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Jude's avatar

Ever owned or trained (dealt with) Bloodhounds? What are they like?

Asked by Jude (32112points) January 31st, 2011


Pluses? Minuses?

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5 Answers

crisw's avatar

They are dogs with a singular purpose- tracking down things by scent. To that end, they often ignore all else. You cannot trust a bloodhound off-leash- they will follow that scent into traffic and into the next county! They are not obedient dogs. They are usually viewed as stubborn- but, in reality, they are dedicated!

They are strong, big, dogs.

They smell, as most scent hounds do. Some people are really put off by the smell. They are prone to ear infections which can make them even smellier. They also drool a lot and snore loudly.

They are noisy, although some people love they baying of a hound!

They are very susceptible to hip dysplasia; not sure of their other genetic issues.

Temperamentally, they love everyone. Their enthusiasm can be a bit much for small children, and they have to be trained not to jump up! The tails of dogs that big are lethal weapons and table-clearers.

syz's avatar

Be careful – I’ve met some tremendously aggressive bloodhounds. I’m not sure if it’s a local problem in the bloodlines, or a general tendency.

The do tend to have some medical issues associated with the conformation. Those droopy eyes are sometimes so extreme that the ectropion requires surgical intervention. They’re prone to skin issues because of all of the folds, and ear infections are common.

crisw's avatar


It might indeed be a local problem, or perhaps related to their breeding. All the bloodhounds I’ve met have been from show lines, where temperament is a paramount issue.

Kayak8's avatar

I think at @crisw has nailed it. All the bloodhound handlers I know have built outdoor runs with appropriate weather protection for their dogs as they do not consider them to be indoor house pets (for all the reasons articulated). When bloodhounds work, they ALWAYS work on lead as they would otherwise walk off a cliff (or as Crisw said, into traffic) as they are totally about following a scent trail. The very traits that make them excellent search dogs are the very reasons they make lousy pets.

matty15's avatar

I have to disagree with crisw. I’m sure that his characterization of bloodhounds in general is accurate, but I have a bloodhound who, behaviorally, is the exact opposite. He is extremely obedient, as if it is his life’s desire to please us. When he picks up a scent, his attention on that scent is easily broken when we call for him. When we are outside doing yard work he comes out with us, unleashed, and will occasionally wanders between our yard and the neighbor’s yard, but usually just lies in the grass, sunbathing.

When we take him for walks, he is always unleashed and has never even attempted to get away from us. Quite the contrary: if he is busy sniffing something and we continue walking, the moment he realizes we are 10 yards ahead, he bolts towards us (yelping and crying the entire way) and remains at our hips for at least 5— or 10 minutes before allowing himself to wander a little bit. Also during walks, when we walk by other dogs, the most he does is perk up his ears and watch them as they walk by; he has never, ever tried to run after another dog. Our friends all have dogs and if they come over with their dog, our bloodhound is extremely friendly and well-behaved towards the other animals.

The only time we even bother to take a precaution is when we are having a cook-out or party or anything where a lot of people will be over. And that precaution is really just putting a shock collar (which we have only used once: beep the collar then shock him once so he knows what to expect if he hears the beeping), which makes him even that much more well-behaved and obedient. And as I said, the collar is precautionary; he has never done anything to allude that he needs it when in big groups, we just don’t want his first time freaking out, snapping at someone, or being aggressive to be when there is a big group of people around. Our neighbors have two young children, who our dog absolutely love. When they aren’t separated by a fence, he loves sniffing them and licking their hands. You can tell he wants to just jump on them and lick them all over so bad, but he is pretty good about keeping himself under control.

Granted we started training him the day we got him and have been very consistent with him for the last 4 years. It is possible that a combination of stringent (but very gentle and loving) training and an exceptionally well-behaved dog has made being a bloodhound owner very easy on our part.

However, I do agree with pretty much everything else crisw says. He is a big, strong dog, who doesn’t seem to realize his own strength. He acts as if he is a much smaller dog. When people come over, he is very excitable. He cries in excitement with his tail going a mile a minute and seems to want to lick every inch of the newcomer. Most of the time he just sits there, extremely excited, but sometime he gets a little rambunctious and jumps on them, however he jumps down immediately when we tell him too.

For us, drooling really isn’t a big issue. However, when he drinks water, water seems to get into every nook and cranny of his jowls and drips everywhere has he walks. But we keep a towel by his water bowl and just wipe the excess water away from his mouth when he’s done.

You need to make sure to keep up with keeping their ears clean. We clean out our dogs ears at least once a week (sometimes twice) or the wax builds up and starts to smell really bad. Don’t be skiddish about really getting your finger (covered with a tissue or paper towel) or cotton swab in there because canine ear canals turn at a near-90 degree angle so you don’t have to worry about hitting the tympanic membrane (eardrum) unless you bend your finger and followed it down the canal (don’t do that). Some days he is jazzed about getting his ears cleaned, other days he gets irritated with us for doing it,

He does a smell about him, but I kind of like it. He is bathed on a fairly-regular basis, his bed is washed regularly, and he isn’t allowed in the living room, upstairs, or any of the downstairs bedrooms, so the carpeted area and the living room rug don’t have his smell in them at all, so it isn’t difficult to keep his smell under control. The areas he is allowed to be in (a large kitchen, nice sized enclosed patio, basement, and garage—plenty of space for him to roam around inside) are easy to mop and clean if the smell gets to be a little much (here’s a tip: washing the floors with hot water, a few squirts of dish soap, and 10–15 drops of lemon essential oil penetrates the hound smell with ease). We also have a very large, enclosed backyard (again the fence is precautionary) that he is free to run around in. As was mentioned, they are very large dogs and really deserve a lot of area to have fun.

Also, this is pretty much applicable to any dog, but when potty-training him, we made sure to take him to the same spot in the yard every time and would only allow him to pee and poop there. Now, four years later, when going in the yard, he only pees and poops in that one area and we just clean it up right then and there; that way, we don’t have to worry about stepping on anything when running around with him in the yard.

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