By Adriana Pavlinovic
Are they active?
YES, YES, YES! Contrary to the Hollywood movies & TV stereotype this is not a lethargic porch dog. Remember that bloodhounds were originally developed for stamina in hunting centuries ago, and are commonly used for search and rescue or law enforcement. Bloodhounds are happiest when working, or using up their energy . This can be done daily with walks, jogging (adult hounds only), swimming, playing fetch, trying AKC tracking, obedience, rally, agility, or ABC mantrailing, hiking on leash, or a variety of other physical pursuits. A bored bloodhound equals trouble! A pooped Bloodhound is a happy hound and therefore a happy owner.
Can they live in an apartment?
Rarely. The success of this would depend totally on you. You would need to make a serious and dedicated commitment to providing lots of exercise several times a day in all types of weather. If you currently live in an apartment, please consider a breed that does not require as much exercise and activity and/or wait to get a bloodhound when you are in a house with a fenced backyard.
How big do they get?
Adult bloodhounds are a large/extra large breed. The bloodhound breed standard gives the heights at 25″-27″ for males, and 23″-25″ for females. However it is very common to have males and females taller than those heights. The breed standard gives the weights at 80-110lbs, but there will be proportionally greater weights in a taller dog i.e. there are bloodhounds in the 120lb to 130+lb range, so as a rule of thumb be prepared for a 100+lb dog at least.
What colors do they come in?
The breed standard names three colors- Red, Black & Tan, and Liver & Tan. It also states that a small amount of white is permissible on the chest, feet, and tip of stern (tail). Within each of those three colors are various shades or pigment amounts. For example the Black & Tan can range from a mostly tan dog with a few black hairs to an almost all black dog with tan eyebrows, and the Red can range from a dark Irish Setter red to a Golden Retriever blond. The Liver & Tan is identified by its tan/pink nose and can again range from a light tan with a few chocolate hairs to an almost all chocolate coat with tan eyebrows. There are no color preferences. There are no personality traits or trainability traits associated with any specific color.
Do they drool?
Yes. Not all of the time, and some may drool more than others especially because of the square muzzle and loose lips. Bloodhound owners commonly carry a drool towel when out with their dogs.
Do they bark?
Bloodhounds make a distinctive deep chested sound called a bay. Most are not barkers, but will sound off with the “rooooo” if they catch scent of something interesting in the air. Bloodhounds are very intelligent though, and if you have another dog that barks, they can easily learn to bark from them.
Are they a guard dog?
No. However they are wonderful watch dogs…they will watch a stranger take your TV, and then watch and welcome as the stranger comes back for your computer. The trade off is… that a well trained bloodhound can find the stranger by trailing him/her down later on.
Are they good with children?
Most are. The majority of bloodhounds enjoy children, but most bloodhounds are unaware of their size and strength and should be supervised like all breeds with toddlers and infants. The active bloodhound can accidentally knock down a small child, so a good rule of thumb is 5 years and older.
Are they good with other dogs?
Generally yes. Bloodhounds were originally bred to hunt in a pack and enjoy the companionship & play of other dogs, which is another wonderful way to exercise your hound.
Do they dig?
Some do, especially in the hot summer months, a hole to lie in. If you are a meticulous gardener, or do not want an area dug, fence it off.
Do they jump or climb?
Some do, so a 5’ or preferably 6’ fence is recommended.
Do they need above ground fencing?
Yes, Yes, Yes! The Bloodhound nose/sense of smell is an amazing tool carefully bred for centuries, and also their worst enemy. Bloodhounds will naturally follow an interesting scent, and have no road/vehicle sense. A loose Bloodhound is a dead Bloodhound. Even Bloodhound owners who have earned obedience titles with their hound keep their dog on leash when out of a fenced yard.
What about invisible fencing?
No. Invisible fencing does not work well with Bloodhounds. Many Bloodhounds have a high pain threshold and also a natural barrier to the electric shock via the loose skin about the head and neck. Once out of a yard the Bloodhound will eagerly use its freedom to investigate the scents of the neighborhood and roadways.
Do they shed?
Yes. Usually twice a year in the late spring and late fall, but others with a thicker undercoat may shed year round. Getting into a weekly grooming routine will help here. The cleaning of ears and eyes, trimming of toenails and brushing of coat weekly is a part of life for any Bloodhound owner.
What training do they need?
Like all breeds of dogs, Bloodhounds should have some type of positive socialization class and/or basic obedience class (sit, stay, walking on leash, etc.). Your Bloodhound may not be the star of the class, but this is useful for many reasons including creating a bond between you and your hound, allowing for ease of veterinary care, and being a good canine citizen.
Disclaimer: This article is provided by the American Bloodhound Club purely as the personal opinion of the author for informational purposes only. The American Bloodhound Club, it's members and the author make no warranty, express or implied, or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of this information or will be liable for any loss, damages, claims or injury that accompany or result from any use of this material. This article may not be copied or distributed without the inclusion of this disclaimer.