Bloodhound is one of the largest and oldest representatives of the hound group. This is a tracker dog, the owner of a phenomenal nose, as well as an extraordinary image, including long, rolled-up ears and a "flowing" profile of the muzzle.
- Breed Name: Bloodhound
- Country of Origin: Belgium
- Time of origin of the breed: XIII century
- Weight: males 46 – 54 kg, females 40 – 48 kg
- Height (height at the withers): males 64 – 72 cm, females 58 – 66 cm
- Life expectancy: 10 – 12 years old
- Literally Bloodhound translates as "bloodhound". It is believed that the original duty of the breed was to hunt for a blood trail, which is reflected in its name. There is also an alternative version, according to which the morpheme blood does not denote the hunting qualification of the dog, but indicates its pureblood.
- Despite the formidable appearance, bloodhounds are not attracted to the security service. Due to the complaisant, good-natured nature, these "brutals" are simply not suitable for her.
- The progenitors of bloodhounds were famous for their almost donkey stubbornness and unwillingness to learn. In modern dogs, these qualities are less developed, although it will take a lot of work to train them.
- Bloodhounds are excellent swimmers and – quite unexpectedly – wonderful divers.
- The breed works masterfully even on the old trail with a prescription of 300 or more hours.
- Like all big–mouthed dogs, bloodhounds are outstanding "slobs", but before bulldogs and St. Bernards, they still have to grow and grow in this regard.
- Adults have phenomenal vocal abilities. It's not even a bark, but rather a powerful bass growl that can be heard at a distance of several kilometers.
- Once on the trail, the bloodhound falls out of reality and, as if hypnotized, moves after an interesting smell, which is why the dog has to be monitored every minute on walks.
- Raising a bloodhound puppy requires serious investment and effort: the breed slowly matures, fully completing physical and mental development only by 2.5-3 years.
Bloodhounds - imperturbable good-natured and first-class detectives who will get any prey from the ground that has a little bit of a noticeable smell. At the same time, the breed is not tied to its historical craft (hunting) and, if necessary, can easily be converted into a service bloodhound or companion. But what the bloodhound will definitely not become is a sofa dog, so before taking a hound puppy, do some running or sports walking in advance – you will have to walk with your pet for a long time and intensively.
History of the Bloodhound breed
Bloodhounds are dogs so ancient that it is almost impossible to trace their origin and distant ancestors. For example, for a long time the progenitors of the breed were considered to be hounds from the Ardennes Monastery (Belgium), later nicknamed St. Hubert's dogs, after the second name of the monastery. The monks of the abbey had already discovered crossbreeding in the IX century and diligently practiced it, using Molossians, Belg bloodhounds and North African hounds as breeding material.
Monastery dogs or Saint-Hubert, as they were dubbed in Europe, had a textured appearance. Of gigantic build, with massive, burdened with multiple wrinkles and gigantic heads, they were excellent at chasing big game, for which they were loved by the Belgian nobility. Since the Ardennes carefully guarded the secret of the origin of their wards, hounds like them were not bred anywhere else. However, forced isolation did not prevent the popularity and spread of the breed, since the Belgian clergy shared their pets with the French royal family, who used animals for deer hunting.
In the XIX century, the Russian zoologist L. P. Sabaneev proposed his own version of the origin of bloodhounds. In his opinion, the ancestors of the breed were not Ardennes dogs at all, but Norman hounds – a breed bred in the XI century by crossing Saint-Hubert with French hounds. This variety was especially cultivated by the Normans, who at that time had taken over the English territories and brought their four-legged pets to them. Subsequently, Norman hounds began to be crossed with English Great Dane dogs, in particular, with mastiffs, which gave the world bloodhounds. This version is also supported by the fact that today's representatives of the breed have a tubular "design" of ears, not typical for Saint-Hubert, but typical for French (Norman) hounds.
By the beginning of the XVII century, bloodhounds became super popular, and some individuals even managed to cross the Atlantic and consolidate their positions in the New World. However, unlike Europe, which was obsessed with hunting, a different mission was waiting for hounds in America. They began to be used to search for people, or rather, to catch slaves fleeing from ferocious masters, and then to pursue escaped convicts. It was thanks to this imposed specialization that the reputation of ruthless detectives was fixed for the animals, because of which the breed was almost completely exterminated during the Civil War. By the way, modern researchers believe that slaves in the United States were "hunted" not with purebred bloodhounds, but with their mestizos.
In Europe, hounds were also used as bloodhounds. For example, in 1616 in Great Britain there was a law that prescribed keeping a bloodhound on guard duty for every sixth parish. At about this time, another decree was issued, according to which the bloodhound had the right to take a trace in the homes of local residents, who were obliged to provide him with all possible assistance and open the doors of the dwelling in front of the animal's nose. Especially brave, who refused to cooperate with the "brudast investigator" and locked themselves in their homes, were waiting for a sad outcome – the death penalty.
The breed was imported to Russia by Peter I. Several bloodhounds were purchased for a fabulous sum at that time to place them in the Izmailovo menagerie. However, after the death of the autocrat-reformer, interest in animals was lost, so that Belgian hounds were really bred in domestic kennels only in the 80s of the XX century.
Bloodhound Breed Standard
The descendants of Saint-Hubert have a bright, memorable exterior and a strong physique. The massive backbone, voluminous, well–developed muscle mass, rectangular body format - all this gives the appearance of the animal a brutal thoroughness and stylish impressiveness. At the same time, excessively exaggerated (in a big way) dimensions are considered as a defect that can affect the dog's exhibition career.
The most expressive part of the bloodhound's body is, of course, the head: framed by soft long ears resembling an English lord's wig, with spectacular wings and noble folds on the forehead. In addition, the breed has a very special expression of the muzzle: in whatever mood the dog is in, its appearance will amaze with majesty and nobility. The intelligent, slightly detached look of the bloodhound cannot but fall into the soul, creating the impression that the animal has comprehended all the secrets of the universe and now sees through every person, including the owner.
The breed standard provides for a height at the withers of 64-72 cm for males and 58-66 cm for females. Male blanhounds should weigh from 46 to 54 kg, female – 40-48 kg.
The dog's head is massive, with a deep, laterally flattened skull and a relatively narrow profile. The brow ridges are featureless, as are the feet, but the occipital protuberance is relief, well drawn. The muzzle of the bloodhound is thickened near the nostrils, voluminous along the entire length, with a smooth, slightly convex upper line.
Soft, stretched, forming an almost square profile, with the upper lip covering the lower jaw, hanging 5 cm down. In the area of the corners of the lips are transformed into plump wings, and those, in turn, turn into a heavy suspension (the "girls" have less pronounced brylastness).
Teeth and bite
Bloodhounds have strong white teeth that close in a classic scissor (preferably) or tick-like bite.
The developed wide lobe has a black color in black-and-tan bloodhounds and brown or black in dogs of other colors.
The bloodhound has medium-sized eyes with no tendency to bulge. The standard shades of the iris are dark and light brown, and for individuals who do not have a black cloak / saddle on their fur, lighter options are acceptable, for example, amber. The look of the dog is intelligent, a little indifferent, very similar to the look of the Basset Hound.
The ear cloth is long, flexible, wrapped inwards or backwards. In individuals meeting the requirements of the standard, the ears are set in line with the eyes or lower and have a velvety short coat.
Of sufficient length to allow the dog that attacked the trail to keep its nose close to the ground. The skin on the throat is hanging freely, passing to the middle of the throat in a thick double suspension (less noticeable in bitches).
The Bloodhound's muscular, developed body is distinguished by a stretched-rectangular format. The lines of the back and abdomen are smooth, running parallel to each other. The dog's loin is massive, short. The croup is fleshy, without pronounced bevel, almost horizontal. The thorax is wide, long, strongly lowered downwards, with a pronounced keel.
In the stand, the bloodhound's strong, muscular legs look straight and parallel to each other. Long, inclined shoulder blades in conjunction with an elongated shoulder form free angles. The elbows are placed straight, without eversion, the pasterns give the impression of strong, fixed under a slight inclination.
The hips and shins of the dog are voluminous, with clearly visible muscles. Hock joints are low, "flowing" into strong short metatarsals. When hunting, the bloodhound moves at a beautiful free trot, without arching its back at the same time.
Elastic, well-stretched, forming large folds on the forehead and sides of the muzzle. Creases on the body and other parts of the body are not welcome.
The Bloodhound's thick saber-shaped tail is a logical extension of its spine. The tail is planted low and has a good length. In motion, it rises above the spine line, without twisting into a corkscrew and falling on its side.
The Bloodhound's coat is heterogeneous. On the ears, the wool is soft, silky, but ultrashort. The rest of the body is covered with a longer dense and coarse dogskin, which protects the skin well from external influences.
A typical bloodhound can be one- or two-color. The wool of one–color individuals is all shades of red, starting from light red and ending with a dark red suit. Two-color dogs are black or liver-tan.
The amount of black tone can be different, and therefore hounds are divided into animals with a cheprak and a cloak. In bloodhounds with a cap, tan spots prevail over the black tone concentrated in the back area. In dogs with a cape, the scorch marks are located in the area of the limbs, cheekbones, brows, chest, muzzle and the area under the tail, while the black suit occupies most of the body.
Are not considered a vice, but are not welcome: tiny white markings on the tip of the tail, fingers, sternum; pale tan and pale red color in unicolor hounds.
The same external defect, depending on the degree of severity, can be regarded both as a slight defect and as a reason for disqualification at the exhibition. In the case of bloodhounds, non-admission to the ring can be obtained due to the following malformations:
- fearfulness/excessive malice;
- non-compliance with the dimensions stipulated by the standard;
- light shade of the iris;
- malocclusion, including crookedness and misalignment of the jaws;
- lack of pigmentation on the lips and nose;
- atypical nose colors: in black-and-tan bloodhounds – any tone except black; in monophonic individuals – all colors except liver and black;
- white spots in places not specified by the standard, as well as excessively large white markings;
- weakly expressed breed traits.
The descendants of Norman hounds are balanced to the point of phlegmatism and quite good–natured dogs. However, do not confuse the calm temperament of the breed with weak character. The bloodhounds are infinitely far from soft-bodied "boots", and they will not allow anyone but children to make ropes out of themselves. Hounds, of course, are happy to be friends with a person, but on the rights of a comrade and certainly not on the position of a disenfranchised pet, for whom all decisions are made by the owner. By the way, to the question of children: the bloodhound genuinely gets high from playing with the little ones and will never intentionally offend a child. And yet, it is better not to forget about the dimensions of an animal capable of knocking a one-year-old toddler off his feet with one swing of his tail.
Fans of the breed assure that the bloodhound can safely lead the top of the most family-oriented and human-oriented pets. He is smart, has a conflict-free, accommodating character and is devoted to the person who took him in for upbringing to the point of unconsciousness. The bloodhound is also quite loyal to people who are not part of his circle of acquaintances, so feel free to invite noisy companies into the house – the Belgian hounds are sincerely happy to guests and certainly will not be spying on them. Especially bloodhounds like traditional, recurring celebrations from year to year. In their personal calendar, dogs put a mental note opposite each such event and willingly take part in the reception and entertainment of guests.
Sometimes among the "Belgians" there are excessively timid and shy natures who prefer silence and solitude to collective entertainment. But in general, the Bloodhound is a sociable and sociable breed. For example, its representatives easily join the crowd of other four-legged pets, do not mock cats and rarely sort out relations with each other (skirmishes between two males or bitches have not been canceled).
The bloodhound barks rarely, but aptly: the low "trumpet voice" coming from the dog is clearly audible at a distance of several kilometers. On the hunt, such quality, of course, will not hurt, but at home… However, no panic. The animal will arrange vocal exercises only in exceptional cases, so that such concerts are experienced easily and painlessly.
Education and training
Bloodhounds are dogs that think a lot and are slow in everything that concerns learning. Besides, unquestioning obedience is not their strong suit. And yet the basic prerequisites for becoming a well-mannered, controlled friend, the "Belgian" has, given that he is smart, quick-witted and keeps new commands and skills in his memory for a long time.
The main problems facing the trainer of the breed are the natural stubbornness of its representatives and lack of interest in classes. And if you have to fight with perseverance with the first, then in the second case it is better to rely on goodies. Bloodhounds work more actively and with more interest for treats than just for praise. It is wiser not to delay the lessons. The maximum that the breed can withstand is 15-20 minutes, after which concentration is replaced by boredom, and attention switches to other external stimuli. A phenomenal flair also hinders the diligence of long-eared investigators: the bloodhound is able to distract any, even the most elusive smell, which he will follow like a sleepwalker.
The first to introduce restrictive and prohibitive commands "To me!" and "Not allowed!" into the dog's consciousness, which is due to the psychological characteristics of the breed. Idle and bored bloodhounds are constantly drawn to harmful exploits and destruction, so as soon as the puppy is two months old, hurry up to show the young minx that not everything is allowed in this world. Gradually, you can expand the team vocabulary of the hound, explaining to her the meaning of such requirements as "Aport!" and others. As for standard training courses, working with an experienced owner or a professional dog handler, bloodhounds can easily cope with UGS and OKD, provided that the trainer does not put pressure on the dog, but tries to convey to her the importance of specific commands and actions.
Hunting and search activities with a bloodhound
Bloodhound is a classic "sniffer", able to identify the desired trace among thousands of other strong odors and not lose it for tens or even hundreds of kilometers. In addition, he has practically no rivals in the search for the old trail: the most talented representatives of the breed successfully work with "odorous evidence" two weeks ago.
In the forest, the bloodhound behaves professionally and stubbornly, not deviating from a self-constructed route until the prey is discovered. Only in this case the dog will give his deaf, lion-like menacing voice. Since the breed does not have a narrow specialization, bloodhounds are equally successful in hunting both big game like wild boars and moose, and various small animals like badgers. Bitches remain the most productive in terms of trophies, although there are real nuggets among males.
Best of all, the breed is given a blood trail hunt, so tests are often conducted among its representatives in this discipline. This happens as follows: a looping blood "path" is laid in the forest strip, at the end of which there is an improvised prey – a boar skin smelling of blood. The participants of the competition alone are put on a long leash and let on the trail. At the same time, an instructor follows the bloodhound with the owner, noting the working qualities of the four-legged contestant: his interest in work, movements on turns, attitude to the shot and the found prey.
It is mainly the USA that prefers to use bloodhounds as bloodhounds. Usually dogs search for missing people, and also help to find victims of natural and man-made disasters. Anatomical features help the hounds in this. For example, the long hanging ears of a dog work like an improvised fan, capturing the desired smell and bringing it to the nose, but at the same time blocking and cutting off distracting "aromas" from the outside. The folds on the forehead of the bloodhound form a small hood, narrowing the viewing angle during the search. This helps the hound to concentrate on work and not be distracted by what is happening around.
Maintenance and care
The Bloodhound is a breed poorly adapted to apartment living, although it is customary among breeders to say the opposite. Representatives of this family are oversized creatures that do not have outstanding grace, so even in the most spacious apartment they will be cramped. Do not discount the long strong tail of the dog, with which it will touch furniture, and at the same time sweep away small objects from horizontal surfaces. In addition, it is worth saving the nerves of the housemates, who are unlikely to appreciate, albeit rare, but such an "inspiring" bark of your ward.
Hounds, forced to while away the days in the apartment, sin with destructive behavior and often make adjustments to the interior of housing. And they are not indifferent to floor coverings and willingly gnaw linoleum and laminate. Accordingly, having a bloodhound without having a private house with at least a small courtyard is a quest for particularly stubborn and unflappable owners. Moreover, the breed does not require a luxurious country mansion with a fenced hectare of land. A small house in the countryside or suburbs is enough, given that the bloodhound easily gets used to the bustling urban rhythm if they walk a lot with him, and in the season they take him out to work in the forest.
Bloodhound is a dog with a short, seasonally shedding coat, which requires minimal care. Usually, "Belgians" are not combed, but once a week they are passed over their body with a rubber mitten, collecting dead hairs and massaging the skin. To wash the bloodhound, if it is not an exhibition animal, it is better to use shampoo for shorthair breeds as soon as it gets dirty.
The most problematic parts of the body in terms of care are the dog's head and ears. In particular, in order for the hound to look neat, it will have to wipe its muzzle regularly during the day. Bloodhounds are very slobbery, and if you don't watch their mouths, the furniture in the house will be hung with slippery "fringe", and puddles will grow on the floor, on which the master's slippers slide so "merrily". Folds and wrinkles on the animal's head are not only part of the breed image, but also a serious problem, since the skin in them often preets, which leads to pyoderma (dermatitis). So periodically wrinkles on the muzzle should be wiped with drying lotions based on chlorhexidine.
The bloodhound's ears need care too. Not only do they cling to a lot of dirt and dust after each walk and require thorough washing, they also need ventilation. To do this, you need to lift the ear cloth up and shake hard to ensure air circulation in the ear canal. It is also impossible to neglect the daily inspection of the ear funnel in order to remove the accumulated secret and dirt in it in a timely manner.
The hygiene of the bloodhound's eyes is to prevent their souring, so once every 7 days wipe them with a strong tea infusion. Teeth can be cleaned once a week, but the dog's mouth should be checked daily. After walking, bloodhounds often bring bones and carrion into the house, however, because of the massive wings, it is not always possible to see the "prey" in the pet's mouth. After walking, arrange for the hound to inspect the oral cavity for the presence of extraneous "artifacts" in it.
Walking with a bloodhound is both fitness and training the owner's attention at the same time. Half-hour trips to the store and back in a particular case is not an option. In order for a dog to spend at least 70% of the charge of its internal battery, it takes one and a half, or better two hours of jogging, active games and training, and there should be at least two such classes per day. Up to 8 months, puppies are not loaded with excessive physical activity, they are not allowed to go down and climb stairs so as not to deform the set of legs.
It is necessary to take the bloodhound outside in any locality strictly on a leash. If an animal attacks an interesting trail, it will take a long and hard time to catch up with it. In addition, due to the peculiarities of anatomy and genetic predisposition to diseases of the digestive system, bloodhounds are not walked immediately after a meal or before it. At least 1.5-2 hours should pass between eating and "going out".
Bloodhounds do not need a specific diet and are content with a classic dog menu consisting of lean meat, offal, fish fillet, fermented dairy products, cereals (no more than 20% of the total diet) and vegetables. The rejection of natural nutrition in favor of high-quality "drying" is also possible. The only thing is that you will have to take into account the breed's tendency to bloating and give the pet food in small portions. For example, a morning or evening meal can be divided in half and fed to the bloodhound in two meals.
A good prevention of intestinal inversion, to which hounds are subject, will be a bowl for food installed at an angle and fixed in this position. In addition, it is important to calculate the caloric content of the diet, tracking its balance – the information is well-known, has had time to get bored, but does not lose its relevance for both pets and show individuals. Do not forget, too well-fed, as well as too lean bloodhounds, the championship at the exhibition does not shine, so you can only feed the dog strenuously at the puppy age. Although it is better not to overdo it here, so as not to load the baby's weak joints.
Health and diseases of bloodhounds
The most common disease among bloodhounds is hip dysplasia (more common) and elbow joints. A deep chest, typical for all representatives of the breed, can cause such unpleasant phenomena as bloating and intestinal inversion, which often lead to death. Individuals who consume food in large portions and walk immediately after eating are particularly susceptible to the disease. Among other things, bloodhounds have a predisposition to dermatitis, epilepsy, as well as anomalies in the development of the eyelid (eversion / inversion).
How to choose a puppy
- There can be from 7 to 10 puppies in litters, although cases when more or less babies are born are also not uncommon.
- The best age to buy a bloodhound puppy is 2-3 months. It is also possible to take more adult individuals, but it will be more difficult to educate and train them.
- For normal development, bloodhound babies need a lot of free space, so choose breeders who prefer suburban cultivation. Keeping an adult bitch and her restless cubs in an apartment is a real mockery of the breed.
- Increased fatness of a bloodhound puppy in the first months of life is normal. The main thing is that it does not survive until the age of 8 months: the breed is prone to obesity, which entails a number of equally dangerous health ailments.
- Find out from the seller whether bloodhounds have been tested for hereditary dysplasia. Breeders who have nothing to hide are willing to share X-rays and survey results with customers.
- Specify what kind of litter the bitch has. It is worth finding out not only the total number of births, but also to find out at what intervals the litters were born. If less than a year has passed between the last two mating, it is logical to assume that the breeder is simply making money on animals, not caring about their health.
- When choosing a future hunter, find out if his closest ancestors have working diplomas. A bloodhound puppy from first-class trackers usually inherits parental talents.
In Russia, the Bloodhound dog breed is not as widespread as, for example, in the USA or Europe. Hence – an impressive price tag for puppies and advance booking of litters. Buying a purebred club Bloodhound will cost $600 – $1000, depending on the pedigree of the animal, its exterior features and the popularity of the nursery.