The bloodhound is one of the large dogs who are especially known for its scent tracing and were bred for hunting wild boar and deer. Thought to be descended from hounds formerly kept at the Abbey of St Hubert in Belgium, it is known as the Chien de Saint-Hubert. This dog is famous for its ability to detect human odours over great distances and even across water and it is used by police and law all over to track escaped prisoners, lost children and lost pets.
Dogs that are known for the scent are recognised for millennia. In the medieval Europe, the dogs were developed into the scenthound which we today call as Bloodhound.
Earlier these were known as St. Hubert hounds, which were bred by the monks of St. Hubert’s Abbey, the ancestors of this breed. During this time, Francois Hubert being a passionate hunter who made it his life’s work to breed dogs. Till today the dogs are referred to as St. Hubert hounds. The dog flourished after many years of Hubert’s death. These are amongst the high prized dogs that are also described in Shakespeare’s novel.
But a thousand years after their beginning, the St. Hubert hounds were brought low by the French Revolution. They were also bestowing from three Victorian-era trends and these are the rise of dog shows. They love the queen of dog-loving Queen Victoria, who entered one of her into a dog show in 1869. They were developed in England their home.
Today, the dog is used primarily by law enforcement agencies as a man trailer or for search and rescue work. They are not very common breed, which ranked 45th among the 155 breeds and varieties as mentioned by the American Kennel Club.
Bloodhounds weigh between 36 to 50 kg and have a height of 58 to 69 cm. According to the AKC standard, larger dogs are preferred by conformation judges. Bloodhounds are black, tan, liver or red coloured and possess an uncommonly large skeletal structure with maximum of their weight concentrated in their bones. Their coat is hard and composed of fur, with no admixture of hair.
Bloodhounds have a friendly and even-tempered nature with humans and they are excellent family pets. But they require supervision when around small children. This breed is gentle, but is tireless when following a scent. Sometimes it can be wilful and difficult to obedience train and handle this breed because of its strong tracking instinct.
Health and Lifespan
Bloodhounds unusually suffer from gastrointestinal ailments. The breed also suffers from high incidence of eye, ear and skin ailments; thus these areas should be inspected frequently.
According to the survey of UK Kennel Club 2004 the Bloodhounds had an average longevity of 6.75 years. The oldest of the 82 deceased dogs in the survey died at the age of 12.1 years.
Training the Bloodhound
The beginning of initial training is to make the young hound’s experience enjoyable and to keep its enthusiasm high. Training is started by running short trails and on reaching the runner the puppy is given praise and reward.
Canine recognition of a suspect helps police with their inquiries and evidence is accepted in some courts. In the case of a potentially violent, fugitive a bloodhound handler will never want his dog to approach the game because of fear of injury. This breed will never show interest in the person they have been trailing, and are knotty to train to identify.