Showsight Presents The Bloodhound

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.

342 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , N OVEMBER 2018

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