Bloodhound – Ancient Tracker

Bloodhounds are portrayed in film and literature as incorruptible hunters who maul any enemy on command. Also in the series Game of Thrones, which was broadcast from 2011 to 2019, the “Bloodhound” (The Hound) is a notorious mercenary and killer. In fact, Bloodhounds are classic scent hounds that bark loudly after hunting wild animals over long distances. Here you can find out how to properly deal with such a pack.

The Appearance of the Bloodhound: The Mightiest of All Scent Hounds

The description of the appearance of bloodhounds in the FCI breed standard sounds very impressive. “The mightiest of all hounds,” it says there, with an external effect “full of nobility”. With an ideal height at the withers of 68 cm for males and 62 cm for females, Bloodhounds belong to the large dog breeds. They are very strong and weigh up to 60 kilograms (ideal weight for males 46 to 54 kg, for females 40 to 48 kg), but they do not appear heavy. They move rather slowly and “roll” without appearing coarse. The distinctive dewlap and loose skin all over the body are characteristic of the bloodhound.

Characteristics of bloodhounds at a glance: How can the breed be recognized?

  • The rectangular head is conspicuously high and narrow. In relation to the body, it is also comparatively long. The thin and very loose skin forms wrinkles on the forehead and around the muzzle. The stop is only moderately developed and the cheeks visibly cave in.
  • With its nostrils wide open, the Bloodhound picks up every trail. The nose is broad and well developed, and the bridge of the nose is straight or slightly turned up.
  • The lips hang down and are very soft. On the chin, the loose skin merges directly into the dewlap. Viewed from the side, the muzzle appears rectangular due to the overlapping lips.
  • Due to the small wrinkles around the eyes, the look seems a bit melancholic. Loose lower eyelids with visible conjunctiva are permitted inbreeding. The iris appears light brown, dark brown, or amber.
  • The so-called corkscrew ears hang down very long and are rolled inwards. They start at the level of the eyes and reach well over the chin.
  • The neck is long with double skin dewlap. With their well-muscled necks, the animals can also keep their noses on the ground while running.
  • The long body appears rectangular as the lower profile line is almost horizontal. The forecast is prominent and forms a distinct keel.
  • The front legs are long and strong, the hind legs are rather compact and very well muscled.
  • The paws are very thick and firm with tight toes (cat’s paws).
  • When running, the high-set tail is carried like a saber over the back. It tapers slightly towards the tip.
  • The fur on the body is dense, weatherproof, and rough. On the head and ears, it is very short, fine, and velvety. The hair only grows to a length of 2 to 3 cm on the underside of the tail.

Bloodhound colors

The permitted colors for bloodhounds are clearly defined and can be easily distinguished from one another with a little prior knowledge:

Black and tan

  • Breeders also use the English terms black and tan.
  • Coat (full-coat): Black as the base color with tan markings on the cheeks, muzzle, eyebrows, chest, or legs.
  • Saddle (blanket): Tan predominates, with black fur on the back.

Liver and Loh

  • English designation liver and tan.
  • The coat and saddle are distributed similarly to the black and tan breed, but the colors are less clearly distinguishable from each other.


  • Ground color varies from light red to dark red.
  • Mask and lips may be dark or liver pigmented.

Breeding disqualifying faults that are common

  • Clumsiness, strained movement.
  • Forehead skin or stop too pronounced (restriction of vision).
  • High legs or short runs.
  • Short catch.
  • Extremely loose lower eyelid, eyes that are too small or set too deep.

The European King of Hunters: Where Did the Bloodhound Come From?

  • The ancestors of today’s Bloodhounds accompanied the Celts and the Gauls on hunts. The oldest evidence goes back to the 2nd century.
  • Around 1000 to 1200 AD the Chien de St. Hubert (or Hubertushund) was propagated in the region of the same name in Belgium in the Ardennes. From there, the breed made its way into
  • French and English royal houses in the 15th and 16th centuries, where dogs were mostly used in packs for hunting or guarded house and yard in a chain.
  • In Central Europe, selected Hubertus dogs were bred as Ardennes dogs in pure working lines. These lines are believed to be the ancestors of numerous breeds of Bracken used for hunting.
  • The term Bloodhound was established in the 14th century and goes back to the excellent tracking skills of the dogs.

Related Breeds: Who Carrys Bloodhound Genes?

  • Beagles, Harriers, and Basset Hounds (England)
  • German Hound
  • Polish Hound
  • Black and Tan Coonhound (USA)
  • Dachshund, Drever (Sweden)
  • Sabueso Espanol
  • Chien d’Artois (France)

Good-Natured Family Patron Instead of Bloodthirsty Hunters

Contrary to what they sometimes exaggerate in the media, bloodhounds are very peaceful and calm companions that make excellent family pets. They are always guided by their owner and behave in a friendly and reserved manner towards other people and animals. Their sense of smell is very strong – once they have picked up a scent, they can hardly be diverted from this track. They can be a bit stubborn in that regard. Instinctive hunting behavior should not be confused with aggression.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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