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The Bloodhound (also known as the St. Hubert hound and Sleuth Hound) is a large breed of dog which, while originally bred to hunt deer and wild boar, was later bred specifically to track human beings. It is a scenthound, tracking by smell, as opposed to a sighthound, which tracks using vision. It is famed for its ability to discern human odours even days later, over great distances. Its extraordinarily keen nose is combined with a strong and tenacious tracking instinct, producing the ideal scent hound, and it is used by police and law enforcement all over the world to track escaped prisoners, missing people, lost children and even lost pets.

Bloodhounds weigh from 33 to 50 kg (80 to 110 lbs), although some individuals can weigh as much as 72 kg (160 lb). They stand 58 to 69 cm (23 to 27 inches) high at the withers. According to the AKC standard of the breed, larger dogs are to be preferred by conformation judges. The acceptable colours for Bloodhounds are black , liver , tan, or red. Bloodhounds possess an unusually large skeletal structure with most of their weight concentrated in their bones, which are very thick for their length. The coat is typical for a scenthound: hard and composed of fur alone, with no admixture of hair.

This breed is a gentle dog which is nonetheless tireless in following a scent. Because of its strong tracking instinct, it can be willful and somewhat difficult to obedience train. Bloodhounds have an affectionate, gentle, and even-tempered nature, so they make excellent family pets. However, like any large breed, they require supervision when around small children.

The Bloodhound's physical characteristics account for its ability to follow a scent trail left several days in the past. Under optimal conditions, a Bloodhound can detect as few as one or two cells. The Bloodhound's nasal chambers (where scents are identified) are larger than those of most other breeds. The large, long pendent ears serve to prevent wind from scattering nearby skin cells while the dog's nose is on the ground; the folds of wrinkled flesh under the lips and neck—called the shawl—serve to catch stray scent particles in the air or on a nearby branch as the Bloodhound is scenting, reinforcing the scent in the dog's memory and nose.

The number of olfactory receptor cells are 4 billion in a bloodhound, compared to just 12 million in a human and 100 million in a rabbit The surface area of bloodhound olfactory epithelium is 59 sq.in. compared to human's 10 sq.cm.

 
     
 

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