Also known as a "Sleuth Hound", Bloodhounds are skilled at tracking down their quarry by smell alone and this includes through water. These dignified and noble looking dogs have been highly prized for their tracking skills for decades by search and rescue teams as well as hunters alike.
They are a very ancient breed of hound thought to be have been first developed my Belgium monks, but their true origins are still a bit of a mystery. Today, Bloodhounds are kept as companions as well as working dogs often seen helping the Police in their work when tracking missing persons.
It is thought that Bloodhounds originate from Western Europe and that they were first developed in France during the 12th century by the monks of Abbey St Hubert. These dogs were highly prized by the monks for their proud appearance, their strength and for their stamina. In the 14th century, the breed was renamed Bloodhounds rather than Chien St Hubert. They were given this name because of their pure bloodlines and over the centuries, these hounds have worked alongside man tracking both animals and humans in challenging environments the world over.
By the 17th century, scientist Robert Boyle wrote a credited paper on Bloodhounds traits and their effectiveness in the field because he thought so highly of their skills at tracking down quarry with their acute sense of smell. However, the sport of deer hunting fell into decline when fox hunting with Beagles became popular and as such the popularity of Bloodhounds declined too.
Luckily, with the help of a few enthusiasts, the breed was kept alive although during World War I and World War II, numbers of Bloodhounds fell once again quite dramatically. The breed was bought back from the brink of extinction when dogs were imported into the UK from France and other European countries. Today, these noble looking dogs are once again highly prized for their tracking abilities and the fact they make such wonderful companions for people who lead active, outdoor lives.