The Bloodhound is known for several things - the incredible sense of smell, the baying bark, and its soulful features. This dog as a breed is very old with roots that can be traced back to Belgium, among other countries. It was probably in Belgium that several people interested in establishing a breed that could smell exceptionally well worked on the final breeding steps to establish the Bloodhound as it exists today.
The ancestors of the present day Bloodhound are credited with also helping to establish several other breeds. It's easy to see the common lineage in the Basset Hound but the Bloodhound also contributed to other lines, such as the Boxer. Today's Bloodhound is usually brown, red or a combination of the two, often with black markings. In ancient times, some of these dogs were actually white, though they were recognized as a separate breed. These dogs typically reach a weight of 100 pounds or more, and they grow quickly. Just as young children need plenty of rest and sleep to allow their bodies to develop well, Bloodhound pups must be restricted while they're very young and growing so fast.
One of the most negative points about a Bloodhound as a pet is his tendency to become single-minded when he catches an interesting scent. And with the incredible nose and the floppy ears that help bring odors to the nose, these dogs can often catch an interesting scent. When that happens, they'll usually be off on the chase unless restrained. They have been known to keep running for many hours - even days. While it's entirely possible that they'll find their way back home, it's also likely that they'll encounter dangers along the way or suffer from lack of food, water and the force of elements while they're off on their own.
This tenacity on the chase has prompted the use of Bloodhounds when tracking humans. From the times of runaway slaves to current day kidnappings or escapes, Bloodhounds can often catch a scent when human powers of detection are at a complete loss. Bloodhounds have been known to track a person who was in a car for many miles, so sensitive are their powers of smell.
Their baying bark helps trackers stay in touch with the route of the Bloodhound on the trail, though many trainers choose to keep these dogs on a leash during a hunt. As a rule, these dogs are extremely gentle and easy-going. They tend to love people, including children, and will usually be tolerant well past the point of endurance for most dogs.
However, they are sometimes simply not easy to train, at least partly because of their single-mindedness with regard to smell. A scent is just more interesting than anything else, including the instructions of his master. That makes the Bloodhound less ideal for competitions and obedience training than many breeds. Don't let that soulful expression fool you.
The Bloodhound can be an incredibly happy dog who finds joy in the simple things of life, especially if those things happen to come with an interesting smell.
For more information on BloodHounds and other Popular, and not-so-popular breeds of dogs, visit The Hound Dog Directory