Bloodhounds are amongst a group of breeds classed as ‘Category Three’ by The Kennel Club. These are breeds of dog that have been highlighted as having visible conditions or conformational issues that can cause pain, discomfort or health issues due to exaggerations. This means that these breeds of dog have been bred over many years to look a certain way but that these changes to the way they look have started to cause them health problems.
Bloodhounds are a member of the ‘Hound’ breed group. The Hound group include breeds originally used for hunting either by scent or sight. They require a substantial amount of exercise and are considered to be aloof but trustworthy dogs.
Affectionate and gentle-natured, Bloodhounds get on well with children, making them good family pets once socialised. At home they’re usually quite quiet, but they can be very vocal outside! They need grooming just once a week, but their facial wrinkles will need daily cleaning, as may their ear tips which are prone to dragging in their food.
Breed-related health problems:
Although some of these health problems are manageable, it’s been identified that it’s in the best interests of the dog to try and selectively breed to decrease the characteristics which cause the health problems. Some of the characteristics and associated health problems you’ll want to know more about in relation to Bloodhounds include:
- Joint disorders – such as elbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia – occur when joints don’t develop correctly and cause degenerative joint disease. Bone and joint problems can be managed but there are schemes to screen your dog and see how likely it is that they will suffer from these joint problems.
- Eyelid problems – such as entropion and ectropion – occur in Bloodhounds due to excessive skin over the face and eyes. This skin causes the eyelids to droop either downwards or in towards the eye, where the skin rubs and irritates the eye, causing problems.
- Gastric torsion or Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) – occurs in large, deep chested breeds such as Bloodhounds. The stomach fills with gas (bloat) and can twist around on itself. This most commonly occurs after they have eaten. If your dog shows any signs of bloating, vomiting unproductively (trying to be sick but nothing being produced) or if you are worried they could be bloated you should speak to your vet straight away – this condition requires urgent veterinary attention.
- Ear infections and skin problems can occur in Bloodhounds due to their big ears and droopy skin. Bacteria can build up both on the skin and cause skin fold pyoderma and also in the ears and cause otitis externa.
For some conditions, there are screening programmes available through the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Kennel Club. The Canine Health Schemes allow breeders to screen for a range of inherited diseases, so it’s a good idea to check the parents of any puppy you’re looking to rehome have been screened under these schemes. We’d also recommend discussing the medical history of your potential puppy’s parents and grandparents, and think very carefully before taking on a dog with any of the health conditions listed above evident in the family line.
You can find out more about the Canine Health Schemes on the BVA's website.
Bloodhounds need plenty of exercise (over 2 hours ideally) per day. They do have a strong trail instinct, so should be exercised in secure areas and also be well trained at a young age to ensure they respond to recall, which may be challenging to teach as once on the scent of something it will be difficult to regain their attention! To learn more about reward-based training for your dog, take a look at our dog behaviour page.
Estimated lifetime cost:
The likely lifetime costs for a Bloodhound are based on estimates calculated using current market prices and include:
- Initial costs of the purchase of the pet
- First vaccinations and booster vaccinations
- Pet insurance
- Flea treatments
The list above does not include veterinary costs if your pet becomes sick or injured, so these average lifetime costs could be even higher.
Insure your Bloodhound with PDSA:
1 in 3 pets need vet treatment each year and vet bills can come to hundreds of pounds. PDSA Pet Insurance can give you peace of mind when your pet is poorly, especially for breeds like Bloodhounds that are prone to certain conditions. PDSA Pet Insurance offers:
- 5 Star Pet Insurance* - from the vet experts
- 4 levels of cover to suit you
- Monthly payment at no extra cost
*Defaqto 5 Star rating applies to our Plus and Premier policies only. Defaqto’s Star Ratings provide an independent assessment of the quality of financial products.
By insuring your Bloodhound with PDSA you’ll also be helping to provide vet care to some of the UK’s neediest pets.