Bloodhound breed’s 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, and lost pets. Bloodhounds weigh from 36 to 72 kg (80 to 160 lbs).
What kind of dog is a bloodhound?
The Bloodhound is a large scent hound, originally bred for hunting deer, wild boar and, since the Middle Ages, for tracking people. Believed to be descended from hounds once kept at the Abbey of Saint-Hubert, Belgium, it is known to French speakers as the Chien de Saint-Hubert.
How do bloodhounds smell? What happens when a bloodhound sniffs?
When a bloodhound sniffs a scent article (a piece of clothing or item touched only by the subject), air rushes through its nasal cavity and chemical vapors — or odors — lodge in the mucus and bombard the dog’s scent receptors.
When a bloodhound sniffs a scent article (a piece of clothing or item touched only by the subject), air rushes through its nasal cavity and chemical vapors — or odors — lodge in the mucus and bombard the dog’s scent receptors. Chemical signals are then sent to the olfactory bulb, the part of the brain that analyzes smells, and an “odor image” is created. For the dog, this image is far more detailed than a photograph is for a human. Using the odor image as a reference, the bloodhound can locate a subject’s trail, which is made up of a chemical cocktail of scents including breath, sweat vapor, and skin grafts. Once the bloodhound identifies the trail, it will not divert its attention despite being assailed by a multitude of other odors. Only when the dog finds the source of the scent or reaches the end of the trail will it relent. So potent is the drive to track, bloodhounds have been known to stick to a trail for more than 130 miles.
A bloodhound’s outward appearance also adds to its tracking ability. Loose, wrinkled skin around the face helps trap scent particles and long, drooping ears that drag on the ground collect odors and sweep them into the nostril area. The dog’s long neck and muscular shoulders, which slope into its strong back, allow it to track close to the ground for miles on end.
For the past two centuries, these natural-born detectives have proven legendary in their role in law enforcement. One of the greatest sleuths in canine history was a Kentucky bloodhound called Nick Carter. His dogged persistence led to the capture and conviction of more than 600 criminals throughout his illustrious career.
Despite the technological advances of our current age, many experts agree that these canines are a greater asset to a police force than some of the best high-tech surveillance equipment. Their extraordinary ability to discern a cold trail has sent them on fruitful missions, following tracks over 300 hours old.