There’s a reason the saying having a “nose like a Bloodhound” has become so pervasive — Bloodhounds can track a scent without equal. These substantial hound dogs are easily recognizable due to their long, floppy ears and skin folds, which give them a somewhat comical or soulful expression. This breed is highly social and affectionate, and they will follow their nose wherever it takes them.
Illustration courtesy of the Swedish Kennel Club
Share this page
The Bloodhound has a long history of being utilized by law enforcement around the world. They were used as early as 1805 in England to help catch criminals by scent. Testimony of their tracking is acceptable in almost any court of law.
Bloodhounds are large hound breeds that can track people and game without equal. While they have somewhat mysterious origins, it’s clear that they were bred to hunt by scent and were used in the foundational stock for many of the other hound breeds we have today, such as the various coonhound breeds. The Bloodhound’s history can reliably be traced back to Western Europe about 1,000 years ago, where members of the pre-Reformation church developed them to be used in hound packs by royalty. They were sometimes known as “blooded hounds,” which referred to their aristocratic origins and blood. Today, the Bloodhound is used by many police departments, airports, search and rescue units, and more. Their unrivaled nose and amicable personality truly make them a gem of a breed.
The Bloodhound is quite large for a hound, weighing in at up to 110 pounds. Most people easily recognize a Bloodhound due to their loose skin and pendulous ears. Despite the amount of space this breed takes up, they should be able to move swiftly and traverse long distances. Bloodhounds come in a few different colors, most commonly black & ran (with the black forming a saddle shape on the dog’s back as it grows) or red. Some Bloodhounds may have white tips on their paws or chest. The Bloodhound’s expression is an important part of the breed — they should look dignified, wise, and powerful, while their wrinkles give them a solemn look.
Highly affectionate and outgoing, the Bloodhound is generally agreeable with everyone it encounters. These are friendly dogs that usually enjoy the company of other canines or humans (they were, after all, bred to hunt in packs). They can be a bit shy when first meeting people, and are sometimes sensitive if corrected too harshly. If trained consistently and with a lot of praise, owners will find they have an intelligent breed on their hands. However, the Bloodhound may not be the best breed for a fastidious owner. Due to their dangling jowls and skin folds, they can drool considerably and sometimes have a smell to them. Those who love and adore the breed (with good reason) are able to look past this. Due to the origin of the Bloodhound, it should be no surprise that they’ll follow their nose wherever it takes them. It can be hard to call them off a scent when they catch one, so they should never be allowed off leash. Because of the Bloodhound’s working spirit, it’s important to exercise them both physically and mentally if you have one as a pet. A Bloodhound will certainly thrive in a scent work class.
Bloodhounds on Embark
Explore some Embark dogs that share Bloodhound ancestry.