The Bloodhound was much used in olden times in hunting and in the
pursuit of fugitives; two services for which his remarkable acuteness
of smell, his ability to keep to the particular scent on which he
is first laid, and the intelligence and pertinacity with which he
follows up the trail, admirably fit him. The use and employment of
these dogs date back into remote antiquity. We have it on the
authority of Strabo that
hey were used against the Gauls, and we
have certain knowledge that they were employed not only in the
frequent feuds of the Scottish clans, and in the continuous border
forays of those days, but also during the ever-recurring hostilities
between England and Scotland.
Indeed, the very name of the dog calls up visions of feudal castles,
with their trains of knights and warriors and all the stirring
panorama of these brave days of old, when the only tenure of life,
property, or goods was by the strong hand.
This feudal dog is frequently pictured by the poet in his ballads
and romances, and in The Lady of the Lake we find the breed again
--dogs of black St. Hubert's breed,
Unmatched for courage, breath, and speed.
These famous black Bloodhounds, called St. Huberts, are supposed to
have been brought by pilgrims from the Holy Land. Another larger
breed, also known by the same name, were pure white, and another kind
were greyish-red. The dogs of the present day are probably a blend
of all these varieties.
[Illustration: BLOODHOUND CH. CHATLEY BEAUFORT. BY CH. CHATLEY
BLAZER--CHATLEY FRIVOL. BRED AND OWNED BY MRS. G. A. OLIPHANT,
The Bloodhound, from the nobler pursuit of heroes and knights, came
in later years to perform the work of the more modern detective; but
in this also his services were in time superseded by the justice's
warrant and the police officer. We find it recorded about 1805,
however, that the Thrapston Association for the Prevention of Felons
in Northamptonshire have provided and trained a Bloodhound for the
detection of sheep-stealers.
The reputation it obtained for sagacity and fierceness in the capture
of runaway slaves, and the cruelties attributed to it in connection
with the suppression of the various negro risings, especially that
of the Maroons, have given the animal an evil repute, which more
probably should attach to those who made the animal's courage and
sagacity a means for the gratification of their own revolting cruelty
of disposition. It has been justly remarked that if entire credence
be given to the description that was transmitted through the country
of this extraordinary animal, it might be supposed that the Spaniards
had obtained the ancient and genuine breed of Cerberus himself.
Coming again to this country, we find the Bloodhound used from time
to time in pursuit of poachers and criminals, and in many instances
the game recovered and the man arrested.
There is no doubt that the police in country districts, and at our
convict prisons, could use Bloodhounds to advantage; but public
sentiment is decidedly against the idea, and although one of His
Majesty's prisons has been offered a working hound for nothing, the
authorities have refused to consider the question or give the hound
Half a century ago the Bloodhound was so little esteemed in this
country that the breed was confined to the kennels of a very few
owners; but the institution of dog shows induced these owners to bring
their hounds into public exhibition, when it was seen that, like the
Mastiff, the Bloodhound claimed the advantage of having many venerable
ancestral trees to branch from. At the first Birmingham show, in 1860,
Lord Bagot brought out a team from a strain which had been in his
lordship's family for two centuries, and at the same exhibition there
was entered probably one of the best Bloodhounds ever seen, in Mr.
T. A. Jenning's Druid. Known now as Old Druid, this dog was got
by Lord Faversham's Raglan out of Baron Rothschild's historic bitch
Fury, and his blood goes down in collateral veins through Mr. L. G.
Morrel's Margrave, Prince Albert Solm's Druid, and Mr. Edwin Brough's
Napier into the pedigrees of many of the celebrated hounds of the
Another famous Druid--grandsire of Colonel Cowen's hound of the
name--was owned by the Hon. Grantley Berkeley. This typical dog was
unsurpassed in his time, and his talent in following a line of scent
was astonishing. His only blemish was one of character; for, although
usually as good-tempered as most of the breed are, he was easily
aroused to uncontrollable fits of savage anger.
Queen Victoria at various times was the possessor of one or more fine
specimens of the Bloodhound, procured for her by Sir Edwin Landseer,
and a capital hound from the Home Park Kennels at Windsor was
exhibited at the London Show in 1869, the judge on the occasion being
the Rev. Thomas Pearce, afterwards known as Idstone. Landseer was
especially fond of painting the majestic Bloodhound, and he usually
selected good models for his studies. The model for the hound in his
well-known picture, Dignity and Impudence, was Grafton, who was
a collateral relative of Captain J. W. Clayton's celebrated Luath XI.
Four superlative Bloodhounds of the past stand out in unmistakable
eminence as the founders of recognised strains. They are Mr. Jenning's
Old Druid, Colonel Cowen's Druid, Mr. Reynold Ray's Roswell, and
Captain Clayton's Luath XI.; and the owner of a Bloodhound which can
be traced back in direct line of descent to any one of these four
patriarchs may pride himself upon possessing a dog of unimpeachable
Among breeders within recent years Mr. Edwin Brough, of Scarborough,
is to be regarded as the most experienced and successful. No record
of the breed would be complete without some acknowledgment of the
great services he has rendered to it. Bloodhounds of the correct type
would to-day have been very few and far between if it had not been
for his enthusiasm and patient breeding. Mr. Brough bred and produced
many hounds, which all bore the stamp of his ideal, and there is no
doubt that for all-round quality his kennel stands first in the
history of the Bloodhound. His most successful cross was, perhaps,
Beckford and Bianca, and one has only to mention such hounds as
Burgundy, Babbo, Benedicta, and Bardolph to recall the finest team
of Bloodhounds that has ever been benched.
Mrs. G. A. Oliphant, of Shrewton, Wilts, whose kennels include Chatley
Blazer and Chatley Beaufort, has of late years been a keen supporter
of the breed. Mrs. Oliphant, who is the president of the ladies'
branch of the Kennel Club, is a great believer in hounds being workers
first and show hounds second, and her large kennels have produced
many hounds of a robust type and of good size and quality. There is
no doubt that as far as hunting is concerned at the present moment
this kennel stands easily first. But admirable Bloodhounds have also
given distinction to the kennels of Mr. S. H. Mangin, Dr. Sidney
Turner, Mr. Mark Beaufoy, Mr. F. W. Cousens, Mr. A. O. Mudie, Lord
Decies, Mr. Hood Wright, Mr. A. Croxton Smith, Dr. C. C. Garfit, Dr.
Semmence, and Mrs. C. Ashton Cross, to mention only a few owners and
breeders who have given attention to this noble race of dog.
The description of a perfect type of dog, as defined by the
Association of Bloodhound breeders, is as follows:--
* * * * *
GENERAL CHARACTER--The Bloodhound possesses, in a most marked degree,
every point and characteristic of those dogs which hunt together by
scent (Sagaces). He is very powerful and stands over more ground
than is usual with hounds of other breeds. The skin is thin to the
touch and extremely loose, this being more especially noticeable about
the head and neck, where it hangs in deep folds. HEIGHT--The mean
average height of adult dogs is 26 inches and of adult bitches 24
inches. Dogs usually vary from 25 inches to 27 inches and bitches
from 23 inches to 25 inches; but in either case the greater height
is to be preferred, provided that character and quality are also
combined. WEIGHT--The mean average weight of adult dogs in fair
condition is 90 pounds and of adult bitches 80 pounds. Dogs attain
the weight of 110 pounds, bitches 100 pounds. The greater weights
are to be preferred, provided (as in the case of height) that quality
and proportion are also combined. EXPRESSION--The expression is noble
and dignified and characterised by solemnity, wisdom and power.
TEMPERAMENT--In temperament he is extremely affectionate, quarrelsome
neither with companions nor with other dogs. His nature is somewhat
shy, and equally sensitive to kindness or correction by his master.
HEAD--The head is narrow in proportion to its length and long in
proportion to the body, tapering but slightly from the temples to
the end of the muzzle thus (when viewed from above and in front)
having the appearance of being flattened at the sides and of being
nearly equal in width throughout its entire length. In profile the
upper outline of the skull is nearly in the same plane as that of
the foreface. The length from end of nose to stop (midway between
the eyes) should be not less than that from stop to back of occipital
protuberance (peak). The entire length of head from the posterior
part of the occipital protuberance to the end of the muzzle should
be 12 inches, or more, in dogs, and 11 inches, or more, in bitches.
SKULL--The skull is long and narrow, with the occipital peak very
pronounced. The brows are not prominent, although, owing to the
deep-set eyes, they may have that appearance. FOREFACE--The foreface
is long, deep, and of even width throughout, with square outline when
seen in profile. EYES--The eyes are deeply sunk in the orbits, the
lids assuming a lozenge or diamond shape, in consequence of the lower
lids being dragged down and everted by the heavy flews. The eyes
correspond with the general tone of colour of the animal, varying
from deep hazel to yellow. The hazel colour is, however, to be
preferred, although very seldom seen in red-and-tan hounds. EARS--The
ears are thin and soft to the touch, extremely long, set very low,
and fall in graceful folds, the lower parts curling inwards and
backwards. WRINKLE--The head is furnished with an amount of loose
skin which in nearly every position appears super-abundant, but more
particularly so when the head is carried low; the skin then falls
into loose, pendulous ridges and folds, especially over the forehead
and sides of the face. NOSTRILS--The nostrils are large and open.
LIPS, FLEWS, AND DEWLAP--In front the lips fall squarely, making a
right-angle with the upper line of the foreface, whilst behind they
form deep, hanging flews, and, being continued into the pendent folds
of loose skin about the neck, constitute the dewlap, which is very
pronounced. These characters are found, though in a less degree, in
the bitch. NECK, SHOULDERS, AND CHEST--The neck is long, the shoulders
muscular and well sloped backwards; the ribs are well sprung, and
the chest well let down between the forelegs, forming a deep keel.
LEGS AND FEET--The fore-legs are straight and large in bone, with
elbows squarely set; the feet strong and well knuckled up; the thighs
and second thighs (gaskins) are very muscular; the hocks well bent
and let down and squarely set. BACK AND LOINS--The back and loins
are strong, the latter deep and slightly arched. STERN--The stern
is long and tapering and set on rather high, with a moderate amount
of hair underneath. GAIT--The gait is elastic, swinging, and free--the
stern being carried high, but not too much curled over the back.
COLOUR--The colours are black-and-tan, red-and-tan, and tawny--the
darker colours being sometimes interspersed with lighter or
badger-coloured hair and sometimes flecked with white. A small amount
of white is permissible on chest, feet, and tip of stern.