Bloodhounds are primarily known for their hunting abilities and their keen sense of smell. A common belief is that the breed got its start in Europe. There seems to be some discrepancy about exactly when except that it was somewhere between the 7th and 14th centuries. It is the opinion of some that the Frenchman who originally bred the bloodhound was a monk by the name of Hubert -- hence, the moniker of St. Hubert's Hound.
Over the centuries the bloodhound has changed somewhat in color. At one time black and white were the only fur colors. Today's bloodhounds' coloring runs in combinations of red, tan, black and liver. A common color pairing is tan with a black saddle. Another common color is red, or tawny as it is often referred. A male bloodhound can weigh up to 110 pounds and reach a height of 27 inches. A female can weigh up to 100 pounds and achieves a height of up to 25 inches. The eyes of a bloodhound are rather sunken and its tongue often lolls, which can give it a lazy appearance. The dog's thin, saggy skin on the face and head add to its sad sack look.
Trailing or Tracking
Early ancestors of today's bloodhound were first drafted into police work in approximately the 1600s. Part of the hunting aspect of a bloodhound's duties are tracking and trailing. The two are frequently confused but there is a distinct difference. When a bloodhound tracks its prey it shows its handler that it is able to distinguish a scent as that of a human and do so in a manner that is useful. When a bloodhound trails it is able to tell one human scent from the other and follow the specific one in question and subsequently point to signs as it continues the search.
Bloodhounds can live up to 10 years under the best of circumstances. They tend to be prone to health problems that are specific to their breed. Their droopy ears collect dirt and dust. Their thin, saggy skin provides moisture dens for infection and odor. Frequent care must be given to keeping a bloodhound's skin clean and dry to avoid serious skin problems. Bloating and joint problems are also common ailments in bloodhounds. Proper diagnosis and treatment can alleviate symptoms and related suffering. A mindful owner will be cognizant of these issues in order to maintain the dog's optimal health.
Pet or Show Dog
The bloodhound of today carries with it a bit of the aristocratic mentality that put the "blood" in its name. In spite of the regal attitudes of the breed, many families choose bloodhounds for family pets. They can double as a cushion for a toddler or to help sniff out a lost blanket when not on the circuit. A bloodhound feels comfortable in its own skin in or out of the Winner's Circle as long as it is loved and well cared for.