Bloodhound Temperament: The best nose in the dog business
Is the Bloodhound a good dog breed for your lifestyle? Although their name sounds scary for squeamish people, their primary ability is hidden in the name. They can smell like no other dog and are the scent masters in the dog breed world. But there is so much more to learn about the Bloodhound temperament. So before making decisions, read our blog post on this special and unique dog breed.
We'll help you learn about their history, temperament, exercise needs, and health issues. This information will help determine if this breed is a perfect fit. The Bloodhound is a busy dog with a sensitive and people-orientated side. However, they come with breed-specific challenges, probably more so than your average dog. They can be boisterous and underestimate their own strength.
Is the Bloodhound suitable, and can you deal with this highly specialised working dog?
Let's dive right in!
The Bloodhound has a surprisingly dark past, primarily down to humans by no fault of their own. However, the Bloodhound has no bad bone in their body and is not prone to aggression if socialised appropriately.
The Bloodhound's history is one of the most interesting in the dog world. Being an expert in picking up scents, they have been used for good but also for evil things by immoral humans.
Their ancestors include the St. Hubert Hound from Belgium and the Talbot Hound. The French still call the Bloodhound "Le Chien de Saint-Hubert". It is believed that these hound breeds originated in the Mediterranean area.
The first indications of the appearance of the Bloodhound in England start around the 12th century. But it is probable that they came to England long before that and were perfected here.
Even Scotland had their own type of Bloodhound in the 11th century called Sleuth Hounds to track and hunt people.
The Talbot Hound, now extinct, found its way to England from France around 1066 with William the Conqueror. The Talbot DNA contributed most likely to Boxer, Basset Hounds, Foxhound, Coonhound, Spanish Hound, Beagle, Harrier and Bloodhounds.
Initially, their ancestors were used to tracking wild boar and deer in medieval times. However, they did not participate in the killing as the Bloodhound doesn't portray violence towards other animals. Instead, they're a specialist dog bred exclusively for their strong sense of smell and tracking skills. Bloodhounds are often described as the oldest dog breed hunting by scent.
Their long and robust neck muscles make them perfectly built to track scents closer to the ground, whilst the long breed characteristic ears waffle the smell into their smell receptors located in their nasal cavity. In addition, the loose skin around their head can trap and retain the scent they are supposed to track.
It has been proven that the Bloodhound has around 300 Million scent receptors, followed by the Basset Hound with about 220 scent receptors.
Their strong sense of smell was discovered early, and they have been used to track criminals, lost children, and people that the handler wanted them to track down. Unfortunately, the Bloodhound's past is also intertwined with the dark time of slavery in the US. They were made to track down escaped slaves.
Nowadays, the Bloodhound has a dwindling gene pool and is close to extinction, as they're getting replaced by more multipurpose dogs, like the German Shepherds or Belgian Malinois. These expert police dogs can track scent that the handler wants them to find in a particular area and attack, an attribute that the Bloodhound lacks. Due to being such a niche dog, the Bloodhound is on the UK native vulnerable dog breed register.
In some happy news, the Bloodhound is the best and only breed to be used in the clean boot hunt in the UK. Due to hunting bans in the UK, the Bloodhound is the only breed that can be used. They don't kill the hunted object, which used to be foxes or deer. Instead, they follow the specific scent undistracted.
In this hunt, there are no stains of blood. Bloodhounds are tracking the smell of a human runner instead, and everybody follows and joins in.
The first dog show was held in the UK in 1859. In 1860 the first Bloodhounds were entered.
Bloodhounds are a rare dog breed in the UK, so if you're interested in owning one, be prepared for a longer waitlist. The UK Kennel Club recognises 4 breed standard colours.
Black & Tan
Liver & Tan
In 2022, only 34 Bloodhound puppies were registered with the UK Kennel Club, which is more than last year and a nice increase. The Bloodhound is not a common sight in the UK, but it has some loyal followers who love the breed.