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Flemish Hound Breed Description

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Breed Organization

American Bloodhound Club

Native Country

Other Names
Bloodhound, St. Hubert Hound, Chien de Saint-Hubert

Life Expectancy
Approximately 10-12 Years

Litter Size
Average 8–10 Puppies

Breed Group

General Description

The Bloodhound is a large scent hound originally bred for hunting deer and wild boar, but also used from the Middle Ages onwards for tracking human beings, and now most often bred specifically for that purpose. Thought to be descended from hounds once kept at the Abbey of St Hubert in Belgium, it is known to French speakers as the Bloodhound.

This dog is famed for its ability to discern human odors even days later, over great distances, even across water. Its extraordinarily keen sense of smell 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 lost pets.

Breed Standard

Large-sized hound and massive leash hound, the most powerful of all the scent hounds. It is harmonious in its lines, endowed with strong bone, good muscle and a lot of substance, but without ever appearing heavy. It is long in structure, fitting into a rectangle. The overall appearance is imposing and full of nobility. Its attitude is solemn. The head and neck attract attention because of their abundant, supple and thin skin, hanging in deep folds. Its movement is impressive, rather slow and with a certain rolling gait but lithe, elastic and free. No characteristic should be so exaggerated as to destroy the harmony of the whole, to give an over-done appearance or even less to harm the health or well-being of the dog. Among possible exaggerations should be mentioned eyes which are too deep set or too small; distended eyelids; too much and too loose skin with too many and too deep folds; too much dewlap; too narrow a head. Dogs which are too big, with bodies too heavy or too massive, are equally undesirable because this impedes their function.

Head: The most characteristic point of the breed is the imposing and majestic head, full of nobility. It is deep but narrow in relation to its length and long in relation to the length of the body. The bone structure is clearly visible. The lateral sides are flattened and the profile is square. The topline of the muzzle is near1y on the same plane as the upper outline of the skull. On the forehead and cheeks, the abundant thin skin forms wrinkles and deep folds, falling when the head is carried low and continuing into the strongly developed folds of the dewlap. The skin is less abundant in the female.
Cranial Region: The skull is deep, long, rather narrow with flattened sides. The brows are not prominent although they may appear so. The occipital peak is very developed and distinctly pronounced.
Stop: Only slightly marked.
Nose: Black or brown, always black on black and tan dogs. The nose is broad, well-developed, with wide open nostrils.
Muzzle: As long as the skull, deep, broad near the nostrils and of equal width throughout its length. The topline of the muzzle is muzzle is either straight or slightly convex ( slight ram's nose ).
Lips: Very long and limp ; the upper lips fall over the lower lips and at the front form a right angle with the upper line of the foreface, which gives a square profile to the muzzle. Towards the corners of the mouth they become fleshy flews ( less pronounced in the female ) which blend imperceptibly into the abundant dewlap. The edge of the upper lips comes down about 5 cm below the lower jaw. The edge of the lips is well-pigmented, black or brown, depending on the nose color.
Jaws/Teeth: Complete dentition, in correct scissor bite; strong white teeth, set regularly in well-developed jaws. A pincer bite is tolerated.
Cheeks: Hollowed and lean, especially under the eyes.
Eyes: Dark brown or hazel, of a lighter hue ( amber ) in dogs without black saddle or mantle. Eyes of moderate size, oval, not weeping, neither protruding nor sunk into the socket, leaving the iris totally visible. Lids with no irregularity in their contour, normally fitting around the eye-ball ; lower lids a little slack so that a little haw is visible are nevertheless tolerated. At no time should the eye-lashes touch or interfere with the eyes. The expression is gentle, kind and dignified, with a rather melancholy air.
Ears: Thin and supple, covered in short hair, delicate and velvety to the touch ; very long lobes, reaching at least beyond the end of the nose when they are laid on the upper line of the foreface; ears set very low, level with the eyes or even lower, on the side of the head, falling in graceful folds curling inwards and backwards (curling ears).
Neck: Long so that the dog can follow the trail with its nose on the ground ; strongly muscled ; the skin of the throat is loose and extremely developed, presenting a double dewlap, but this is less pronounced in the female.
Body: The topline and underline are almost parallel.
Withers: Slightly pronounced.
Back: Straight, broad, long and solid.
Loins: Broad, strong, short, very slightly arched.
Croup: Well-muscled, almost horizontal, never falling away, very broad and quite long.
Chest: Oval in shape, broad, well let down, clearly forming a keel between the forelegs; thoracic cage long enough ; forechest and point of shoulder standing out, ribs well-sprung, neither flat nor barrel.
Shoulder: Long, well-sloping, well-muscled but not over-loaded.
Upper Arm: Long, sloping and forming good angulation with the shoulder.
Elbow: Well set, neither turning out nor in.
Forearm: Straight, strong round bone.
Wrist: Firm.
Metacarpus (Pastern): Sturdy , upright seen from the front, slightly forward sloping seen from the side.
Forefoot: Compact, very solid, neither toeing in nor out ; toes well-arched, well knuckled up and tight (cat feet) ; thick solid pads ; short strong nails.
Upper Thigh: Good length and strongly muscled.
Stifle (Knee): Well-angulated, neither turning in nor out.
Lower Thigh: Sufficiently long and strongly muscled.
Hock: Solid, close to the ground and well-angulated.
Metatarsus (Rear Pastern): Strong and short.
Hind Foot: Like front foot.
Gait/Movement: The assessment of the very typical movement of the Bloodhound is extremely important. At its normal gait, the trot , the movement is even, with measured steps, springy and free, covering more ground than any other scent hound and very characteristic of the breed, rolling but without crabbing. The hind legs move well at the back , there is good drive from the hindquarters, the reach of the fore and hindquarter movements is equal and the topline remains horizontal. The limbs move parallel but at greater speed the feet single-track. The tail is carried high like a sabre without the curve becoming too pronounced. The Bloodhound must be capable of maintaining a trot for a long period of time without showing signs of tiredness.
Skin: Supple over all the body , loose and elastic. The thin skin, very loose and abundant over the head, is very characteristic. On the forehead and the lateral sides of the foreface, the skin forms folds which hang down and which are even more noticeable when the head is carried low .However over-done wrinkles and folds on the forehead and brows must never harm the eyes. Folds of skin on the body due to too much skin are not desirable.
Hair: On the body , the close-lying hair is short, dense, quite harsh and weatherproof. On the head and ears the hair is very short and soft to the touch. The underside of the tail is furnished with hair a little longer and coarser.
Color: There are three distinct coat colors : the bicolors black and tan and liver and tan and the unicolor red. Among black and tan dogs the amount of black varies, according to whether it is a mantle or a saddle. In a dog with a mantle, black is predominant : the tan ( fawn ) is only found on the muzzle, the cheeks, above the eyes , on the forechest, on the limbs and the anal region. A dog with a saddle has a greater expanse of tan because the black is more or less limited to the dorsal region.
The same positioning of colored zones is to be found in the bicolored liver and tan. The colors are not always clearly stated nor distinctly defined. In the darker areas, it is possible to find them interspersed with lighter or badger hairs. Such a mixture of different colored hairs is allowed. For the unicolored red, the red can vary from light red to dark red. A washed-out tan for bicolors or red for unicolors is not sought after. A little white on the forechest, on the toes and at the tip of the tail is tolerated without being sought after.
Height at Withers: The ideal height is 68 cm for males. 62 cm for females.
Weight: Males is about 46 to 54 kg. Females is about 40 to 48 kg.
Underline and belly: Underline almost horizontal ; underside of chest well let down ; flanks well filled, broad and let down ; belly only very slightly tucked up.
Tail: Long, strong, thick, set high, in continuation of the dorsal line ,tapering gradually towards the tip; carried sabre fashion ; on the move the tail curves gracefully above the line of the back, never curled or twisting sideways .The underside of the tail is furnished with harsher hair, about 5 cm long, which becomes progressively shorter towards the tip.


For centuries it has been known and appreciated for its exceptional nose and its great talent for the hunt. It was bred in the Ardennes by the monks of the Abbaye de Saint-Hubert. It is presumed to descend from black or black and tan hounds hunting in packs which were used in the 7th century by the monk Hubert, who was later made a bishop and who when canonised became the patron saint of hunters. These big scent hounds spread throughout the Ardennes, due to the presence of large game, sheltering in the widespread forests of the region. These Saint- Hubert hounds were famed for their robustness and their endurance, especially when hunting wild boar.

The first Saint-Hubert hounds were black but later black and tan was also to be found. In the 11th century these dogs were imported into England by William the Conqueror. At the same time, dogs of the same type but with an all-white coat, called Talbots, were also introduced there. In England the imported dogs provided the basic root stock. The progeny of these Bloodhounds received their name as a derivation of "blooded hound" which means a dog of pure blood, therefore a pure-bred. Subsequently the breed was also developed in the United States of America. In the Southern States especially, these dogs were used for hunting runaway slaves.


Gentle, placid, kind and sociable with people. Particularly attached to its owner. Tolerant of kennel companions and other domestic animals. Somewhat reserved and stubborn. Just as sensitive to compliments as to corrections. Never aggressive. Its voice is deep but it rarely barks.

The Bloodhound will do okay in an apartment if sufficiently exercised. They are relatively inactive indoors and do best with at least an average-sized yard.


Scent hound for large game venery, service dog, tracking dog and family dog. It was and it must always remain a hound which due to its remarkable sense of smell is foremost a leash hound, often used not only to follow the trail of wounded game as in the blood scenting trials but also to seek out missing people in police operations. Due to its functional construction, the Bloodhound is endowed with great endurance and also an exceptional nose which allows it to follow a trail over a long distance and difficult terrain without problems.


Bloodhounds are prone to bloat. You should feed two or three small meals a day instead of one large one. Avoid exercise after meals. Some suffer from stomach cramps. Prone to hip dysplasia, cherry eye, ear infections and entropion, where the eyelids turn inward. A padded bed is recommended to avoid calluses on the joints.

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