The bloodhound is a classic working dog with a long history. As with many hounds, it is speculated that the bloodhound was developed by the Belgian and french people, centuries ago. The bloodhound is mentioned in writings dating back as early as the 14th century, where they were bred for the purpose of hunting deer and wild boar. The bloodhound’s long history of use as a hunting dog have given the breed a reputation for remarkable tracking skills. It is a misconception that bloodhounds were frequently used in packs. In fact, most bloodhounds track solo in order to minimize noise and to avoid startling their game.
As hunting changed over the years, so did the role of the bloodhound as a working dog. Local police forces began to take note of the breed’s incredible ability to track human beings by scent. Before the abolishment of slavery, bloodhounds were imported to the United States and used to track runaway slaves. Since then, they have found more noble work with police forces who have used them to track criminals and locate missing persons.
Today, bloodhounds are a popular cultural icon and often seen on film or on TV. However, the actual use of bloodhounds by the police has diminished. The gentle nature of the bloodhound combined with difficulties in training and obedience have caused the police to take on more protection-oriented breeds such as the German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois and Dutch Shepherd. However, bloodhounds are still sometimes used in tracking situations where there is little to no risk of danger to the police officer and the dog.