Also known as a Sleuth Hound or a St. Hubert hound, the bloodhound is a large breed of dog that was originally bred to hunt wild boar and deer. Later on, they were bred to track human beings through their strong sense of smell. It is famous for its ability to follow scents for hours and sometimes even days over a large distances. Due to its strong tracking instinct, it is the ideal scent hound and is used by police and other law enforcement agencies to help assist Officers in tracking missing animals, missing persons, and even escaped prisoners. What a clever dog!

Bloodhound on the trail
Bloodhound on the trail

Bloodhounds weigh between 33 – 50 kilograms, although some can weigh up to as heavy as 72 kg. They are about 58 – 69 cm tall, and larger dogs are actually preferred by the American Kennel Club judges. Judges will accept bloodhounds as a pure breed if they have this unusually large skeletal structure. They are either tan and liver or black and tan in colour. Their coat is hard and composed solely of fur.

This gentle dog is tireless in following scents. Coupled with its strong tracking instinct, they can be a bit stubborn and therefore are a bit difficult to do obedience training with. However, they are good family pets because they are gentle and have an even-tempered nature. If small children are present, they do require some supervision just like any large breed of dog.

According to the UK Kennel Club, bloodhounds live up to an age of about 6 to 7 years. This makes this dog one of the shortest-lived dog breeds. However, some bloodhounds have survived up to about 12 years old. Their cause of death is usually due to bloating.

Bloodhounds are a large breed of dog
Bloodhounds are a large breed of dog

Bloodhounds have a history dating back from even before medieval times. According to a legend, they were bred by Belgian monks at the Saint Hubert Monastery in 1000 AD. These monks gave the French Royals several bloodhounds as a gift, but sadly they were not kept properly and the original St. Hubert strain died with the French Royalty. Fortunately, this breed was popular in England who saw the strengths of this breed. The French regretted the extinction of the dog, so French enthusiasts imported the dog back into France. It is not known when the bloodhound first entered the USA, but they were used to track runaway slaves before the American Civil War. Since 1962, they were also used for police work, and law enforcement agencies formed the National Police Bloodhound Association.

Bloodhounds have been featured in many mediums. Pluto who was the pet of Mickey Mouse was a bloodhound, and so was Copper from The Fox and the Hound. They have also been used in British TV dog food commercials, crime shows on television which feature dogs, and more.

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