The Bloodhound is a very powerful and heavy-boned hound, weighing in between 41 to 50 kg for dogs and 36 to 45 kg for bitches. This massive hound has a long muzzle with a black nose, drooping ears, which helps concentrate the scent to the nose, and loose, wrinkled skin. It stands between a height of 63 to 69 cm for adult dogs and 58 to 63 cm for bitches at the shoulder blade. Its enormous, solid body is covered by a short and moderately hard fur which is slightly softer on the head and ears. The weatherproof coating comes in black and tan, liver and tan and red.
The modern Bloodhound is said to be descended from the St. Hubert Hound, a breed perfected by the monks of St. Hubert monastery in the Ardennes region of Europe in the 7th century. They were slow, heavy-skinned scent-hounds with sensitive noses that can cold trail large game such as wolf and deer. When the Normans from France invaded England in 1066 AD, they brought with them many breeds of dogs, including the St. Hubert Hound, which was also a major figure in the appearance of the Foxhound. The Bloodhound is also known today in France as Chien de Saint Hubert and is one of the oldest and the largest breed of scent-hounds.
The Bloodhound was originally bred to track large game such as deer and large cats. However, due to rapid population increase and the continued destruction of forests and natural wildlife habitats, hunting in Britain slowly became less and less popular which led to the decline in the number of Bloodhounds. The number revived slightly with the introduction of dog shows in the 19th century. Because of its extraordinary ability to track on a trail that is days old over long distances, the Bloodhound successfully found its way to law enforcement, used in hunting down criminals, missing persons, and other search and rescue operations.
As a kind, patient, and good-natured dog, the Bloodhound is excellent with children and even lets children clamber all over them. Nevertheless, it is a large breed even puppies are big enough to knock over a small child. The Bloodhound is a mild-mannered breed, very friendly even to strangers and does not have a strong guarding instinct that is why it is not advisable as a watchdog, but may announce the arrival of a visitor from time to time. Inside, they're typically happy just lying around but outside, they are lively and full of energy.
Training takes patience and firm commitment. Although gentle and mild-mannered, it is a very independent breed and generally makes its own decisions rather than following commands.
A Bloodhound requires very little grooming. Just an occasional brushing or grooming with a hound glove will suffice. Bathe only when necessary, but cleaning the long, floppy ears should be regular.
Like most large dog breeds, the Bloodhound's life expectancy is only 8 to 12 years. It has a genetic tendency to develop hypothyroidism, a disease which results in the inability of the thyroid gland to manufacture sufficient amounts of thyroid hormones known as thyroxine and triiodothyronine. Iodine-rich food helps in preventing this ailment.
The Bloodhound is also prone to the following ailments:
The diet must contain a blend of wheat, brown rice, fish, high carbohydrate vegetables, avocado, and poultry. Avoid feeding beef and its by-products, soy, beets, or white rice. Recommended feeding should be two or three small meals per day and not one large meal to prevent bloating.
The Bloodhound will do fine in an apartment but will require a considerable amount of daily exercise to keep it physically well and mentally active. Daily walks are vital but must not be allowed to wander off lead because it will follow any sensed trail. A secured, fenced garden is an ideal place for a Bloodhound when kept unleashed.
Do not exercise for a couple of hours after eating.
The Bloodhound is excellent with children because it's a mild-mannered canine. They are very easy to introduce with other pets making it unlikely to have problems with other dogs and animals around the house.