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Bloodhound: Dog Breed Info, Pictures, Characteristics & Facts

Emma Braby Profile Picture

By Emma Braby


Height: 23 – 27 inches
Weight: 80 – 110 pounds
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
Colors: Black & tan, liver & tan, red
Suitable for: Active families, a companion dog, large homes with a yard, young families, multi-pet households
Temperament: Loving, friendly, independent, inquisitive, active

There is no doubt in our minds that if Sherlock Holmes were a dog, he would be a Bloodhound because the Bloodhound is one of the best four-legged detectives in the world. So, if you’re always losing your car keys, he could be your finder.

If you have no need for a private investigator, but you are looking for a sweet and loving canine companion instead, he is also up to the job. He is fantastic with children and other dogs, and he is so laid back in the home that nothing really phases him.

Although he is laidback, there are certain things that he needs from his soon-to-be family. So, if you are thinking about taking him on, this guide is a must-read.

He is super active, requires at least 90 minutes of exercise every day, and has a higher than average grooming schedule. And just as he is a tenacious tracker, he is also a stubborn mule who can be challenging to train. It’s safe to say that he isn’t the easiest of dogs to take on.

But, if you think you’re up to the challenge, read on to find out more about this handsome Droopy dog.

Divider 1Bloodhound Puppies

bloodhound puppy
Image Credit: Ermolaev Alexander, Shutterstock

The Bloodhound is one of the best tracking dogs in the world, and it goes without saying that if you are seeking a scenthound, this guy is an excellent option for you. But if you are looking for a family companion, you need to bear in mind that he will never be able to switch his tracking trait off.

He is so good at tracking that he commonly finds himself working in law enforcement and search and rescue fields. He is always happy to lend a paw in tracking escaped prisoners or those lost off the beaten track. Although he doesn’t look athletic, the Bloodhound is tenacious when it comes to catching the scent, with seemingly endless energy.

His intense pursuing energy means that you and your family need to be active, and able to set aside at least 1½ hours every day for intense exercise. Without this time, he will become agitated and destructive. And he might be cute as heck, but the Bloodhound has a good set of jaws on him when he’s feeling naughty.

He also needs a large house with access to a large yard, and one that is secured. The right smell can send this boy wild, and he will try to get out at all costs. He’s more likely to dig than jump, but you need to be confident that he cannot get out. Welcoming this guy into your home will take careful planning – don’t think you can wing it with this pooch.

With his head down and nose to the ground, he won’t take a blind bit of notice when crossing the road. His nose can lead him in the path of danger, so you need to be alert. “Scent before safety” is this guy’s motto. No matter how good you consider your dog training skills to be, you are no match for the commands of his nostrils.

For this reason, if you think that because this guy works in enforcement that he is trainable like a German Shepherd, you’re mistaken. The Bloodhound is independent, and he does what he likes when he likes. If you’re seeking a fully obedient pooch, this is not the dog breed for you.

To be a good match for the Bloodhound, you need to be an experienced dog owner. And boy, are you in for a bumpy ride if you aren’t.

There are two last things that we need to mention, with one being that his drooling skills are off the scale. So, if you aren’t a fan of drooly dogs, the Bloodhound is not for you. You’ll need bags of wet wipes dotted around the home to clean up after him.

He also has a unique smell that many described as musty. Some can tolerate it, and others loathe it. If you have a sensitive nose or you’re very houseproud, you should probably consider another breed.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Bloodhound

1. The Bloodhound can give evidence in a court of law.

He is so good at tracking, be that missing people or escaped fugitives, that his ‘testimony’ of mantrailing is often used as evidence in court. Even nowadays, with our advanced technology, we have never been able to create a scenting device as accurate as the Bloodhound’s nose.

2. No, he doesn’t crave blood.

The Bloodhound is not a vampire dog, and he isn’t violent either. He is so-named because he is of noble blood. Those that bred him kept his bloodline clean by only breeding the healthiest of purebred Bloodhounds.

3. The Bloodhound is also known as the St. Hubert Hound.

He is known as the St. Hubert hound because the Bloodhound’s foundation stock came from the Abbey in St Hubert in Belgium. So, if you’re struggling to come up with a name, Hubert has a good ring to it. Or Dracula if you want to scare the locals!

bloodhound on the porch
Image Credit: Anna Tronova, Shutterstock

Temperament & Intelligence of Bloodhounds 🧠

Aside from his sleuth traits, this boy is a big roly-poly softie. When he’s not out tracking, he’ll love nothing more than melting into your lap on the sofa. And with all those rolls, he’ll certainly look like he has melted.

He is friendly and loving with his family and friends, and he likes to be fussed over. He can be a little shy with strangers, but he is quick to warm up to them after they have given him a few belly rubs. Despite his false bloodthirsty reputation, because he is a people pooch, he makes a terrible guard dog.

Unlike many other scent hounds, he isn’t a particularly barky dog. Which again, limits his potential to be a watchdog. But being a pack dog, if you play a sound clip of a howling doggo, he’ll be quick to join in.

Overall, Bloodhounds are well-balanced dogs who aren’t too in your face, but they aren’t shy either. They are playful but not too boisterous, and they are active but calm in the home. He makes a fantastic canine companion if you can put up with his demands and drooling that we mentioned earlier.

When it comes to intelligence, the Bloodhound is a middle of the road pooch. He isn’t dumb like many cartoons portray him to be, but he isn’t as bright as a Border Collie either. But because of his stubbornness, his IQ levels aren’t all that relevant.

He is by far one of the most stubborn dog breeds out there. Although some find this charming, many find this canine trait frustrating. This is why you need to be an experienced dog owner and one who isn’t expecting a fully obedient dog.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

Yes, the Bloodhound is a great option for families, but they have to be the right family. Not every family will like him, and he won’t like every family. For this reason, it’s vital that you work with a reputable breeder because they will be able to assess whether you are the right family for him.

If you are the right family, he will make a fantastic hot water bottle dog, and he’ll give the best cuddles when its time to Netflix and chill. He isn’t loyal to a particular family member, and he’ll choose whoever gives him the best attention at any given time.

He is a pack dog, and he loves to feel as though he is part of the human pack. He’ll want to join you on the sofa, on your bed, and be with you when you’re eating. Although its important to set rules, and that he knows that you are boss, it’s also essential to make him feel part of the family.

He loves children, and he is very tolerant of them. Even young children with excitable hands, he’s just happy to chill with them. If you have young children, you need to teach them how to handle a dog properly. His long floppy ears and skin rolls are irresistible to young children.

When it comes to his preferred living conditions, he needs to live in a large home with plenty of room. One wag of his thick and long tail can send your favorite ornaments flying. This guy is not suited to apartment living.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

Yes, the Bloodhound gets along with all other pets, just as long as he is socialized well as a pup. Being a pack animal, he prefers not to be alone, so he’s a great addition to multi-pet households. Equally, he is laidback enough not to become anxious about you leaving him home alone for a few hours.

Image Credit: Edoma, Shutterstock

Divider 4Things to Know When Owning a Bloodhound:

Now that you know all about his personality and family needs, here are a few more of his requirements that you need to think about. Who said owning a dog is as easy as pie?

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

The Bloodhound will consume between 3 and 4 cups of kibble every day, and it should be a high-quality kibble that will provide him with a well-balanced diet. A balanced diet includes meat protein, carbohydrates, fiber, omega fats, vitamins, and minerals.

We advise kibbles for many reasons. Firstly, a high-quality kibble is a convenient way to feed your Bloodhound everything that he needs because it is nutritionally complete. And, considering the Bloodhounds droopy skin and floppy ears, kibbles aren’t going to be messy compared to wet food either.

The Bloodhound is a greedy pooch, and he will eat anything that he can find. He will quickly pile on the pounds and become obese if you let him. For this reason, you need to be sure that everything is out of paws reach and locked away.

Being a large dog, the Bloodhound is at increased risk of bloat, also known as gastric torsion. For this reason, its important not to feed him immediately before or after exercise. It’s a life-threatening condition, so you must make yourself aware of the causes and symptoms of it.

Exercise 🐕

The Bloodhound is an active canine, and he needs at least 90 minutes of exercise every day. Although his large rolly body would suggest that he is a couch potato, he would much rather be out and about tracking scents.

As a family, someone needs to be able to commit to this every day, come rain or shine. Excuses won’t fly with the Bloodhound, and he’ll keep nudging you with his big square nose until you get the picture. Without his daily exercise, he’ll soon become agitated and grumpy, and trust us, you don’t want a grumpy Bloodhound on your hands.

The Bloodhound isn’t agile, he isn’t a fan of swimming in deep water, and he won’t be the best at extreme frisbee. Instead, he’ll much prefer long brisk walks in the forest sniffing up all the country goodness.

We wouldn’t advise letting this big guy off leash because when he locks onto a scent, you’ll be eating his dust before you’ve realized what’s going on. Instead, get him a long leash that you can let him roam while still being in control.

Image Credit: Edoma, Shutterstock

Training 🦮

Knowing how stubborn this guy is, it’s important to start his training early. This is another reason to work with a reputable breeder because they’ll begin his training before you get him home. And trust us, you need all the help you can get with this guy.

Socialization is essential for the Bloodhound because, without it, he’ll lack confidence and won’t know how to socialize with other dogs. And being a big boy, he’ll be tough to handle if he isn’t polite.

Mix him with as many different dogs as you can when he is young, as well as other animals of all different shapes and sizes. Introduce him to unfamiliar humans, as well as loud noises and weather conditions, so that he becomes accustomed to his daily life.

Positive reinforcement training is the most effective dog training method and one you should learn about before inviting this boy into your home. The Bloodhound is a very sensitive dog, and he’ll sulk for days if you raise your voice at him. Thankfully, his love for snacks will likely be his driving force, so use these to your advantage. Just be sure not to overfeed him.

Another vital training aspect to consider is to leash train him. Considering that you’ll probably never this guy off leash, he must learn how to walk well on one. No matter how well-trained he is, there will be many times where he’d rather run off to track. So, you need to be alert and strong.

Grooming ✂️

The Bloodhound has a short coat that needs minimal brushing. We know what you’re thinking, finally, an aspect of the Bloodhound that is easy to care for! But, in true Bloodhound style, there is a catch.

His cute and wrinkly skin needs daily care. You’ll need to cleanse them with a specialized skin-fold solution every day to stop them from developing bacterial infections. Be sure to dry them thoroughly, too, because leaving them damp could make it worse.

If he eats anything other than dried kibble and treats, you’ll also have to wipe his face down after eating, because the wet food will find its way into his folds. You’ll also have to wipe his drool regularly, too, because this doesn’t help with his unique musty odor.

The general rule of thumb when it comes to bathing your Bloodhound is to wash him once every 8 to 12 weeks. Because of his predisposition to suffering from bacterial infections, your vet might suggest slightly more or less frequently. They also might recommend a medicated shampoo too.

As he suffers from eye infections, it’s important that you cast your eye over them once a week to monitor any change in them. He is also at a higher risk of suffering from ear infections, so you should look to wash these twice a week too.

Health and Conditions ❤️

Just like all purebred dogs, the Bloodhound breed is predisposed to several health concerns. You must make yourself aware of the conditions that he is likely to suffer from so that you know what symptoms to look out for.

Minor Conditions
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Heart disease
Serious Conditions
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Entropian
  • Cherry eye
  • Otitis externa
  • Gastric torsion

Divider 5Male vs. Female

Many Bloodhound owners say that the male is more stubborn than the female, which can make him harder to train. This isn’t always true or evidenced, but it is an observation made by many experienced Bloodhound owners.

The main difference between the sexes is that the male Bloodhounds are larger than the females. Considering how big the breed is, this could influence your decision more. Looking at the size of his or her parents will give you some indication as to how big he might grow.

Divider 5


We hope we haven’t put you off this guy. He does have a lot of demands compared to other dogs, so the Bloodhound is certainly not for everyone. But if he does sound like he is your ideal dog, he will make a fantastic family companion.

Yes, he might drool, yes he might whiff more than others, and yes, he needs a lot of grooming and walking. But other Bloodhound owners would not have it any other way! What he takes from you, he will return the favor tenfold in love, fun, and companionship.

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Featured Image Credit: Degtyaryov Andrey, Shutterstock

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