Easily recognisable because of their noble, wrinkly heads, droopy lower eyelids and long, pendulous ears, Bloodhound breeds have powerful bodies and limbs, and are truly big dogs! They have a short, smooth coat that is black and tan, liver and tan, and red. Adult females measure 58-63cm in height and adult males 63-69cm. They weigh 41-50kg.
The ancestry of modern Bloodhound dog breeds can be traced back to the monastery of St Huberts where dogs called 'Segusius' were originally used to track wolves, big cats or deer, or to follow the trail of wounded game. When the Normans conquered England in 1066AD they introduced many of their dogs and the St Hubert Hound was one of those brought to England and became known as Bloodhounds — or, to be more precise, the black and tan dogs (the whites were called Talbot Hounds). The modern Bloodhound is not the identical dog of that time but is still called the Chien du St Hubert in Belgium.
These are gentle-natured, affectionate dogs who usually get on well with children and can live in harmony with other dogs and household pets. They are friendly dogs who will welcome both wanted and unwanted visitors. Although quiet in the house, they can be very vocal outdoors. They are family dogs and do not like to be left alone.
As with many breeds, Bloodhound breeds can suffer from hip dysplasia (a condition that can lead to mobility problems). Hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important. The droopy skin on the head of Bloodhounds can result in problems with the eyelids and eyes.
Because of their size and growth rate, do not over-exercise them as puppies. Care must be taken in the first year to ensure their bones and joints are given a proper chance to grow. As adults, the Bloodhound has phenomenal stamina and needs two-plus hours daily. Primarily tracking dogs, once on the trail of an enticing smell, they will be desperate to find its source! There are classes and trials for tracking, and participation in this, or at least a chance to use his nose, is vital to the well-being of this breed.
Large breed dogs, as well as having large appetites, benefit from a different balance of nutrients including minerals and vitamins compared to smaller-breed dogs. The Bloodhound is prone to bloating and stomach problems; smaller, more frequent meals can help minimise this risk.
There is little grooming needed for this breed, as the coat is short and smooth. A brush over once in a while will suffice to remove loose and dead hairs. However, regular checks should be made of their ears and eyes to ensure early diagnosis of any infections.