The Bloodhound is the most famous of scent hounds. It is also called the Chien de Saint-Hubert or the St. Hubert Hound. Its most famous trait is its knack for forensics and police work due to its impeccable sense of smell. Out of all the scent hounds, the Bloodhound has the most distinct look. Its jowls and handling skin gives it almost a mournful, depressed demeanor. Those jowls and folds of skin it has are rumored to hold “scent particles” within them to aid its sense of smell.
The Bloodhound can track any scent up to 100 hours old, even human scents. That is what has aided Bloodhounds in guiding the police when their technology has failed them. Bloodhounds aid in hunting large and small game, search and rescue missions, evidence searches, and chasing criminals. The testimony from a Bloodhound’s evidence is so accurate it is admissible in the court of law. One single Bloodhound brought about 600 criminal arrests and convictions. That is more than America’s Most Wanted has brought about altogether.
The Bloodhound is so effective in tracking animals, criminals, runaway slaves and lost children because it finds enjoyment in the hunt rather than the kill. That gives it a more serious interest in its work, and causes more accuracy, because it is not totally about pure excitement.
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The Bloodhound is a powerful, large hound. It has a long muzzle. It has drooping, floppy ears, and loose, wrinkled skin. Its sagging jowls and skin give it a dignified, sorrowful demeanor may recognize first as an exclusive trait of Bloodhounds.
The head of the Bloodhound is narrow and long. The entire length of the head from the back of the skull to the tip of the nose is around twelve inches for males, and eleven inches for females. Its eyes are set deep in their sockets. The lower lids of the eyes fall away to reveal part of the inner surface of the eye socket. The eyes can be of any color from hazel to yellow, normally corresponding with the color of the canine. The Bloodhound can come in three basic color combinations: black and tan, liver and tan, and red.
The neck and back of the Bloodhound are extraordinarily muscular and strong. Its muscular powerful shoulders enable it to work long hours without desperately needing a break. The Bloodhound has a black nose that sits on the tip of its long muzzle. The coat of the Bloodhound is short and fairly hard. Its hair is much softer on its head and ears. It carries its tail in an elegant curve above the level topline of its back. Its forelegs are straight, solid, and strong.
Males are between 25 and 27 inches tall. Females are 23 to 25 inches tall. Males weigh anywhere between 90 and 110 pounds. Females weigh anywhere from 80 to 100 pounds.
The Bloodhound makes an excellent pet. It is very kind, patient, noble, mild-mannered, and loveable. It is very gentle and affectionate with children. Bloodhounds are actually so meek and mild that they will actually sit there and quietly accept abuse. Younger Bloodhounds are very loud and boisterous when outdoors, with lots of energy and playfulness.
Most Bloodhounds are extremely loyal and devoted to their owners. They are rarely aggressive, but when they are, it is normally toward a dog of the same gender. Some Bloodhounds accept all strangers well, but some are very harsh toward unwanted strangers.
Many Bloodhounds will blindly follow an interesting smell they pick up. They can follow any scent they want, even that which is very hard to pick up. Because of this, they should not be let to roam in an open field, as they will run off to find the source of an odd scent they picked up.
It is very easy to overfeed a Bloodhound, so they should be fed two or three small meals in a day. Some suffer with stomach cramps if exercised right after a meal.
As with many canines, the Bloodhound is prone to hip dysplasia and ear infections. A padded bed is wise to avoid joint damage, even minor things, like calluses. Some Bloodhounds even get entropion, which is where they eyelids turn inward. With good care, a Bloodhound can live a healthy ten to twelve years.
A bloodhound does require a moderate amount of exercise. It can walk for hours on end, with an unbelievable amount of stamina.
The Bloodhound is at least one thousand years old. They are believed to have come from Belgium and France. They were first referred to in British literature in the 14th Century, and probably in existence many years before that. That first reference was in a poem called William of Palerne or William and the Werwolf. The main characters of the story, who are wearing white bear skins as a disguise, are tracked by “blod-houndes bold”.
Bloodhounds were not originally used for tracking humans or any kind of work with the justice system. The typical use of the Bloodhound in the early times was primarily for help in hunting. It would not take part in the kill, but was rewarded with a very hearty meal from the carcass of the game it tracked.
The breed was created naturally, but perfected by the monks of St. Hubert in Belgium. This is how the Bloodhound was a direct descendant of the famed St. Hubert Hound, which it still tends to be called, but is not still identical to. Based on historical accounts, they also descended from the Sleuth-hound, as the Irish referred to it and the Talbot from Britain, which may have been other names for the same canine.
During the Norman Conquest in 1066, Bloodhounds were supposedly “imported” to England. Some experts suppose it was actually William the Conqueror that arranged for their “import”. From there, they made their way into the United States several centuries later. Due to its wide spread origins, the Bloodhound is an ancestor to many breeds of dog, including America Coonhounds, Swiss Jura Hounds, Brazilian Fila Brasileiro, Bavarian Mountain Hound, and many others.
Today, there are only three color combinations a Bloodhound can have. In the Middle Ages, Bloodhounds could be one of many solid colors. These breeds have become extinct, but the genes still continue in the white Boxer, and the colorful Basset Hound.