Bloodhounds are easily identified as large dogs with loose skin around the head and neck, long muzzles, hanging ears and jowls. Their deeply sunken eyes and jowly face give them a somber but noble expression. They have muscular necks and strong shoulders, not to mention powerful and durable legs. Their tails curve up, and their short, dense coats can come in red, black & tan and liver & tan. Overall, Bloodhounds have a commanding and dignified stance.
Bloodhounds look easygoing and mellow. And, for the most part, they are. These good-natured, patient and distinguished companions like nothing better than to stretch out on the floor and be cuddled, scratched and fussed over. They have an incredibly patient and playful way with children, goofing around on the carpet or in the yard for hours. Bloodhounds love attention and family companionship above everything else.
Outdoors, Bloodhounds can get very energetic. They love to run around and explore. Sometimes shy in the beginning, they have an easygoing, open-minded nature that makes them truly a friend to everyone (other pets included). For this reason, they might not be the best choice for a watchdog. However, they are very protective of their homes and environments, howling as opposed to barking when they sense a threat.
What they say is true: Bloodhounds have an uncanny sense of smell. This means that if they pick up an interesting scent, they will follow it. A big, fenced yard is almost essential for this breed. And always remember to keep them on a leash during walks and hikes in the woods. Though not at all willful, they do have a healthy sense of independence, adventure and curiosity.
Bloodhounds can live as long as 12 years. Common health issues include hip dysplasia, ear infections and bloat. Their short, smooth coat is very low-maintenance, but their ears should be cleaned regularly to prevent infection.
The Bloodhound is an ancient breed. Their ancestors first appeared in Europe thousands of years ago when two strains of hound—the black St. Hubert and the white Southern Hound—were brought from Constantinople. Belgian monks, who had bred the St. Hubert hounds during the Middle Ages, eventually brought them to England where they were bred to be durable hunters. They also have a legendary reputation as police dogs. To this day Bloodhounds continue to be beloved competitors and companions.