Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds

Bloodhounds: the most honest dog breed review you'll ever find about Bloodhound temperament, personality, and behavior.

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Bloodhound dog breed

Bloodhound Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em

Bloodhound Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2016

The AKC Standard says, "The expression is noble and dignified, and characterized by solemnity, wisdom, and power."

Though gentle and easygoing, even somewhat bumbling, the Bloodhound is not the lazy, lie-around dog he is often portrayed to be on TV.

This big breed requires plenty of space and safe areas where he can romp and ramble every day.

A leash and/or fence is mandatory, because if his tremendous nose locks on to a fascinating scent, his ears turn off and it is almost impossible to regain his attention. Bloodhounds will trail scents for miles and miles, until they are hit by a car.

Though generally good-natured and gregarious with people and other animals, some individuals can be aggressive with other dogs of the same sex.

His great strength and stubbornness call for a confident owner who knows how to enforce rules in an assertive (yet not harsh) manner. This kindly, sensitive breed should never be treated roughly.

Bloodhounds are very slow to mature, so your patience and firmness need to extend over several years.

His tendency to chew and swallow anything that fits in his mouth may send you both to the veterinary emergency room at some point.

The Bloodhound can be possessive of his food and toys, a potential problem around children and other pets.

If you want a dog who...

  • Is large, rugged, and powerful, with a houndy appearance (loose skin and long hanging ears)
  • Has a short easy-care coat
  • Has a dignified, solemn, kindly expression
  • Loves the great outdoors and thrives on vigorous activities
  • Has such an incredibly powerful nose that he can save lives by finding lost people!

A Bloodhound may be right for you.

If you don't want to deal with...

  • A very large dog who takes up a lot of space in your house and car
  • Rowdiness and exuberant jumping, especially when young
  • Destructiveness when bored or not exercised enough
  • Shyness toward strangers, when not socialized enough
  • Potential aggression toward other animals
  • Strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge
  • Slowness to housebreak
  • LOUD baying
  • A distinctive "houndy" odor
  • Drooling and slobbering
  • A short lifespan

A Bloodhound may not be right for you.

But you can avoid or minimize some negative traits by
  1. choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
  2. or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
  3. training your dog to respect you
  4. avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy

More traits and characteristics of the Bloodhound

If I was considering a Bloodhound, I would be most concerned about...

  1. Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Bloodhounds MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and do interesting things. Otherwise they become rambunctious and bored -- which they usually express by baying and destructive chewing. Bored Bloodhounds can turn your house and yard inside out in a single day.

    I strongly recommend that Bloodhound owners join their local tracking club and get their magnificent hounds involved in this potentially lifesaving activity. Bloodhounds were never intended to be simply household pets. Their working behaviors (sniffing scents, chasing things that run, exploring, baying) can be a nuisance in a normal household setting. Trying to suppress these "hardwired" behaviors, without providing alternate outlets for their energy, can be difficult.

  2. Bounciness. Young Bloodhounds (up to about two years old) can be bulls in a china shop. When they romp and jump, they do so with great vigor, and things can go flying, including people.

  3. Providing enough socialization. Bloodhounds need extensive exposure to people and to unusual sights and sounds. Otherwise their natural caution can become shyness, suspiciousness, or occasionally aggression, which are all difficult to live with.

  4. Animal aggression. Bloodhounds are seldom used for hunting any more, but some individuals still have strong instincts to chase and seize fleeing creatures. Some Bloodhounds are dominant or aggressive toward other dogs of the same sex. If anything goes wrong in the breeding, socializing, training, handling, or management of this breed, it is capable of injuring or killing other animals.

  5. Stubbornness. Bloodhounds have an independent mind of their own and are not pushovers to raise and train. Most Bloodhounds are extremely stubborn. They can be manipulative, and some are dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.

    To teach your Bloodhound to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Bloodhound Training Page discusses the program you need.

  6. Confinement. To keep your Bloodhound in, fences should be high, with wire sunk into the ground along the fence line to thwart digging.

    Bloodhounds cannot be trusted off-leash. They will take off -- oblivious to your frantic shouts -- after anything that emits an odor or runs.

  7. Housebreaking. Bloodhounds tend to resist being told what to do, and housebreaking is no exception. Expect four to six months of consistent crate training.

  8. Noise. Bloodhounds should never be left outside in your yard, unsupervised. Their deep voice is extremely LOUD and carries a long way. Their baying will have your neighbors calling the cops to report the nuisance -- or quietly letting your Bloodhound out of his yard so he'll wander away.

  9. Houndy odor. Bloodhounds, like most hound breeds, have a "doggy" odor that some people find disagreeable.

  10. Slobbering. Most people are not prepared for how much Bloodhounds slobber and drool, especially after eating and drinking.

  11. Serious health problems. From hip problems to heart disease to stomach disorders, Bloodhounds are risky in the health department.

book cover To learn more about training Bloodhounds to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.

It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Bloodhound the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.

Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Bloodhound. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.

If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Bloodhound might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.

book cover Once you have your Bloodhound home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.

My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.

Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.

Please consider adopting an ADULT Bloodhound...

When you're acquiring a Bloodhound PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.

But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Bloodhounds who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!

Save a life. Adopt a dog.

Adopting a Dog From a Dog Breed Rescue Group

Adopting a Dog From the Animal Shelter