That ‘Handsome Devil,’ The Bloodhound Dog Breed

bloodhound dog breed

Oh, that handsome devil, the bloodhound. Known for their keen senses of smell and laid-back personalities, the bloodhound dog breed is among the AKC’s top dogs. They’re also popular sleuths for police, and they are often used in search-and-rescue missions. 

Do bloodhounds make good pets? Let’s dig into their backgrounds, bark tendencies and personalities a little more, shall we?

Do Bloodhounds Bark a Lot?

Bloodhounds don’t bark much at all. However, they DO howl! All dogs vocalize to their humans and other animals; it’s their way of communicating what’s going on, what they need, and how they are feeling. A breed’s history often determines whether a dog’s sound is a bark or a howl, or even a short yip. Bloodhounds howl much like their wolve ancestors did thousands of years ago.

Yes, howling sounds different than a bark; in fact, it can sound sad and woeful, but that’s not always the case. 

The difference between barking, howling, and baying

Most canines use the “woof woof” to communicate alarm, hunger, boredom, and a host of other dog messages. On the other hand, howling is melodic, some say “mournful” drawn-out bark that you hear when dogs respond to sounds like emergency vehicle sirens. Dogs also howl when they suffer from separation anxiety, injury, or illness. Baying is the term used to describe the sound dogs from the hound group, like bloodhounds make when they are in packs or hunting. It is a low, continuous bark that rises in intensity as the dog closes in on their quarry, to alert other dogs and hunters to gather.  

Read more about howling, baying and barking in our guide to dog barking.

How to stop bloodhounds from howling

If your bloodhound howls in response to a trigger like a siren or another dog howling, chances are he’ll stop howling when the sound stops. If your pet is howling due to an injury or illness, call or visit your vet. Howling while you’re away could indicate your dog has separation anxiety. To help eliminate his howling, try these tips:

  • Exercise your bloodhound both physically and mentally. A tired dog is more likely to just chill while you’re gone.
  • Leave him a special treat or toy to occupy him.
  • Turn on the TV or radio to a channel that is typically on when you’re home.

If your bloodhound howls merely to get your attention, you may have unknowingly reinforced your dog’s behavior by giving him the food, toy, or your attention when he starts attention-seeking howling. 

You can break this habit by ignoring your bloodhound when he begins howling for attention. Easier said than done, right? That means no scolding either. Any time you scold or yell at your dog, you risk reinforcing the trigger-reward behavior.  

Reward him when he’s quiet. Whenever you notice your bloodhound being quiet, randomly offer praise and a treat. He will learn to associate quiet with a reward. 

With plenty of practice, praise, and treats, your bloodhound can stop his constant howling. However, you must know it will not happen overnight. It takes patience, time, and consistency. 

Speaking of consistency, if your home has multiple household members, it’s crucial that you all are on the same page about training your dog to stop howling. Otherwise, it’s all for not. 

Facts About Bloodhounds

The soulful-looking bloodhound is gentle, patient, and mild-mannered. They get along well with children of all ages and generally get along with other animals. The bloodhound breed is determined and independent, which can make training a challenge. The tendency to ignore an owner’s command is evident when a bloodhound detects an interesting scent. 

The bloodhound dog breed’s sense of smell is so keen and accurate, that legal courts uphold their “testimonies” as evidence in court cases, according to the American Bloodhound Club.

During their adolescence stage, around 1 to 2 years of age, bloodhounds eat anything. They’re known to chow down on dangerous objects such as batteries and TV remote controls.  Bloodhounds are extraordinary droolers that can fling their drool as far as 20 ft with a quick shake of their head.

  • Size: Bloodhounds are large dogs that range 23 to 27 inches in height and weigh 80 to 110 pounds,
  • Life expectancy: Bloodhounds tend to live 10-12 years
  • Coat: Bloodhounds have a short, flat, dense coat that sheds once or twice a year.
  • AKC group: Bloodhounds belong to the AKC hound group.

Are Bloodhounds Easy to Train?

As with other breeds, puppy training and early socialization can go a long way with bloodhounds. Obedience classes early in life can help prevent bloodhounds from becoming set in their ways. Bloodhounds are an intelligent breed best known for their blood tracking and hunting capabilities. Unfortunately, they can be challenging to train as bloodhounds are quick to take charge. They can be stubborn and independent, so it’s essential to use a firm yet kind approach when training. Practice, patience, and consistency are also necessary. The most effective form of training for this breed is positive reinforcement, including lots of praise and treats. 

Do Bloodhounds Need Grooming?

The bloodhound has a short, dense coat. This breed is considered a seasonal shedder, losing hair once or twice a year. Weekly brushing with a medium bristle brush, hound glove, or a rubber grooming mitt or deshedding tool will reduce loose hairs. Brushing further distributes the skin’s oils to keep the coat healthy and promotes new hair growth. Bloodhounds require routine bathing to prevent doggy odor. You can wipe skin wrinkles with a warm wet cloth in between baths. Be sure to dry completely. Daily checks for ear infections is recommended, along with regular nail trimming to prevent pain when walking or running. 

What If My Breed Is a Bloodhound Mix?

A bloodhound mix can rein in this breed’s stubbornness and their innate profuse drooling. While it’s difficult to precisely determine what you’re going to get when you combine the genetics of two breeds, one thing is certain: A bloodhound mix is sure to be a lovable companion.

Here are some popular bloodhound breed mixes: 

  • Beagle Bloodhound — Bloodhound + beagle
  • Bloodahouli — Bloodhound + Catahoula hog dog
  • Labloodhound — Bloodhound + Labrador retriever