Interesting facts about Bloodhounds


The Bloodhound is a breed of dog in the hound family.

Bloodhounds are famous for its incredible tracking ability by scent.

Their sense of smell and ability to ground-scent is the best in the dog world.

Because of their extraordinarily keen sense of smell and tenacious tracking instinct Bloodhounds are used by police and law enforcement all over the world to track escaped prisoners, missing people, and lost pets.

The average lifespan for a Bloodhound is about 7 to 12 years. It is one of the shortest-lived of dog breeds.


The Bloodhound is from 58 to 69 centimeters (23 to 27 inches) tall and weighs from 36 to 72 kilograms (80 to 160 pounds).

It has a long nose, large ears with wrinkles on its face. Its fur is short and its coat is black and tan, liver and tan, or red.

Bloodhounds have an affectionate and even-tempered nature with humans, making them excellent family pets.

bloodhound puppy

Bloodhounds are descendants from St. Hubert hounds.

The St. Hubert hound was, according to legend, first bred ca. 1000 AD by monks at the Saint-Hubert Monastery in Belgium – its likely origins are in France, home of many of modern hounds.

Whether they originated there, or what their ancestry was, is uncertain, but from ca. 1200, the monks of the Abbey of St Hubert annually sent several pairs of black hounds as a gift to the King of France.

References to bloodhounds first appear in English writing in the early to mid 14th century, in contexts that suggest the breed was well established by then.


It seems that from the earliest times the Bloodhound was used to track people. There are stories written in Medieval Scotland of Robert the Bruce, and William Wallace being followed by ‘sleuth-hounds’.

The earliest known report of a trial of the Bloodhound’s trailing abilities comes from the scientist Robert Boyle, who described how a Bloodhound tracked a man seven miles along a route frequented by people, and found him in an upstairs room of a house.

When the first Bloodhounds were exported to the US is not known. They were used to track runaway slaves before the American Civil War, but it has been questioned whether the dogs used were genuine Bloodhounds.

However, in the later part of the 19th century, and in the next, more pure Bloodhounds were introduced from Britain, and bred in America, especially after 1888, when the English breeder, Edwin Brough, brought three of his hounds to exhibit at the Westminster KC show in New York City.

Bloodhounds in America have been more widely used in tracking lost people and criminals – often with brilliant success – than in Britain, and the history of the Bloodhound in America is full of the man-trailing exploits of outstanding Bloodhounds and their expert handlers, the most famous hound being Nick Carter.

During the later 19th century, numbers of Bloodhounds were imported from Britain by French enthusiasts, who regretted the extinction of the ancient St Hubert.


The word ‘bloodhound’ is recorded from c. 1330. Most recent accounts say that its etymological meaning is ‘hound of pure or noble blood’. This derives from an original suggestion of Le Couteulx de Canteleu in the nineteenth century, which has been enthusiastically and uncritically espoused by later writers, perhaps because it absolved this undoubtedly good-natured dog from suggestions of blood-thirstiness.

Neither Le Couteulx nor anyone since has offered any historical evidence to support this view. The suggestion sometimes seen that the word derives from ‘blooded hound’ is without basis, as the expression does not appear in early English, and ‘blooded’ in this meaning is not found before the late eighteenth century.

Before then, ‘bloodhound’ had been taken to mean, ‘hound for blood’, or ‘blood-seeking hound’. This was the explanation put forward by John Caius, who was one of the most learned men of his time, and had an interest in etymology, in the sixteenth century.


A common misconception is that Bloodhounds are employed in packs – while this is sometimes the case in Britain, where foxhound blood is mixed into them to increase speed, in North America, Bloodhounds are used as solitary trackers. When they are on a trail, they are usually silent and do not give voice as other scent-hounds.

Nevertheless, the Bloodhound bay is among the most impressive of hound voices. When hunting in a pack, they are expected to be in full cry.


Tigger the bloodhound holds the record for the Longest ears on a dog ever, with his lengthy lobes measuring 34.9 cm (13.75 in) and 34.2 cm (13.5 in) for the right and left respectively.

Pluto, pet of Mickey Mouse, officially a mixed-breed dog, but designed after a pair of bloodhounds from The Chain Gang (1930). Pluto appeared in 24 Mickey Mouse films before his own series was released in 1937.