Bloodhound (canis familiaris), a hound trained for the pursuit of men, wounded animals, or beasts of prey. The bloodhound is not peculiarly ferocious, as its name would imply, and will hunt any other game to which he is trained as readily as he will man; and many other dogs may be trained more or less perfectly to follow the scent of man, as must be evident to every one who has seen a lost dog, which when he comes upon the scent of his master's foot will follow it until he has found him. Any hound naturally pursues whatever he perceives to be prey; and the distinction of foxhound, staghound, harrier, boar-hound, or the like, is only a matter of education and training, and not of natural instinct. The bloodhound originally, of the old Talbot or southern breed, was larger than the foxhound, tall, square-headed, slow, with long pendulous ears, heavy drooping lips and jowl, and a stern and noble expression. He was broad-chested, deep-tongued, and in pursuit so slow that a horse could always keep him in sight, and in a long chase an active pedestrian could keep him in hearing.
His powers of scenting, however, were so extraordinary, that not only would he follow the deer or other animal of which he was in pursuit through herd after herd of the same animals, but he would recognize its trail on the ground as long as 12 or 14 hours after the creature had passed by; and if it were lost on one day, and he were put on its fresh track again on the following morning, he would follow it so long as it ran on solid soil. This animal was called the bloodhound for two reasons: First, if the animal he pursues be wounded and its blood spilled on the earth, he will follow the track of the blood, as he will that of the foot. Secondly, if fresh blood of some other animal be spilled across the track of the animal pursued, the hound will stop confused on the fresh blood, and will follow the old scent no longer. On the frontiers of England and Scotland, probably first, and certainly longest and most systematically, were kept and trained bloodhounds, called in the northern patois of the borders sleuth hounds; they were nothing more than the large Talbot, trained exclusively to follow cattle-stealing outlaws and marauders.
The breed is still maintained in a few large deer parks in the north of England, for following up outlying bucks, which they will single out of the herd, and never leave until they are taken. In color they are usually tawny, not brindled, with black muzzles; or black and tan, the latter being called St. Hubert's breed, and esteemed the hardiest. - The animal known as the Cuban bloodhound is not a bloodhound, but is a descendant of the mastiff, crossed probably with the bulldog. It was trained by the Spaniards at first to pursue Indians, and was afterward employed in the capture of fugitive negroes. It has some scenting powers, but it is as inferior in these to the true bloodhound as it is superior to him in blood-thirstiness and cruel, indiscriminate pugnacity. It has no utility except as a man-hunter. This is the variety once occasionally used in the southern states in the pursuit of fugitive slaves. The large Russian greyhound, which has a cross of the bulldog, possesses considerable powers of scent, and has often been employed for the same purposes as the bloodhound.
Bloodhound (Canis familiaris).