes hard to tell!
Bloodhounds are very determined. They are aggressive in the sense that
they will want to finish trails, and that they can be hard to call off
once on a track. They can be difficult to train off-leash for this
reason. However, they are not generally aggressive toward other dogs
or people. The pendulous skin over their ears and eyes will fall down
over their eyes when they lower their head to trail, effectively
blinding them. Because of this and their determination, Bloodhounds
are usually run on leash for their own safety.
Bloodhounds can make an amazing variety of sounds. They can bay
expressively, howl and whine, all in melodious tones. The neighbors
may not appreciate this, however.
Special Medical Problems
Bloodhounds may have hip dysplasia, a potentially crippling disease.
Breeders should screen all their breeding stock with OFA to reduce the
chances of their puppies having HD.
Bloodhounds, because of their physical shape, are extremly prone to
Gastric Torsion or Bloat as it is more commonly called. Be sure that
you discuss Bloat with your veterinarian, especially on what the
physical symptoms are and where you can obtain emergency veterinary
care after hours. This condition can kill dogs in a matter of hours
and is very common in this breed.
Other sources of information:
As a rule, Bloodhounds (and other breeds of similar size), do not live
as long as their smaller counterparts do. The typical lifespan for a
Bloodhound is about 9-11 years of age, with noticeable aging occuring
as early as 8 years of age.
Bloodhounds can be prone to _entropion_ which is an inversion of the
eyelid that can be quite painful and irritating to the dog. Surgery is
generally required to fix the eyelid.
A good number of Bloodhounds have allergies and/or food and pollen
Description and Standard
Bloodhounds are the largest and most powerful of the hound family.
They weigh up to 110lbs/50kg and stand as much as 27in/69cm at the
shoulders. They have a very expressively wrinkled face with pronounced
flews and dewlaps (lips and throat), giving them a most solemn
expression. The coat is thin, hard and short. Colors are black and
tan, tawny, or red and tan ("liver" is sometimes used instead of
"tan"). The eyes are neither sunken nor prominent, although the excess
skin may pull the lower eyelids down. The ears hang low and are long
and soft. They are a relatively rare breed; you will only see a few,
if any, at most dog shows.
AKC Bloodhound Standard
The Standard is the physical "blueprint" of the breed. It describes
the physical appearance and other desired qualities of the breed
otherwise known as _type_. Some characteristics, such as size, coat
quality, and movement, are based on the original (or current) function
for the dog. Other characteristics are more cosmetic such as eye
color; but taken together they set this breed apart from all others.
The Standard describes an _ideal_ representive of the breed. No
individual dog is perfect, but the Standard provides an ideal for the
breeder to strive towards.
Because of copyright concerns over the collection of all the Standards
at any single site storing all the faqs, AKC Standards are not
typically included in the Breed faqs. The reader is referred to the
publications at the end of this document or to the National Breed Club
for a copy of the Standard.
American Kennel Club
Australian National Kennel Club
Federation Cynologique Internationale
Canadian Kennel Club
Kennel Club of Great Britain
United Kennel Club
The Bloodhound Network -- an excellent resource.
Email ListThere is an email list that may be of interest to Bloodhound owners
called NOSES-L, which is a mailing list devoted to the scent hounds. To
subscribe, send email to with subscribe NOSES-L
firstname lastname in the body of the message.
The Bloodhound Bunch offers three mailing lists specifically for bloodhound
owners. For further information, email to . Web Sites
BooksAppleton. _The First Bloodhound Handbook_. 1960. $35. **
Brey and Reed. _The Complete Bloodhound_. 1987. $19.95. **
Brey, Catharine F. and Lena F. Reed. _The New Complete Bloodhound_. Howell
Book House, New York (Maxwell Maxmillian, Toronto). 1991. $26. ISBN:
New revised version of the classic _The Complete Bloodhound_. A
definitive recounting of bloodhounds: history, exploits, training,
and breeding. A must in the library of anyone interested in the
breed or in search and rescue in general.
Owen. _Bloodhounds_. 1990.
Tolhurst, William D. with Lena F. Reed. _Manhunters! Hounds of the Big T_.
Hound Dog Press, 10705 Woodland Rd., Puyallup, WA 98373. 1984. $16. ISBN:
Tolhurst is a Search and Rescue volunteer in upstate New York. This
book recounts his experiences using bloodhounds in trailing. Many
fascinating stories. Tolhurst includes a section on training a dog
to locate dead bodies.
Whitney. _Bloodhounds and How to Train Them_. 1947. $120. **
** Out of print, but stocked by 4-M Enterprises, Inc., 1280 Pacific Street,
Union City, CA 94587 (catalogue). Breed Rescue OrganizationsBloodhounds West
* Breed Rescue
20372 Laguna Canyon Road
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Bloodhound West covers breed rescue in much of the western US with several
For the address of a rescue organization closer to you, contact the national
breed club for the address of a local Bloodhound club and they in turn should
be able to point you in the right direction. Since Bloodhounds are relatively
rare, there are not too many that need rescuing; however some do exist, since
many people are not prepared for their adult size and stubborness.
For online contacts to rescue, check
http://www.bloodhounds.com/tbn/bhrescue.html. Breed ClubsAmerican Bloodhound
Ed Kilby, Corresponding Secretary
1914 Berry Lane, Daytona Beach, FL 32124
American Bloodhound Club Bulletin
Brenda Howard Editor
616 Texas Street, Suite 101
Fort Worth, Texas, 76102
National Police Bloodhound Association
National Police Bloodhound Association Homepage, kept by NPBA,
Cindy Tittle Moore,
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