If any breed has a claim to be part of the British heritage, it is the noble Bloodhound. The traditional adage that "the Bloodhound is the father of all hounds" gives us a clue as to its importance as a breed. Powerful and dignified, this affectionate dog is a sensitive, loyal and affectionate companion.


In the fifth century AD, the monks of Hubert's Abbey in the Ardennes, Belgium, bred the black and tan St Hubert's Hound which was brought to Britain by William the Conqueror and named the Bloodhound. Men hunted deer with bows and arrows, and the Bloodhound, with its incredible scenting ability, was able to follow the blood trail, bringing the hunters in for the kill. As the number of deer diminished, lifestyles changed and foxes were hunted for "sport", the Bloodhound was dropped in favour of the faster Foxhound. The noble Bloodhound was relegated to tracking poachers, escaped criminals, lost old people and children. Its reputation was re-established in 1897 with the new Association of Bloodhound Breeders who set up a series of tracking tests.

must know

Entropion and joint problems can affect this breed, but responsible breeders are controlling these aspects. Some dogs are prone to bloat, so take the breeder's advice on diet.


The original "laid back" hound, the Bloodhound is likely to lick a burglar to death when it catches him. Being a pack hound, it loves its family and that includes tolerating boisterous children. Although sometimes reserved, the Bloodhound hates being left alone. Treat this dog kindly and it will reward you with both affection and great companionship.


The Bloodhound is a big, loose-skinned hound with a smooth, short coat in black and tan. liver and tan or red. with long, low-set ears.

Strangers 3/5

Friendly; not a good guard dog

Temperament 4/5

Happy, playful

Exercise 5/5

Lots, including free running

Grooming 1/5

Minimal: once a week

Other dogs 4/5

No problems


Lovely gentle nature but needs space

General care

Plenty of exercise, including some free running, is essential for this breed, but take care as once its nose goes down on a scent it will be gone, deaf to all your entreaties. Grooming needs are minimal – once a week, give your dog a good brush, cleaning the ears and skin wrinkles. Good-quality food, fed in adequate quantities, is paramount to develop and maintain quality bone structure.

Gallery of Bloodhound