One of Britain’s oldest breeds, the Bloodhound is an affectionate dog renowned for its tracking abilities

The Bloodhound is one of Britain’s oldest breeds of dog. Its origins are uncertain and some believe they are descended from hounds brought over by William the Conqueror in the 11th century.

Originally it was used to track deer and wild boar over long distances until hunts turned their attention to foxes whichrequired a faster dog. Throughout their history they have been used to track people, demonstrating amazing scenting abilities.

In the 19th century Bloodhounds were exported all over the world, an act which saved them from extinction. By the end of the World War II only a dozen or so Bloodhounds remained in Britain. Importing fresh stock from Canada was paramount in reviving this breed.

Their use in the New World is legendary and there are many impressive tails of Bloodhounds tracking down escaped criminals. One Bloodhound in Kentucky was responsible for locating nearly 600 convicts.

Physical attributes

The Bloodhound is a noble dog that appears to have a rather solemn expression.

  • Stands around 26 inches at the point of shoulder
  • Long low set ears
  • Strong jaws with a complete scissors bite
  • Well sprung ribs and let down chest
  • Swinging, elastic gait

Training

When used for tracking the Bloodhound was hunted on a leash with a handler following on foot. Although not particularly swift, the Bloodhound is capable of covering considerable distances in one go. This means the handler needs to be fit enough to keep up.

In Britain today Bloodhounds are rarely used as tracker dogs and instead have established themselves as a popular pet. They are affectionate and sensitive making excellent pets enjoying both human and other canine company.

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