Showsight Presents The Bloodhound

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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