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Are Bloodhounds Good Guard Dogs? History & Traits Explored

Codee Chessher

By Codee Chessher


Bloodhounds are one of the most famous law enforcement dogs, famed for their ability to sniff out a person as well as animals. It might occur that they’d make good guard dogs, but surprisingly, you’d be wrong. Bloodhounds don’t usually make good guard dogs. They don’t have the same strict territorial instinct as other large breeds, like the German Shepherd, and they’re unreliable for even alerting you to intruders most of the time.

With that said, some Bloodhounds are more protective than others over their home and may let you know any time someone steps foot outside your door. Guarding’s just not really their strong suit, broadly speaking. If you’d be interested in learning more about this keen scent hound, you’re in the right place. Join us below as we dive into what the Bloodhound’s best at, as well as offer some suggestions on dog breeds better suited to being a guard dog.

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What Were Bloodhounds Bred For? A Brief History

Bloodhounds are a relatively old breed, tracing their ancestry back to the Middle Ages. Specifically, they’re thought to be the direct descendants of the St. Hubert’s hound, which were kept as pets by Belgian monks. Around the year 1000 or so, historians believe that William the Conqueror is to be credited for their spread from Belgium to England.

They caught on immediately as people quickly realized their powerful scenting capabilities and robust stamina were ideal for hunting and finding people alike. However, a big part of the Bloodhound’s popularity is that some French breeders in the Middle Ages believed they were the key to resurrecting the extinct St. Hubert’s hound and bred a ton of them.

Bloodhounds have literally been sniffing out people and prey for over 1,000 years. Their ability to identify and follow trails days later was invaluable when locating lost or stranded travelers. Like other scent hounds, Bloodhounds are relentless and surprisingly speedy once they focus on a scent.

Among other things, Bloodhounds were used to find escaped prisoners, missing persons, and most infamously, tracking runaway slaves in the pre-Civil War US. They’re natural police dogs with a stubborn puppy phase where they tend to get stuck on following scents as far as possible.

bloodhound dog lying on grass
Image By: XYLA, Pixabay

What Dog Breeds Are Good Guard Dogs?

Bloodhounds are so-so guard dogs at best, but there are plenty of breeds with a long history of protection and guarding roles in human society. If you’re looking for a furry protector that’ll alert you when your pizza arrives, check out some of the breeds below.

Best Guard Dog Breeds:

  • Doberman: Bred to be guardians for tax collectors, the sleek and athletic Doberman has a strong protective instinct and territorial nature.
  • Akita: These fluffy giants become intensely devoted and protective over their families, and they’re naturally skeptical of strangers to boot.
  • German Shepherd: The classic K9 breed of choice, GSDs are born protectors with a crackling intelligence and family-friendly eagerness.
  • Belgian Malinois: Malinois are extremely driven, intensely athletic dogs perfectly suited to a K9 or military role, but they make fine family protectors too for the right owners.
  • Rottweiler: Rotties are famously sweet and gentle with their families but scary and imposing to strangers, and they’re very territorial too.

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Bloodhounds are peerless trackers that can follow your trail days later, but they make pretty poor guard dogs. If you’re interested in a guard dog for protection or to alert you when strangers are nearby, you may want to look into a more protective breed, such as the German Shepherd or Rottweiler.

Featured Image Credit: LinaS1998, Pixabay

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