Originating from Belgium, Bloodhound is an old and also rare dog breed. It is mainly used for hunting. However, due to its calm and gentle nature, it can also be kept as a family dog.
Bloodhounds are considered to be group 6 running dogs according to the FCI standard. They belong to the large dog breeds and grow up to 54 kg in weight. As a rule, they reach an age of eight to ten years. Mostly they have a black-brown coat color. Their height is about 62-68 cm.
In Belgium, the Bloodhound is also called Chien de St. Hubert. Bloodhounds are characterized by an extremely remarkable sense of smell, but in return suffer very often from eye diseases. The skin of a Bloodhound's head and neck is thin and supple and shows wrinkles. The rest of the coat is smooth and silky.
Bloodhounds have long and thin ears that extend beyond the nose. The dogs move elastically and smoothly, but slowly. Provided you can correctly interpret the dog's body language, you will have in him a pleasant companion in the great outdoors. Because then you can let him off the leash and still know when to call him back and how.
They have a friendly, calm and good-natured character, but can also be very stubborn. The dogs offer an optimal balance to the hectic everyday life. Because they radiate an almost unwavering calm. Only when they smell something due to their sense of smell, they feel the urge to follow the trail.
Bloodhounds follow their masters and likewise get along with other family members and other pets. If they are reprimanded or praised, their sensitivity becomes apparent. However, they do not react aggressively at any time. That is why they are excellent playmates for children.
Besides hunting, Bloodhounds can perform other functions in police, customs or rescue. Thus, they are able to track wounded animals or check sweat. Likewise, they serve as assistants in the search for missing persons.
The right food
In order for Bloodhounds to function properly, they should always be fed high-quality food. This is characterized by a balanced mixture of proteins, fats, raw fibers, minerals and carbohydrates. Especially when the hunting dogs are physically more stressed, they need much more fats. Ready-made food usually contains all the necessary substances.
Since dogs are descended from carnivores and Bloodhounds also carry the hunting instinct more than all other dogs, they should also be provided with meat. This can also be better utilized by the dog's body. Raw beef, beef marrow bones, veal, fish with sufficient iodine, goat meat and poultry are suitable for this.
High caution is advised against pork meat! To avoid an infection with the Aujeszky's virus, you must not feed the meat raw under any circumstances. As with cats, the virus leads to death in dogs within a few hours to a few days after initial itching.
Bloodhounds should be given two solid meals a day, administered routinely. Since the dogs are frequent and fast eaters, one must beware of gastric distention in the dog. This can be recognized by, among other things, a distended abdomen, exaggeratedly frequent changing of positions, increased pulse, strong salivation and persistent retching.
The quickest possible trip to the vet is then necessary for survival! You can prevent this by not feeding a large portion per day and not feeding too much dry food.
Since Bloodhounds are not suitable as apartment dogs, you should only keep one if you have a house with a fenced garden available. Because city traffic, noise and large crowds do not agree with him very well. Nevertheless, you should not use him as a guard dog, because he will bark briefly, but will not consider a stranger further.
Training these dogs is relatively easy, as long as correct or incorrect behavior is marked with its consequences. If you do not act consistently, this dog will notice and exploit the situation in his favor.
To keep the dogs clean, it is enough to brush the fur occasionally. Since the ears and the eyes are vulnerable, you should check and clean them at regular intervals. If your Bloodhound is still a puppy, you need to take care of his joints. This means, for example, that walks should not be too long and he should not play too much with larger dogs.
Joint disease could be a negative consequence of overuse. Another problem that can occur in Bloodhounds is hypothyroidism. Otherwise, the dogs generally fall ill rather rarely.
You should still keep in mind that Bloodhounds tend to drool after eating, during their pleasure or after physical activities. So it is advisable to always have a towel at hand for quick cleaning of the mouth.
If you don't know your Bloodhound very well yet, you should not let him run around freely during the walk. Therefore, it is advisable to put a leash on the leather harness.
For the food bowl, you should not choose one that is too high, otherwise the dog is likely to swallow a lot of air. This also increases the risk that the stomach of the animal turns.
Origin & History
The precursors of the breed existed since about the 2nd century among the Gauls and the Celts. For them, the animals served as running dogs.
From the Middle Ages, monks bred Bloodhounds in a monastery in Belgium's Ardennes. Other bloodhounds in Europe are called Bracken. In England, the dog breed existed from the 11th century, where the name Bloodhound was introduced. There are different explanations for this:
The fact that the dogs are considered animals with noble blood could serve as an indication for the naming. More likely, however, is the fact that they can follow the blood trail of injured animals with the help of their keen sense of smell.
As a hunting dog, the dog was bred in Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium. It was called the Ardennes Brown. Crossbreeding in North America resulted in the Coonhound breed since the 17th century.
While the dogs were almost irreplaceable for hunting in the past until the 16th century, the necessity decreased over time. Because hunters went more individually and no longer in larger groups on the hunt.
Nevertheless, the Belgian Stud Book still lists the Hubertushund, as the Bloodhound is sometimes called.