Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bloodhound – The (Ultimate) Scent of a Dog!

Bloodhound Description
Also referred to as the St. Hubert hound, a Bloodhound is a large-sized dog breed from Belgium / France that is bred specifically for the purpose of tracking human beings. This is largely due to the extra strong sense of smell that the dog has. The dog is capable of catching smells which may be hours or even days old. Appearance wise, Bloodhounds tend to be either red (which is how they get the prefix, ‘Blood’ to their name) or liver and tan, or black and tan in color. They also tend to have an exceptionally large skeletal structure, with the majority of their weight concentrated in the bones. Their coat tends to be hard, with the predominance of fur, and practically no hair at all.

Bloodhound History/Origin
Today’s Bloodhound originated from the eight-century St. Hubert hound, which was named after the man who made the dog the way it is today, by giving it the requisite training – Francois Hubert. The first St. Hubert hounds were black in color, and developed their black and tan color only much later. The colonial era saw the Bloodhound gain acceptance far and wide, with the British taking the breed along to the lands that they conquered. The Bloodhound gained even more popularity once it was taken to America. Till date, the American Bloodhound is considered to be one of the finest when it comes to Bloodhounds from across the world.

Bloodhound – Height/Weight
From the withers, Bloodhounds tend to stand 58 to 69 centimeters (23 to 27 inches). On an average, they weigh anywhere between 33 to 50 kilograms (i.e. 80 to 110 pounds, though some may weigh even as much as 160 pounds!).

Bloodhound - Temperament
Bloodhounds tend to be gentle, warm, unflappable creatures, making them an excellent choice for home pets. Problems in houses with bloodhounds are generally seen only with small children whom these bulky dogs sometimes tend to simply knock-over, just by their sheer size. Also, bloodhounds tend to be a little resilient to obedience training which is simply due to their tracking instinct, but patience and perseverance tends to pay well for the trainer, as Bloodhounds tend to learn faster, once they are willing to actually learn.

Bloodhound Grooming – Exercise
Bloodhounds are not the easiest to train; the very basics of toilet training themselves take a significant amount of time with bloodhounds. Training them on other issues such as obedience and other tricks is that much more difficult. Yet, the key lies simply in being patient and persistent. With time, they get the hang of things, and pick up all the tricks we have up our training sleeves! An important facet of Bloodhound training is to always have them on leash, especially when you are teaching them various tricks, else they simply tend to pursue their instinct and start following scents and picking up trails.

Bloodhound Health Problems - Life Expectancy
Bloodhounds tend to be exposed to gastrointestinal problems, more than most other common dog breeds. Among the gastrointestinal problems that they tend to suffer from, Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV, or "bloat") is the most common ailment that they tend to suffer from. Problems of the eyes, ears and skins also tend to be rather common in Bloodhounds. The average life expectancy of Bloodhounds tends to be around 7-8 years, making them one of the shortest-lived of dog breeds.

Bloodhounds Group – Recognition
Group: Hound, AKC Hound

Bloodhounds Clubs Worldwide
The Bloodhound Club (UK)
American Bloodhound Club
Canadian Bloodhound Club

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