From paintings by Louis Agassiz Fuertes
The bloodhound is a dog of only medium size and, in spite of
his name and reputation, is gentle and affectionate.
According to some authorities, these dogs were brought to
England by William the Conqueror ; according to others,
they were brought by pilgrims from the Holy Land.
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They are often spoken of as “black St. Huberts,” but there
were white ones and red ones also, and it is quite possible that our
modern bloodhounds are a blend of the three. They probably
derive their name from the fact that originally they were used to
track animals which were wounded and bleeding, though they have
long been associated chiefly with the tracking of men, and for the last
hundred years or more, particularly with the trailing of criminals.
The English bloodhound
The English bloodhound is simply the extreme development of those
characteristics which typify the hound: long, low-hung ears, loose skin,
long muzzle, and somber expression find in him their greatest degree of perfection.
In fact, the skin of the head and face is so loose and ample that it falls into
deep folds and wrinkles; the weight of the ears pulls it into furrows, and the
lower eyelid falls away from the eye, disclosing a deep haw. The ears, of thin,
fine leather, are so long as to trail when the nose is down.
The head is well domed, the occipital point is very prominent, the flews and
dewlap reach excessive development, only equaled in the St. Bernard.
The Bloodhounds Makeup
The bloodhound should stand 23 to 27 inches and weigh from 80 to 95 or 100 pounds.
He should be black and tan, in strict conformity with the standard as shown in the picture, or all deep tan.
The more primitive coloring, the black and tan, is generally preferred.
There tail is not carried quite so gaily as in the case of foxhounds and beagles.
Any appreciable amount of white betrays impurity of strain.
In disposition he is the gentlest of gentle hounds, though his rather
fearsome name has earned him an unjust notoriety with those who do not know much about dogs.
Only a few kennels breed bloodhounds now. They are used by police departments,
both in this country and in Europe, and if brought to the scene of a crime within a
few hours after it has been committed, and if the criminal fled across ground not
too much trampled over by other people, they can render valuable assistance by
leading the police directly to the man they are seeking.
There have been bloodhounds credited with following a trail thirty hours after it was made,
but such performances must be made under ideal conditions and are very rare, to say the least.