Up to 100 pounds, standing as high as 27 inches tall, diamond shaped “bloody” eyes and can track a scent for a hundred miles; if it’s on your trail, it will find you!
The Bloodhound has an old reputation of being one of the best scent tracking dogs in the business. Even so, they are one of the best tempered of all large dog breeds and can be extremely affectionate. They do not track because they are mean. They track because they were made for it and are exceptional in the art of tracking.
The breed began in Europe a long while back, but was originally recognize as a stand-alone Hound breed in 1885. It was here in the United States that a century of breeding brought about the master tracker and very lovable dog we are familiar with today.
Where as many dogs track with a combination of scent, sound and sight, the Blood Hound tracks only through smell. The Blood Hound’s olfactory is said to be upwards of 40 times greater than the best human nose. Now as impressive as that sounds, and it is, the olfactory level of a bear is 100 times greater than a humans! That makes a bear’s nose about 7 or 8 times greater than that of a Blood Hound. Now that is quite a nose! However, good luck training a bear to track for you. Also a bear will tire long before a Blood Hound when in the hunt. The Blood Hound can follow a scent for up to a hundred miles (@160km).
Blood Hounds that have been not only trained, but also have experience on their side can follow the scent of a single person for up to two days under foul conditions before the scent starts getting too thin for easy detection. They can track that scent through rain and even crowds of other people. Interestingly the Blood Hound, as opposed to many other tracking dogs, usually tracks in silence rather than baying the whole way.
That lovable droopy, wrinkly face of the Blood Hound is not just softly textured to look cute. All those wrinkles and sags have a very specific function to the dog’s olfactory capacity. Between their slobbering saliva and all those folds, the dog’s physical features help capture the molecules holding scent, which allows their incredible nose to better, and with longer duration, detect the scent of the target. A mere couple of skin cells are all they need to take off on the scent trail.
They are one of the most popular training dog breeds for official police and agency tracking teams. The reputation of a trained Blood Hound is so highly respected that evidence from Blood Hound tracking is taken in almost any court of law. I lived in an area high in the Rocky Mountains and during the cool and slightly wet autumn, a lot filled with school buses was vandalized. The damage was rather severe. The local PD had no leads and no real evidence that pointed to any of specific. After a week they called in a Blood Hound team. In less than a few hours the dogs led police to the door step of a local teenager who had committed the crime.
How long a scent lasts is dependent on a great many variables. Elevation, rain, dampness, dryness, wind, sun and UV rays, surface type, dew point and humidity levels, salt air regions, animal and people traffic, pollution and many others can determine how long a scent will linger. The cooler, damper and shadier the region, typically the longer the scent will last. The more wind, sun/UV and low humidity exposure the scent is exposed to, the faster it will degrade. It is claimed that in ideal conditions, veteran trained Blood Hounds can follow a scent that is months and months old! But cases where a Blood Hound followed a scent over two weeks in age are very common. A scent a few days old up to the two week period are more usually in Blood Hound tracking. It is thought that Blood Hounds are actually smelling the genetics of a person when tracking them, like tracking a finger print they can smell.
Blood Hounds are not only used to track criminals and other “targets”, but they are also heavily used in search and rescue missions. The fact is that if you have a trained Blood Hound on your trail, they will find you. It is just a matter of time, but they will find you, and in search and rescue situations, that tidbit could be reassuring. If however you are being tracked and you do not wish to be, then you need to target the very thing tracking your scent, the olfactory system of the tracking hound. Some potent capsicum powder from hot peppers can work wonders. Urinate and then step into the wetness. Start walking fast and after about 20 yards begin to run. Once you have covered a short distance running, stop. Check where your foot prints are. Move to the opposite side of your tracks as your running trail. Pour the capsicum powder in a few of your last running tracks and be on your way. Yes there are strategies on how to continue on in the best track confusing manner, but that can be found in my courses on Scout Stealth and Survival Combat Camp. The tracking dog picks up the strength of your urine trail and as you walk faster, the dog moves more quickly. When your trail begins to run with that strong urine smell, the dog picks up its pace and has little time to slow down and smell things slightly before it is on top of them. Once the dog hits your capsicum powder tracks it sniffs that into its sinuses it ruins the dog’s ability to smell. Such an act can take a dog out of scent tracking for weeks. Yes extreme measures can warrant extreme actions at times.
Nevertheless, the Blood Hound makes an exceptional tracker in cases of missing persons or animals and crime scene related hunts, but since they have such mild personalities they do not make the best war dogs or attack dogs.
Not only is the Blood Hound one of the best scent trackers with a typically wonderful personality, but they are also very prolific. An average Blood Hound litter is around 9 to 15 pups! That is a lot of powerful noses.