Family Pet Guide > Dogs > Hounds > Bloodhound


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with kids
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Size: Large (60 to 100+ lbs.)
Lifespan: Medium (8 to 12 years)
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Bloodhounds, also known as St. Hubert Hounds, are probably the most famous of all scent hounds. Bloodhounds are the "detectives" of the canine world, making them the favored dog of police departments and search and rescue operations. Their long legs allow them to run quickly after the scent of both animals and humans--sometimes even picking up scents over 100 hours old. Bloodhounds can make great family pets for a patient and energetic clan, and are fabulous with kids of any age. Scent hounds as a group are characterized by sensitive sniffers, deep, loud barks, endurance and stamina over long distances, and long, droopy ears. Even as pets, these dogs are happiest in packs and, when outdoors, will actively seek out a trail to follow--even digging and climbing the fences of your yard to get at one. Bloodhounds are known as mellow, happy, gentle, and loving companions who are especially tenacious when working but somewhat difficult to train. Bloodhounds are giant, slobbering, and slightly smelly, which some people find a turnoff and others find endearing.

Famous Bloodhounds include: Disney's Pluto, Bruno from Cinderella, and Trusty from Lady and the Tramp; The Bumpus Hounds from A Christmas Story; Huckleberry Hound; Duke from Beverly Hillbillies; Hubert from Best in Show; Ladybird from King of the Hill; Copper from Fox and the Hound; and many more.

General Care

Bloodhounds are deceptively massive, energetic, and messy--three traits rescue groups cite as the most common reasons these dogs are surrendered. Scent hounds in general are also difficult to obedience train, and as puppies, will follow their nose into trouble and will eat anything in sight, often causing frantic and expensive trips to the vet. Bloodhounds need to be fed small meals throughout the day, instead of one or two large ones, which requires a dog walker or doggie daycare situation for families in which both parents work and a caregiver isn't present. (Good news there is that Bloodhounds are generally welcoming of both strangers and other animals!) Common health problems for Bloodhounds include gastrointestinal issues (such as bloat and torsion), hip dysplasia, ear infections, and cancer. Bloodhounds are short-lived compared to other breeds, with an average lifespan of only about 7 years. Bloodhounds slobber profusely, needing to have their jowls wiped often with a towel, and their long, droopy ears need to be cleaned often and tend to drag in their food and water bowls. They shed an average amount, but do have a "doggie smell" even after bathing, which some people find offensive or aggravating.

For more information on Bloodhound ownership and care, check out

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