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How did these unique looking dogs in a baggy suit evolve? The bloodhound is one of the oldest breeds of dogs that hunt by scent. They are distinguished from other dogs by their pedulous ears, loose skin and extraordinary olfactory powers!  It is believed that the bloodhounds of today originated from two ancient strains of European hounds, the St Huberts and the Talbots dating to the 7th and 8th centuries.

The bloodhound came to prominence when William the Conqueror brought them to England, where they were originally used as game hunting dogs.  During colonization in the new world, the dogs were brought to America.Their true gift as amazing and remarkable man- trailing dogs was at last recognized.  The bloodhound soon became famous as the dog with the NOSE!!

Today, the bloodhound is the only breed that has the ability to scent discriminate human scent, and only trained bloodhounds evidence can be accepted in a court of law.  This skill is unmatched by any other breed of dog. Remarkably this same dog may be on a trail one day, in the show ring or obedience ring the next and lying on your couch or romping with your kids the day after that!  The bloodhound is capable of being a serious working dog and the most clownish lovable pet you will ever own, if you take the time to train him properly throughout his life.

Just remember ... you are now owned by a bloodhound and their motto is "What is in it for me?"

@American Bloodhound club

How do I care for my puppy

You should clean your pup's eyes daily ... if there is any debris in the eyes, wipe them clean!
If they should appear cloudy, go to your vet.

Use a good ear cleaner and please obtain recommendations from your breeder or vet.
This must be done diligently as problems can arise very quickly! We like a wipe rather than liquid poured into their ears!

Brush every week ...  this eliminates dead hair.
Check the dewlap area (under the neck) for any hair loss or possible irritation.
A good habit of routine maintenance will help your dog look, feel and smell better.


Cut them every week!
Begin as soon as you get your pup and do it as part of your routine!
They do not make this an enjoyable task, but with patience, you will get it done.

Things to be careful about pertaining to bloodhounds
Bloat - major medical problem in our hounds, causes are unclear but can strike at any time and can kill your animal if not diagnosed and treated immediately!

Anesthesia - be careful, bloodhounds do not require the recommended dosage per pound, so please suggest to your vet to start with a lesser amount ... the use of barbiturate anesthesia is not recommended in bloodhounds!

Behavior - bloodhounds can be rather possessive, opportunistic and they don't like to share! You must run your home like the top dog! Be kind, but be the boss ... make sure you control your hound's whole life, all his belongings and especially his food! When he becomes a teenage, at about 8 to 9 months, he may try to challenge you. Never let him get the upper hand!

Socialization  - socialize your pup as much as you can. They enjoy new sounds, smells and sights!

Obedience - attend basic obedience, this will be a large dog and you want him to be controllable!

Crate Training - he is a cute little pup right now and your child wants the puppy to sleep with him, in his bed, don't do it ... this little pup will grow ... buy a large crate and use it now!

Fencing - never allow your bloodhound to roam free ... his nose will take him on a scent trail and he will forget you in a heartbeat and you will have a lost, stolen or dead dog!

Special Identification - microchip your pup ... it is simple and your vet can do it for you or your breeder.

Feeding - your breeder should go over this with you ... we free feed (filling the dish in the morning and evening), but everyone has their own way. Bloodhounds drink lots of water, so make sure you have plenty of fresh water available at all times. Please feed good dog food ... if the ingredients say it has corn ... don't use it!

Good breeders spend years studying pedigrees, evaluating health and talking to other breeders all over the world in an attempt to produce quality bloodhounds.  The background of a prospective breeding pair is extremely important in identifying and avoiding potential problems.  Prospective breeding hounds should be tested and screened for genetic disorders. For more information on the specific recommended screenings for bloodhounds, contact the Canine Health Information Center (www.caninehealthinfo.org) and for more information about performing these tests, contact the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (ww.ofa.org).  A reputable breeder will only sell pet puppies on a limited registration and with spay or neuter contracts. This assures that the dogs are not bred indiscriminately and that only the very best of each litter will be used in any future breeding program.  Spayed and neutered animals are not eligible to compete in AKC Conformation shows, but may compete in AKC Obedience, Agility and Tracking events.

If for any reason you are unable to keep your pet, contact your breeder - reputable breeders will happily and eagerly take the dog back regardless of age! 

If the initial price seems too good to be true ... ask yourself why and should I buy from this breeder? Please do your research, prior to buying from anyone!

Health Articles


Those Wonderful Bloodhound Ears
by Karen Leshkivich, DVM

Bloodhounds unfortunately have an ear designed for trouble. Those wonderful long, low set ears are great at trapping debris, moisture and heat producing the optimum dark environment for bacteria and yeast to grow. If you notice a foul odor or debris in the ear canal when you lift up that soft, long ear flap or if they are shaking their head, scratching at their ears, or rubbing their head on the floor or furniture, your hound may have an ear infection (otitis).

The most common culprits of ear infections are yeast (often a very dark brown buildup in the ear canal) or bacteria such as E. Coli, Staph or Pseudomonas. There are many predisposing factors to ear problems, other than their ear conformation. Activities such as swimming, or always laying on one side to sleep can result in an ear problem. Foreign bodies (weeds, grass, etc), tumors, or polyps can lead to ear infections. Underlying systemic problems such as hypothyroidism or allergies can often show up as only an ear problem.

Ear infections can progress from the outer ear canal into the middle or inner ear with serious consequences such as a head tilt, vestibular disease (balance problems) or facial nerve paralysis. With chronic ear problems, the ear canal can become very irregular and narrowed, and may even require surgery for relief. The best treatment is prevention. You should routinely check and clean your hound's ears at a minimum of once a week.

The best way to clean the ears is with the help of an ear cleaning solution made for use in dogs. There are many available, but some of my favorites are R-7 ear cleaner, Oticlens, Oticalm, Nolvasan Otic, and Epi-Otic.

Open up your dog's ear by holding the ear flap upward to form a sort-of-funnel, to see the opening of the ear canal. What you see is the opening of the vertical canal. Squirt a good amount of ear cleaner into the opening. Close up the ear by placing the ear flap over the canal opening. Gently massage the base of the ear near the skull. You'll hear the solution squishing around (as well as your hound moaning and groaning). Take a cotton ball and place it over the tip of your finger and gently wipe out any debris from the outer ear canal. Let your hound shake his head (you may want to step back a bit). This will bring debris up from deeper in the ear canal from the horizontal canal to the vertical canal where you can wipe it out. If the cotton ball is still very dirty, repeat the process. Don't use Q-tips, or try to reach down too far into the ear canal, you only end up pushing the debris in further. Let the centrifugal force of the head shaking and the ear solution to do a lot of the work for you.

It will depend on what is growing in your hound's ears as to what medication to use. It is best to have your vet do a smear from the ears and look under the microscope to determine if it is mites, yeast, or bacteria. If there is bacteria growing in your hounds ears it may be necessary to do a culture and sensitivity to determine the best medication. Sometimes it is necessary to use an oral antibiotic in conjunction with topical ear medications (especially with Pseudomonas infections). For medicating the ears, always clean them first, instill the medication, then massage the base of the ear to distribute the medication deeper into the ear canal.

Check your hound's ears routinely and keep them clean!

Common Treatments for Ear Conditions

Panalog Yeast
Otomax General bacterial infection +/- for yeast
Gentocin Otic E. Coli, Pseudomonas, Staph
Liquichlor Strop, Staph, E Coli
Synotic Allergic ototis, Inflammation
Tresaderm Mites, yeast

This article is the sole possession of the author and is reprinted here by permission.
Disclaimer: This article is the personal opinion of the author for informational purposes only. The author make no warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of this information or will be liable for any loss, damages, claims or injury that accompany or result from any use of this material. This article may not be copied or distributed without the inclusion of this disclaimer.


by Karen Leshkivich, DVM


Epilepsy is divided into three types: Primary epileptic seizures (PES--i.e.idiopathic, inherited), Secondary epileptic seizures (SES), and Reactive epileptic seizures (RES).

Primary epileptic seizures are defined as abnormal brain function without any structural abnormalities in the brain. The seizure is the result of abnormal neurological imbalance in the brain. PES is what most breeders are concerned with since there is a genetic tendency with this form of epilepsy. But PES is not the only cause of seizures in dogs. PES is a 'diagnosis of exclusion,' in other words all other causes of seizures are ruled out before the diagnosis of 'Epilepsy' is made. There are at least 50 categories of problems that can cause seizures that are not the inherited 'epilepsy' that people first think of with the mention of the word 'seizure' (these are listed at the end of this article). It is documented that 1% to 6% of purebred dogs are affected with the hereditary (idiopathic) epilepsy. This is a single gene disorder that is recessive. Since it is a single gene defect in one gene (the actual gene affected is probably different for each breed of dog), in order for a dog to show signs of hereditary epilepsy, siblings, half siblings, a parent and at least one offspring must have the defective gene. In general, it is recommended that any dog with epilepsy not be bred, as well as any siblings or parents.

Secondary epilepsy seizures (SES) are defined as abnormal brain function associated with changes in the brain. There are so many causes of SES that I will list them at the end of the article to save time, but they include developmental, inflammatory, infectious, vascular, neoplasia (cancer), trauma and toxins. One of my own bloodhounds had begun having seizures at the age of 5, a few months after having had a litter. Initially, she only had short episodes of being non-responsive and weak that occurred sporadically. At that time, tests indicated that she had a white blood cell count of 50,000 (normal is 10,000). We treated her with antibiotics, and the 'episodes' stopped. About 6 months later, she began having frequent episodes of collapse, focal seizures and non-responsiveness, which escalated to full-blown seizures. Multiple tests were run on her, and even though she was always current on vaccinations, part of the neurological screening included a Distemper titer and conjuctival swab to look for Distemper bodies. The Distemper tests came back postive--she had active Canine Distemper even though she was fully vaccinated and an adult. To end the story, she was one of the very few that survived Distemper and her seizures stopped completely. She lived to be the age of 11 with no further health problems. None of her offspring ever exhibited any seizures. What had apparently happened with her was that the fulminate infection she had after having her litter (a severe uterine infection--endometritis), had compromised her immune system to the point that she did not respond to her yearly vaccination boosters; she had contacted a dog infected with Distemper and had contracted the disease. Her initial bouts of 'seizures' were due to the bacterial infection and the more severe seizures that occurred later were due to the viral Distemper infection in her brain. I told this story about one of my dogs, although it was a difficult time for both me and her, to show that seizures can be caused by, many other things other than hereditary epilepsy.

Reactive epileptic seizures (RES) are a reaction of the brain to systemic insult or physiologic stress (something else wrong in the body). Again, the list of causes is quite long and is summarized at the end of this article, but the major categories include: organ failure, electrolyte imbalance and energy deprivation. Simple things like low blood sugar can cause seizures; heart disease, liver disease, toxins that upset the sodium balance in the body--can all result in a reactive epileptic seizure.

Although the causes of epileptic seizures are many, they all can result in similar appearing seizures. Not to diminish the importance of being aware of the presence of hereditary seizures, it is important to determine the cause of the seizure so that an underlying condition can be treated. Only after all other causes have been ruled out can one say that a seizure was a result of hereditary epilepsy.


Causes of Seizures

Form Cause

Primary Epileptic Seizures (PES) Hereditary
Secondary Epileptic Seizures SES) Developmental/Congenital:
porencephaly (cysts in brain)
cortical dysplasia
vascular malformation
Canine distemper
  Immune mediated:
Granulomatous Meningioencephalitis
Cortocosteroid responsive inflammatory conditions
Thromboembolic: septic, tumor, cardiac spasm
  Neoplasia (tumor, cancer)
ethylene glycol
Reactive Epileptic Seizures (RES) Organ failure:
hepatic encephalopathy (liver disease)
portosystemic shunt
uremic execephalopathy (kidney failure)
chronic kidney failure
  Electrolyte imbalance:
sodium decrease
sodium increase
calcium decrease: pancreatitis, kidney disease
  Energy deprivation:
Thiamine deficiency
  Hypoxia (decreased oxygen):
shock, heart failure
  Ischemia(decreased blood pressure):
shock, heart failure
juvenile hypoglycemia
hunting dog hypoglycemia
endocrine disease

Eye Issues - Dry Eye/Cherry Eye

Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS)
Winter 1994 Bulletin
by Karen Leshkivich

KCS is a common problem among bloodhounds, in fact they are 5th on the list of breeds most likely to develop KCS. What is KCS--it is most commonly known as 'dry eye'. The problem is that there is insufficient tear production to keep the eye moist and lubricated. The dogs eyes will appear to have dry corneas as opposed to the normal shiny, wet cornea. They often have a ropy, white discharge at the corner of the eyes. As the disease progresses, their cornea become opaque or colored more darkly, this is referred to as corneal pigmentation and neovascularization. In some cases, they may develop corneal ulcers. KCS can have many causes, the primary one being that they are a bloodhound and the breed is predisposed to developing KCS, also things such as distemper infection, sulfa drugs, trauma to the eye, and lacrimal glad removal (or 'cherry eye' removal) can also lead to KCS.

In order to determine if your dog has KCS, a simple test called the Schirmer tear test can determine how much tear production your dog has. If when you look at your dogs eyes, they appear dry, or the corneas are not shiny and clear, or if there is a lot of discharge from the eyes, you should suspect KCS.

If KCS is left untreated, your bloodhound can become clinically blind. As the opacity and pigmentation of the corneas progress, your dog will not be able to see more than shadows between light and dark. I know many people joke about the fact that most bloodhounds act as if they were blind, always following their nose and ignoring the tree or parked car in their path, so they need to preserve all of the sight that they do have.

There have been many treatments for KCS, and there is a new treatment that is very exciting. Traditionally, treatment consists of topical artificial tears or ointments, but this requires application every few hours to be effective. Pilocarpine given orally has also been prescribed, as well as topical antibiotics if there is evidence of infection, or corticosteroids if persistent inflammation is a problem. A relatively new drug for treatment of KCS is cyclosporine A. This drug has been used in human medicine for years as an immunosuppressant for cancer treatment. Cyclosporine A has been found to be effective in treating KCS, although the exact mechanism of how it works is still not clear. It increases the tear production dramatically with only twice a day or even once a day application. This drug is currently supplied by a few pharmacies and veterinary medical colleges across the country and will soon be available through a major pharmaceutical company in ointment form. Since it is a new drug, it is still relatively expensive, but the dramatic results and improvement in the well being and sight of the dogs is well worth it.