The Bloodhound: The Nose Knows

Somewhat comical to gaze upon, and yet famous for his sense of smell and tracking abilities, the Bloodhound is a very old and noble breed of dog. In fact, while the true origins of this dog remain a mystery, many believe that his creation far predates Christianity. Early reference to the Bloodhound was made as far back as 3 A.D., when Claudius Aelianus made note of this incredible dog in his Historia Animalium. There, he described the breed as a dog whose ability to hunt by scent was unrivaled. He also made mention of how determined the dog was, staying on the trail until it had located its quarry against all odds.

While the Bloodhound owes most of his origins to the Mediterranean countries, it must be said that he was refined further, following his introduction to Europe. Originally appearing there, prior to the Crusades, there were two known varieties of Bloodhound at the time Рthe black and the white. The black variety of this breed later became known as the famous St. Huberts hounds, while the white were eventually to become known as the Southern Hounds. By the 12th century, these magnificent hounds had become a favorite of the English elite and the breed was fostered by the English church, where even the bishops were known to ride to the hounds. The name Bloodhound, is in fact a testament to the great lengths that were taken to preserve this breed and keep the strain pure; rather than referring to what this dog tracks, the name tags them as the blooded hound,̨ meaning that they are aristocratic and of good breeding, not unlike a blooded horse.

This hound is a large and powerfully-built dog, standing an average of 26 inches and often weighing 90-100 pounds, when full grown. With well-sprung ribs and a flat topline, the Bloodhound is beautifully put together for what he is designed to do; with ample heart and lung space, he is capable of tracking tirelessly and is large-boned, proving that they are by no means a fragile plantation flower. Of course, this magnificent dogís sense of smell is unrivaled; they remain the modern representation of what is considered to be the oldest race of scent-hounds. The Bloodhound comes in black and tan, red, and liver and tan, with limited white markings allowed.

While many know of the Bloodhounds uncanny tracking abilities, few seem to be able to see far beyond the nose and this large hounds wrinkled countenance. While he may look like one of the clowns of the canine world, the Bloodhound is, in fact, a wonderful companion. Extremely affectionate, the Bloodhound is a gentle-natured giant and is rarely aggressive with his human companions or with other dogs. If anything, he is a very quiet, solemn, and almost shy dog, that is quite content to lounge about on a shady porch when not out tracking a scent. While their size and their reputation may intimidate, in truth, the Bloodhound is a good example of mans best friend.

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  1. We have a treeing walker coonhound and just love him. We got him from the pound and knew nothing about hound dogs. He has the loudest bark, can smell anything and the most gentle and kind heart. He even sleeps with us and our handicapped cat.

  2. Hi! I think that the dog in the photo is a Basset Hound. To see some absolutely hilarious pix of a Basset puppy, you have to head over to and search for “Charlie”. He will absolutely blow your mind. Woof!!!

  3. I absolutely adore Bloodhounds. They are the most gentle dogs, kind in spirit and downright humorous as well. Thanks for this historical info on them, I had no idea…

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