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A NOSE WITH A DOG ATTACHED: BLOODHOUND FORM AND FUNCTION by CAMILLE MCARDLE, DVM
W e love our dogs for as many reasons as there are dogs. But there are some fantastic things that dogs do besides just loving us back: herding, serving the disabled, water rescue, guarding, hunting, retrieving, police work, scent work. It is in this last category that the Bloodhound is king! Hard-headed, sensitive, large and independent, this breed is not for every- one. They drool. They are curious, entertaining themselves by seeing what is inside the stuffed furniture if left alone. They are strong and can easily drag a smaller person along if they want to go somewhere. They can be difficult to show and therefore difficult to judge.
Following a scent trail, even hours or days old, is hard-wired into this breed. We start seeing this gift in puppies only a few weeks old. Bloodhounds only a few months old have successfully locat- ed missing people. For them, following a scent trail is their favorite thing to do. In the American Bloodhound Club we highly value this ability and we breed to enhance it in every way possible. Lives might be at stake. For those interested in judging this breed we ask that you always keep in mind the purpose of the Blood- hound: to follow scent. A successful trail requires more than a good nose. Equally as important is having the con- formation, as a whole and in parts and
pieces, that will support the animal for miles and miles, hour after hour, until the missing person has been found. If the lost kid wandered 15 miles away but the hound wants to stop after 10 miles because its feet or back hurt that child could die. The very first words in the Blood- hound breed standard tell us that he “…possesses, in a most marked degree, every point and characteristic of those dogs which hunt together by scent.” So what are these characteristics that you need to look for? Your first impression should be that of power and substance. This is not a racy breed. A good Bloodhound needs to be solid and somewhat rectangular,
Very desirable furnishings on this black and tan bitch
Overall impression of substance and power, with deep body
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Excellent headpiece on this liver and tan male
“THE MUZZLE IS THE BUSINESS END OF THE DOG.”
Easy balanced movement and solid topline
Large open nostrils, deep-set eyes, generous lips, flews, and dewlap
Short, well-knuckled up toes with thick padding
Good bitches should not be faulted for being female
with a deep body, good bone, and a strong topline. There is very little drop off at the croup. The underline is almost as level as the topline, with minimal tuck-up. The dog must be balanced, with moderate angulation, to endure the miles and difficult terrain that it may need to traverse. But athleticism should not be sacrificed for size. This breed needs to be agile to do its job. To stand up to the demands of a search the hound’s body needs to func- tion as efficiently as possible, to con- serve energy. This need is met when well-muscled thighs and second thighs push from the rear, through a strong, short loin, along the back, while the muscling of the neck, shoulders, and forechest allow the front legs to reach forward in the same rhythm. The neck must be well-muscled as well to support the large head while it is in a downward position as the dog trails. Bad feet are a deal-breaker. What you want to see are short toes, well knuck- led up, with thick padding. The hound’s feet are like the tires on your car; flat will not take you very far. The unique head of this breed enhances the hound’s scenting abil- ity. It is proportionally long when compared to other scent hounds. The muzzle should be at least one-half the
total length of the head, with a large nose and well-opened nostrils. Viewed from the side the planes of the muzzle and skull are ideally close to parallel. The occiput is prominent. Viewed from the top the skull should be more of an oval than a square. The head is rela- tively narrow, with almost no tapering from the temples to the end of the muz- zle. The muzzle is the business end of the dog. Then you have the aesthetic plea- sure of the skin. Soft, loose, and thin, it slithers through brush, rarely getting caught. It moves fluidly over the head and face as the hound lifts or lowers its head. The very low-set ears have thin leather that curls slightly at the front edge. They reach well beyond the end of the muzzle. The lips and flews are long and loose, transitioning into a pronounced dewlap. When the head is down the wrinkles protect and almost blind the deep-set eyes. In addition, in this position the ears tend to twist shut. This effectively removes the stimuli of sight and sound and thus enhances the sense of smell. All of this loose skin forms something like a cone where the scent particles can concentrate as the ears swing back and forth. Bitches tend to have less wrinkle than do dogs but they should never be
placed behind an inferior dog because of lesser furnishings. The standard describes the gait as “elastic, swinging and free.” The side- gait should be easy, without the drama of racing speed or a flashy kick behind. Look for synchrony and balance. The topline should remain level as the hound moves. With the dog coming or going you will note a tendency to con- verge toward the midline (after the few steps needed for the dog to pull itself together). This best supports the large body. The Bloodhound most comfort- ably moves with its head free rather than held up by a tight lead. Young Bloodhounds seem to take forever to mature. Many do not reach their prime until the age of four or five. The youngsters tend to be lacking a bit in body and muscling but should still not be racy. Look for balance and breed type. Ambiguous wording in the breed standard has led many judges to think that bigger is better, that the larger dog is to be preferred. However, that word- ing refers to the size and weight ranges listed in the standard. Our show dogs of today well exceed those ranges. If we select for size these days we run the risk of breeding hounds that are too big to do the job.
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The Rectory’s Bishop, one of the greats in the breed
Flexibility and strength while trailing
Strong neck; skin on head and neck slides forward freely when head is lowered
Bloodhounds are pack hounds and should be easy-going. They can, how- ever, be reserved with strangers. It is not uncommon for a dog to pull its head back a little when first approached. Often this is just to move the skin away from their eyes, as their field of vision can be limit- ed. But do not reward the growly or reac- tive dog. Temperaments have drastically improved over the past 25 years and we want to keep it that way. Aside from forward fronts and too- short upper arms, common to many breeds, the problems we are struggling with these days include wide back- skulls, lack of body depth, soft toplines, and poor feet. Lately we are also seeing undershot bites as well. The American Bloodhound Club asks that judges remember the pur- pose of this breed when evaluating an entry of Bloodhounds. Faults that are more serious are those which might negatively affect the ability to last on a long trail or to be safely handled. Our club-approved breed mentors welcome your questions. Please refer to the mentor list on the American Kennel Club website. BIO Dr. Camille McArdle has been an American Bloodhound Club member for close to 30 years and a judge of the breed for over a decade. She is an ABC past-President and now serves as the Judges Education Coordinator. She had the honor of judging the 2017 National Specialty. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Correct shoulder and good feet for shock absorption
Ears sweep scent particles toward nose
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ThoughTs on The BLOODHOUND
CAMILE M C ARDLE
seemed like a good fit. Due to working full-time and other factors I was never a prolific breeder. I enjoyed placing good, healthy hounds with people who would appreciate them. In the process I also developed some wonderful friends, sever- al of whom have had three to five dogs of my breeding. For highlights, I’d have to say it was the father-son repeat of going Best of Winners at National Specialties in 2004 and 2010 with my Bred-by-Exhibitor hounds Alamo and Stony. Stony topped his father by also going Grand Sweeps Winner. But, truth- fully, every day with one of my hounds is a highlight because of their sweet and loving temperaments. I have judged the breed since 2007. I also started my judging career with Bas- set Hounds. I am working on completing the Hound group now that I have more freedom in my working schedule. I have been a member of the Minnesota Racing Commission for over 20 years. I am currently President of the American Bloodhound Club. SUZI PAINE My first show dog was an
© In A Blink Photography
Irish Setter, back in the late 1960s. I became interested in Bloodhounds at the shows and brought my first one, a young male named Clyde (after Clyde Reed), into my life in the summer of 1980. We started as Northwest Bloodhound Search and Rescue members that year, and I was fortunate to be mentored by Clyde and his wife Lena, both of whom were a wealth of knowledge about all things Bloodhound at that time. I was fascinated
I started in this breed in the late 1980s, originally with a Bloodhound I bought for my (then) husband, a police officer interested in canine work. Because I believe in well-bred dogs I took close to a year to find a quality hound from a breeder who also showed in conformation. That dog’s temperament was amazing and I quickly fell in love with the breed. Like Pringles, you can’t have just one; six months later I had a puppy to show—and then another. I live on seven acres in Hugo, Minnesota, an outer suburb of Minneapolis-St. Paul. My kennel name is Citation, named for a great race horse and also meaning “an award.” I am a veterinarian and have been active in horse racing for my entire adult life, so that name
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JERRY M. WATSON
by the artistry of Bloodhounds’ construction, which facilitat- ed their mission: such a perfect example of form following function. I quickly became enamored of their majestic beau- ty, unique personalities and great intelligence. Put simply, I was hooked on these magical creatures for life. I’ve person- ally only bred a few Bloodhounds. I prefer living with males and found that breeding, while extremely rewarding, was not a good fit for my lifestyle since I live alone, work long hours and travel fairly frequently. I have been privileged to share in many litters bred by friends and mentors. These experiences helped to develop an eye for the many important features of an outstanding hound. I have been fortunate to have great mentors who have taught me so much along the way, most notably the late Judy Robb of Pinehollow Bloodhounds. I’ve been a parent club member since 1980. I have been a par- ent club trailing judge since 1993, approved by AKC to judge Bloodhounds since 2003, and hold AKC Breeder of Merit sta- tus. I had the honor and privilege of judging the Futurity Stake for the 2014 National Specialty. I hope to eventually judge all hound breeds and have a serious interest in many of them, but Bloodhounds will always be my first and deepest love. I have shared my home and life with Bloodhounds since 1980, and have actively participated in conformation, obedience and trailing events. I have been an American Bloodhound Club man-trailing judge for over 20 years, and an AKC judge since 2003. I showed and finished many Bloodhounds of my own and for others as an owner-handler prior to obtaining my judging approval. Did very limited breeding under the Mas- terpiece kennel name. I am also a parent club-approved breed mentor/presenter, with a special interest in educating aspir- ing judges regarding the form/function of our unique breed. “I hoPe To evenTuAlly judge All hound Breeds And hAve A serIous InTeresT In mAny of Them, BuT BLOODHOUNDS WILL ALWAYS BE MY FIRST AND DEEPEST LOVE.”
I am approved to judge Sporting, Hound and Working Groups as well as three Herding breeds. I have bred and shown Basset Hounds and Bloodhounds. My Kennel Club affiliations include American Bloodhound Club (I served as President for two years and on the Board of Directors for sev- eral years) and Tupelo, Ms KC (Board of Directors for several years). I have judged in almost every state in the US and also have judged in China, Puerto Rico, Canada and Australia. I have totally enjoyed judging! In addition to always loving dogs, it has provided the opportunity to visit places in this world that otherwise I would not have seen. The best aspect of judging is the many, many nice people you meet over the years. There are exceptions to every rule but I have always said that most everyone who likes dogs also likes people. I live in Savannah, TN, a small town on the Tennessee river that is equidistant from Memphis, TN, Nashville, TN and Huntsville, AL. For Civil War buffs, Savannah is 16 miles from Shiloh Military Park. For movie fans, it is 8 miles from Buford Pusser’s home as depicted in the movie “Walking Tall”. 1. What five traits do you look for, in order, when judging Bloodhounds? What do you consider the ultimate hallmark of the breed?
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“I Try noT To evAluATe eAch enTry In Terms of order of Preference of TrAITs (I.e. “fronT-end judge”, “reAr-end judge”, eTc.), BUT TO EVALUATE EACH ENTRY IN TOTAL.”
CM: Traits I look for: 1) picture of a typey, deep-bodied hound, combining strength and athleticism. 2) Move- ment that is balanced and true, without wasted energy. 3) A foot with short, well-knuckled toes and full padding beneath. 4) A moderately long neck that flows smoothly into well-laid-back shoulders. 5) A beautiful headpiece to top it all off. The ultimate hallmark of the breed, for me, is the soul that is evident in the eyes. This is like porn— hard to describe, but you’ll know it when you see it! SP: 1) Shape, bone and substance; overall type (i.e. does it have the overall look of a Bloodhound?) 2) Head: expres- sion, eye shape and depth, ear set, thin and loose skin, matching head planes and equal back skull and foreface length, etc. This is a head breed. 3) Correct elastic swing- ing and free movement; our breed should be built for endurance and the ability to travel long distances easily and without tiring. Length of body is important to this, as well as balanced moderate front and rear angles. 4) Details such as good, strong, tight feet, tail set and car- riage (not too curled over the back), length of neck, crest and smooth transition into shoulders, etc. 5) As much as can be determined in the ring, sweet and gentle tempera- ment with no sharpness, fearfulness or aggression toward humans or other dogs. All 5 of these traits are of equal importance. I’m looking for the dogs that most closely typify the standard and display correct soundness and temperament. JW: I try not to evaluate each entry in terms of order of preference of traits (i.e. “front-end judge”, “rear-end judge”, etc.), but to evaluate each entry in total. It should present a picture of (per standard) power and stand over more ground as compared to most other hound breeds. The skin is extremely loose resulting in wrinkles, especially noticeable on the head. All other factors being equal, the greater height is preferable if character and quality are also combined. The same is applicable for weights. Important and one of the hallmarks of the breed: wonderful temperament with humans and other dogs. A distinguished-looking head, narrow in proportion to its length with low-set ears. The feet very tight (not
splayed). The gait a combination of front end reach and rear drive.
2. How has the breed changed since you became involved with it? Do you see any trends you think are moving the breed in the wrong direction? Any traits becoming exaggerated? CM: Overall, the breed has become more standardized. Rarely now do we see a ring full of Bloodhounds that look like many different breeds (a Ridgeback here, then a Redbone, then…). Our breeders have come so far in that regard. I see much better shoulders in general, although some breeders still have a ways to go there. Rears were good for a while but I think we need to pay more atten- tion to all the wasted motion back there. Many fronts are too far forward on the dog. The one trend I don’t like is an increase in size: too heavy, too long, too tall. This is impressive in the show ring but contrary to what is needed in a working hound. SP: Rears and temperaments have improved. Correct fronts and bone/substance are being lost. We see more straight fronts without sufficient bone, prosternum and keel than we used to. Some of our hounds are getting very far removed from the correct size and substance on both ends of the spectrum. JW: The breed has improved in rear movement. When I started showing it was notable to see a Bloodhound that had true rear end movement rather than stiffness and being cow hocked. Although I have not judged a large entry lately, two or three years ago I was one of the judges at the National Specialty for Top 20 Competition and saw too many with splayed front feet. This is totally incorrect as no Bloodhound could endure hours of track- ing with splayed front feet and/or being down in the pasterns. 3. Is there anything Bloodhound handlers do you wish they would not? CM: I wish all handlers would move their hounds at an appropriate pace rather than trying to impress by racing
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them around the ring. Those folks don’t realize that a loose-lead breed like the Bloodhound does not look good going fast. SP: Bloodhounds are not an easy breed to show. Young dogs especially have a mind of their own and are often not sufficiently trained for the show ring. In order to fairly and objectively evaluate entries, it’s important to be able to clearly see down-and-back and side gait. Also, handlers often move their dogs too fast; Bloodhounds are not built for speed, but for endurance, and I prefer to see them gaited at an easy, relaxed trot—not racing around the ring like a sporting breed! JW: Advice especially for new Bloodhound judges and new Bloodhound handlers: 1) For reemphasis sake, the standard does NOT say, “the bigger the better”. It adds “provided character and quality are also combined”. Same applies to weight. 2) Although loose skin is one of the hallmarks of the breed, this is not a loose skin/wrinkle contest and keep in mind this is normally more prevalent on the dog than the bitch. 3) If an entry tends to insist
on dropping its head toward the ground it is exhibit- ing its instinct of being able to track and should not be penalized for doing so. Also, for new handlers it presents a better picture to the judge to see an exhibit with a lowered head than to see a handler going around the ring continually jerking on the lead in order to raise the head. 4) New judges: this is not the easiest breed to exhibit... be understanding. 4. Anything else you’d like to add? CM: This breed is a well-kept secret. They are not for every- body, but those of us who have let them into our hearts are immensely richer for it. JW: I want to commend the Bloodhound breeders for pre- serving the original purpose of the breed: tracking. This has remained instinctive with the breed over the years. Unfortunately, many breeds cannot claim this. 5. And, for a bit of humor: What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? CM: Of course, it was the flying goober, about 8 inches long and thick like a slug, tumbling through the air and land- ing on the back of the unsuspecting judge’s “big hair”, then laying there to fascinate a ring full of exhibitors. We dared not look at each other! JW: Funniest as seen in the ring… several years ago I had an exhibitor (forgotten the breed) that was a true outdoors- man. He had pans and other items strapped to his Daniel Boone outfit. He made a lot of noise (clanking, etc.) when moving his dogs. Funny as it was, I was told afterwards this was the true outdoorsman. The audience certainly enjoyed it. “THIS BREED IS A WELL-KEPT SECRET. They Are noT for everyBody, BuT Those of us who hAve leT Them InTo our heArTs Are Immensely rIcher for IT.”
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Judging the BLOODHOUND
I have bred Bloodhounds since 1980. I have been an AKC conformation judge and an American Bloodhound Club Mantrailing field trials judge, and I have strong ideas on how the breed should be judged. Th e Bloodhound is in every respect a functional hound. Both the breed standard and the hound itself correlate with the Bloodhound job description. by Anne L. Legge
Y our first look at your class of hounds is holistic, checking for correct size, silhouette, and proportions. Th e Bloodhound is not square but rectangular or o ff -square, “stands over more ground than is usual with other hound breeds.” Your first impression should be of a strong and powerful dog because his job requires endurance to trail in all kinds of weath- er for hours over all kinds of challeng- ing terrain from rugged mountains to paved parking lots. Bone and substance are important to the successful work- ing Bloodhound--do not reward light bone. (Although for simplicity I refer to the hound as “he”, some of our great show dogs and working hounds have been bitches. Th e height and weight figures in the standard are not requirements but describe an average: 26 inches for adult dogs, 24 for adult bitches, 90 pounds
for adult dogs, 80 pounds for adult bitches. Th e stan- dard does not say “the big- ger, the better,” but that the greater heights and weights are to be preferred if charac- ter, proportion, and quality are equal. For whatever rea- son, the Bloodhounds in your ring today will be taller and heavier than the figures in the standard. Bear in mind that these dogs are worked in har- ness and on a lead, pulling the handler behind, and that they may need to be assisted over walls or fences.
scent, but the Bloodhound is supreme in his ability to discriminate one scent from all others. When the Blood- hound drops its head to the trail, the wrinkles and ears form a cup around the nose with its large, open nostrils. For this reason, the superabundant thin, loose skin is desirable on the head and neck. Th ere is no justification for festoons of skin on the hindquarters and
Th e head of the Bloodhound is important to both the working func- tion and the breed type of the hound. Accordingly, more than one-third of the standard addresses the head and neck. Th e nose, the ears, the wrinkle, even the notorious slobber all serve to enhance scenting ability. All dogs
“All dogs scent, but the Bloodhound is SUPREME IN HIS ABILITY TO DISCRIMINATE one scent from all others.”
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“Viewed in profile the foreface should have a square outline, not pointed or snipey.
THE CORRECT HEAD IS TRULY ARISTOCRATIC, the back skull a pointed oval, never round, broad, or coarse.”
Unfortunately, in today’s hounds there is a distressing prevalence of reced- ing back skulls. When the back skull falls away, there can be neither paral- lel planes nor pronounced occipital peak. Th e length of the muzzle should not be less than that from the stop to the occipital peak, which should be very pronounced. Viewed in profile the foreface should have a square out- line, not pointed or snipey. Th e correct head is truly aristocratic, the back skull a pointed oval, never round, broad, or coarse. Th e eyelids form a diamond shaped eye. A round eye creates a bold look, not the characteristic sad, pleading hound expression. A red haw should not be penalized as long as the eye looks healthy. Th e eyes complement the color of the dog, ranging from dark brown or hazel to yellow in liver and tans. Ears are extremely long, soft, and velvety, set on at least as low as the eye, falling in graceful folds which curl inward and backward. Th e large open nose is black or brown corresponding to the color of
the hound. A scissors bite is preferred; a level bite is acceptable. Keep in mind that the Bloodhound is worked in harness on a lead. He is not encouraged to run because he is attached to his handler. Adequate balanced angulation front and rear is essential to the resilience required for his job. A long neck and well laid back shoulders allow the hound to drop his head comfortably to the trail. Although the standard does not specifically men- tion the prominent prosternum that is desired, it goes with well laid back shoulders. As the song says, “You can’t have one without the other.” Don’t let neck skin fool you about neck length and should layback. Th ere will be two or three fingers width between the shoulder blades because this is a dog that works with his nose on or near the ground. When the head moves down, the blades move closer together andtheremustberoomforthis. Th echest is deep, extending in a mature hound to the elbows, allowing ample room for heart and lungs.
thighs, which may predispose to skin problems. In a standard notably lacking in spe- cifics, the length of the head is speci- fied as 12 or more inches in dogs and 11 in bitches. Narrow in proportion to length and long in proportion to the body, the head is about the same width throughout and appears flattened at the sides. Of course the head must complement the rest of the dog, and a bulky male can carry a broader head if the length is present.. Th e planes of the foreface and the back skull should be nearly parallel.
“...THE BLOODHOUND IS A STUBBORN AND INDEPENDENT PROBLEM-SOLVER. Following a scent, he will find a way to go over, under, or around obstacles.”
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T he Bloodhound is a scent hound of great size and strength with a noble, digni- fied expression. No wonder Bloodhounds look so noble and dignified (sometimes): they have a distinguished history. St. Hubert hounds, ancestors of today’s Bloodhounds, helped Europeans celebrate the Millenni- um in the year 1000. Today’s Bloodhounds are descended from those hounds, bred by Hubert, a 7th-century French monk who later became patron saint of hunters, and from hounds bred by other medieval noble- men who kept scent hounds as hunting dogs. Many strains, including hounds brought back to Europe by the Crusaders from the Holy Land, have blended to produce today’s gentle giants. It was not until the 16th century that the Bloodhound was used to track humans. Mantrailing has enjoyed a steady increase in modern day law enforcement and search and rescue. Trails performed by proven trail- ing Bloodhounds are permissible in court. “Blood,” in the breed name “bloodhound,” probably comes from “blooded” - meaning a hound of pure breeding. In French-speaking parts of Europe Bloodhounds are still known as St. Hubert hounds. By Susan Hamil History of the Bloodhound A Bloodhound Lover
Th e body is of uniform depth throughout with little or no tuck up. Hounds, par- ticularly bitches, may have a “dust ru ffl e,” a fold of skin hanging down underneath which may give the illusion that the hound is overweight or short on leg. Actually the standard does not address length of leg in relation to height at the withers as many standards do. Let pleasing proportions be your guide. In my experience as a breed- er, most Bloodhound bitches have false pregnancies, and I would not fault this in the show ring. My Basset breeder friend Peg Walton used to say, “Any fool can see what that is.” Forelegs are straight and large boned; thighs and sec- ond thighs are muscular with well let down rear pas- terns. Back and loins must be strong. Fault a weak or dippy top line. Th e standard is clear that feet should be strong and well knuckled, an important feature for a working hound. In movement, demand a fit, athletic animal with a well balanced, coordi- nated gait. Going away, the Bloodhound may move wide for the first few steps, but when in gear should move neither close nor wide. Th ere should be no wasted motion, no hackney gait, no paddling, no cross- ing over. Th e stern is long and tapering, set on rather high. Ideally it should be curved like a sickle, but you will find departures from the ideal. Th e tail is important to the
silhouette, not so much to the working function. Use your judgment. Temperament also is related to the Bloodhound job description. Not par- ticularly obedient or toler- ant of demands for repetitive behavior, the bloodhound is a stubborn and independent problem-solver. Following a scent, he will find a way to go over, under, or around obstacles. Th e standard describes him as a ff ectionate, not quarrelsome, somewhat shy, and sensitive. I would use the word “reserved” rather than put the stamp of approval on shyness. Because of the hood of skin, some hounds do not see very well and some are very sound sen- sitive. Also some are surface sensitive--you would think that the duct tape on the mats was a barrier. Be sure to approach Bloodhounds from the front, let them smell your hand, and speak to them. Be confident, not tentative, but please don’t be rough. You don’t need to grab the skin and wave it around to know it is there. Although you should cut a sensitive young- ster some slack, exert zero tolerance to a hound who is threatening in any way. Judges cannot go wrong if they emphasize the function- al characteristics, give less consideration to other fea- tures, and acknowledge that there are some areas where they must make a judgment call.
“No wonder Bloodhounds look SO NOBLE AND DIGNIFIED”
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