If you are new to Bloodhounds you might find the following article of interest.
WHY A BLOODHOUND?
“Why a bloodhound” was the question I was first asked when I rang up about a puppy. The breeder had a point. Re-known for their stubbornness, slobber, single mindedness and short life spans, they’re not the average persons idea of the perfect dog!
Bloodhounds are one of the oldest established breeds, and can trace their ancestry back to the Norman Conquest, although they were of a rather different type and temperament in those days. The modern bloodhound however, is still a very primitive breed, and therefore often not suited to many domestic situations.
Life with a Bloodhound
The most important factor to consider at all times is the fact that they are a HOUND. This means that they have been bred for centuries, solely for the purpose of hunting, and this is still true today. Being a scent hound, they will lower their heads the moment they step outside, and more often than not, take off at a speed that is deceptive to their size and build. Exercise should be built up as the hound matures. An adult will require a couple of hours organised exercise each day, off the lead in a suitably fenced area. (Unless exceptionally reliable off the lead). You will often find that they prefer to be outdoors during the day, and most owners have a secure outdoor area where they can lie about, snooze or run around at their leisure. Although they appear to sleep a lot, bloodhounds do not like to be left alone for long periods, and their vocal abilities will be brought to your attention by your neighbours very quickly if you try to do so!
Training is not easy, as they rarely see the point in sitting/lying down/walking to heel, when they can be doing more interesting things. It is because of this that you rarely see one let off the lead in a public place! People presume they are not very bright. Far from it, they are extremely intelligent; they just don’t see good reason for doing as they are told!
Grooming is a minimal chore and no more than a quick soft brush a few times a week just to aid circulation. More of a dilemma is the slobber. It is an undisputed fact that bloodhounds dribble alot!. This is even more evident when food is around, and you do need to keep a suitable array of cloths and flannels handy for wiping slobber off hounds, humans, clothes and furniture. If you cannot tolerate the drool then a bloodhound is not for you.
Bloodhound puppies have to be one of the most endearing of all breeds, and this can be their downfall, as people sometimes do not realise that the cute wrinkly bundle will soon be eight stone of hound, dribbling in your face as it stands with its front feet on your shoulders. Bloodhound rescue is, unfortunately, rather active in rehoming adolescent hounds as people realise they just cannot cope with a large active hound that is eating them out of house and home, destroying their home and demanding attention. You cannot ignore a bloodhound!
Adolescent bloodhounds can be very destructive. I know people who have returned home to find a puppy has eaten a huge hole in a door, chewed a leg off a table and totally destroyed a fitted kitchen. Their sheer size, combined with basic hound-like tendencies, mean that most bloodhound owners need to be prepared for a lot of chewed furniture.
Bloodhounds can suffer from a number of health problems. The biggest killer of the breed is bloat (GDV), and, in common with many other large breeds, it is essential that bloodhound owners are aware of the various suggested ways of minimising the risks. These include feeding two or three meals a day, limiting exercise at certain times of the day and choosing a diet very carefully. Due to their size, it’s important to realise that vet bills for this breed can be very high indeed. I would strongly recommend some type of insurance to cover veterinary fees.
The breed also has a tendency towards cancer, which there is little if anything one can do to prevent. Other problems known to the breed are, elbow dysplasia, trichiasis, spondylitis, ear and skin problems. Like many large or giant breeds, the lifespan of a bloodhound is not as great as some smaller breeds. I have known them live into their early teens, but it would be true to say that this is fairly unusual & one could normally take 8 or 9 years to be a good lifespan, but, more realistically, 7 or 8.
Having read all this, you may well wonder why on earth any sane person would want one of these hounds?
Well, on the plus side, they are wonderfully loving, gentle, noble, dignified hounds. They will share your life, and eventually take over your whole existence.
When allowed to do what comes naturally to them, they are superb working hounds and it’s a credit to years of careful breeding, that the hounds you see in the show ring are invariably the same hounds that compete at trials. The two breed clubs organise spring & winter trials each year, along with training days and special stakes. To get the most out of a bloodhound you really should hunt it. (Blood hounds hunt the “clean boot” which is natural human scent, not a drag.) Even if you cannot face the competitive aspect of trials, the hound would get so much fun from hunting at home, as well as benefiting from the exercise and the excitement. Fortunately most good breeders are active in the trials scene and will be able to point you in the right direction to start hunting with your pup. There is no “training” as such involved, you are simply channelling the natural behaviour to a more controlled level.
If you are contemplating a bloodhound to share your life, then it is important that you meet some adult hounds and learn a bit about hound idiosyncrasies.
Once you have satisfied your self that it’s the breed for you, then all you have to do is satisfy the breeder that you are the right person for a bloodhound!
Fortunately the majority of bloodhound breeders are very responsible and will be checking out the prospective new owners very carefully. Our puppies are very precious to us, for the whole of their lives, so please don’t be offended if you are asked lots of questions & subjected to a home check.
Breeders who have the best interest of the breed and its future at heart, will vet you carefully to see that you are the right person for their puppies. Breeders who do not care a jot about the breeds’ future, welfare, health and happiness will readily sell a puppy to anyone who rings up! Choose your breeder carefully & you will get a lifetime of support, help and experience from people who know the breed inside-out.
So, you will have ascertained that bloodhounds are not the average obedient, walk in the park type dog. Instead, they are an active giant hound, with very special requirements, but in return they are loving companions, who will give much pleasure and fun to their owners.