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Pet Road Tests > Dogs


Breed: Bloodhound
Temperament: Active, stubborn
Lifespan: 8-10 years
Recommended: Active people
Dumpage rate: Low
Maintenance: Medium

Tracking and training

The Bloodhound's scenting reputation is second to none with an olfactory ability claimed to be three million times more powerful than the human sense of smell. It is claimed the Bloodhound can follow a scent up to five days old.

They have been used over the years to track runaway slaves in Florida and Cuba, highwaymen and convicts in medieval England and are still used today by police in the US for tracking and rescue. Bloodhounds are also trained in Australia to track lost children and adults.

The Bloodhound's tracking abilities have seen its name given as a nickname to detectives and private eyes who, when overly zealous in tracking down a criminal, are referred to as bloodhounds.

Breeders recommend basic obedience training for Bloodhounds from an early age because they can be difficult to train. The breed has been judged to be the most difficult to train with the lowest degree of working and obedience intelligence. Bloodhounds tend to have a mind of their own which makes them difficult to train.


Bloodhounds are large dogs with a noble head and medium-sized eyes. They are powerful looking, muscular and strongly built with narrow heads. They have thin ears which are soft to touch and fall in graceful folds, as does the skin around the neck. Bloodhounds come in black and tan, liver and tan and red.


Bloodhounds are affectionate dogs around familiar people but can be reserved and sensitive with strangers. Outdoors they are outgoing, happy and energetic. They can be strong willed if they have found an interesting scent and they can take longer than some breeds to train formally. Once Bloodhounds have a scent they are nose down and tail up and they could be gone for hours. The Bloodhound has such a strong pack instinct that they can suffer emotionally if left alone or locked away for hours at a time.

Health and lifespan

Some health problems can be avoided by regulating the amount of food Bloodhounds eat. Overweight Bloodhounds can have problems with their hips, and they are also prone to bloat which is potentially fatal. Bloat is a condition where gases build up in the stomach and can actually cause it to twist. Some steps to prevent bloat in the breed include:

  • Don't overfeed.
  • Don't exercise dogs immediately after eating.
  • Don't feed dogs food which ferments such as food that is slightly off or not fresh.
  • Never feed dogs in the hottest part of the day, especially in summer.
  • Avoid salty and spicy food.
  • Soak dry food in water.
  • Don't feed dogs large pieces of food.
  • Avoid too many greens, uncooked or cooked.
  • Vets recommend a balanced diet which could include well-cooked pasta and fresh mince meat.

Their large drooping eyes can attract dirt and dust which inflames the eye and leads to a condition called ectropion which requires surgery. Active Bloodhounds, kept trim, have an expected lifespan of eight to 10 years.

Breeding and costs

Bloodhounds rarely have problems whelping. Litters range in size from two puppies to as many as 16 or 17. Bloodhounds cost between $600-$800 depending on the quality.

Housepet potential

Breeders warn the Bloodhound inside can be clumsy and knock things over and slobber on the carpet. Despite this, many owners do allow their Bloodhounds into the house but keep a towel handy to clean up the slobber.

Space and exercise

Bloodhounds are active dogs and need a well-fenced backyard in which to run. Some texts suggest they are too large even for suburban blocks, but Australian breeders believe that with an afternoon's playing with kids or a daily walk they would be happy enough. They need daily exercise on a leash because unclipped from a leash they can put their head down and start tracking a scent.

Ideal owner

The Bloodhound is an ideal pet for people who love the outdoors and are willing to take the dog with them. They are suitable for active people and are good with kids older than 10. The dogs need time to roam and sniff and exercise to keep them in good shape. They are not a dog for the elderly, infirm or disabled.


Bloodhounds need their face folds checked and wiped daily and ears checked and wiped weekly. Breeders recommend keeping a hand towel ready to wipe the drool. Bloodhounds are low maintenance; their coat needs a wipe over with a hound glove once a week and washed when it smells.


The Bloodhound is a direct descendant of the St Huber Hound which developed in the Middle Ages and was introduced to England by William the Conqueror. Breeders say the name refers to the old English term blooded, meaning purebred.


National contacts

To find up-to-date contacts for breeders, contact the following organisations. The Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC)

Dogs NSW
Phone: 1300 728 022 (NSW only) or (02) 9834 3022
Fax: (02) 9834 3872

Dogs Victoria
Phone: (03) 9788 2500
Fax: (03) 9788 2599

Dogs ACT
Phone: (02) 6241 4404 - Fax: (02) 6241 1129.

Dogs West
Phone: (08) 9455 1188
Fax: (08) 9455 1190

Dogs SA
Phone: (08) 8349 4797

Canine Control Council of Queensland
Phone: (07) 3252 2661
Fax: (07) 3252 3864

Tasmanian Canine Association
Phone: (03) 6272 9443
Fax: (03) 6273 0844

Dogs NT
Phone: (08) 8984 3570
Fax: (08) 8984 3409
The Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC)

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