I thought I would take a break from posts about the beach and running on vacation to share a little bit (or a lot) about Bloodhounds. Warning: I tried, but I really didn’t do a very good job organizing this post. If it bothers you, just scroll through and enjoy the pictures or come back tomorrow.
As you know we have two Bloodhounds. Hank, our black and tan male, is three years old and Scout, our red female, is eleven months old.
Before I got Hank I did a lot of research on breeds before settling on the Bloodhound. Through that research, and from having Hank and Scout, I have learned a lot about how neat this breed is.
Bloodhounds were often portrayed in movies as being vicious and blood thirsty, and many people think that is where the name came from. However, Bloodhounds actually have English roots and the breed name comes from them being aristocratic and therefore “pure” blood. They were bred to be scent hounds.
A bloodhound puppy will melt your heart. They are very cute and pretty much just a bag of skin.
Even as puppies they are very wrinkly. They are very fast-growing and eat a lot as they grow. At four weeks old, Hank weighed nine pounds:
But by the time we brought Hank home at 8 weeks old he had already grown to 19 pounds:
Similarly, Scout was close to 20 pounds at 12 weeks old when we brought her home, but has since grown to 90 pounds at 11 months old:
Once you bring a puppy home, it’s time to think about things like house breaking and obedience training. But one of the hallmark traits of the Bloodhound is that they are very stubborn. Hank will actually “talk back” to me when I tell him “no.” Their stubbornness translates into them being difficult to train. With a lot of persistence, we were able to get Hank and Scout both through basic obedience training.
Bloodhounds are gentle giants and usually have good temperament (there are always exceptions). Hank is the perfect example of both of these. He is very gentle when he’s around kids and he will let you tug on his ears and tail and give him tight hugs. Scout is also very tolerant, but not as gentle. She gets very excited and has a tendency to jump.
The bloodhound is an amazing sniffer and is actually the only breed who’s testimony will hold up in a court of law. Bloodhounds that are trained in Search and Rescue can follow a trail that is up to 300 hours old. Although Bloodhounds are very stubborn, they take to tracking training like a duck to water. When we take Hank and Scout for walks, they keep their noses to the ground the entire time.
Their long ears and wrinkles add to their tracking ability. Their ears help waft the scent into their nose, while the wrinkles on their face act like blinders for their eyes, which keeps them from getting distracted. They also slobber a lot (and shake their slobber onto the walls and ceilings in my house), which helps trap the scent.
|All these wrinkles have a purpose!|
Bloodhounds are a large breed- Hank is 125 pounds and Scout is close to 90 pounds. Both are within the normal weight range for their breed. Due to their large size, it is important to elevate their food bowl. This helps prevent bloat, which is when they get a lot of air in their stomach, causing it to flip (which can be a life-threatening condition). They’re also extremely strong dogs and pull like a tractor.
If you remember the Bloodhound from Sweet Home Alabama that slept on the porch all of the time, that was a pretty accurate portrayal. Both Hank and Scout are happy to nap the day away.
But they are also always up for an adventure. When they get excited they will bark or bay. They have deep, loud voices and when they bay it sounds like they’re making the loudest noise they can from their throat (as if they are just forcing all of the air out).
When they’re not sleeping our dogs like to chew on rawhides.
Bloodhounds are often used in Search & Rescue and in prisons to track down escaped prisoners. They take to tracking so easily that anyone can train them without much trouble. Barry and I trained Hank to track and then we would play “hide and seek” with him. He won every time. We haven’t done any specific training with Scout, but she routinely tracks us through the backyard when we have walked through it before letting her out.
They make great family dogs. Hank and Scout are extremely affectionate and love to be around people. They are sensitive and get their feelings hurt easily if they are harshly corrected. But at the same time they like to be the bosses of the household. They are stubborn, loyal, intelligent, affectionate, wrinkly, massive, lovable, powerful scent hounds.