• Daisy

Bloodhounds- why are they a voulnerable breed?

Updated: Apr 12, 2020

Here in the UK there are quite a few bloodhounds, the estimated populations around 3 to 500, but they are still few and far between compared to the mass market of Cockerpoos, Labradoodles French bulldogs and other Fashionable/ current "Breeds" that everyone wants to be seen with - but that is an opinion I will share with you another time!

My point being- everywhere I go, there are lots of 'common' breeds, golden retrievers, Labradors, various spaniels, collies and a host of terriers. then there are some breeds you just don’t see on a day to day basis, like The Bloodhound.

We always get stopped wherever we go and most people ask us what breed Ralph is. When we say bloodhound they are always surprised and come out with something like "oh, I have never seen one" or "Wow, you just don’t see them" I honestly think this is a good thing as Bloodhounds are NOT for everyone and they are very specific in their needs and the amount of time they consume - Not everyone can understand this, until owning (Cough), being owned by a bloodhound.

(I remember someone saying this to me when I was researching, and I laughed...not realising the full truth behind it!!)

As I have mentioned in my other posts, these hounds are not for the faint hearted, you must really understand the breed and make sure they fully suit your lifestyle before committing, this includes learning about their traits, being prepared for the training that they require including enough mental stimulation to prevent them from being bored and general wellbeing and health requirements etc etc.

I am glad that the Bloodhound is on the UK Kennel Club list of Vulnerable breeds which gives recognition to the breed. We thankfully only have a small number, if any at all, of purebred bloodhounds, in rescue. This means that Breeders are doing a good job in breeding responsibly, and only giving puppies to truly suitable homes, saving them from being re-homed, and making sure they go to a lifelong home from the offset.

That being said there are still a number of older puppies or young adults sadly being rehomed on the internet which have come from irresponsible breeders not willing to take their puppies back.

Bloodhounds are never going to be a "popular" breed, due to their, size, strength, needs and personality. They are not suitable for busy families, people with young kids, or generally people who work full time, unless the time alone can be minimised by working from home or alternating shifts. (some hounds adapt well to some of these lifestyles, I am not saying its beyond the realms of possibility, I am generally speaking as someone who knows bloodhounds very well)

Bloodhound breeders do not want to give their puppies to people who do not have the time, experience (this of course can come with ownership with people willing to learn and take on such a big responsibility) or lifestyle that the hound needs, hence why breeders do not churn out litter after litter- as the demand just isn’t there.

Some facts and figures here in the UK on Bloodhound numbers:

  • From 1980 to 2014 the Kennel Club produced a breed population analysis

  • The highest registration was in 1985 where 167 puppies were registered.

  • The lowest registration was in 2009 where only 41 puppies were registered.

  • Years ago breeders kept hounds in large kennels, quite often outdoors and maintained a high number in the kennels for breeding.

  • The modern day breeder generally has less hounds and puppies are kept in the house

  • The Bloodhound population in the UK has not differed much in the last 50 years

  • Being a vulnerable breed does not mean that every hound should be bred

  • To be of benefit to the breed population puppies must come from registered parents and be registered with the Kennel Club

  • The breed is genetically diverse due to importations and the use of AI breeding.

For more information on Breed population analysis please see the Kennel Club link below

Written by Daisy Griffiths and Evelyn Burnside

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