Complete Guide To The Bloodhound: Care, Health, Grooming and More

Often portrayed as a large, hulking, and lazy dog, the Bloodhound, is anything but this description. This breed of dog is large and active and needs plenty of exercise to keep him happy. Bred for his incredible sense of smell, the Bloodhound is one of the best canine trackers in existence. Although this dog makes an excellent working dog, he can be just as happy spending time with his family. This easy-going dog with a friendly demeanor is hard to say no to when considering a new family member.  

My Bloodhound patients are some of my most beloved dogs that walk through my door. As a veterinarian with over 20 years experience, I know that this breed isn’t for a lot of people and that’s a shame. I think if more people were exposed to a Bloodhound this breed would be much more popular.

How Big Does A Bloodhound Get?

Male25-27″ at the shoulder90-110 lbs
Female23-25″ at the shoulder80-110 lbs

What Do Bloodhounds Look Like?

This dog has a trademark look, complete with long floppy ears, wrinkles around his face, and loose skin. The eyes are deep-set and can be pretty tricky to say no to. The dog is covered in a short yet dense coat that can be liver and tan, red, or black and tan. Sometimes a dog will have a bit of white, gray, brown, or white flecked into the coat around the chest, tail tip, or feet. The Bloodhound has a powerful look and is an athletic dog.  

What Is The Personality Of A Bloodhound?

While this dog is often portrayed as a lazy couch potato, the Bloodhound is anything but idle. This dog is strong and athletic and likes to stay moving. The dog wants to work and likes to put its nose to good use. The dog is a pack dog and enjoys the company of other dogs and people. This personality trait means that the Bloodhound can be a great family pet and often gets along well with other dogs and children.  

This dog breed is a headstrong dog that likes to take the lead whenever given a chance. It follows that this dog can tend to be quite stubborn and will often have a mind of his own. Training can be difficult at times but possible with the proper training techniques and attitude. You want to use plenty of positive rewards, like highly prized treats and loads of positive praise. A firm owner must keep this dog in line, but sometimes, the dog’s instinctive nature will take over.  

Keep in mind that this dog is sensitive but also stubborn. While training can be challenging, try to channel your dog’s energy into skills it excels at. Try enrolling your dog in tracking or scent work. Not only is this a great way to spend time together with your dog, but it is a wonderful opportunity to allow your dog to practice his laser focus tracking techniques. While this dog is an optimal tracker, he will never kill or attack what he has tracked.  

What Grooming Does A Bloodhound Need?

The short and smooth coat on the Bloodhound may be deceiving, and this breed of dog has relatively high grooming needs. The coat sheds pretty often, so it is essential to brush the coat weekly to remove any dead fur. Twice per year, this dog will go through a heavy shedding period, usually consistent with the onset of spring and fall.

If the dog does not have the chance to exercise on rough surfaces that will naturally wear the nails short, be sure to keep the nails clipped short about once per month.  

What Are The Exercise Needs Of A Bloodhound?

This dog is a large breed that needs plenty of exercise. The dog must be able to enjoy quality time outdoors, spending time hiking, walking, or simply exploring a large yard. The dog is highly active and was bred to track scents for hours. Because of his strong sense of smell, this dog must always be on a leash or kept in a fenced yard. Otherwise, the Bloodhound has been known to be quite the escape artist to pursue an exciting scent. Be sure you are ready to commit multiple hours a day to exercise.  

The Bloodhound must be kept in a rural or suburban area and is not well suited for city life. This dog will not thrive in an apartment setting and instead needs plenty of open space to roam. The dog will become destructive and partake in nuisance behaviors if he is left in a confirmed area for long periods. However, after a long walk or a day spent exploring, this hound is happy to spend the evening sleeping on a front porch.  

What Kind of Dog Food Is Best For Bloodhounds?

For Bloodhound puppies, you will need to make sure you don’t feed them too much too fast. It’s easy because they are usually chow hounds, but you want to control their growth. Growing too fast can cause some early bone and joint problems that are easily avoided.

Best Puppy Food For Bloodhounds:

Best Adult Food For Bloodhounds:

Please don’t listen to the folks at the pet store trying to convince you to buy a grain-free diet for your dog. There’s zero science behind that and vets are actually seeing diseases now related to feeding grain-free foods.

It’s very important they remain at their optimal weight throughout their life. Have your vet go over with you exactly where to feel to know when your dog is too big.

How Long Do Bloodhounds Generally Live?

10-12 years based on info from the AKC

What Health Conditions Do Bloodhounds Commonly Have?

The most common health problems I see in my Bloodhound patients are:

  • Hip/Elbow Dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Degenerative Myelopathy
  • Bloat

Despite the super floppy ears, I don’t find my Bloodhound patients to have issues with infections unless they have underlying allergy problems.

Where Can I Find a Bloodhound?

Breeder Referral From The American Bloodhound Club

AKC Puppy Page

Rescuing a Bloodhound is also a wonderful opportunity to own a purebred dog and help a dog in need of a home. Many people buy a Bloodhound without fully understanding the time commitment to their care and exercise, thus leaving many Bloodhounds with rescue organizations. Try reaching out to either the American Bloodhound Club Rescue or the Bloodhound Rescue group to start your search for a Bloodhound in need of a home.  

Where To Learn More About Bloodhounds

American Bloodhound Club – there is a tremendous amount of information available at the website of the National Breed Club. I think it’s one of the best of any dog breed out there.

AKC Breed Page

Fun Facts About The Bloodhound

The Bloodhound was originally bred in Medieval France to help with hunting. In Medieval Europe, hunting was a hobby reserved for nobility, and the Bloodhound was used to help track deer and boar.  

The first time the Bloodhound is actually referenced in literature as a specific and unique breed of dog is in a poem written by Sir Humphrey de Bohun. The poem, titled William of Palerne, was written in 1350 and spoke of two lovers who were disguised as bears but tracked down by a careful hunter and his loyal dog.  

This breed of dog is part of a group of dogs called Sagaces. This group of dogs will hunt together using scents. The word Sagaces comes from the Latin word “sagacious,” which means having discerning and sound judgment.  

England is mainly responsible for the modern-day Bloodhound. This dog was bred and developed in England and eventually made its way to the United States during the Colonial era. Even Benjamin Franklin noted the Bloodhound’s excellent scent work and ability and had used the dogs to track down a group of marauding Native Americans.