Is the bloodhound right for you? The bloodhound is a scent hound of great size and strength with a noble, dignified expression. He has superabundant, loose skin, which falls into loose, pendulous folds specially noticeable around the head and neck. Although his beginnings are left to speculation, we owe his development to St. Hubert, the patron saint of the hunter. It was believed he originally obtained his stock from southern France. The abbots who succeeded him carried on this breeding after his death.
The Bloodhound is one of the most misunderstood of all breeds. Its powerful appearance, extraordinary scenting ability and resolute determination have led to this aristocratic dog being called the “super-sleuth” among hounds – a veritable detective’s detective. The most famous Bloodhound was “Nick Carter.” Called the greatest man-trailer in history, it brought about more than 600 convictions and holds the world’s record for following a trail 105 hours old that resulted in a confession.
However, in spite of its formidable reputation, and the fantastic tales told about its tracking record, the Bloodhound is very gentle, affectionate and shy, companionable in temperment and very responsive to kindness. It’s fascinating background and docile nature is inspiring.
Not everyone should own a bloodhound. The swing of a bloodhound’s head can spread saliva across a 20-foot living room. In addition, years of antiques can be destroyed by his stroll through your living room. His enormous size, food requirements, veterinarian bills, and short life span can make him a questionable companion for the average person. Know the bloodhound before you commit! If you have decided that the bloodhound is the breed for you, it is imperative that you invest the time and effort to find out the characteristics, requirements, advantages, and drawbacks of owning this noble hound. Attend dog shows in your area and study the bloodhounds as they are judged; talk to exhibitors and breeders. Visit as many kennels as possible and compare the puppies available.
Ask to see the parents of the puppies; puppies of this breed change continually from infancy to adulthood, but should resemble their parents when mature. If you do not see a dog you like at a particular kennel, try another–no breeder has a corner on the market. Be honest with the breeders when you visit. Tell them what you want in a bloodhound–companion, show/breeding dog, or mantrailer. As a novice, you will be in a better position to finally select and purchase a puppy that will fit into your home as a friend and companion if you are well informed about the breed.
Facts to Consider Before You Purchase
If you live in an apartment, look into something smaller. An eight week old 30-lb. puppy will fit into a condominium when it is purchased, but a bloodhound puppy grows four to seven pounds per week and ½ inch to one inch in height per week! He will very shortly out-grow your lovely “little condo”. A bloodhound requires a fenced yard and room to grow. FAMILY DECISION – If you want a bloodhound for the family but your wife wants something smaller, think twice. Statistics prove that the wife does most of the feeding, training, cleaning, and grooming. As your hound grows in size, your wife’s enthusiasm will fade in relation to the increased needs of this giant. Never purchase a puppy to “grow up with the baby” unless you are prepared to cope with the extra workload.
Once you have acquired a bloodhound, you have also acquired a whole new set of responsibilities and are no longer the carefree souls you were. You cannot run off for the weekend and leave him to the tender care of your neighbors. He is a dog that requires a lot of personal attention and supervision through his first two years. He is not one that thrives on a bowl of food and a bed in the garage. If your life style is unsettled, you are inclined to move frequently, travel or are contemplating the service as a career or are on a limited budget, the possession of a bloodhound can pose some real problems. An adult hound is not easy to place in another home, especially if he has acquired bad habits; getting back your original purchase price through resale is next to impossible and in your desperation to unload an unwanted hound, you might inadvertently let him fall into the hands of an uneducated and/or irresponsible breeder.
Breeding any purebred stock is an art and a science requiring an in-depth knowledge of genetics, bloodlines and breeding characteristics. To insure future breed strength and type it is essential that only the most superior hounds are bred. Many inexperienced new owners try to “recover” their original purchase cost by breeding a “litter or two”. They inadvertently breed inferior quality dogs. These people often equate a “CH” with breeding quality. A few have the “sale of the week” with hopes of unloading older puppies. If you have the desire to breed for income or to supplement your income, choose a breed that is less costly to raise and has a more extensive market.
If you want a show dog, it is essential that you make this fact clear to the breeder. No one can guarantee you a “Champion”, but he can select a puppy that in his opinion, is of superior quality and free of visible faults that would eliminate the puppy from show competition.
This is the breed’s main purpose and intent. Bloodhounds are the only ones with a “nose that has eyes”. Field work can be most fulfilling and exciting as you and your dog work as a “team”. But field work requires a lot of hard work, time and patience but is worthy of every minute when your dog has a CD, CDX, UD, TD, or TDX title. In addition, a bloodhound is also an efficient tool for law enforcement. Certainly, this work is not for everyone and for every dog.
Is he a watchdog? YES! Is he a guard dog? NO! NO! NO! Guard dogs and watch dogs are not synonymous. The end result of people who try, end up with a vicious, unpredictable, and potential four-legged lawsuit in their backyards. The bloodhound is a very sensitive breed. He is extremely intelligent and quick to learn if the owner is patient and capable of communicating to him his needs.