by Michelle Jones

It’s been said that this dog is the ultimate scent hound, whose ancestors date back to the Middle Ages when they were bred by Belgian monks. William the Conqueror brought these hounds with him when he invaded Britain in 1066…

Bloodhound Photo
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These magnificent scent hounds were so prized that they were only allowed to be owned by Britains with royal blood; hence the term “blooded hounds.” They were introduced in America in the mid 1800’s and quickly gained an impeccable reputation as dogs that could tirelessly track runaway slaves or convicts. Even today, the Bloodhound is often called a “canine police officer” who tirelessly tracks escaped convicts, and as a search and rescue dog. Bloodhounds were used in packs to locate survivors in the rubble of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

The Bloodhound shouldn’t be confused with “attack dogs.” His only function is to seek and locate missing persons through his exceptional powers of smell. He holds the highest championship records in tracking, and at one time, he was the only dog breed whose identification of a fleeing criminal was accepted in courts of law. The Bloodhound never gets it wrong! The sight of a pursuing pack of bloodhounds is an escaped convict’s worst nightmare, and the last hope and relief of a child lost in the woods.

The signature wrinkles and folds of a Bloodhound’s face and muzzle are the keys to his unsurpassed tracking abilities. These skin folds trap the desired scent, allowing the dog to effortless follow the same scent trail even in rainy weather. For example, the Bloodhound can detect the scent of a single drop of human perspiration in a six-gallon bucket of water that’s over a week old! His long ears sweep the trail, making it even easier for him to track his target. On the trail, the Bloodhound “makes voice” with the same deep, low baying howl as other hounds; this is how he lets the hunter know his location. Although they are often worked on a long leash, Bloodhounds prefer to work off-leash at their own relentless pace. Some Bloodhounds have been known to track a person for more than 100 miles.

In temperament, the Bloodhound is a calm and stoic dog in the home; once upon the trail, however, he is extremely alert and excited. So stubborn is he that it is virtually impossible to call him off a trail except by physically removing him. He’s tough, hardly, fearless and very strong. Yet he is so gentle and affectionate with his family, especially with children, that he is a devoted home companion. He’s very friendly with other dogs and pets, but suspicious of strangers and will bay the alarm if an unknown person invades his territory.

Before the Bloodhound’s true nature was known, it was thought that he was named because he was a fierce, aggressive dog with a thirst for blood. Nothing could be further from the truth! The Bloodhound is so affectionate and gentle with his family, that he is often set as the watchdog for small children; he regards this duty as extremely important! The Bloodhound is everything that a hunter and a family needs in a dog; tenacity in tracking and docile affection with his family. This dog is truly an American original!